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One of the questions I’m regularly asked is, “Pastor, can I commit a sin that God cannot forgive?”

Jesus addressed the topic in Mark 3:20–30. According to Jesus, there is one thing a person can do for which there is no forgiveness either in this age or in the age to come: blaspheming against the Holy Spirit. But what does it mean to blaspheme the Holy Spirit?

Let’s look directly at Jesus’ concluding statement in verses 28–30:

“Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation,”—because they said, “He has an unclean spirit.”


Christians have often misunderstood this paragraph. To arrive at the correct interpretation, we must begin with the last phrase, which explains why Jesus made this statement. He gave this teaching because His critics were accusing Him of being demon–possessed (verse 22). Our Lord was telling them, in essence, “There is a sin that you are on the verge of committing. You should be very careful because you’re about to do something for which there is no forgiveness.”

What was it?

It’s Not a Thoughtless Mistake

There is a progression to their unbelief.

Let me take a moment and say the unpardonable sin isn’t something that someone commits accidentally. The scribes who came from Jerusalem didn’t jump to a conclusion about Jesus. If you follow the references to these scribes throughout the book of Mark, you’ll see there is a progression to their unbelief. They were initially curious about Jesus and His ministry. Then they had questions. In time, they grew indifferent; but their indifference metastasized into a malicious attitude that became so hateful and vengeful that it ultimately nailed Jesus Christ to the cross.

In our story in Mark 3, there’s an interesting fact that’s only apparent in the Greek New Testament. According to verse 22, the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebub.” The verb form for “said” is in the imperfect tense. Another translation would be, “They kept on saying.” It wasn’t just a matter of a sudden thoughtless word or an instant reaction. Their words represented a hardened attitude and an embittered and impenitent heart.

It’s a Progressive Rejection

When God convicts us of sin and presents us with the Gospel, it’s dangerous to neglect it, especially if our procrastination becomes chronic. After continued resistance, we become so hard–hearted and sin–hardened that we grow calloused of soul. Our ears can’t receive the truth. Our minds shake off the conviction of the Spirit. We become cynical of conscience. And although the grace of God is still available to us, we push away from it.

These scribes had become Jesus–resistant because of the time–lapsed attitudes of their evil hearts. It’s tragic, for these scribes had devoted their lives to copying the Word of God. Note the relationship between the words scribe and scribble. These men had copied and recopied the Old Testament. Every day they copied an ancient Scripture scroll by hand.

They had copied Isaiah 53 about the Suffering Servant. They had copied Psalm 22 about the death of the Messiah. They knew Micah 5 and the prophecy of our Lord’s birth. Yet their hearts had become so hardened they couldn’t receive His grace when it arrived in the person of Jesus.

It is possible to become hardened to spiritual truth by living in the middle of it.

It is possible to become hardened to spiritual truth by living in the middle of it. The scribes had come to the place where they were so familiar with religious things that when the Son of God showed up, they didn’t know who He was, and they accused Him of being from Satan.

It’s Denying the Deity of Christ

By ascribing the miracles of Jesus to Satan, the religious leaders denied the deity of Jesus Christ. They were saying He could not be God. Yet by His miracles, He was showing Himself to be nothing and no one less than God. Only God Himself could do what He had done. His followers believed in His deity.

It’s the Holy Spirit who witnesses to the deity of Christ in our world today. So if you refuse to accept the ministry of the Holy Spirit or you ascribe His ministry to Satan, you deny Christ’s deity. You must believe in Jesus as the Son of God. You must accept the witness of the Holy Spirit and act upon the conviction He brings.

Have You Committed the Unpardonable Sin?

If you’re bothered in your spirit that you may have committed a sin God will not forgive, the very fact that you have anxiety over that is evidence you’ve not committed the sin.

The thought of an unforgivable sin has haunted sensitive people in every Christian century, and maybe it has haunted you. I want to be clear in saying that if you’re bothered in your spirit that you may have committed a sin God will not forgive, the very fact that you have anxiety over that is evidence you’ve not committed the sin. If He is still working in your heart, it’s not possible to have committed the unpardonable sin. The very fact that you’re reading this article is a tremendous indication you’ve not committed the unforgivable sin described in the Gospel of Mark.

In its essence, the unforgivable sin is hardening your heart against God by repeatedly refusing to respond to His entreaties to your soul. By continuing to resist and reject the Lord, you build calluses on your soul until the conviction of the Spirit of God no longer registers in your heart. Over time, you become hardened. You hear the Word of God, and it makes no impact on you. If you die in that condition, there’s no further forgiveness available. For those who reject Jesus Christ, there’s no forgiveness anywhere else, anytime, either in this world or the next. He died for you, and if you reject that, there’s no other sacrifice for sin.

So don’t worry that you’ve committed the unpardonable sin. But if you don’t know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, be concerned that you might. If you’ve resisted Christ and refused Him as your Savior, and if something happens and you die, you will have committed the unpardonable sin. You don’t get a second chance after death. Whatever we do concerning Christ, we do in this life. Don’t gamble that you will have time or that you can respond later. The Bible says, “Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near” (Isaiah 55:6).

You can trust that Jesus is who He claims to be. He is the way, the truth, and the life. He is the only way to God. He is Son of God and Son of Man, our Savior, the Word made flesh, the Firstborn from the Dead. He is our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend. He is Christ the Lord, the Rock of Ages, the Sure Foundation, the Cornerstone. When He is your unforgettable Savior, you’ll never have to worry about the unforgivable sin.


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Have you ever considered which superpower you’d most like to have? Well, remember, every superpower comes with a super weakness. Our favorite superheroes are rarely defeated, but their stories would bore us to tears if our champions didn’t have some chink in their armor to provide drama to their adventures. The most famous example, of course, is the Man of Steel, who is invincible to everything except chunks of ore from his native planet of Krypton.

Superman’s creator, Jerry Siegel, introduced the concept of Kryptonite in a 1940 tale entitled “The K–Metal from Krypton.” In that story, some fragments of Krypton landed on earth and drained Superman of his strength while giving superpowers to humans who came near it. These metals were first called Kryptonite in 1943, in the Superman radio show. That happened because actor Bud Collyer, who played Superman, went on vacation. For several episodes, the storyline had a fill–in groaning in pain until Collyer returned to the show.


In the years since, many kinds of Kryptonite have appeared on earth. Green Kryptonite weakens Superman and can kill him with prolonged exposure. Red Kryptonite is non–fatal, but it causes bizarre behavior for 24 hours. White Kryptonite kills plant life wherever it’s found. Red–green Kryptonite causes Superman to mutate. Red–green–gold Kryptonite can strip Superman of his powers permanently, but Kryptonite–X can supercharge him and renew his strength. Black Kryptonite can split him into two separate entities, one good and the other evil. And orange Kryptonite provides temporary superpower to any animal who comes near it.

The writers may have gone too far with the Kryptonite storyline, but oddly, it corresponds to reality. Though the followers of Christ are redeemed by a supernatural Savior, indwelled by a supernatural Spirit, and energized by a supernatural Book, we have a wide variety of weaknesses that can defeat us if we let them. Like the fictional tales of our comic book characters, we are ordinary people who discover a supernatural life—ours because of Christ!—and we have a Spirit–infused ability to do good. But each of us has our Kryptonite.

What is yours?

What one thing can you do today to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil at the point of your greatest struggle?

Biblical Characters With Chinks in Their Armor

With Abraham, it was his tendency to lie about his wife Sarah when he felt endangered by men desiring her beauty. With Moses, it was his temper. As a young man, he grew so angry at a slave being beaten that he killed the abuser with his bare hands. Later, he angrily struck the rock with his staff instead of speaking to it as God commanded.

With the Israelites, it was their tendency to murmur, complain, and discount God’s promises to bring them into the Promised Land. With David, it was lust. With Solomon, his multiplication of foreign wives turned his heart from God. King Asa became cynical and backslidden in his old age. Peter suffered a penchant for speaking too impulsively, and the young man Mark abandoned Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey. The Christians of Corinth drank too much during communion services, and the apostle John fell down and worshiped an angel in the book of Revelation. Yet these heroes had a way of defeating defeat by God’s grace, for He who began a good work in them carried it on to completion.

Do you ever feel defeated? Sometimes we hide behind the mask of some invincible character we’ve created, trying to project a force field around us that is generated by nothing more than human resolve. But the enemy exploits our weaknesses, and we all encounter times of defeat in our Christian experience. Sometimes it’s because of our natural human weaknesses. James warned about how we can be dragged away by our own evil desires, which, when conceived, give birth to sin (James 1:14–15). Paul warns against letting the devil gain a foothold in our lives (Ephesians 4:27).

Other times, our souls are sorely challenged by the external circum­stances of life. Getting bad news, for example, can shake our faith and cast us into prolonged discouragement, which is understandable but not sustainable for Christ–filled disciples.

What is your Kryptonite right now? What battle are you facing? What area of weakness is turning your victory into defeat? You can defeat defeat and be more than a conqueror through Him who loves you. How?

  1. Identify Your Weakness
    First, identify your weakness. Denial is self–deception, and it represents a lack of self–awareness and a failure to be honest. If someone tells you, for example, that you have a drinking problem or that you’re too opinionated at meetings or that you’re abusing prescription drugs, consider the possibility they are right. Don’t deny your issues. Be humble enough to admit your problems. Realize you need help.
    Has a friend or family member expressed concern about your behavior? Did it make you mad? Maybe it should have made you glad to know someone was worried about you. Instead of responding with offended pride, try saying, “You may be right. That issue is like Kryptonite to me. What do you think I need to do?” The Bible says, “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).
  2. Satan’s Kryptonite cannot penetrate the armor God has provided for your mind, heart, and soul.

  3. Access Your God–Given Powers
    Second, realize you can’t overcome your weaknesses in your own strength. You certainly have to make up your mind to be an overcomer. It may take the support of your friends or counselors. But our true victory is anchored in Christ. Jude 1:24–25 says, “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever.”
    Cry out to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and plead for grace in time of need. The Bible says, “Whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith” (1 John 5:4).
  4. Design a New Strategy
    Then give thought to developing a strategy to improve in the areas of greatest weakness. Nothing will help you more than delving into biblical passages like Ephesians 6. For every weakness you face, God has answers in His Book, and those answers were written, as it were, with the blood of Christ. His written Word is packed with verses to help you strategize, strengthen yourself, and overcome your weakness through His strength.
    Envision one step God wants you to take today to gain victory over what plagues you. What one thing can you do today to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil at the point of your greatest struggle? There is a step you can take right now, and it’s important to do it.
  5. Dress for the Day
    Here’s another thing. Make sure you dress for the day, putting on all the armor of the believer. Satan’s Kryptonite cannot penetrate the armor God has provided for your mind, heart, and soul. You must learn to wear the full armor of God every moment of every day.
  6. Don’t Give Up
    Finally, never give up. Proverbs 24:16 says, “Though a righteous person falls seven times, he will get up, but the wicked will stumble into ruin” (CSB). The number “seven” indicates multi­plicity. No matter how many times we mess up, we’re to get up—not give up. In the overcoming life, defeat is never final. Our job isn’t to gain the victory but to increasingly live in the victory Christ has already gained for us.
  7. Within the soul of every child of God lies a power, which, when unleashed, will make them a force to be reckoned with, and we need to behave accordingly. God has given you supernatural tools to use on earth to protect you from the enemy and conquer the obstacles in your life. Don’t let spiritual attacks defeat, discourage, and disillusion you. Live life as it could be, as it should be.

    Be an overcomer and follow the example of the heroes of Revelation 12:11, of whom it was said: “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”

    This article originally appeared in the October 2018 issue of Turning Points devotional magazine, a ministry of Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah.


David Hemery was a member of the 1968 British Olympic team that competed in the Games in Mexico City. He was scheduled to run the 400–meter hurdles race against a group of runners that included the world record holder. In fact, five of his competitors had clocked faster times than he did in the 400–meter hurdles. And trying to breathe easily at an altitude of more than 7,000 feet above sea level in Mexico City was proving to be a challenge for a sea–level Brit.

His goal was to run the race at about 90 percent exertion, saving the last 10 percent of his strength for a burst of speed near the end. Halfway through the race, he was surprised to find himself passing some of the stronger runners. Eventually, he didn’t see anyone in his peripheral vision. In the last 100 meters, he was running oblivious to everything. He didn’t hear the crowd or the footsteps of the other runners. He was simply focused on not slowing down, not relaxing for even a second, regardless of what the outcome might be.


As he crossed the finish line, he didn’t know who had won the race. “Suddenly,” Hemery wrote, “I saw Peter Lorenzo, the BBC commentator, running towards me across the track. He shoved a microphone in my hand. My first comment was: ‘Did I win?’” Indeed he did, setting a new world record in the 400–meter hurdles.1

Granted, his race lasted a very short time—just over 48 seconds. To him, though, it probably seemed like a life–time. And all the time he was running, even when he crossed the finish line, he had no awareness of his victory. All he knew was that he was gasping for breath without a clue as to the outcome.

There’s a lesson for you and me in the experience of that British track star: We should not live our Christian life as if we are unaware of the victory that is ours!

Certainty of Victory

Life is full of examples of people who are “winners” without a clue. Sometimes people are living on top of natural resource reserves buried beneath their property. They are wealthy without knowing it. Or sometimes people buy raffle tickets to help a worthy cause, then lose the ticket because they never anticipate winning—and they win. In 2009, the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries reported that the total amount of unclaimed prizes in the United States was $496 million—just under half a billion dollars.2 That’s billion with a “b.”

But before we get too critical of folks who lose their winning sweepstakes tickets, let’s ask ourselves an even more important question: Are we claiming the victory that is ours in Jesus Christ? Do we ever wake up in the morning, in the midst of difficult circumstances, and ask ourselves, “Do I really win in the end? Am I running this race without knowing the outcome?”

We should not live our Christian life as if we are unaware of the victory that is ours!

What if the Olympian David Hemery had been shown a video of himself winning his race before he ever ran? What kind of difference would certain victory have made? Yes, he still would have had to practice hard and run hard, but the knowledge of ultimate victory would have given context to everything he did to secure the victory. The pain and difficulty of training, even the exertion of running the race, would have taken on new meaning. Certainty of victory makes all the difference in how we run the race.

As Christians, we have something no athlete has—a certain knowledge of how our race ends. We know that victory is ours. The apostle Paul said this: “Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air” (1 Corinthians 9:26). And here’s how Eugene Peterson translates Paul’s words in The Message: “I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me!”

Given what we know about our victory, why would we ever give in to the temptation of “sloppy living”?

Victory Is Ours

The New Testament’s most powerful words about our victory over eternal death are tied to Christ’s victory over death through the Resurrection. Paul’s great chapter on the Resurrection, 1 Corinthians 15, ties our victory to Christ’s victory. If Christ wasn’t victorious over death, neither will we be. But since Christ was raised from the dead, so will all who belong to Him by faith (1 Corinthians 15:14–19).

And then Paul closes his chapter with these words describing who is not victorious and who is victorious:

So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?”

The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (verses 54–57).

Quoting the prophets, Paul asks Death and Hell, “Where is your victory?” They have been swallowed up in our “victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Dear friend, if you belong to Jesus Christ today, then victory is yours. This is your pre–race video, telling you ahead of time that you win. You win over the world, over sin, over death, and over the devil. As Dorothy Norwood sings in her great Gospel song,

Victory is mine, victory is mine,
Victory today is mine.
I told Satan to get thee behind,
Victory today is mine.

When I rose this morning,
I didn’t have no doubt,
I knew that the Lord would bring me out.
I fell on my knees,
Said, “Lord, help me please,”
Got up singing and shouting the victory.3

We know that victory is ours.

Victory by Faith

Satan wants nothing more than to convince us that we don’t have the victory, that the race is lost, that God has changed the plan. It’s when we believe those lies that we begin to let ourselves go and lapse into what The Message calls “sloppy living.”

Not only is the Bible clear that the victory is ours, but it is also clear about how we live the victory day by day: “And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith” (1 John 5:4). That’s another way of saying what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:7: “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” Everything in the Christian life comes back to faith: “… the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).

So—if we have victory in Christ to overcome the world, and faith is the means to that victory, we are faced with this question: How do we increase our faith? How do we keep “sloppy living” from eating away at the edges of what we hope for yet cannot see? But be careful: I’m not suggesting that you get more victory by having more faith. We have the victory because we have Christ—all of Christ! We are victorious by faith in Christ to begin with, and then we walk in that victory by faith for the rest of our life.

I hope you know me well enough to know there is not a silver bullet solution for increasing faith. We walk in victory by being faithful in the fundamentals of our faith: believing the promises of God (2 Peter 1:4), obeying the statutes of God (2 Corinthians 10:5), wearing the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10–18), and living to the glory of God in all things (1 Corinthians 10:31). Neither sin, the world, nor the devil will have any possibility of destroying the reality of victory in Christ if you walk by faith that way.

By the way—in the Gospel song, “Victory Is Mine,” it goes on to say, “Joy is mine” and “Happiness is mine.” That’s how you know you’re walking in the victory Christ has won for you—when joy and happiness in the Lord are yours. Christ has won the victory for you. Perhaps today is the day for you to claim the victory that is yours.

This article originally appeared in the November 2014 issue of Turning Points devotional magazine.


1“David Hemery: ‘I didn’t know I had won, let alone beaten the world record.’” The Independent, 7–17–2014.–hemery–i–didnt–know–i–had–won–et–alone–beaten–the–world–record–7836933.html (accessed July 17, 2014)

2Lyneka Little, “$16.5 Million Lottery Ticket Remains Unclaimed,” ABC News, September 21, 2011.–iowa–seeks–16–million–ottery–winner/story?id=14565431 (accessed July 17, 2014)

3“Victory Is Mine,” by Dorothy Norwood and Alvin Darling. © Dosciusko Music, Malaco Music Co., Peertunes Ltd., Peermusic III Ltd.


Think of all the places in our world where large quantities of water are stored: huge water reservoirs created by giant dams, massive above–ground water tanks in our communities, the water heater in your garage or basement that gives you a hot shower, the water stored in radiators that heat many older homes and buildings, and the water stored in millions of vehicle radiators. Right now, as you read these words, some of those reservoirs of water are leaking or draining. A percentage of them will result in damage of some sort—be it a flooded valley community when an earthen dam holding back a lake gives way or a flooded basement when the water drains out of a water heater.

Water belongs in the system, not outside the system. The challenge is to plug the leaks and seal the drains before damage can occur. Water transfer and storage systems losing water through leaks and drains is such a problem that a large industry has grown up around it: automatic leak detectors. Municipalities all across the country are installing electronic leak sensors on aging, underground water pipes where leaks can go undetected for years. Leaking water is lost water. And lost water can lead to serious problems.


Living Water and Spiritual Leaks

If you stop and think about it, there is a perfect analogy in the spiritual life. In one of the most dramatic moments recorded in the life of Christ, He stood up in the midst of the crowds at the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37–38).

The apostle John adds this explanation in the next verse: “But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified” (verse 39).

We know that Jesus has now been “glorified” through His resurrection, ascension, and seating at the right hand of the Father (John 13:31–32). And shortly after those events, at Pentecost, Peter declared, “Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear” (Acts 2:33)—“this” being the poured–out Spirit of God. Peter went on to tell the crowds that all who believe in Jesus “shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

Just as literal water belongs in the system, the Holy Spirit’s ministry is to be fully present in the life of the believer.

Jesus called the Holy Spirit “living water,” and all who believe in Jesus become reservoirs of this “living water”—the Holy Spirit. Just as literal water belongs in the system, the Holy Spirit’s ministry is to be fully present in the life of the believer.

I don’t want to push the metaphor too far—but I think it is safe to say that a Christian can experience the power of the Spirit draining out of his life. And like the vast majority of leaks in literal water systems, leaks in our spiritual reservoirs happen beneath the surface, out of sight, one drip–drip–drip at a time—until we realize we have lost all power or spiritual health.

Plugging the Spiritual Drains

The New Testament speaks clearly of at least two ways Christians can lose spiritual power and resources: grieving the Spirit (Ephesians 4:30) and quenching the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19).

Here are some ways we can see spiritual power drain out of our lives as our choices negate the work of the Spirit in us:

  1. The drain of negative influence. Inappropriate friendships and relationships can lead us away from God (Deuteronomy 13:6–9), impact our character and behavior (Proverbs 22:24–25), and cause us to become an enemy of God (James 4:4).
  2. The drain of busyness. Spiritual growth and power take time and effort. Yes, the Holy Spirit does the changing in us. But we make ourselves available to Him through the spiritual disciplines of prayer, Bible study, worship, service, fellowship, solitude, meditating on Scripture, and others. The psalmist wrote, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You” (Psalm 119:11). But the Word doesn’t get into our life by osmosis. It gets there when we take time to study it, listen to it preached and taught, and discuss it with others.
  3. The drain of materialism. Jesus said it best: “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24). In modern language, “mammon” is money. We cannot serve God wholeheartedly if our pursuit of material wealth has depleted our spiritual power.
  4. The drain of envy or jealousy. There is a temptation to envy those who do wrong (Psalm 73; Proverbs 3:31) and to compare ourselves with them (2 Corinthians 10:2). But Proverbs 14:30 says that “envy is rottenness to the bones.” Does that sound like the kind of life where spiritual power is being stored up or being drained away? Obviously, the latter.

These four represent the tiny leaks that, over time, can allow our spiritual power to dissipate and vanish.

There are other spiritual drains, of course—but these four represent the tiny leaks that, over time, can allow our spiritual power to dissipate and vanish. And when that happens, we eventually end up like a car pulled to the side of the road with a cloud of steam billowing from beneath the raised hood.

The insidious thing about these leaks is that they seem negligible and insignificant. And in the early stages of a drain’s activity, they are. A single envious thought or materialistic impulse is not going to sideline a Christian. But if those go unconfessed, they will accumulate drip–by–drip–by–drip, and we will reach a tipping point.

First, we must be aware of the reality of spiritual drains. Then we must do whatever is necessary to plug them! Only then will our living water remain within where it belongs.