THE  UNPARDONABLE  SIN
— Breaking the Bondage of Fear
by Andy Rugg



Introduction:

Enosiophobia is the fear of the unpardonable sin (especially when strong and long lived). A fear of having committed the unpardonable sin (or, sometimes, of possibly committing it) is something that affects most Christian believers at least once and usually briefly in their Christian walk.  A few, however, including such renown Christians of previous eras as John Bunyan (author of Pilgrim's Progress) and Martin Luther (father of the Protestant Reformation), endured that fear for months and even for years.  In fact, William Cowper (pronounced "Cooper") the great and highly prolific Eighteenth Century English Christian lyricist and hymnist, suffered from it for most of his adult life (he had several other psychological issues, as well, having even been a patient at a long-term mental hospital for a while).  This fear was quite common for a while among the Puritans at the Massachusetts Bay Colony.  When that fear lasts for over two months or so, it is a problem that often takes considerable and protracted effort to overcome.  It is to those few Christians who are undergoing such a prolonged fear attack that this page is directed.

The reason I am posting this website is sort of "been there... done that."  It is not that I committed the unpardonable sin (if I had, I would not be writing this), but for two years the enemy kept accusing me of doing just that.  For much of that time I was plagued with enosiophobia.  I had to struggle and struggle to overcome a strong case of fear of the unpardonable sin and to get to the point where I know that I am still born-again and am still going to Heaven (more about that in the testimony section).  Thank You, Jesus, for your infinite grace.  By sharing what I learned since the enemy launched his attack on October 26, 2001, I pray that I can help to soften and shorten at least one person's struggles with fears of having committed the unpardonable sin.

There are some who give two definitions to enosiophobia:  (1) fear of the unpardonable sin (or, more generally, an unpardonable sin), and (2) fear of criticism.  Frankly, this seems like it can only lead to confusion.  Fear of the unpardonable sin is not the same as fear of criticism.  Criticism has never bothered me, for instance; however, I have experienced being seized with fear over the thought of having committed the unpardonable sin.  I often welcome cirticism as a means of personal growth.  Criticism is a good way to see where you may need improvement.  Though some criticism my seem totally unmeritied, there is almost always a kernel of truth in it.  Seperating out the kernel of truth and acting on it is beneficial.  Fear of having committed the unpardonable sin, however, is not fear of criticism, but is more the fear of ultimate, final and eternal rejection by God.  Criticism represents the possibility of growth;  the unpardonable sin precludes all possibility of growth.  Criticism is a transitory rejection (at worst) by someone, though it is also often from a friend acting in love.  An unpardonable sin is a final, irrepairable severing of all hope of reconciliation, especially when it involves the Deity.  Unlike the possibility of acting on criticism, there is no point to acting on the possibility of committing the (or an) unpardonable sin -- it is too late for that.  The consequences of the unpardonable sin are eternal and horrific.  Fear of the unpardonable sin is far more closely linked to stygiophobia (fear of hell) than it is to fear of criticism.  There is a world of difference between fear of committing the unpardonable sin and fear of criticism, whereas fear of committing the unpardonable sin and fear of going to hell are closely linked.  Fear of committing the unpardonable sin leads to fear of going to hell.  Fear of criticism rarely leads to fear of committing the unpardonalbe sin -- or even an unpardonable sin.  If fear of criticism and fear of having committed the unpardonable sin were the same thing, then one would never act on the criticism so that it could prove constructive in his life.  Think about it.

     [See Genesis 51:15-17, 19, 21] "Dear backslidden comrade, see in this simple story your difficulty.  By your sin you have done violence to your own sense of justice, and now it is next to impossible for you to trust your grievously wronged Brother, Jesus; and yet His tender heart is well-nigh breaking over your distrust.  'And Joseph wept when they spake unto him.'  Brother, if you have not committed the unpardonable sin -- and you have not, if  you have any desire whatever to be the Lord's -- your first step is to renew your consecration to the Lord, confessing your backslidings.  Then your second and only step is to cry out with Job, 'Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him' (Job 13:15).  This ground you must steadfastly hold 'til the witness comes of your acceptance."  [Emphasis added.]
     --- Samuel Logan Brengle, Helps to Holiness

Please, keep in mind that I am not a lisenced counsellor or pastor.  I am someone who has gone through nearly two years of this fear and am offering suggestions to whoever might want to listen.  From experience, I know that what I suggest worked for me and may work for others.  I strongly suggest that, if you are suffering from enosiophobia (fear of having committed the unpardonable sin), please, consult with your pastor.

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What the unpardonable sin is not.

  • The unpardonable sin is not murder.
  • The unpardonable sin is not divorce.
  • The unpardonable sin is not remarriage after divorce.
  • The unpardonable sin is not suicide.
  • The unpardonable sin is not indecent exposure.
  • The unpardonable sin is not backsliding.
  • The unpardonable sin is not disobedience to the Holy Spirit.
  • The unpardonable sin is not dabbling in the occult.
(All of the above are things that some people have expressed concerns about being the unpardonable sin.)

How do I know this?  Do I have some great spiritual insight about this?  No.  My basis is the word of God, the very words of Jesus.  Without going into detail as to what the unpardonable sin is, we will briefly define it just enough to rule out all the above -- and some others, as well.

22Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see. 23All the people were astonished and said, "Could this be the Son of David?"
24But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, "It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons."
25Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. 26If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? 27And if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 28But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
29"Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man's house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can rob his house.
30"He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters. 31And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come."
      -- Matthew 12:22-32 (NIV)

What did Jesus say?  Go back to v. 31.  He said that "all manner of sin shall be forgiven unto men" (KJV), except one, "blasphemy against the [Holy] Spirit" (KJV) can be forgiven.  No other sin qualifies.  Therefore, whatever Jesus meant by "blasphemy against the Spirit," any and all sins other than that are unpardonable.  Since none of the above list even remotely come close to blaspheming anyone, even the Spirit of God, none of the sins in the above list are unpardonable.

Now, let us look at three other passages that many think refer to the unpardonable sin.

4It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, 6if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.
      -- Hebrews 6:4-6 (NIV)

This sounds like a very heavy issue -- and it is.  At first appearance, it makes it sound as though backsliding was the unpardonable sin.  However, is it the unpardonable sin?  Read it again.  It shows that the sin is not against the Holy Spirit but against Christ ("crucifying the Son of God all over again").  However, see above in Matthew 12:31 where Jesus said that even someone who sins against Him can be forgiven.  Though this is a serious sin, it is not unpardonable.  Nowhere does this passage say it is blasphemy against the Spirit of God .  Depending on the subtleties of the Greek language in which the author wrote, it is either impossible because it is an impossibility for something like that to happen in the first place, or it is impossible that  one would keep on keeping on doing without ever repenting.  I have read Greek scholars arguing both positions.  If you never call on God to forgive you, how can you expect Him to do so?  Backsliding is not unpardonable.  If one dies in his sin, that may be different, but how many believers (including my pastor and myself) have backslid and returned to the fold?  Surely they are all not lost.  King David backslid, Peter briefly backslid, etc.

26If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
      -- Hebrews 10:26,27 (NIV)

Here the NIV is definitely more faithful to the original Greek than the KJV.  The KJV would have you to believe that you could not be forgiven if you deliberately committed even one sin willfully -- ever.  However, it speaks of a continuous and ongoing sin of which you never repent.  The longer you practice a sin, the harder it is to repent.  However, if you do repent, the sin is forgiven.  Again, if you never repent, if you never ask God His forgiveness, you can never expect to receive His forgiveness.  Furthermore, these is nothing in this passage that would lead anyone to think that this was blasphemy against the Spirit of God.  Remember that Jesus said that blasphemy against the Spirit was the one and only unpardonable sin.  His words could be no more plain and easy to understand.

16If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that does not lead to death, he should pray and God will give him life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that he should pray about that. 17All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death.  18We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him.
1 John 5:16-18 (NIV)

Verses 16-17 are often used to support the notion that this refers to an unpardonable sin.  However, this is not the case.  First, there is no mention of the Spirit of God at all, let alone of blasphemy against Him.  Therefore, according to the words of Jesus quoted above, it cannot be the unpardonable sin.  So, what is it, then?  it is similar to Hebrews 10:26-27.  If you keep sinning deliberately and willfully without ever repenting and turning to God for forgiveness then you cannot be forgiven.  However, if you repent, if you call on God, ask God's forgiveness and respond to His forgiveness by stopping the wrongdoing, then it is clear that God will forgive you.  How do I know this?  "For, 'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved'" (Romans 10:13 - NIV).  If you are capable of turning to God and calling on Him then He will forgive you.  Neither in this verse nor in its context are any indications at all of any exceptions.  Nowhere in Scripture does it say, "Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved, unless, of course, you cosmically blew it by committing the most hideous of sins in God's eyes."

Some punk rockers have encouraged their audiences to chant, "Curse You, Holy Spirit," thinking that they were getting people to commit the unpardonable sin.  First, God judges by the heart.  If anyone in such a case committed the unpardonable sin, it surely would not be most of the audience.  In the next section, I will relate what Jesus meant in His use of the word "Spirit" that will show that this is not the case.

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What is the unpardonable sin?

We have established a general idea of what the unpardonable sin is not, now let us look at what it is.  One problem we have here is that Scripture does not define it with anything approaching the exactitude that St. Thomas Aquinas or John Calvin would, well defined with all possibility of ambiguity removed.  The human mind has a natural bent toward legalism.  We want our answers pat, cut and dry.  With cut and dry answers, we  humans believe that we can safely go right up to the edge of breaking a law or committing a sin but not cross a well defined line.  However, God is no legalist.  He judges by the heart, not by the inch.  To understand what the unpardonable sin is, we must look at those principles stated in the Bible.  We must do so with humility, keeping in mind the sage advice of the great Nineteenth Century preacher, Charles Haddon Spurgeon:

     I remember, in my early boyhood, being at my grandfather's house, and seeing there a venerable lady, who was dressed in black; and her mourning attire was just the emblem of her inner consciousness. She always looked sad, and I never heard her speak one joyful word all the time I knew her. It was whispered to me that she believed she had committed the unpardonable sin; and I well recollect with what amazement I looked at her. I felt almost inclined to pay reverence to such a person; and being, on one occasion, left in the room with her, she called me up to her, and said, -- and it quite frightened me, -- "Ah! you may be happy, but I never can. I have committed that sin that is unto death; and do what I may, I know I am a lost soul, and there is no hope for me!"
     It was only the week before last I met a man who said he committed "the unpardonable sin" twelve times every hour! I said to him, "Well, you are a great sinner, and no mistake; do you think the apostle Paul ever sinned like that?"
     He replied, "No, I do not think he did."
     "Well," I answered, "but Paul says, 'This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.'  Now, if Paul calls himself the chief of sinners, how do you make it out that you are worse than he was? If you commit the unpardonable sin, you must be a greater sinner than the apostle Paul, and yet he calls himself the chief of sinners."
     Let me speak a few words to any persons who may be present, and who think they are in this condition. If you know what the unpardonable sin is, you know a great deal more than all the divines who have ever lived. After all these ages of controversy about the matter, I believe it is the wisest course for us all to give up the attempt to find out what the unpardonable sin is. If you, therefore, know what it is, you must be marvelously clever; and more learned than all the assemblies of divines, or than the greatest men who have ever studied their Bibles. I do not believe you are so wise as that, and therefore I do not think you know what this sin is; and, further, I do not believe that you have committed the unpardonable sin. With regard to the sin that "hath never forgiveness," I hold this view. We are not told in Scripture what that sin is, and for a very obvious reason; our very want of knowledge may be a check upon us with regard to all sin, lest we should commit this "sin unto death."
     
--- Comfort in Trouble, a sermon delivered by Charles Haddon Spurgeon at Piece Hall, Halifax, April 7, 1858.

As you can see, from Spurgeon's comments above, the specific nature of the unpardonable sin is anything but well defined.  There are some who read Jesus' remarks about it in the specific details of the context and conclude that the unpardonable sin was only possible for about three years in all of human history.  Others look at the passages in Hebrews and First John that I quoted in the previous section that they come up with more than one unpardonable sin, in spite of Jesus' words.  I once even saw a list from the popular Adventist televangelist, Mark Finley, of about a dozen unpardonable sins -- wherever he got that list, it definitely was not from the words of our Lord, since He said there was only one.  One pastor I heard made it sound like only unbelievers and spiritually immature Christians could commit the unpardonable sin -- and that they could do so very easily.  In fact, he claimed that most unbelievers at some point in their lives commit it, thus explaining why few older people come to the Lord.  By the time he was finished with his three part series on the unpardonable sin, he had quite a few babes in Christ in that congregation so thoroughly scared that they almost had spiritual accidents in their spiritual diapers.  I will attempt to avoid such mistakes.

When Jesus spoke of the unpardonable sin in Matthew 12:22-32 and in Mark 3:22-30, he spoke in the context of his opponents not only speaking against Him, but against the Spirit of God operating in Him performing His miracles.  In looking very narrowly at these circumstances behind Jesus' words, many concluded that the unpardonable sin was only possible during the ministry of Jesus.  If the unpardonable sin was, as they contend, sort of an historical oddity, they why was it that over three decades later that the Holy Spirit had Matthew and Mark write those words of warning about it?  It would seem that in the AD 60's it may have still been possible.  I believe this was the case then, as it is now, because the working of the Holy Spirit did not end in the Upper Room on the greatest day of Pentecost since the days of Moses.  Both of two extreme positions (the age of miracles and of the gifts of the Holy Spirit ended in the First Century and the opposite view that miracles, gifts and healings are very common in the life of the believer) are in error, as most extreme positions usually are.  There have been documented instances of speaking in tongues, divine healings and miracles in every century since the times of the book of Acts but that does not mean that anywhere near all that passes itself off as a healing or a miracle is such, by any means.  Since the miracles the Spirit manifests were the trigger that provoked the verbal attack of the Pharisees that Jesus connected with the unpardonable sin and they still occur on occasion within the Body of Christ, then it would seem that the unpardonable sin may still be possible.

Some have said that the unpardonable sin is something that only an unbeliever can do, and the only way to do it is by being still unsaved at the moment of death.  If this were the case, then it nullifies the context of Jesus' words about it, since Scripture gives absolute zero indication that the Scribes and Pharisees were at the point of death when they blasphemed the Spirit.  The context must neither be taken too strictly nor trivialized (as in this interpretation).  Assuming that the unpardonable sin can be committed today (which is a prudent assumption), then the general concept of the context must be considered, if not necessarily the specific details.  In the context, Jesus' opponents were not blaspheming the person of the Holy Spirit.  I know, that may be a shocking statement to some.  The word "Holy" is not connected with the word "Spirit" in the Greek.  Even in the King James Version, the word "Holy" is in italics, indicating that the translators knew it was not in the original Greek.  It was just an editorial addition, that is all.  At that time, only Messiah Himself knew the Holy Spirit is a Person.  No one else on the face of the earth knew that there is such a Person as the Holy Spirit.  (Since no one else at the time knew there is such a Person as the Holy Spirit, Jesus would have to had explain Himself in His use of the term.)  His enemies were only coming against the person of Jesus -- and the power of God Himself, for that is how they understood the word "spirit" in such a context.  They were demonizing the very power of God.  If you claim that the very power of God expressing before your very eyes that Jesus is Messiah, then how can you hope to come to faith when God tugs at your heart to believe in Jesus?  By demonizing the testimony of God, you cut yourself off from any chance of grace working to salvation.  That makes it unpardonable.  That is, then, the unpardonable sin: vilifying the very testimony of God.  Exactly how it occurs, the specific context of the unpardonable sin will, no doubt, vary from case to case.

Can a believer commit the unpardonable sin?  Scripture is silent on this specific point, but I seriously doubt it.  While most Christians, especially spiritually immature Christians, have said that they hated God at one point or another, this is not unpardonable.  God is a far better parent than any human and any human parent will be bemused by his or her five-year-old child expressing hate of the parent.  They will not kick him or her out of the house.  How much more would that be true of God?  Would not the Holy Spirit be as loving and understanding of a parent as the Father and the Messiah?  Just as a human parent would take more seriously words of rejection from a child as he grows older, so, too, would God.  However, as a believer grows spiritually, though it may be technically easier to commit the unpardonable sin, he would be less and less likely to want to do so.  A sufficiently mature believer would have absolutely no desire to vilify God's power and renounce His love.  To the extent that Hebrews 4:4-6 may speak of the unpardonable sin (as some believe), the author's use of the word "impossible" can be reassuring, for it is truely impossible for a sufficiently mature believer to want to commit it, even if it would be easy for him or her to do so.  Immature Christians are covered by God's grace; mature Christians are covered by the loss of all desire to commit such a sin.  As my Pastor keeps saying, "Grace is not a license for us to keep on sinning, but gives us time to deal with sin and stop it."

Jesus said, "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him" (John 3:36 -- NIV).  Notice the use of the word "has" as is found in all translations I have checked.  That is present tense.  That means that, as a believer, I already have eternal life.  Now, if, for some reason, that eternal life should end ten years from now, then whatever it was, it was not eternal, since whatever is eternal is without end.  That is in keeping with the definition of the word "eternal" both in the Greek and in the English.

The importance of acknowledging sins cannot be overstated; in a practical sense, the unpardonable sin is the deliberately unconfessed sin.  "But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong" (1 John 1:9 -- NLB).  If we confess our sins, He forgives.  Read the verse again, it makes no exception.  Nowhere in Scripture does it say, "If we confess our sin, then He will forgive, unless we blew it by committing the big one."  If we confess our sin, He will forgive our sin (guaranteed);  if we do not confess our sin... well...

I may be wrong, but this is the best that nearly two years of study on this single topic has taken me.

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How do I know if I committed the unpardonable sin?

The biggest key here is Romans 10:13 ("for, 'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved'").  Do you sincerely call on the name of the Lord?  If you do, then you are saved.  If you do, then you have not committed the unpardonable sin.  If God calls you to repentance on anything, then you have not committed the unpardonable sin.  If God is still building character in your life, then you have not committed the unpardonable sin.  God is not going to build character in anyone who He knows He will throw away in the flames of hell forever.  If God seems to have written you off and never urges you to grow in Him, then that is a different matter.  However, most of us go through periods of spiritual dryness.  This does not mean that God has given up on you.

The mere fact that you may be concerned about such a period of dryness is evidence that God is still working with you and that you have not committed the unpardonable sin.  As long as God has given you the desire for Him, then, even through the longest of dry spells.  John de Yepes (1542-1592), later known as St. John of the Cross, wrote about his protracted dry season wherein intimacy with God seemed a most distant desire of his heart.  He wrote about this period in his life, calling both it and his book, Dark Night of the Soul.  That dark night of the soul lasted for him for thirty long years.  More than once, his testimony has encouraged me in my life.  A dry period in your life, even if connected with attacks from the enemy alleging that you committed the unpardonable sin do not constitute evidence in the court of Heaven that you have done so.  They attest to the fact that God is still working with you.

The Scribes and Pharisees had a generally very secularized religion, placing the traditions of men above God and His word.  Even in their prayers, they were not sincere in their approach to God.  Most of their prayers were "canned prayers."  You can hear similar prayers to this day on any Sabbath in any synagogue.  Their approach to God was formal, empty and often self-agrandizing.  You may go to church every day with that kind of attitude having committed the unpardonable sin (like certain Scribes and Pharisees did), but you cannot desire closer fellowship with Him if you have done so.  Though a few commentators have suggested other indicators that one committed this most serious of sins, they do not stand the test of the entire context of Scriptures.  There is even a small handful of people who believe that from the day you are born again, you better be walking on spiritual egg shells because even one deliberate and willful sin cooks your goose for eternity.  These people so deny the grace of God that they believe that any willful sin after becoming a believer, regardless of its nature, is the unpardonable sin.  Of course, this is directly contrary to Scripture, to the very words of Jesus.  Thank You, Jesus, for your grace making that patently false.  If it were true, could anyone really be saved?  I doubt it.  There are far too many examples in Scriptures that indicate the opposite.  I know of no believer who has not once deliberately done something he should not have done.  The old flesh nature, the old sin nature dies hard and still acts up, just a freshly killed chicken can run with its head cut off.  The chicken is dead, but is too dumb to know that; our old sin nature is dead, but is too dumb to know that.

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If the enemy is accusing me of it, how do I put the lie to rest?

The first thing to do is to recognize that the enemy is a liar, pure and simple.  The only time the enemy would dream of telling the truth is to twist it into being a lie.
Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
     -- John 8:44 (KJV)

Keep in mind his motives in the attack.  Why would the enemy waste his efforts and resources to get you to give up on any possible relationship with God if such a relationship were already an impossibility?  The mere fact that the devil is accusing you of committing the unpardonable sin is virtually proof that you have not committed it.  Anytime the enemy opens his mouth to accuse you of committing it, thank him for confirming that you have not committed it.

Furthermore, keep in mind that God works through His Word.  He has access to your spirit.  The adversary only has access to your soul and body.  His attacks are psychological and physical.  Sigmund Freud is not a reincarnation of Jesus Chirst.  Psychological theories are not the Word of God.  Stick with the Word of God, not with psychology.  Using psychology may help some, however, the ultimate answer comes from the Spirit and the Word, not from psychiatrists and psychology.  If you are in a psychological tailspin over the possibility of committing the unpardonable sin, that is the work of the enemy, not of God.  Therefore, if you are being buffetted by those fears, remember those fears are of the devil, not of God.
"For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
     -- 2 Timothy 1;7 (YLT)

No general worth his salt would send his most fierce, combat hardened and tenacious special forces against an unarmed civilian, but would rather use such forces to try to take out a heavily armed and potentially dangerous opponent.  Likewise, the devil is not going to send some of his best forces against a disarmed turncoat who had surrendered to him; he will send his best forces against believers he could take out before they could prove to be a major problem.  Therefore, keep that in mind the next time the enemy accuses you of committing the unpardonable sin.  He has reason to believe you are a threat to him, therefore he is strongly coming against you.  It is his way of saying that you are important to God in His scheme of things.

Remember that Revelation 12:10 calls the devil the "accuser of our brethren."  Just as he accused Job (see Job chapters 1 and 2), he accuses us, too.  Just as his accusations against Job turned out to be lies, without merit, many of his accusations against us are without merit, too.  Even when he accuses us of things that we have done, he does so, not to get us to repent and turn to God, of course, but to despair of God's forgiveness.  As the accuser, his objective is to make us believe that we are God's capability to forgive.  He also has another tactic of trying to get us to believe that our sins are too trivial to bother God with in asking for His forgiveness.  Both are lies.  No sin of which we are willing to ask forgiveness is either too great or too trivial for God.  By studying the grace of God and internalizing the Bible's teachings on God's grace into our spirits, we can see through and overcome the devil's lies in these matters.

If you are not born-again, please refer to the next section.  If you are born-again, rest assured that you still are.  If you fail to understand your position and identity in Christ, you will probably believe there is little difference between yourself and non-Christians.  Satan, the accuser, will seize the opportunity, pour on the guilt and condemnation, and do everything he can to cause you to question your salvation. 

The first step for a Christian must be to open your Bible, even if it means blowing the dust off of it, and start reading.  When I say, "read," I really mean read.  If you have too much difficulty reading because you are semiliterate, have a short attention span, etc., then get a copy of the Bible on tape or CD and listen to it.  Read it over and over again.  In my own case, when I was under attack, I would read the New Testament from one to three times a months, plus major portions of the Old Testament over the course of quite a few months.  It was after years of studying the infinite grace of God that Martin Luther came to squash fears of having committed the unpardonable sin in his own life.  John Bunyan, who at one time actually wanted to commit the unpardonable sin, overcame that fear to a great extent by studying the Word of God.

Saturate yourself in prayer.  If you pray in tongues, by all means do that.  While under heavy attack, I prayed in the Spirit between a half hour and six hours a day.  Whether you pray in tongues or not, spend lots of time in prayer in the understanding.  As you pray, be sensitive to the voice of God.  Most of the time, you will probably not hear it.  (I have known a few people who claim that God is always talking to them, however, considering what they say He is saying, I seriously doubt it.)  However, when you need to hear His voice the most, you will hear that still, small voice.  Do not expect God to be talkative; it may take quite a number of weeks to hear from Him, or it may come quickly.  Remember the words of Hebrews 11:6, "...he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."  If you are diligent in seeking Him, He will make sure that you will find Him.  The point of the Bible study and the prayer is not just to go through some religious ritual, but to diligently seek God with you whole heart.  He will respond to that;  in fact, He must respond to that to be true to His Word and to His nature.

By all means, stay in touch with other believers.  Keep going to church.  Do not give up on Christian fellowship, even if the enemy is really getting you to feel like a "fifth wheel" when in the company of believers.  Do not be talking about your problem all the time.  Keep in mind that most others will not understand the depths of you concerns and emotional pain.  They simply will not want to keep hearing about it.  Also, it does no good to you to dwell on what the enemy is doing in your life.  For every word you say about the "unpardonable sin issue" say a hundred about God.

One thing that helped me is to keep a diary, list or journal as to what God is still doing in your life.   Make a note of when each thing happened.  As you write, you will find more things to write about.  Each of them will be but one more small nail in the lid of the lie's coffin.  I cannot emphasize enough the value of keeping such a record of God moving in your life.  Remember the words of Habakkuk 2:2, "And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it."  As you record what God is doing in your life, you will find that it will prove to be a powerful tool to clarify your vision of being a child of God.

Another thing is to keep in mind there is a difference between the "unpardonable sin" and the "unpardonable sin lie" the enemy is feeding you.  In you thinking and in your speech, take care to make that distinction!  AS I said earlier, the enemy is a liar.  It is important for you to remember that what he says to you is a lie.  When he accuses you of committing the unpardonable sin, think of it, not as the "unpardonable sin," but as the "unpardonable sin lie."

Next comes confession of sin and repentance.  This is of vital importance.  To take stock of yourself, confess your sin before God and start taking the steps to end that sin are critical in ending the fear of committing the unpardonable sin.  Fear of committing the unpardonable sin is to a great degree energized by guilt.  Whether you feel guilty for dabbling in the occult, getting a divorce, or whatever, it is important to confess your sin to God and to work to stop it.  If you confess your sin to God, He will (He must) forgive you:  "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).  As you confess your sin sincerely before God, remember this, He will forgive you because He promised and is faithful and just to keep His promise.  Would God forgive you of a billion sins, but cast you into hell over one sin?  Of course not.  If He forgives you of one, He forgives you of all.  The mere fact that you can sincerely confess your sin to God is evidence that you have not committed the unpardonable sin.  Do not think for a minute that He will not keep His word.
"God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?"
     -- Numbers 23:19
"In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began."
     -- Titus 1:2
He promised forgiveness to all who call on His name, and He will deliver it.
"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved"
     -- Romans 10:13
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life"
     -- John 3:16

If possible, find someone who is understanding, loving and very well versed in Scripture to mentor you in the following topics:
  • The nature and depths of God's grace.
  • Who you are in Christ.
  • The nature of sin.
  • The nature of salvation.
Cover those topics with your mentor until they become so become embedded deep, not just in your mind, but in your spirit.  Let the truths of God as expressed in Scripture become as air, food and water to your soul.  Please notice, I did not say to cover the unpardonable sin.  You may do so, but it is not vital.  In fact, it is better if you do not put too much effort into studying the unpardonable sin.  That will only cause you to think about it even more.  Put the bulk of you efforts on the four points mentioned above, spending only secondary and spare time (or, better yet, no time at all) on the unpardonable sin itself.  As you do so, your enosiophobia, fear of committing the unpardonable sin, will dissolve with time.  If you cannot find someone willing to mentor you, that makes the prayer and Bible study that much more important.  I promise you, based on my personal experience that the Holy Spirit, who you may think you have unpardonably grieved, will come to your aid, providing you with the best possible of mentoring.  By the way, if you should find a mentor, make sure to make Him your "mentor number two," with the Holy Spirit being "mentor number one."

How long will it take to end the enemy's attack?  It may only take a few weeks, but do not be dismayed if it takes longer, even much longer.  I know of one brother in the Lord who fought it for twenty eight years, though this is highly exceptional.  My own lasted for nearly two years, and even that is above average in duration.  Whatever you do, do not give up.  That is exactly what the enemy wants you to do.  He wants you to spend your remaining years on earth discouraged and defeated.  You deserve God's best, not that.  Do not give up!  God will work things out for you if you let Him.  His Word will not fail, it will not return to Him void.  Guaranteed.  "So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it"  (Isaiah 55:11).

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What if you are not born-again.

I once knew a brother in the Lord who had gone through ten years of enosiophobia, ten years of torment accusing him of committing the unpardonable sin.  That fear instantly vanished one day, after ten long years on the day he was born again.  Though I cannot guarantee a repeat of his experience.  I can guarantee that if an unbeliever who fears he may have committed the unpardonable sin accepts Jesus as his Lord, then that is absolute proof that such a person has not committed the unpardonable sin.  In such a case, those fears are just a ploy to keep a person from coming to God in the first place.

If you suffer from enosiophobia, from the fear of having committed the unpardonable sin, tghen, I imagine, you have had a glimpse of the depths of darkness that lurk within each of us.  It is called the "flesh" or the "sin nature."  It makes all, by nature, by birth, enemies of God.  Radical spiritual surgery, of which only God is capable, is the only solution.  He has to kill the old, rebellious, self-centered sin nature and put a new nature in us.  However, He will never do it without your permission.  You have a free will either to choose or not to choose His plan for your life.

Understand this, God has a plan for your life that you have the right to choose.  All you have to do is to reach out in faith.
16For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
     -- John 3:16,17 (NIV)
He has a plan for you because He loves you.  He loves you enough to pay an inifinte price for you, to send His Son to die for you.  He does not want to condemn you, regardless of what you may have done (or left undone).  He wants to save you from your sin and selfishness;  He wants to save you to redeem you to enjoy His love forever.  All you need to do is to step out in faith on that.
"In reply Jesus declared, 'I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.'"
     -- John 3:3 (NIV)
As I said before, radical surgery is required, and here it is.  You must be born again.  God must place a new nature within you.  You accept Him, you accept Jesus, and the Holy Spirit gives you a new nature, a new birth.

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
     -- Romans 3:23 (NIV)
All this is necessary because we all start out as sinners.  We all have broken God's law -- and, deep in our hearts, we all know we have.  It does not matter what good you may have done, you violated God's law when you did what you knew what was wrong or you did it for what you knew were far from the best of reasons.  You cannot put your good deeds and bad deeds on a scale and weigh the difference.  It does not work that way in life.   It does not work that way with God.  For instance, if you were to stand trial for murdering your entire family, for instance, do you think for one moment that the court would care how much money you gave to the United Fund, how much time you devoted to work in the local soup kitchen, how many children who you mentored well in the Scouts?  Of course not.  The only question is whether you did the crime or not.  If you committed the crime, then you are punished.  You committed multiple crimes and deserve punishment for it.  Just as a law breaker in court owes a debt to society, so, as a breaker of God's law, you owe a debt to Him.
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
     -- Romans 6:23 (NIV)
" 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- 9not by works, so that no one can boast."
     -- Ephesians 2:8,9 )NIV)
Here is the debt for our sins.  It is, simply put, death.  Biblically, this means spiritual death.  Spiritual death means eternal seperation from God.  However, God is offering you the alternative, eternal life in Him through our Lord Jesus.  Like all true gifts, all you have to do is simply to receive it, to accept it.  If we were in the same room and I were to offer you a dollar bill as a gift, then all you would have to do would be to take it from my hand as I offered it to you.  You would not have to prove anything to yourself or to me.  You would not have to earn it to me.  You would just have to accept it as a gift.  All that is required is faith.  It is the same kind of faith that would permit you to reach you and take that dollar bill that I was giving you from my hand.  He offers His gift to each of us simply because He is gracious.  None of us can earn it, any more than all the volunteering for benevolent agencies one can do can earn an aquittal for a murderer.

"9That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved."
     -- Romans 10:9,10 (NIV)
Just as accepting the dollar bill from me requires not just faith that I am offering it to you but requires an action on your part (reaching out and taking it), so, too, accepting the gift of God of eternal life in Christ Jesus requires an action on your part.  Obviously, it is not holding out you hand.  It is believe with your heart and to put that faith into action by means of your words.  Open your mouth and pray something like this (the exact words are not important, what is important is what is in your heart):
"Lord Jesus, thank You for showing me how much I need You.  Thank You for dying on the cross for me.  Please forgive all my failures and sins of the past.  Make me clean and help me start fresh with you.  I now receive You into my life as my Savior and Lord.  Help me to love and serve You with all my heart.  Amen."
Don't stop there, though.  Tell someone else what happened to you.  Tell as many people as you can.  Rejoice in your salvation and let people know of your joy.  Confess with your mouth to others what God is doing in your life, even if you do not yet understand the full implications of it.
"11And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life."
     -- 1 John 5:11-13 (NIV)

If you prayed that prayer from your heart, you now have eternal life.  You now have the Son, Jesus.  Therefore, you have eternal life.  You already have that life.
"47I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life."
     -- John 6:47 (NIV)
Note that Jesus said that if you believe in Him you have everlasting life.  He did not say that when you die you will get it;  He says that you have it.  Since you have it, start enjoying it.

See you in Heaven someday.

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My personal testimony in overcoming enosiophobia.

I am relating this so that it might give courage to someone who is enduring a serious bout with fear of having committed the unpardonable sin.  I will bare my soul to the extent that decorum permits.

Actually, like most things, it began before it appeared to begin.  I was a lonely man in a rather tenuous relationship with my girlfriend.  I was 54 years old and never had a good relationship with a woman.  Fearing that I was about to be dumped, it pushed me over the edge psychologically and led me to a plan, which quickly became a powerful addiction, that actually could have possibly resulted in a long term psychiatric hospitalization.  I was irrational, acting in fear.  I was sinning, even sinning willfully, out of fear.  This fear, which failed to acknowledge faith in God, was itself sin.  Romans 14:23 (NIV) says, "...everything that does not come from faith is sin."  Anyway, it quickly became an addiction (actually a sexual addiction, though this is not the appropriate venue to discuss it).  I entered a psychiatric ward for a four day stay.  After getting out, the addiction only grew.  Though I could have easily been caught, I was not, in part, because I took precautions, though, at times, I tempted fate.  I was not aware of a growing level of guilt mounting within me.  I knew that I had a problem.  Now I know that the enemy used it as part of his master strategy to try to destroy me.  At the time, I tended to dismiss the adversary as more of a gadfly than as a real menace.  However, that was about to change.

Around eleven in the evening on October 26, 2001, that complacency about the enemy was suddenly shattered.  Preparing to go to bed, I had just turned my television off, having spent almost the entire day absorbed in the unending story of the hunt for Osama bin Ladin.  As I sat on the foot of my bed, my world was suddenly changed with an audible voice that sounded authoritative, harsh and menacing.  It twice thundered, "You've committed the unpardonable sin;  you're going to hell."

I was thunderstruck.  There was no one else there, yet there was this voice.  I had never heard anything like that before (and I do not want to hear it again).  Fear seized me.  "Could it be," I asked myself.  Suddenly, accusatory thoughts started bombarding me.  "You've committed the unpardonable sin.  You're going to hell."  The thoughts were in the third person -- and that is not the way I think.  It was not just a handful of thoughts.  It was an accusatory thought once every three to five seconds from ten to twelve hours a day.  That is ten thousand times a day it was like someone else was in my head accusing me of committing the unpardonable sin, but mostly of going to hell because of that.  Though, at the time I did not know the terms, I was seized with both enosiophobia (fear of the unpardonable sin) and stygiophobia (fear of hell).

This lasted day in and day out for weeks and months, only gradually tapering off as the enemy seemed to be following Goebbel's advice, "Tell a lie often enough and people will believe it."  Ten thousand times a day was certainly often enough, or so it would have seemed.  However, God had not written me off, though I deeply feared that He had.

Getting back to my story, I was living in stark terror for days.  Finally, I decided to turn to the only source of help I felt I could to find out if I had committed the most horrific of sins.  I decided to read my Bible as long as it took to find the answer.  It took days to do this because I knew I would not find a verse that said, "Andy, in the Twenty-First Century, did not commit the unpardonable sin."  I definitely was not that naíve enough to believe that.  I think that is why it took me until November 1, 2001 to open my Bible, because I would not find specific information.  Anyway, again sitting at the foot of my bed, I opened my Bible.  I had decided to read the New Testament starting at Matthew 1:1 and reading on through to Revelation 22:21.  As soon as I found Matthew 1:1, I had a check in my spirit about starting there.  Somehow I knew not to start in Matthew.  So I decided to start at Mark 1:1, read through to the book of Revelation and then pick up with Matthew.  Turning to Mark 1:1, the same thing happened, so I turned to Luke 1:1.  This kept going on.  I was getting a little frustrated, wondering just where I would have peace about starting.  Finally, when I turned to 1 Corinthians 1:1, in my spirit, I knew that was where to start.  I did not know what the answer would be, but I somehow knew that I would find it soon.

I had no idea as to how fast I would find the beginning, at least, of the answer.  I sat there and read.  After reading only eight verses, in the ninth verse, the first three words leaped of the page and hit me like a nuclear device.  "God is faithful..."  I almost dropped my Bible as I bolted up on my feet and exclaimed out loud (and I mean loud), "God is faithful, but I am not.  Father, forgive me."  In those ten words, there was all the power of repentance.  Those words were a confession of my sin, and had in them a steely desire to change.  The thoughts of hell stopped, but only for a very few minutes.  It was a start in my inner healing, but only a start, though I did not realize it at the time.  I had a lot more growing to do.  By the grace of God, though, I had taken the first step.

At the time, I was struggling with a forty year addiction to masturbation.  I was under increasing conviction about my addiction.  Finally, on November 25, 2001, I confessed my sin and addiction to God.  I confessed that I needed His help and vowed to stop.  Frankly, I was somewhat skeptical if it would do any good, sin ce I had tremendous doubts about having possibly committed the unpardonable sin.  The next night, a different voice came to me, telling me to look up the word "impossible" in my Strong's Concordance.  Not really knowing why, I looked it up.  As I glanced at the list, my eyes fell on one reference, so opened up my Bible to Hebrews 6.  I read Hebrews 6:4-6:
4It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, 6if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.
Actually, I did not actually read it.  I misread it.  Convinced that this was the proof that I had committed the unpardonable sin, I turned out the lights and went to bed, figuring there was nothing I could do about it anyway.  WHen I got in bed, I tossed, I turned, I thrashed about in bed.  I did everything except do somersaults or sleep.  This went on for three hours.  Finally, God got through to me and told me to read it again.  Believe me:  that was the very last thing I wanted to do.  I knew I had to do it anyway, so I did.  This time I read it without freaking out.

On reading it, the Spirit of God spoke to me, and said, "You repented last night, didn't you?"

"Yes, Lord," I replied, somewhat puzzled.

"Doesn't it say that if you were without hope, you could not repent?"

"Yes, Lord."

"Therefore, you did not commit the unpardonable sin."

Those were just the words I needed to hear.  I clung to those words like a drowning victim clings to a life buoy.  I ran with that.  For a couple of days, the enemy remained silent.  That was a welcome relief.  However, he resumed his attack with a new twist:  "Maybe you did not commit the unpardonable sin, but you're going to hell anyway."

This went on and on, with hardly a word about the unpardonable sin.  For a while, it seemed like I was a pawn in a sick game played by the enemy.  It seemed like a series of evil spirits, each with its own separate personality, would try their luck with me, taking turns.  As one would fail to get through to me, another would pick up.  This led to one of the few light moments during this ordeal.  On a Sunday evening in mid-December, 1991, I was walking down the aisle in church about an hour before the evening service.  The enemy spoke to me and said, "You're going to hell."  About a minute later, he added, "When you die, God will tell you that you should have listened to Satan, because he was telling the truth."

I almost fell to the floor and rolled in laughter.  It was about the funniest thing I had ever heard.  Just imagine, the whole idea of the devil telling the truth is the most ludicrous of statements, especially stating that God would tell me that.  I had to pull myself together enough to say, "Devil, get out of here."  That was the last I heard from that particular spirit.  Whether the power of God, the power of my faith, its embarrassment over my laughter or being yanked away by a superior, it was gone.  That was the last of being tossed about from demon to demon.

A few minutes later, I told a friend, Daryl, about that and about how I could tell which demon was coming against me, even able to name it.  He related to me that was the gift of "discernment of spirits," one of the gifts of the Spirit.  That was one more layer of God ministering hope to me.  God would not give a gift of the Spirit to someone doomed to hell.  Though my faith was growing, the enemy was nowhere near ready to quit.  That night, Daryl also offered to mentor me, however, that did not prove to be practical since I was living in Tacoma and he was living in Olympia (in the next county south) and that made it impractical (especially with me not owning a car) to develop a meaningful mentoring relationship, though we tried doing it through email.

About a week later, shortly before Christmas, on my way back from Seattle (in the next county north) having had a sophisticated form of skin cancer surgery, I was on the bus, once again with the enemy heavily assailing me with thoughts of hell.  No thoughts at that time of the unpardonable sin, just thoughts of going to hell.  Finally, I said, "Well, Mr. Devil, maybe you are right.  Since even you now admit that I have not committed the unpardonable sin, then there is an easy fix to that.  I then prayed an impromptu version of the so-called "sinner's prayer."  As I did so, a remarkable peace fell on me, and my faith rose to new levels of confidence.  However, I still had issues to face and the adversary was not finished, unfortunately.

All during this time I was under tremendous stress.  The fear of committing the unpardonable sin coupled with the fear of hell put me under more stress than I had been under, possibly more than I had been under for my entire life combined.  The stress started taking its toll on me physically.  On January 30, 2002, I noted in my diary that I experienced a peculiar sensation in my chest like something was vaguely wrong deep inside.  After about a month, this sensation gradually intensified into a strong, sometimes excruciating chest pain, on a few occasions it would be heartburn (which I only very rarely ever got before), but mostly chest pain.  Once, I went to the Emergency Room, three or four times, I went to Urgent Care at my HMO, Group Health Cooperative.  Always they would hook me up to an electrocardiogram, with no signs of heart trouble.  I also saw two cardiologists (both of whom gave me a clean bill of cardiac health) and two family physicians, who were at a total loss as to the cause of the problem.  Finally, about four months later, after resisting going to the Emergency Room a couple of nights earlier (after all, they never found anything and it cost me $50.00 a visit in a copay for an Emergency Room visit).  I broke down and dialed 911.  Within a few minutes the paramedics were there and shortly thereafter they loaded me onto the ambulance for a trip to the Emergency Room.  The only question was to which Emergency Room, since all the Emergency Rooms in Tacoma itself were filled to capacity.  I ended up in a suburban hospital.  This was the only time a Physician's Assistant saw me.  This was, however, the first diagnosis I had.  His diagnosis was GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disorder).  The next day, I was in my family doctor's office with the diagnosis.  Though there is no specific theory about the exact cause of GERD, my doctor explained that there is a strong correlation between stress and GERD.  Since then, I have taken different prescriptions for it, with little results.  I have also been poked, prodded and scanned, with nothing definitive.  The one good thing is that, with the diminution of the stress, the chest pains are diminishing, though a couple of lesser symptoms have developed (asthma and sinus trouble).

As I noted earlier, I was keeping a diary of sorts.  It was more of a list taking up a notebook with dates of what God was doing in my life.  I started it in November.  I gave it a name, "What God Has Done for Me Lately."  I would write down not only what God did, but the problems that would occur that I was learning to trust God to help me with.  More than once, when the enemy was coming strong against me, I would open my notebook and read, sometimes aloud my testimonies of what God was doing in my life.  This proved to be a tremendous encouragement.  I highly recommend it to anyone against whom the enemy is coming strong against.  I kept this list for about eight months.

Backtracking a bit, in Feburary, for several days, I had a graphic demonstration of the presence of the Holy Spirit with me.  The enemy kept trying to tell me that the Holy Spirit, a gentleman, was saying "goodbye," and that was His way of doing so.  Though I did entertain the idea for a short time, I rejected it as absurd.

Several times in those days, when the enemy would come against me with his lying accusations, firing off heavy barrages of fearful thoughts and fiery darts, I would sense in my spirit as to what to do.

At one time, knowing what to say, I said, "Okay, Mr. Devil, I see you're here again.  Well as long as you are, I want you to meet someone.  God dwells in the praises of His people, so look out here He comes."  I then started praising God out loud for all I was worth.  Almost immediately I felt a powerful, awesome and holy peace envelope me like a protective cocoon being wrapped around me.  As it did so, the enemy fell silent and shortly after I could sense him leave.  Believe me, not only did that give me goosebumps, it gave me even more reason to praise my God.

Another time, when the master liar of the universe came with his slanderous accusations, I knew in my spirit what to say, so I said, "Okay, Mr. Devil, it's you again.  I want you to listen to this."  At that point I simply started to pray in the spirit.  Again, the Holy Spirit came on me with a powerful peace enveloping me like a protective cocoon.  Again, the enemy fell silent and shortly left.  I just kept on praying in the spirit and rejoicing in God my Savior.

Another time, I simply announced to the enemy the words of Scripture, slightly paraphrased, "He that is in me is greater than he that is in the world"  (see 1 John 4:4).  By now, I knew exactly what to expect.  The Spirit of God wrapped Himself like a cocoon of peace around me, vanquishing again that persistent pest of an enemy.

In addition to passages like Romans 10:13, 1 Corinthians 1:9, Hebrews 6:4-6 and 1 John 1:9, other passages were of as much importance to me, if not, in some cases, more so.  I will here only list some of the ones that were more significant to me.
"Who are you to judge another's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand."
     -- Romans 14:4 (NKJV)
For me, these were fighting words.  When the enemy would come against me, I would paraphrase this verse, "Devil, who are you to judge another's servant?  To my own master I stand or fall.  Indeed, I will be made to stand, for God is able to make me stand."
"No weapon that is fashioned against you shall prosper,
         and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment.
     This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD
         and their vindication from me, says the LORD."
     -- Isaiah 54:17 (NRSV)
Again, these were fighting words for me.  I was utterly determined to confute the enemy, to put his words to the lie.  Once I realized that it was the enemy behind the charges and that they were lies, I continuously searched the Scriptures and sought the Lord in order to shut him down.
"They surrounded me,
Yes, they surrounded me;
But in the name of the LORD I will destroy them.
"
     -- Psalm 118:11 (NKJV)
These were the fighting words I probably used the most often in the battle with the enemy that I was engaged in.  The battle was not a power battle; it was a truth battle.  The Holy Spirit is in me, and, needless to say, when it comes to a truth battle, the Holy Spirit always wins.
"No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it."
     -- 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NKJV)
"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are (2) called according to His purpose."
     -- Romans 8:28 (NASB)
All that I was going through with severe bouts of enosiophobia, thoughts of hell and of the unpardonable sin were nothing but temptations of the enemy.  God promised, though, that not only would He see me through it, cause me to stand (Romans 14:4) and provide a way of escape, but He promised that, even in this ordeal, He would bring good out of it.  That was quite comforting to me.

As time progressed, the enemy's attack gradually diminished to near zero.  The biggest problem I have now is the GERD and its psychological connection with the unpardonable sin attack.  Since it came on as I was experiencing heavy bombardment of lies about the unpardonable sin, a connection exists between the two.  It is something like a friend of mine who was raped on July the Fourth.  Since then, every July the Fourth, she tends to get bad feelings and memories.  It is something like my pastor, who as a teen, experienced three crashes in small, private, single-engine aircraft.  Ever since then, even on a commercial jumbo jet, he tends to get the so-called "white knuckle syndrome."  With me, when the sensations in my chest from the GERD feel a certain way, it tends to trigger negative emotions (as it is doing even as I write this) and with them often thoughts of hell and of the unpardonable sin.  However, I am learning to brush these aside as well, confident in God my Redeemer through the price paid by His Messiah.  Other than that, all I get are relatively infrequent thoughts of hell.  These, too, will pass in time, because, truely, "He that is in me is greater than he that is in the world."

I could continue for another couple thousand words, but I don't want to bore you.  By the way, I quickly overcame the sinful addiction I mentioned at the beginning of this section.

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Last Word:

The enemy's attacks accusing you that you committed the unpardonable sin are nothing but temptations to try to get you to despair on God, giving up on His grace.  No matter what the temptations, note well, "... he who endures to the end will be saved" (Matthew 1022b).  As long as you are willing to fight that fight, note well that Messiah will do battle for you.

Fight the good fight of faith, my friend (1 Timothy 6:12).  Hold fast to what God has given you, for "you who held fast to the LORD your God are alive today, every one of you" (Deuteronomy 4:4).  That includes me and, my friend, that includes YOU.  As followers of Jesus, we are alive unto the Lord.  Hallelujah!

Questions?  Comments?  Email me.  To help me to avoid spam, please type in manually the following email address in the "send to" line in your message.  Thank you.   (In the event you are having trouble reading it, compare it with http://unpardonablesin.nventure.com/).  email address

Last word.
Recommended reading.
Web sites of interest.

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Recommended Reading:

Though not dealing with the unpardonable sin, the following are excellent in helping one overcome the fear of having committed the unpardonable sin (or almost any other spiritual issue).  The author strongly suggests that one reads the two books together in the order given below.
Anderson, Neil T., Victory Over the Darkness, Regal Publishing Company, 2000 (ISBM 0-8307-2564-4)
Anderson, Neil T., The Bondage Breaker, Harvest House Publishers, 2000 (ISBN 0-7369-0241-4)

Web Sites of Interest:

These sites, though of interest for their contents, are of special interest because they were written by people who recovered from fears generated by the enemy's lies about them allegedly committing the unpardonable sin.

A more scholarly site on the nature of the unpardonable sin is by the late Dr. John W. McCormick (who as far as I know never had a major problem with this issue):
The Unpardonable Sin



© 2003 by Andrew Rugg --- All Rights Reserved.
--- Created October 24, 2003 by Andy Rugg (internet handle = Cheerful Pickle)
--- Updated November 4, 2003


(This web page was developed with the aid of Netscape 7.1 Composer for Linux and tested on the following web browsers:  Netscape, Konqueror, Galeon and Opera.  Since Internet Explorer is the only major web browser lacking a version for Unix and  Linux, even after having promised -- shame on Bill Gates and gang -- this page remains untested on Internet Explorer.)

Questions?  Comments?  Email me.  To help me to avoid spam, please type in manually the following email address in the "send to" line in your message.  Thank you.   (In the event you are having trouble reading it, compare it with http://unpardonablesin.nventure.com/).  email address


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