BROTHER BEEBE: – If not troubling you too much, please give your views on Matthew xii. 32.
Yours in brotherly love,
JOHN K. JOHNSON.
Such views as we have on the text proposed we have given in former volumes of the SIGNS OF THE TIMES, and we have no new light upon the subject; still, as many of our present readers have not access to our former volumes, we will reassert what we have in substance written before. The thirty-first verse should be considered in connection with the thirty- second; they read thus: “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall he forgiven unto men; but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever 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.” Recognizing the Son of man as one in the Godhead, according to 1 John v. 7: “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one,” we know of but one sense in which a sin or blasphemy can be against the Son of man, and not be equally against the Father and the Holy Ghost, or how sins and blasphemy can be against the Holy Ghost and not against the Father, and the Son, or Word. But while “these three are one” in the eternal Godhead, it should be remembered that the Son, or Word, as the Son of man, sustains a relative and official position which is never in the Scriptures applied to the Father or the Holy Ghost. As the Son of man, Christ sustains a mediatorial relation to and identity with his people, in which, as their head and surety, all their sins, including all manner of sins and all manner of blasphemy committed by them, is laid on him, for the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of all his people, and he has borne them all in his own body on the tree; he has put them away by the sacrifice of himself, for he was delivered for their offenses, and raised from the dead for their justification. He, having suffered the just for the unjust, is now risen and exalted to he a Prince and a Savior, to give repentance unto Israel, and forgiveness of sins; as it is written, “There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” Therefore all Israel shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation. Repentance and remission of sins are, in the gospel, preached in his name. As the Son of man was held to law and justice for all the sins of his people, he has borne the penalty in his own person, and having made full and perfect satisfaction to law and justice for all the sins of all his members, they shall never be remembered against them. “ Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” – Rom. viii. 33, 34. Some learned and popular commentators have attempted to classify the sins of men, and to find some kind of sin more heinous than any other sins, and so bad that they can never be forgiven, and some have taxed their ingenuity to explain what the unpardonable sin is. It is said by some, It is a sin committed with light in the head and malice in the heart, &c., and some of God’s dear quickened children have been dreadfully alarmed from fear that they may have unconsciously committed that sin which can never be forgiven. But where is the child of God who has been brought to see and feel the exceeding sinfulness of his nature who does not stand self-convicted of sinning with malice in his heart and light in his head? Was Saul of Tarsus free from malice in his heart when breathing slaughter to the saints? Or were there other sinners of a still deeper dye?
But let us examine the words of our text. The sins which shall be forgiven unto men, and the sins which shall not be forgiven, are described by our Lord as being precisely the same. “All manner of sin and blasphemy shall he forgiven unto men.” Are there any other manner or kind than all manner? “But the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.” The speaking of a word against the Sou of man shall he forgiven, but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven. The Son of man is not the surety of any but his own members, all the sins they have ever committed were against him as their responsible surety, and the full expiation for them was exacted at his hand, and the sins of his people which he bore included all manner of sin and blasphemy, from speaking a word to the terrible sin of blasphemy. But all the sins which men commit, for which Christ as Surety is not responsible, from the speaking of a single word against the Holy Ghost to the sin of blasphemy, are absolutely unpardonable, not because the sins are varied in kind or enormity, but because there can be no remission of sins only through Christ. If our sins, however small or great, were not against Christ, and charged to or laid on him, then there is no hope for forgiveness or salvation, for there is salvation in no other name. If our sins are not righteously charged to and canceled by Christ, then they are against the Holy Ghost, or against God, as a Spirit, for God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. A spirit without a material or tangible body is called a ghost, and when applied to God as a Spirit it is distinguished from all other manifestations of his eternal power and Godhead, he is contemplated only as a holy, eternal Spirit, everywhere present, beholding all things, the evil and the good.
What we have written we give as our view of the subject; of course we hold none of our brethren responsible for our views. If we are wrong, we desire to be corrected, but we do not think our position will be controverted by our brethren, that all who are in Christ, whose sins were laid on him, and who are redeemed by him, have or shall receive the forgiveness of all their sins, and though they “be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool,” and that no sins, however great or small they may be, which were not laid on the Son of man, and expiated by him, shall ever be forgiven in this world or the world to come. Those whose sins are remitted were by nature children of wrath, even as others, and all feel and confess that they are the very chief of sinners; none of them claim that by nature or by practice they are in any wise better than those who perish. As the sins of Israel were laid on the scapegoat and borne away to a land of forgetfulness, so they hope their sins were borne away forever by the Lamb that was slain, who has redeemed us with his blood, through whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins, with whose stripes we are healed.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Republished – Signs of the Times
Volume 84, No. 14.
July 15, 1916.