When Sin Can’t Be Forgiven (3-6-16)

When Sin Can’t Be Forgiven
Matthew 12:22-37
Pastor Joe Fauth

In Matthew 12 we have an instance in the life of Jesus that brings the subject of God’s forgiveness to the front of our minds. However, it does this in a way we might not expect. The essential thrust of Matthew 12:22-37 is to lead us to understand when sin cannot be forgiven.

The incident before us consists of 4 segments that will lead us to understand the vital answer to the question: when can’t sin be forgiven? Those four segments are:

A Gracious Work (12:22)
A Great Wonder (12:23)
A Glaring Wickedness (12:24-29)
A Grave Warning (12:30-37)

A Gracious Work (12:22)

  • Now let’s look at this gracious work. We have here a “demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute”. I really want us to moved with pity for this man. He is under the control of demons…he is demonized. His life is one of continual torment and in this case he can’t see or speak (presumably he is deaf). Here is one who is led by a demon.
  • Please don’t miss this! “was brought to him”- That is, someone brought him to Jesus. This is not the main point of the text, but let’s not pass this by. Someone brought this man to Jesus.

A Great Wonder (12:23)

  • The next segment that comes is found in verse 23. We move from looking at that man to now looking at the crowd around him. They are ‘amazed”. This word is a word that means to be totally astounded. I mean, these people are beside themselves in amazement. Someone even said that the word means to be so amazed that one is knocked out of his senses…out of mind with amazement. We might say that their minds were blown!
  • But this amazement was not one of conviction. It was more like disbelief among the people. “This can’t be, can it?!” That’s the sense of the question, “Can this be the Son of David”? In fact, the way that it is written emphasizes the expected negative answer. They didn’t have any category for what they had just seen.

    A Glaring Wickedness (12:24-29)

  • Somehow the word got to the Pharisees (and Scribes, cf. Mark 3:22-23) about what had taken place as well as what the people were saying.
    They are now forced to give an answer…perhaps they are feeling some momentum shift here.
  • Now these religious leaders have got to put a stop to this and keep the people from turning away from their teaching and submitting to this One.
    “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters” (12:30). It is abundantly clear that these men were actually opposing the Son of God. There is no middle ground; no position of neutrality. There are NO INACTIVE PARTICIPANTS IN THE KINGDOM. He just nails the door right shut. The case is closed. These men are wicked rebels against the King.

    A Grave Warning (12:30-37)

  • Notice the word “Therefore” that begins verse 31. It is very important to realize that this means “on the basis of what’s just been said”. He has just condemned them as being against the Messiah—the Christ. And so He’s going to warn them.
  • So they need to know that ‘every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven”. God is a God of forgiveness. That cannot be denied. He willingly and freely and fully forgives.
    Yet we must also say that there is a time when sin cannot be forgiven. There is a time when one can become fixed in a state of unforgiveness.
  • The sin that cannot be forgiven is the sinner who will not be forgiven. It is the one who has the evidence of the Deity of Christ made plain before them and yet will not respond and embrace Jesus as the Savior.
  • In verses 33-37 He goes to the root of the issue. The problem that the Pharisees have is not that there is an absence of evidence but rather that their heart is evil. You can’t speak good if your heart is evil.

    Reflection, Discussion & Application
    Sin can’t be forgiven when your heart is hard, so don’t harden it and it won’t be hardened. Be very careful friends. Be careful that you don’t become one of those who become fixed in a state of unforgiveness by virtue of opposing the work of the Holy Spirit. How do you know that? The Holy Spirit is active in the Word of God (cf. Heb. 3:7; Heb. 10:15). Whenever you come face-to-face with the Bible you are hearing the very voice of God Himself! So “today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion” (Heb. 3:7-8, cf. Ps. 95:7-11). When you hear God speak in the Word and you discount it saying, “Oh, that is not enough.” Or you say, “Well, that really isn’t God speaking but just some invention of man.” You are really dishonoring the Lord Himself and speaking against the Holy Spirit.

    1. How regular are you in reading God’s Word which is to seek for the Holy Spirit’s work through the Word?
    2. As you read God’s word, what are some ways you might cultivate a heart of humility and submission to God and what He says? (This is the necessary step of obeying the command in Hebrew 3:7 “do not harden your hearts”)
    3. How important are relationships with other believers who know you and can so speak candidly to you? (Hebrew 3:7ff)
    4. What are some ways you might further cultivate those relationships?