Tuesday, September 1, 2009

are there two unforgivable sins?

Maybe I missed something in "Eschatology 101" or perhaps my understanding of Revelation is of a lesser sort than some. Or maybe, just maybe, we've gone a little crazy over this "mark of the beast" business.

First, let's set the stage. Jesus explicitly states that "every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven." (Matt. 12:31) What does that mean? Well, no one is quite sure...but...

It definitely means that you can do a lot of crazy terrible things and say awful things about God but there is something called "blaspheming the Spirit" that is the final call. Now, I'm not going to get into a heated debate about this, but it seems pretty easy to then say that there isn't a particular "sin" being talked about here. By "sin" I mean an outward act of physical disobedience. It seems to be implying that the only thing that keeps people from Eternal Life is a denial of the Truth of the Gospel that the Spirit brings.

So, if the only thing that warrants un-forgiveness is this act of refusing and blaspheming the Truth-bearing Spirit then it would mean that we've gotta read that into other blanket statements in Scripture.

Like this one: "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." (1 Cor. 6:9-11)

By that definition nobody that's ever lived is gonna see the Kingdom. But Paul qualifies it that without CHRIST we'd never make it. He shows that unrepentant physical disobedience leads to the final inward rebellion and blasphemy against the Spirit.

Why am I saying all this?

Because, for some reason, a bunch of theologians who are obsessed with figuring out the enigma of the last days have latched onto Revelation 14:9-11 which states, basically, that anyone who has the mark of the beast is going to Hell. And then they grab it and say " If you are a Christian, you MUST NOT take this mark or you, too, will miss the kingdom of God and suffer eternal torment over this single act of disobedience, according to Scripture."

I don't buy it. All through Scripture we are shown that outward, physical disobedience is not the thing that condemns. It is the heart.

Plus, we know from Revelation 13:8 that believers WON'T take the mark. Now either every present and future believer will somehow instinctively refuse the mark (doubtful) or it will have to be something that can be undone and repented of. (Plus, if everyone who had the mark were guaranteed Hell then evangelism would serve no purpose...rejoice ye hyper-Calvinists!)

Since the Bible makes clear that every act of disobedience is equal in the eyes of God then I'm going to just come out and say it.

Taking the mark of the beast won't send you to hell.
Refusing to listen to the Spirit's plea to worship Christ will. There must be a way for you to repent of this sin otherwise we have elevated a single act of disobedience, that is only available in the last few years of existence, to trump God's grace.

There is only one unforgivable sin. It's blaspheming the Spirit by refusing to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.

(Of course, this is assuming that the mark is, in fact, physical. I personally don't think it IS physical...If taken metaphorically, then it is, in my opinion, another description of the unforgivable sin. The mark of the beast is contrasted against the mark of the elect, implying that it is an inward spiritual stamp marking us as God's or not. This post is simply trying to point out that if you take the mark as a physical act then it cannot be equated to the unforgivable sin.)

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