Pastor and author Tim Challies of Grace Fellowship Church in Toronto has assured Christians worried they have committed the one unpardonable sin of the Bible.
Challies reflected in a video posted on Facebook on Tuesday that at one point, nearly all believers wonder "Have I committed the unpardonable sin? Have I broken God's law in that way?"
He said that some people are "really concerned, racked with guilt, racked with worry" over this, but he assured them it is unlikely they have gone that far.
Defining the unpardonable sin in question, the pastor took to Matthew 12:31 in the Bible, where Jesus says: "Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven."
Similarly, Mark 3:29 reads: "But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of eternal sin."
Challies said that such passages "sound terrifying," adding that he has done a lot of research and study into the topic.
He said that the theological consensus defines blasphemy against the Holy Spirit as an act that involves "ascribing the work of the Holy Spirit accomplished through Jesus Christ to Satan."
The author explained that what this means is that a person must know that Jesus Christ is God, yet still decide to ascribe His work to Satan.
Such a person "is not just ignorant," he added, "but willfully and knowingly rejects Jesus as Messiah."
The Toronto preacher noted that this is different from a person acting in a fit of anger or temptation and committing blasphemy.
Addressing people concerned they have committed the unpardonable sin, he said "probably you have not," since showing remorse suggests they are willing to repent.
"The Bible is very clear — if you repent of a sin, you will be forgiven. But people who commit this sin, they are not concerned about it. They are not seeking forgiveness, they are not at the least bit repentant," he said.
"Have you broken this sin? Not if you're feeling guilt and remorse and taking [the sin] to Jesus Christ, and asking for His forgiveness."
Well-known pastors, such as Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship church in Riverside, California, have also addressed the subject of the unforgivable sin.
In a sermon in 2016, Laurie pointed out that God promises over and over again in the Bible to forgive sins to people who come to Him, with Jesus asking the Father to forgive even those who crucified Him.
When it comes to the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit mentioned in Matthew 12, Laurie said that the passage accuses the Pharisees of attributing the work of the Holy Spirit to Satan.
"They had the audacity to say that it (Jesus' miracle work) was done by the devil," he pointed out.
The late evangelist Billy Graham also tackled Mark 3:28-29, and interpreted that the unpardonable sin as "a refusal to accept the witness of the Holy Spirit to who Jesus was and what He had come to do."
"... the unpardonable sin is not some particularly grievous sin committed by a Christian before or after accepting Christ, nor is it thinking or saying something terrible about the Holy Spirit," Graham said in a 2004 column.
"Rather, it is deliberately resisting the Holy Spirit's witness and invitation to turn to Jesus until death ends all opportunity."