OK, here's the plan (if God is willing):

1) Every day will be a new devotional. I have enough devotionals for every day for three years

2) Also as I can, I'll be posting on my new political blog (see bottom of page).

Some other housecleaning:

A) If you'd like to just get new postings sent to your email, just submit your address in the box on the left just below. There's just one possible downside, though. Occasionally I'll add a music video at the end that's relevant to the devotional, and you won't get them in the email sent to you. If I add a video though, I'll make sure to mention in the posting, so you'll know to come to the site to see it if you'd like.

B) I actually finished writing new blog posting for the TAWG at the end of 2016. So what I'm doing now is at the beginning of every month, I'll move the earliest month from 3 years ago ahead so that a "new" posting appears every day. That's why you won't find any postings for January 2014, for example.

C) When I started this Blog, I was using the 1984 edition of the NIV, and that’s what I linked to on the Biblegateway site. However, in 2011 Zondervan updated its edition and thus reworded a lot of the NIV translation. Therefore, all the links which went to the 1984 edition now redirect to the 2011 edition, which often has slightly different wording. Thus, part of my editing process has been to update my Scripture quotes in my postings. But I might have missed some, in which case you might see my quote in the posting as a little different from what comes up when you click on my citation link, since that redirects to the 2011 edition on the Biblegateway site. It's a good thing that we realize that the work of translation never ends, but it can be a kind of a pain on a site like this. If you see any difference in verbiage between my quote and what shows up as a link on the Biblegateway site, or if you hover over a link and it has "NIV1984" at the end of it, please notify me and I'll correct it.

D) I can't believe I have to say this, but here goes. At the end of every posting is a suggested short prayer that has to do with what we discussed. This is actually what I've prayed when I finished writing it. In no way am I asking you to pray the exact verbiage of my suggested prayer. It's just a springboard for your own prayer, nothing more. Quite frankly, I've never been a fan of praying rote prayers written by someone else. As with everything else I do here, to the degree it helps, great; to the degree it doesn't, chunk it.

As always, thank you so much for reading, even if it's to read one post. God bless.

[May 26]--What’s The Unpardonable Sin?

Mark 3:20-30

In all my years of teaching Scripture and attempting to disciple new believers, I can usually count the minutes until this question comes up. Most new Christians, especially if they came from a church background, are worried about this. For some reason, this has caused more consternation among God’s children than just about any other problem, and so many people are wondering and worrying whether they’ve committed this “unpardonable sin.” Let’s take a look at this passage and some others so that we can think clearly and biblically about this.

So the crowds are around Jesus, and his family actually comes to take him away as a crazy person. His own family, the ones with whom he had grown up, were coming to seize him as someone who’s mentally unbalanced. Of course, his own (half-)brothers didn’t believe in him, but this is a bit much. It just goes to show that neutrality concerning Christ is not a long-term option. You’ll either dismiss him and try to lock him up as a madman or bow at his feet as Lord.

And what was the Pharisees’ reaction to him? They saw his miracles, heard his teaching, saw the changes in peoples’ lives, and called him demon-possessed. This is where the really controversial subject comes up. And if all we had of God’s word was Mark’s Gospel, we’d really be confused. Thankfully this isn’t the sum total of what we have. So let’s use the rest of Scripture and some sanctified common-sense to sort this out, shall we?

First, notice first that Jesus seems to make a strong distinction 1) between “sins and. . . slander" that people commit everyday and  2) “[blaspheming] against the Holy Spirit.” Matthew’s version expands on this a little bit, making a contrast between 1) “[speaking] a word against [Jesus] and 2) [speaking] against the Holy Spirit.” So there’s something different about this one sin that sets it apart from others.

And one obvious thing that sets it apart is the very possibility of being forgiven. Jesus doesn't say "If you commit this sin, you're in real trouble unless you repent and ask forgiveness." No, he says that anyone committing this one sin will never be pardoned, in this life or in the one to come. Let me remind you, we’ll see murderers in heaven (like David), so whatever this “unpardonable” sin is, it’s not murder. Same with adultery. Same with theft. Also let me point you—once again—to 1 John 1:9, which promises that if we confess, he will forgive and cleanse. The passage in Mark is talking about an offence which, once committed, will never be forgiven. Not ever.

And why would Jesus make it a point of mentioning the Holy Spirit? Why is offending the Holy Spirit so serious that you’ll never be forgiven? As opposed to offending Jesus, which I do with every sin?

Again, the key is knowing your Bible. In John 16:7-11, we’re told that it’s the Spirit’s job to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. And not just any old sin. In this passage the Spirit specifically convicts us of not believing in Jesus. Yes, that’s a sin. In fact, I would submit that it’s the only sin that God won’t (and can’t) forgive. What's the “unpardonable” sin? How can you “blaspheme against the Holy Spirit”? Well, it’s the one sin that’ll keep you out of heaven, namely rejecting Jesus as Savior. And it’s the Spirit who’s telling you that you need to submit to Christ and trust him.

That’s why vs. 30 actually tells us what the Pharisees had done which was so bad. By claiming that he was demon-possessed, they'd done much more than just slandering an innocent man. By looking at his miracles and by hearing his teaching and yet still accusing him of working with Satan, they were showing that they were utterly closing themselves off to their only hope.

So if you’re worried about committing this “unpardonable” sin, stop. If you had committed it, you wouldn’t be worried about it. But let’s focus on the positive side of this for a moment, shall we? Each one of us who's trusted in Christ can personally testify that all types of sins and blasphemies are forgiven. His blood has covered our sin once and for all, and it will never be brought up again. Kinda makes your day, doesn’t it?

Lord Jesus, I know what it cost you to forgive me. May I never forget, may I never get over it. Never.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post Keith. Love how you take the reader into the journey of questioning, exposing the fear if this sin's presence. Then you make it clear: blaspheming the Holy Spirit is the rejection of Jesus Christ. Perfect.

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