Skip to Content

What are the sins against the Holy Spirit that Cannot be forgiven?

The Bible mentions a specific sin that cannot be forgiven – blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. This has troubled many Christians, who worry they may have committed this unforgivable sin. However, context is key to properly understanding Jesus’ words on this topic.

What is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit?

The only unforgivable sin mentioned in the Bible is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. This is mentioned in the Synoptic Gospels:

Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. (Matthew 12:31-32)

Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin” (Mark 3:28-29)

And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. (Luke 12:10)

So what is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? The context in each Gospel passage gives insight:

  • In Matthew 12, Jesus had just performed a miracle, healing a demon-oppressed man. The Pharisees, instead of recognizing the Spirit’s power behind this miracle, attributed it to Satan.
  • In Mark 3, Jesus had been healing and casting out demons, demonstrating the Spirit’s power. But the scribes slandered the Spirit’s work, claiming Jesus had an unclean spirit.
  • In Luke 12, Jesus simply warns that intentionally speaking against the Holy Spirit’s work will not be forgiven.

So blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is persistently and intentionally attributing the Spirit’s work to evil, denying the Spirit’s power and calling it satanic.

Why is this sin unforgivable?

Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit cannot be forgiven because it hardens one’s heart against repenting and receiving forgiveness:

  • The Holy Spirit convicts people of sin and draws them to repentance (John 16:8). Blaspheming the Spirit cuts one off from His conviction and call to repent.
  • Forgiveness requires repentance (Acts 2:38). One with a hard heart will not repent.
  • The Holy Spirit applies Christ’s forgiveness to believers (John 20:22-23). Rejecting the Spirit’s work keeps one from receiving forgiveness.

So this sin short-circuits the process of conviction, repentance, and forgiveness the Spirit makes possible. Theologian R.C. Sproul explains it as “a willful, determined opposition to the present power of the Holy Spirit.” By this ongoing rejection, one’s heart becomes hardened beyond repentance.

Can Christians commit this sin?

Some Christians worry they may have committed this unforgivable sin. But examining what the sin entails can relieve this fear:

  • It’s intentional – done willfully and persistently over time.
  • It’s attributing to Satan – calling the Spirit’s work evil, not just making mistakes.
  • It hardens one’s heart – no desire for repentance.

True believers still sin and grieve the Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). But they won’t totally reject the Spirit or attribute His work to Satan. Christians convicted by the Spirit will repent when they realize their sin.

Theologian D.A. Carson explains that “for any sin to be unforgivable, the Holy Spirit must convict the sinner of it, and the sinner must reject the Spirit’s work.” Someone worried about blaspheming the Spirit clearly has not rejected the Spirit’s conviction and calling.

Can this sin be committed today?

Some argue that this sin could only be committed while Christ was on earth. But others point out:

  • The Holy Spirit is still convicting, drawing people to repentance, and applying forgiveness today.
  • People today can still oppose the Spirit’s work and call it satanic.
  • The passages don’t suggest limiting this sin to Christ’s lifetime.

However, committing this sin today looks different than during Christ’s ministry. The Pharisees could physically see and reject Jesus’ miracles by the Spirit’s power. Today, one would have to reject the Spirit’s unseen work in people’s lives and attribute it to Satan.

What are some related sins that are forgivable?

Many sins related to blasphemy against the Spirit are forgivable if repented of:

Resisting the Spirit’s conviction

While non-Christians may resist the Spirit’s conviction of their sin, they can still later repent and receive forgiveness.

Grieving the Spirit

Believers grieve the Spirit through ongoing sin and quenching His work in their lives. But they will feel conviction and can repent.

Lying to the Spirit

Ananias and Sapphira lied about a donation in Acts 5, but Peter states they lied to the Spirit, not against Him. They were struck dead, but their sin was not unforgivable.

Insulting the Spirit

Insulting the Spirit, while deeply disrespectful, is not the same as the hardened opposition of blasphemy against Him. Insults can be repented of.

So while all sin related to the Spirit is deeply serious, blasphemy against Him remains in its own category of unforgivable sin.

How can someone repent of sins against the Spirit?

Here are steps someone worried about sinning against the Spirit can take:

  1. Examine if they have rejected the Spirit’s conviction and work. True blasphemy entails fixed opposition.
  2. Confess any resistance, grief, or disrespect shown toward the Spirit. Repentance demonstrates the heart is not hardened.
  3. Ask the Spirit to soften their heart and be sensitive to His conviction again.
  4. Trust that Christ’s blood covers all confessed sin – including sins against the Spirit.

As long as one has a contrite, repentant heart, they have not committed the unpardonable sin. There is hope to renew sensitivity to the Spirit again.

What is the unforgivable sin against the Father?

The Bible does not mention any unforgivable sin against God the Father. The only unpardonable sin specified in Scripture is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

Some argue that rejecting God’s offer of salvation in Christ is unforgivable. But Scripture shows people can reject Christ and later repent:

  • Paul rejected Christ and persecuted the church, but later repented and was forgiven.
  • Peter denied knowing Christ but repented and was restored.

As long as someone lives, they can repent and receive God’s forgiveness in Christ (2 Peter 3:9). There is no unforgivable sin against the Father mentioned in the Bible.

What are the sins against the Son that are forgivable?

Jesus states that “whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven” (Matthew 12:32). Some sins against Christ Himself are forgivable if repented of, including:

Denying Christ

Peter famously denied knowing Christ three times but later repented, and Jesus restored him (John 21:15-19).

Persecuting followers of Christ

Paul persecuted Christians but was forgiven after his repentance and conversion (1 Timothy 1:12-14).

Rejecting Christ as Messiah

Jesus’ own family did not believe He was the Messiah but later repented (John 7:5; Acts 1:14).

Insulting Christ

Mocking, insulting, or blaspheming Christ in word or deed is forgivable if sincerely repented of.

Though all these sins wound Christ, He offers gracious forgiveness to all who repent and turn to Him.


Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the only unforgivable sin mentioned in Scripture. It entails persistently attributing the Spirit’s work to Satan and hardening one’s heart against repentance. Believers can commit other sins against the Spirit, like resisting or grieving Him, that require repentance. But as long as one has a repentant heart, there is hope for forgiveness for all confessed sins – even serious ones against the Triune God.