– by Pastor Jeff Gannon
I have had several people ask me about the “unpardonable sin,” as mentioned in Scripture (Mark 3 and Matthew 12). This question came about as a result of my comment in a recent sermon that all things are forgivable because all things are redeemable yet not all things are reconcilable. My comment seems to contradict the teachings of Jesus about the unpardonable sin. Please let me explain.
When Jesus was teaching, preaching, and practicing the Kingdom of God, good news was offered in word and deed. Amazing, miraculous things were happening to people as a manifestation of God’s Kingdom on earth, even as in heaven. When some of the religious leaders saw Jesus performing “signs and wonders” of the present Kingdom/Reign/Realm of God, they accused him of having demonic power. They indicated the source of his ability to alter physical, spiritual, and emotional reality was the work of the Evil One.
Jesus response, as is typical, was concise and consistent. He essentially said, the unforgivable sin is to attribute to God the things that are not of God and to attribute to the Evil One the things that are of God. For example, when I was a teenager and had a desire to study the Bible, it was suggested I read the Scholfield Reference Bible. I did not know at the time that Mr. Scholfield believed that anything deemed “miraculous” was not impossible in this time and was rooted in demonic activity. The fancy word for this is dispensationalism. There was a dispensation for healing when Jesus was on earth but that dispensation has ended and therefore there is not any divine miraculous power today, only Satanic, deceitful schemes to produce magic not miracles. I believe the Kingdom of God can be experienced today and healing happens. I am careful to say that God is always faithful to heal but for mysterious reasons, does not always cure. Not all who are cured are healed and not all who are healed are cured. There is a critical difference. My point is, it is spiritually dangerous and irresponsible to attribute healing to demonic activity.
Even more prevalent and creates more damage is the notion that God is the source of everything that happens. In other words, attributing to God, the things that are not of God or from God. We ought to be very careful with what we name as the will of God. i.e. cancer, car accidents, premature deaths, etc. As some of you have heard me say before, I find this expression to be helpful, “not everything that happens is God’s will, but God’s will is in everything that happens.” That simply means, God is faithful to be at work in the most tragic situations for good because God is good, all the time.
Darlene Bradley, a woman in her 40’s was diagnosed with cancer and I was her pastor. I was 19 years of age. I went to see Darlene upon hearing of her diagnosis. She said, “Jeff, don’t blame God for my cancer. God did not give me cancer. I have cancer because two cancer cells in my body met and reproduced. God is at work in my life for good, all the time, and I trust that in life, in death, and in life after death and I want you to trust that too.” As is typical, we go to comfort and we are comforted. Darlene died of cancer but at her insistence, I proclaimed at her funeral, “not everything that happens is the will of God!” Her teenage sons said to me after the service, “thank you for teaching us not to hate God!”
So, Jesus’ teaching is always relevant and always true…don’t attribute to God, the things that are not of God and don’t attribute to demonic activity, the things that are of God!