“Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven.
(a) Any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven. Prior to the cross, Jesus preached conditional forgiveness to people living under the old covenant. “If you forgive, God will forgive” (Matt. 6:14, Mark 11:25). However, as the messenger of the new covenant, he also demonstrated and proclaimed unconditional forgiveness (Matt. 9:2, 18:27, Luke 7:42, 47, 23:34). This is one occasion where Jesus prophesied the forgiveness of all and every sin (see also Matt.26:28).
(b) Shall be forgiven implies forgiveness was a future event. Since forgiveness means the remission or dismissal of sins, Jesus was pointing ahead to the cross. On the night he rose from the dead, Jesus told the disciples to preach the remission of sins as a done deal (see entry for Luke 24:47).
(c) Forgiven; see glossary entry for forgiveness.
(d) Blasphemy against the Spirit.
(e) Shall not be forgiven. To reject the Savior is to reject salvation. To refuse to receive his forgiveness, is the only thing that cannot be forgiven. Such a person “never has forgiveness” (Mark 3:29) because they refuse to receive it by faith.
“Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.
(a) Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man. Many people slandered Jesus and all of them were forgiven.
(b) It shall be forgiven him; see entry for Matthew 12:31.
(c) Whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit. To speak against the Holy Spirit is to resist the witness of the Holy Spirit. Jesus is referring to the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (see previous verse).
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