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Pardon For The Unpardonable Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
February 9, 2023 1:00 am

Pardon For The Unpardonable Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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February 9, 2023 1:00 am

Many of us live with low-grade depression and a sense of condemnation. Can any of us sin too greatly to ever find forgiveness? In this message, we clarify what Jesus said about the nature of the “unpardonable sin.” Though our pasts remind us of failure and defeat, there is a way out.

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Insight for Living
Chuck Swindoll

Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Some sins take the form of addictions, and many feel they've sinned too greatly to ever find forgiveness. They feel heaven's door has been locked shut since they've committed the unpardonable sin. Their pasts remind them of failure and defeat, but there is a way out.

Stay with us. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, is it possible for a believer to cross a line after which their salvation is taken from them? Well, Dave, as you know, I've been a pastor for many years, and I suppose the question I'm asked most often has to do with the unpardonable sin. You'd be surprised at the number of people who have written to me who believe that because of something they did, perhaps even cursing Christ, that they've crossed the line and they have committed the unpardonable sin. Now, very specifically, I believe that the sin as Jesus explained it in the New Testament could be committed back then. I don't think it necessarily can be committed today in the way that he explained it, but there is an unpardonable sin, and that has to do with unbelievers who harden their hearts against God, absolutely determined that they will not believe. But on the part of believers, to get to your question more specifically, I believe that once they have placed their faith in Jesus Christ, they do belong to Christ forever. And for those who are listening right now who think that they might have committed the unpardonable sin, if they seek forgiveness and want to be forgiven, that in itself is proof that they have not committed the unpardonable sin.

God even forgives that which we might think is unpardonable. Bottom line, I'm here to give people hope, hope based on the Scriptures, hope because of our faith and trust in Jesus Christ. At the end of this broadcast, I'm going to be giving you an encouraging word regarding the expansion of this ministry.

But right now, let us go to the pulpit of Moody Church. The voice of conscience has driven many a person to an early grave. It begins as a whisper, but soon it can become a megaphone that sends people over the brink. Why is it that we live in a society that is so guilt-ridden? Why is it that people are living with low-grade depression oftentimes because of a heaviness of spirit and a sense of condemnation?

There are many reasons for it. First of all, because of the overwhelming feeling that they've disappointed their parents. If you were brought up with parents and they told you that you were a disappointment to them, that can cut so deeply, it can put you under a cloud of guilt. Now if you were abused by your parents, that kind of abuse will magnify the guilt many times over.

Always remember every single abused child always believes that he is getting precisely what he deserves. And because of that, if you've been abused, no doubt you've struggled with an overwhelming load of depression and guilt. Then of course we've all disappointed our teachers. We go to school and we find out that our performance determines our acceptance and some of us maybe didn't perform as well as we think we should have. And so we feel like failures and we feel guilty as failures. Then of course we have disappointed ourselves. Every one of us knows that we've done things that we are ashamed of and we say to ourselves, how could I do something that was so stupid?

Something that would be undercutting my own sense of well-being. Look at the failure that I've been. But more important than all the reasons I've already listed, there is one that stands out and that is the sense that we have disappointed God. We've disappointed God. Think of all of the people who have turned from God to simply because they feel that the Almighty, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth is waiting for them like an angry father at the door waiting for his son to come home and the minute he comes over the threshold, he'll be beaten with a club. That's the way they perceive God. There is no way to please him.

His standards are too high. He demands too much and he's angry with sinners and so we feel guilty. I was riding on a plane recently with a man who believed that salvation was based on his performance and I said to him, you believe that salvation is a matter of good works. Oh yes, he said, you know what my greatest fear is?

He said that standing in line on the day of judgment with Mother Teresa ahead of me and overhearing the Lord say to her, lady, you could have done a whole lot more. That's the way people perceive God. Now what are the consequences of this kind of guilt that people have?

They have what is known as the cycle of the damned. Listen to what William Justice says. He says, for every failure to live up to some ought, there is the tendency to punish oneself in such a manner as to produce another failure and every failure produces the response, I ought not to have failed. I stand convicted of having violated an ought that in turn produces the need for further punishment which results in further failure. Having failed, I punish myself in such a manner as to produce a further sense of failure. I have failed to live up to some ought for which I feel guilty. Convicted of guilt, I feel the need to pay. To pay, I choose a method that will leave me with a sense of having failed. On and on the cycle rolls. It is the cycle of the damned. Then he says he was in a hospital speaking to a young man who was blowing his brains and ruining his mind with the use of heroin and said, why did you do it? Why do you do it?

The kid said you ought to know the answer to that question without me telling you. He said, I feel so badly because of what I've done that he says I want to kill myself but I don't have the guts to blow my brains out so I do it the slow way with heroin. Death on the installment plan. Have you ever thought of the number of criminals who become criminals because subconsciously they want to be found out, they are crying to be punished because they have this overwhelming sense of guilt and only punishment will make them feel a little better because they think then they'll be getting precisely what they deserved. Remember Shakespeare's insight into human nature. I have a daughter who is into Shakespeare and she reminded me of these quotes. Lady Macbeth sang a little water will cleanse us of this deed she says after being an accomplice to the murder of the king.

But her husband Macbeth is unconvinced. He says, will all the Neptune ocean wash this blood from my hands? And then he says no, he says rather my hands will make all the oceans bloody. He says I am in blood steeped so far that should I wade no more to return is as difficult as to go or I can't go back because I'm in blood. I cannot go forward because there is more blood. What is the answer? Lady Macbeth finally says here is the smell of blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. And when the torture became unbearable she did what 25,000 Americans do every year.

She committed suicide. Is there such a thing as an unpardonable sin? In the 12th chapter of Matthew Jesus spoke of such a sin. The leaders of his day were attributing his works to Satan. They said you are casting out Satan by Satan. And Jesus said well Satan will never be divided among himself.

Satan will never cast out his own comrades said Jesus. And then he says every sin that a man commits is capable of forgiveness but he said he that sins against the Holy Spirit he says will not be forgiven in this age or in the age to come. In Mark we read Christ saying it is an eternal sin. What is that sin? Here at the Moody Church as you know we have a radio ministry. As a matter of fact the message that you are listening to will be on radio.

But listen to this letter received from one of our listeners. Last Saturday night I was tempted to commit the unpardonable sin. Ever since I found out about this sin four years ago I was worried about committing it.

Well last Saturday night it happened. I became angry and started cursing God and calling the Holy Spirit blasphemous and insulting names. Then I asked for forgiveness but nothing seemed to go right so I became even more angry and I cursed. Do you think that God got so angry that he left me? I know I should give up a friendship with a man who is immersed in pornography but I've not done it. I didn't sleep all night because I was so upset and worried that I had committed this sin.

Do you think that Satan is making me real gloomy so that I think I have committed the unpardonable sin? What about it? What is the unpardonable sin?

I want to make two comments about it. First of all, when Jesus said this he was speaking to the religious leaders who were standing in the way of the common people accepting Christ as Messiah and Savior. The unpardonable sin was a sin committed by the nation Israel. It was a national sin. But secondly and most importantly the unpardonable sin was committed by unbelievers. It was committed by those who had not responded to Christ.

It was committed by hardened people who turned against God. It was not committed by somebody who would write me a letter worried that he had committed this sin. You say well Pastor Lutzer that is of some comfort to me but what about the memories that I have of the sins that I have committed you say to me? What about past experiences? What about past sexual relationships that resulted in a terrible amount of grief and hurt and the tearing of human emotions?

What about divorces that were caused for no good reason? What about those deep scars and sins? What I'd like to do today to help you to show that you might understand that no sin is unpardonable and to lead you out of the wilderness of guilt is to help you get a hold of four very important concepts that are found in the Bible. Four concepts and yes you can write them down will be covering some territory that some of you are acquainted with but for some of you it will be a means of liberation and of freedom.

I suggest that you listen with incredible care for the next 15 or 20 minutes. The first concept of course is the cross. It's the cross and I want you to turn in your Bibles to Colossians chapter 2. Colossians chapter 2 where we read this about Jesus Christ's death on the cross. It says in verse 13 of Colossians 2, and when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he made you alive together with him having forgiven us all our transgressions. Having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us which was hostile to us and he has taken it out of the way having nailed it to the cross.

What the Apostle Paul is saying is this that when Jesus Christ died on the cross he took all of the offenses that God had against us. You know in ancient times there was a custom that they would have if you owed a debt and it was known that the debt was owed. All of the things that you owed were listed on a piece of parchment but after you paid the debt it was stamped, paid, and then it was nailed for everybody to see. Your debt has been paid. You've been exonerated. And the Apostle Paul says that all that we owed God for all of our transgressions, everything that God had against us was nailed to the cross for all to see that Jesus paid it all.

Now I want you to understand something. Many people say I can't come to God because of this sin because I've done it a second time or a third time. My dear friend do you understand clearly that Jesus Christ already paid for the sin that you are bearing on your conscience? How many sins were still in your future when Christ died?

All of them. Two thousand years ago before you even appeared on the scene God already took your sin if you are a believer in Christ. God took your sin and had it nailed to the cross and you were exonerated by Christ's death. The text says he forgave us all of our transgressions. You know of course that Christ died for sins that you haven't even committed yet. There are sins that you will commit tomorrow or sins that you will commit the next day that were already included in Christ's death because he does not have to be re-crucified when you sin. God gathered our sins in one bundle and in one act to care of them.

Now follow very carefully. When you receive Jesus Christ as your Savior, God took care of your sins and wiped them away past, present, and future. In one act the Bible says he perfected forever those who are sanctified period. That's what Paul says. He says when you believed you were raised from your sins and you were seated with Christ and he forgave all your transgressions. Legally given forgiveness in one divine act. It's all gone.

It's all wiped away. Now that is an amazing statement. That's why the Bible can say there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus. Paul says in the eighth chapter of Romans who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect. It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth?

It is Christ that died, yea, rather that is risen again and is even now on the right hand of the throne of God who also maketh intercessions for us. Who is going to pronounce you unclean when God has pronounced you clean? You see if it were not that way I could not be sure of heaven. You see if God only forgave me when I believed on him as Savior, if God only forgave me for the sins I had committed so far, what if I died tomorrow with a sin on my conscience that I have not yet as God's forgiveness for?

I'd go to hell. So there's only one way for God to do it. If there was to be assurance of heaven he would have to wipe out all of our sins past, present, and future perfecting forever those who believe. You must understand the cross. Secondly, you must understand confession because I know what you're saying. You're saying yes but what about the fact that the Bible says that as believers we should confess our sins? If God forgave us all of our sins why should we bother confessing them? My dear friend confession has to do with my fellowship with God.

It is the discipline that God puts me through because of my sins where he asks me to agree with him that I might be back in fellowship with him but it has nothing to do with the standing legally that I have before God as a Christian. That remains secure even while I sin. You say wait a minute you're going to encourage people to sin. No I'm not.

No I'm not. That's what grace does is it delivers us from sin when we see the wonder of God's amazing grace. There could be no other way that God could do it if we were to have security in our relationship. But confession keeps up my fellowship with God. Remember the prodigal son?

He was still a son even when he wandered into the pig pen. But he was not enjoying the blessings of the father until he came home and said father I have sinned against heaven and against thee and then he was restored to fellowship and then the blessings of God came upon that prodigal. That's why the Bible says we have to confess our sins.

Why? We are legally forgiven but now we need to be subjectively forgiven. We have to be cleansed. Our consciences have to be purged. Our memories of the sin need to be taken care of. Now hear me out friend.

Listen to this like you've never listened to this before. You must always distinguish forgiveness of sins from the consequences of sin. You see there are certain consequences that continue even after we have been forgiven and that's what throws many people off. They say well how could I be forgiven because look at what I've done and look at the awful consequences that have resulted from it.

But my dear friend you must distinguish forgiveness from consequences. Here's a young teenage girl perhaps bearing a child because of an immoral relationship. She asks God's forgiveness and she is cleansed and she is forgiven completely but the baby continues to grow in her womb. And when she looks at the child she says how can I be forgiven because the child reminds her of sin.

But I want to tell you something today. That young lady can be washed as clean as the freshly driven snow despite the consequences. I want you to hear me carefully there was a man who gave his wife AIDS because he was bisexual and he said later I don't want God's forgiveness even if he were to give it to me because he said I deserve to burn in hell. Now I want to agree with him he does deserve to burn in hell but every one of us deserves to burn in hell.

Every single one of us deserves that. But you see what he was saying in effect was if God forgives me I want him to handle the consequences too but that's not the way the universe is set up. But I want to tell you today that that man can be forgiven he can be cleansed and purged and declared righteous by the almighty even though his wife dies of the AIDS virus that he gave to her because of his sin.

You must distinguish the consequences from forgiveness. My friend we here at Running to Win as you know are deeply committed to help you run the race of life successfully all the way to the finish line. We want to encourage you to know that God is able to forgive he's able indeed to restore.

I'm holding in my hands a letter from someone who listens to Running to Win in Spanish. God has shown me his love and care through your program. I now see my weaknesses frailties and sins how deep it is and how much I need God every moment that I breathe.

Though I am broken God has delivered me from many dangers and bad decisions. We are deeply committed as you well know to giving people the hope of the gospel. You've probably heard me say before that Running to Win is in 20 different countries in four different languages and we are continuing to expand this ministry because of our partnership. I'm so glad to be able to announce that the ministry of Running to Win will be expanded in the Russian language.

As I'm speaking to you right now it is being translated into Russian and God willing it will be heard in Russia and Ukraine. Thank you so much for helping us. Would you consider becoming an endurance partner? That's someone who indeed does contribute to this ministry regularly.

The amount of course is your decision. Here's what you do for info. You go to That's and when you're there click on the endurance partner button. Or you can call right now at 1-888-218-9337. I'd like to remind our listeners that this ministry belongs to you. Thank you for your partnership. Go to, click on the endurance partner button or call us at 1-888-218-9337. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. Running to Win is all about helping you find God's roadmap for your race of life. Many wonder, can we commit the unpardonable sin today? Make plans to join us next time as we probe this crucial question. Thanks for listening. For Pastor Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-09 03:49:57 / 2023-02-09 03:58:08 / 8

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