Just from reading the title of this one, your immediate reaction may have been, “Wait, I thought God can forgive anyone for anything?!” At least, that is what mine was a few years ago when I heard this. And upon deeper thought, is there really something that God, all-loving and all-knowing, could not ever see past?
When we look in the gospels, we see Jesus not coming to save the “rich,” but instead He says that He came for the “poor” (Luke 6). This is really an effort to draw a comparison between people who think they need nothing, and people who know they need everything.
1. Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection was “once for all, delivered to the saints.”
Jesus Christ came, as God in the flesh. He lived the life we could not live, died the death each of us deserve, and was dead. Then, he came back to life, defeating sin and death. All it takes is trusting this Gospel, this good news. And you know who can trust this Gospel? Anyone who wants to! His blood sacrifice is enough for everyone to repent and turn to Christ! (read the salvation blog for more on this).
2. We have free will.
I love the story from Luke 15 with the “Lost son” or as more well-known, the “Prodigal Son”. The younger son runs off and spends all of his dad’s inheritance and comes to himself, realizing that he had it way better at home. He turns away from his wild living and runs back to his father, genuinely apologetic and sorrowful. However, the older son was the guy who never did wrong by his father, slaved away in the fields working, and expected to be rewarded for it. But whenever his younger brother comes home, his heart is filled with rage. He had no love for the father or the brother, but was selfish and distant. Though the elder son never left the father’s house, his heart was hard and far away from the love of the father.
The dad not only rejoiced at the broken son who came home, but he also pleaded with the younger son to stop with his selfish attitude and come join the celebration! It leaves you wondering how the older son reacted. But if you notice, the father begs and pleads, but he never forced the elder son to come home, or to identify that his heart had malice inside of it. He may have worked hard for years, but he never truly belonged. He was legalistic in a sense. In all cases, each person acted how they wanted to. This is free will.
3. The Pharisees and the sin
If there is one group of people that Jesus had trouble with the most, that was the Pharisees. They had a huge problem: self-righteousness. They were wealthy, God’s people, scholars, powerful, very well-educated men. They did not want anyone telling them how to live or act, but instead they were the ones who controlled the Jewish people. They were the gods of their lives. They were so ritualistic and stiff-necked, they never could identify that they were sinful, and this is what the unforgivable sin is!
Jesus can and will save anyone who is truly wanting to be saved. There has to come a time in a person’s life where they have to fall before God and admit that he/she is a sinner and is in dire need of a Savior. Jesus gives you free will to either choose Him or to stay separated. He will not force His love upon you, because that is not true love. The Pharisees did not want Jesus to be their Savior! There are so many like this today in this world and it terrifies me because I know the ending. Everyone wants to live their lives without someone telling them they’re wrong and they do not want to turn from their ways and take up their cross. Just like all self-righteous people (Pharisees and the elder brother), Jesus cannot save them if they do not repent and trust the Gospel. If they don’t want to come inside the house, they won’t.
It scares me. I’m not just saying that. If anyone has ever peeked at the book of Revelation, you know the ending. We all at one point have been living a life, walking a road that leads straight to hell. We’re sinners! It is who we are, and we are born into it. If there is one thing I know for a fact is that no one deserves Heaven. And if someone tries to say they do, they’re no better than the older brother, the Pharisee… or really any other sinner in history.
God offered us a way out, a side road. That road is what Jesus did on the cross. The younger brother did nothing special but came back to his father.
God can do anything and everything (otherwise He wouldn’t be God). But He doesn’t make anyone repent. They themselves have to humble themselves and do it. Don’t deny it any longer because time may run out on you.
The only unforgivable sin is the one you didn’t ask forgiveness for. Christ is willing and able to forgive you, to change your heart, and to make you a new creation.
Run back to the Father– his arms are open wide.