Unforgivable Sin? - 11/10/2002

Last night at church, I saw a friend whom I had not seen in church in several months. I asked her how she was doing, and her answer was far worse than I had expected. She had spent some time in a behavioral institution for "suicidal thoughts and tendancies." After the sermon last night, she came to me with genuine fear, and told me that sometime during the few months I had not seen her, she had "denounced faith." That is, she had made the decision that God did not exist. She told me that the only reason she came to church last night was because other friends from church had been insisting that she come back. She told me that somewhere during the sermon, she realized that God really did exist, and that He does love her. However, the fear she had was that God would not forgive her for denying His existance, quoting Matthew 10:33, "But whosoever shall deny me before men, him I will also deny before my Father which is in Heaven." She was was afraid that repentance for this sin could not help her gain salvation--that she would go to Hell. I told her that we live for a forgiving God, and that Jesus died for her sin. Did I tell her the right thing? Will God forgive her if she repents now, and lives for God the rest of her life?

Tim





CONTENDER MINISTRIES RESPONSE:


Greetings Tim, and thank you for contacting Contender Ministries. I have to tell you our hearts broke when we heard how your friend is despairing. Thank the Lord she turned to you though, as I believe you told here the truth exactly. Matthew 10:33 can be misused in a dangerous way, by causing people to feel hopeLESS instead of hopeful.

The truth of the matter is that no Christian is perfect - we all sin. But God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9). When we accept Christ, confessing our sins and asking His forgiveness, He cleanses us from ALL of our sins -- including the ones we will commit in the future. That's why He shed His blood. I believe that Matthew 10:33 indicates a sin that is unforgivable if we DIE in that sin. In other words, if I suddenly deny the existence of God and the deity of Jesus Christ, and I die tomorrow in that denial, I believe I will have forsaken the forgiveness of Jesus Christ. However, in the case of your friend, I believe that she has forsaken her denial, and has once again decided to claim the forgiveness of Jesus Christ. In that case, she can lay claim to the promise of Matthew 10:32: "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven." Make sure she knows of this promise. Make sure she knows that, like the father of the prodigal son, God is running to take her into His arms and accept her back to Him.

Once again, we praise God that the Lord brought you to her at this point in time. I believe He used you to convey His message of the assurance of His love and forgiveness for her. Thank you for serving our Lord, and thank you for contending for the faith!!

In Him,

Ben and Jennifer Rast
Contender Ministries