This subject is regarded by many of our most enlightened brethren as one of the most obscure and inexplicable subjects contained in the sacred volume. The enemy has taken advantage of our inability to comprehend the true meaning of the words of our Lord, Matt. xii. 31, 32, and suggested such interpretations as have driven many of God’s dear children almost to despair. In the early experience of quickened persons, while deeply burdened with a sense of their guilt, Satan has not unfrequently suggested to them that they have committed sin against the Holy Ghost, and therefore cannot be pardoned, and christians of long experience have also been frequently harrassed by the tempter with the same cruel suggestions. The commentaries of the learned divines have almost universally had the same tendency to darken counsel by words without knowledge, on the subject. They generally decide that the sin consists in speaking or acting wickedly with light in the head, and malice in the heart, and this explanation is directly calculated to drive the children of God to despair. Who among them have not so sinned against God? The carnal mind is itself enmity against God, and as all sins are committed against God by the dictation of the carnal mind, this theory would place every sinner of Adam’s family in an unpardonable state. But if they mean that a person must be enlightened by the Holy Spirit, and have the light of divine revelation to qualify them to commit the unpardonable sin, then they involve the unscriptural heresy of falling from grace, for none can know the things of the Spirit of God, until born again, and taught of God. Whereas Christ has assured us that “Every one that hath heard and learned of the Father, cometh unto me,” and again, “He that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out.” We therefore reject the explanations of the learned commentators, because they conflict with the testimony of the holy Scriptures.
But it may be easier for us to discover errors in the views of others, than to give an explanation that is clear and satisfactory. Such views as we have however, we will submit for the consideration of all who may feel interested. The text referred to is Matt. xli. 31,32: “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men; but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whomsoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.”
We are informed that sin is a transgression of the law, and all who have transgressed the law of God, have sinned against God; and in the dispensation of the law, Moses has said, “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord, or one Jehovah.” - Deut. vi. 4. In reference therefore to the ministration of that law there is no sin which is against the Father, Son, or Holy Ghost, severally or separately considered, as all violations of the law are against the One Lord, but when we consider the Mediatorial relationship of Christ to his church, we find him, in that character and relationship, occupying the place of surety for all his members. “The Lord hath laid on him the iniquities of them all.” As therefore all the sins and blasphemies of his people were charged to him, as their surety, they were committed against him in a special sense, and as he has borne the penalty due to their transgressions, in his own body on the tree, and having put away their sins, he has arisen from the dead for their justification, and is now exalted to a Prince and a Savior, to give repentance unto Israel, and remission of sins, and all their sins shall be forgiven them.
Our sins included all manner of sins and blasphemy. There was therefore no manner of sins which others could commit, that were not embraced in the manner of sins which his people have committed, and these shall all be forgiven unto men, not because they were less in magnitude than those committed by others of mankind, but because they stood legally against him, and he has put them away by the sacrifice of himself. The Scriptures, to our mind at least, forbids the idea that God’s people were in any wise better than others. Paul says, “No, in no wise,” and he also affirms that we were by nature children of wrath even as others, and for himself he claims, that he was the very chief of sinners. In the remission then of the sins of his redeemed people, all manner of sins are forgiven unto men, that is, to all the elect of God. Hence it is written, “Speak ye comfortably unto Jerusalem, and cry unto her that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquities are pardoned, for she has received of the Lord’s hand, double for all her sins.”
But all other sins, from the speaking a word against, to the revolting crime of blasphemy, is unpardonable, not because the sins of the non-elect are in the nature or enormity greater than those sins which Christ has put away from his redeemed people, but because they were not laid on Christ, as he was not a surety for them, and they did not stand in that relation to him. Instead of being against God, as a Spirit, infinite and holy, they having no Daysman, no Redeemer, no Surety to answer for them, they have therefore no redemption through his blood, and consequently no forgiveness, neither in this world, neither in that which is to come. All the sins therefore of all the members of Christ, of all the elect of God, heinous as they are, are canceled, and shall be forgiven them. But all the sins of the human family which were not put away by the one offering of the Lord Jesus Christ, shall forever stand unremitted, and never be forgiven, neither in this world, neither in that which is to come. By the term Holy Ghost, as used in this text, in distinction from the term Son of man, we understand that the invisible Jehovah, as a holy, infinite Spirit, and as he is set forth in the law, is intended in distinction from the revelation of God as manifested in the flesh. A spirit hath not flesh and bones, said the Redeemer, as ye see me have. And aside from a revelation of God in the Mediatorial personification of the Man Christ Jesus, God is only known as an infinite and invisible Spirit, which no man can see without being consumed. No man, said Jesus, can come unto the Father but by me.
Middletown, N. Y.
October 1, 1857.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 4
Pages 33 - 36