What Makes a Sin Unforgivable?

A Clear, Biblical Answer

By Grantley Morris

This Page in GermanPortugueseSerbian

To discover what makes a sin unforgivable, let’s get down to basics. We’ll keep this simple, but the truth is profound.

The heart of God’s revelation to humanity is encapsulated in the most famous of Scriptures. Let’s plumb some of its depths:

    John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

This verse affirms that God gave his one and only, because God loves the world. Jesus’ sacrifice was not just for “good” people or most people, but for all of humanity – the entire world. The verse goes on to reveal the heart-breaking fact that not everyone will accept the gift of eternal life. Only those who believe in the Son will be saved, and the rest of the Bible reveals that the belief required involves not just entrusting one’s eternity, but one’s whole life into Jesus’ hands. It includes believing in Jesus’ love and wisdom and goodness so much that you are at least willing to be made willing to submit to his desires for your life. Nevertheless, the sad practical reality that some will refuse to believe, does not alter the glorious truth that God gave the life of his only Son because he wants every single person to be saved. To make sure that we get this, Scripture spells it out:

    1 Timothy 2:3-4  . . .God our Savior; who desires all people to be saved and come to full knowledge of the truth.

    2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some count slowness; but is patient with us, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

    (Emphasis mine.)

How is it possible for Almighty God to end up with anything less than what he wants? Only because the God who is love wants our love, and love is a meaningless sham unless there is freewill. Since the Almighty, the God of love, wants it, nothing in heaven or hell could prevent our salvation/forgiveness through Jesus, except our refusal to accept it.

Let’s continue to unlock the treasures in the core of the gospel.

God’s Son died (paid the ultimate price – bore the full punishment) for the sins of the entire world (every sin, not one sin is excluded) so that whoever (not one person is left out of this offer) believes in Jesus (the offer is to everyone, but one must accept it by believing in the forgiving power of Jesus’ sacrifice) should not perish but have eternal life.

Jesus did not die just for “minor” sins, but for the sins of the entire world:

    Isaiah 45:22 Look to me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.

    John 3:17 For God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through him.

    John 1:29 The next day, he saw Jesus coming to him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

    1 John 2:2 And he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the whole world.

    1 John 4:14 We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as the Savior of the world.

    2 Corinthians 5:19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not reckoning to them their trespasses, and having committed to us the word of reconciliation.

    (Emphasis mine.)

Since Jesus died for the sins of the entire world, it must include every sin you have ever committed, no matter how many, no matter how willful, no matter how atrocious and irrespective of whether it happened before or after you gave your life to Christ.

Let’s remove any doubt concerning the Lord’s willingness to forgive those who commit willful, atrocious and repeated sins after salvation, but eventually repent. If God loves and forgives even his enemies, how much more certain it is that he will love and forgive his friends! Although this logic is almost irresistible, the Lord is so keen for us to grasp the fact that we don’t even have to leave this to logical deduction: the Bible repeatedly declares this very fact.

    Romans 5:10 For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we will be saved by his life.

    Romans 8:32 He who didn’t spare his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how would he not also with him freely give us all things?

    Hebrews 7:25 Therefore he is also able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, seeing that he lives forever to make intercession for them.

    John 10:28 I give eternal life to them. They will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.

Jesus died to take upon himself full punishment for every sin that has ever been committed so that every sinner could be fully forgiven and have eternal life.

This being so, every sin must be forgivable provided the sinner accepts by faith the power of Jesus’ death to forgive his/her every sin.

Once again, let’s see this clearly and emphatically stated in the Word of God:

    John 6:40 This is the will of the one who sent me, that everyone who sees the Son, and believes in him, should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. (Emphasis mine.)

This is not some theory: it is the Word of God. It is not just what you and I want: it is God’s declared will, put in black and white by the God of Truth for all of heaven and earth to see. Anything contradicting this verse, must of necessity be a lie. This verse is so significant that it should be pondered and read over and over until it is indelibly imprinted on your mind.

Since there is salvation only through Jesus (Acts 4:12), any sin – no matter how small – is unforgivable if a person dies, still refusing to accept God’s forgiveness through faith in the forgiving power of Jesus’ sacrifice. On the other hand, every sin is forgivable if a person accepts God’s forgiveness through faith in the forgiving power of Jesus’ sacrifice.

So the critical sin is to refuse to have faith in the forgiving power of Jesus’ sacrifice. As explained in the previous webpage, this is the sin Jesus was referring to when he spoke of the unforgivable sin. Jesus was addressing people who refused to acknowledge that the Savior of the world was from God. Instead of admitting to themselves that Jesus was of God, they chose to believe the ridiculous notion that Jesus’ power came not from the Holy Spirit but from the devil. Rather than accept their Savior, they convinced themselves that Jesus was demon-possessed. For as long as anyone refuses to believe that Jesus, the Savior of the world, is from God, that person is rejecting God’s costly and only provision of forgiveness.

A sin is never rendered unforgivable by the God of love suddenly turning unloving and no longer wanting to forgive. Nor can a sin become unforgivable by the God of truth suddenly becoming a liar and breaking his promise that “everyone who sees the Son, and believes in him, should have eternal life”. A sin is rendered unforgivable only if the sinner dies refusing to accept the forgiveness that Jesus gave his all to make available.

    John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. (Emphasis mine.)

If you truly believe that verse then, as explained above, you will, by faith in the integrity of God’s Word, believe that by dying Jesus suffered full punishment for your every sin – no matter how willful and atrocious and repeated – and that in the sight of the holy Lord you are therefore cleansed of all wrongdoing.

When the devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness by quoting Scripture, Jesus did not search the Internet for the opinions of Rev. Dr. Tom, Dick and Harry on that Scripture. Did you know that pornography is the driving force behind the growth and popularity of the Internet? That’s how much the Evil One is behind the Internet. Do you really think the deceiver, the enemy of truth, has decided to let biblical material into his domain without trying his utmost to bring confusion by flooding the Internet with “Bible-based Christian sites” he has inspired? You just have to consider Jesus having to tell his close friend and chosen apostle, Peter, “Get behind me, Satan!” to realize how the Evil One can speak even through sincere Christians. In whose interest is it for you to think yourself unforgivable? God’s? Even if our loving Lord were the heartless beast the devil would like you to think he is, what would God gain by terrorizing you now? He has all eternity to torment you if that’s what he wants. No, it is only the devil who gains by making people think Jesus will not forgive them. By this malicious lie he seeks to nullify our crucified Lord’s victory over the devil. He cannot stop God from loving us and from having provided for our forgiveness. He can only try to trick us into robbing ourselves by not availing ourselves of the forgiveness that cost Christ so much to make available to us.

Neither did Jesus consult all the theologians and Bible scholars of his day about the verse the devil was quoting. Instead, Jesus frequently told these Bible “experts,” such things as, “you also disobey the commandment of God because of your tradition” (Matthew 15:3) and “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God” (Matthew 22:29).

Neither did Jesus say, “Well, devil, if you look at the historical context of that verse . . . And the ancient Hebrew means . . .” Jesus didn’t in the slightest analyze or argue about the Scripture the devil quoted. He merely quoted another Scripture that was indisputable and contrary to what the devil was implying. That was it, as far as Jesus was concerned. Case closed. No need for further argument.

This is what I have sought to do in this webpage. No need to argue with the devil about some obscure Scripture. One indisputable Scripture is enough. (In actual fact, John 3:16 is supported by an enormous number of Scriptures, such as those listed in A Sample of the Scriptural Proof and Rock Solid Bible Truth.) Then we need to act on the revealed will of God, refusing to be like those who are “always learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7). Stop dithering and start believing. Stop going from website to website. Stop endlessly considering arguments and counter-arguments, trying to match wits with the devil – who is our intellectual superior and our spiritual inferior – and put your faith in Jesus.

Put your faith not in man, but in God. He alone is trustworthy. He wants everyone to be saved. If it were possible and consistent with love, he would save everyone, but salvation is possible only through faith in Jesus, and love is possible only where people have the freedom to choose. Since, as the Word of God insists, God is so loving, there is no way he would deny forgiveness to anyone sincerely seeking it through the means God has provided – faith in the saving power of Jesus’ sacrifice.

I recently overheard a woman saying, “If you do that, I’ll kill you!” Terrifying words? Not to me. I did not have to analyze her words. I know her. She is not a murderer. I therefore know she was seeking to give a stern warning; nothing more.

To be sure you have correctly understood what a person means, it is not enough just to know the words used; you must know the person uttering those words. And that’s the only way anyone will understand the Bible. You must know the Author.

I know God. I know his loving heart and his passion to save/forgive everyone who lets him by merely regretting his/her sin and looking to Jesus, God’s only Savior, for forgiveness.

    Romans 8:32 He who didn’t spare his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how would he not also with him freely give us all things?

Do you really think God put his Son through all that agony, putting upon him the sins of the entire world, only to waste it by refusing to forgive anyone who desperately wants forgiveness?

    Romans 5:10 For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we will be saved by his life.

Some of us dare entertain the bizarre thought that God is less forgiving of sins committed and repented of after we are saved. If God forgave you when you were his enemy, do you really think he would abandon you after you have become his friend and long to continue the friendship? What matters is not what you did yesterday or ten years ago, but whether you will let God remove your sin today.

Saved by Faith

To ask more than once for forgiveness of the same sin shows a serious lack of faith in the forgiving power of Jesus’ sacrifice. We have heard that we are saved by grace through faith, but have we truly understood it?

    John 3:15 that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

    John 6:40 This is the will of the one who sent me, that everyone who sees the Son, and believes in him, should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

    Romans 3:22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all those who believe. . . .

    Romans 5:1 Being therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ

    Galatians 2:16 yet knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the law, because no flesh will be justified by the works of the law.

    Philippians 3:9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, that which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith

    Ephesians 2:8-9 for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, that no one would boast.

    (Emphasis mine)

    Many more such Scriptures

We receive salvation (full forgiveness) not through begging but through faith in the saving power of Jesus. Either Jesus died for the forgiveness of your every sin or Jesus is a fake. You must decide what you will choose to believe. No one – not even God – can have faith for you. Faith is a decision, not a feeling. You must decide that you will believe in the power of Jesus’ sacrifice, and keep believing, no matter what feelings and doubts surge through you. Faith is about holding on, even when all the hordes in hell mock you and claim that you are unforgivable.

If you give in to doubting your salvation, you might as well paint a target on yourself and tell all of hell to use you for target practice. Demonic hordes will keep treating you as a punching bag until you prove to them by your continual resistance that you will never fall for their lie that Jesus is unable to save those who come to him. Attacks may last for many weeks but they will gradually fade once your spiritual enemies become convinced that nothing can shake your faith in the saving power of Jesus.


I regularly have people writing to me asking if I know of anyone who has been forgiven after deliberately and repeatedly cursing the Holy Spirit (and I do happen to know of many such people) or committing some other specific sin. Let me put it this way: how many murderers or rapists do I have to know before I believe that Jesus will forgive murder or rape? Over and over and over, the Bible says that Jesus forgives all sin. That has to include any sin you or anyone else has ever managed to dream up and before death repented and sought forgiveness through faith in Jesus. Everyone seems to fear that he or she is an exception, but God in his Word allows no room for exceptions.

Study this Bible truth:

    1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us the sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

    (Emphasis mine)

If you studied that verse, you will know that the deciding factor as to whether your sin can be forgiven has nothing to do with how gross or repeated the sin – God promises in his Word to “to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” This Scripture (and many others) reveals that whether your sins are unforgivable hinges not on the nature of your sin, but on this one thing: whether God “is faithful and righteous”. All that is required is that “we confess our sins” and put our faith in the One who died in our place. Take your eyes off the greatness of your sin and fix your gaze on the greatness and moral integrity of your Savior.

Christ defeated the devil’s attempt to twist Scripture, not by examining every theological argument about the disputed Scripture, but simply by holding on to another Scripture whose meaning was clear. Seeing that Jesus was resolute in holding on to Scripture, the devil left him, “until another time” or as the NIV puts it, “until an opportune time” (Luke 4:13). You can expect no more than Jesus received. If you are resolute in holding on to Scripture’s affirmation that forgiveness and eternal life are available to everyone who seeks it through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, the devil might eventually leave you – but only for a while. When you least expect it, wham! he’ll be back again, pouring on all the doubt and guilt and condemnation and emptiness and feelings that God has abandoned you – every powerfully convincing, deceptive feeling he can possibly muster. Salvation is through faith and this is your opportunity to shine, by proving that your faith is in Jesus and not in deceptively powerful feelings that are inconsistent with the Word of God and the heart of God. The devil is a loser because every time he attacks and you resist, your faith grows stronger. And faith is of infinite and eternal value.

God is love. He wants no one to perish but for all to come to repentance and put their faith in Jesus so that he can give them eternal life. Any argument to the contrary, whether supposedly based on Scripture or anything else, must be false, no matter how deceptively persuasive it may seem to you and no matter how strong your feelings of guilt and rejection from God.

What matters most to God is not how disgusting or atrocious or frequent your sins are, but whether you now choose to honor God by believing in Christ’s power to forgive you.

I have much more to share, but please don’t just skim this page. It is the very foundation of the Christian faith. If we don’t get this right, the rest of our spiritual lives will crumble. Please prayerfully read this page over and over until you fully accept the reality of God’s forgiveness of your every sin and the truth sinks deep into your spirit.

There’s Still More: When a Christian Can’t Stop Thinking Blasphemous Thoughts

Warning: These Pages Won’t Help Everyone

Some people terrified about being unforgivable just need Bible-based reassurance or an explanation of a disturbing Scripture. If vast amounts of rational support and biblical exposition are the answer, keep following the links. Many Christians, however, presume this is what they need but it turns out that no amount of biblical proof or sound, theological argument or even spectacular spiritual experience can put their minds to rest. If you have already sought much help but worries keep resurfacing, you most likely need a totally different approach. You should skip these pages (you can return later if you wish) and go straight to Scrupulosity.

Not to be sold. © Copyright, 2006 Grantley Morris. Not to be copied in whole or in part without citing this entire paragraph. Many more compassionate, inspiring, sometimes hilarious writings by Grantley Morris available free at the following internet site www.net-burst.net Freely you have received, freely give.

Scripture quotations are from the New International Version © Copyright, 1978 by New York International Bible Society

[Much More!]



Bible Versions Used
(Unless otherwise specified)

King James Version

Place mouse or equivalent over a Bible reference on-line

World English Bible
(Slightly Modified)

Appears in the text

For more information, see Bible Version Dilemmas


Bible Truth