This Week's Focus Passage

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 ‘And such were some of you; but ye were washed.’

This Week’s Focus Passage: 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

‘And such were some of you; but ye were washed.’


    The question is often asked, ‘Is there an unpardonable sin?’ If there, indeed, is such a sin, what is it; what is the unpardonable sin? Jesus has taught us, through His apostle, John, and in John’s first epistle, regarding this very matter. John has written, in the last chapter of that epistle, and in verses sixteen and seventeen:

If any man see his brother sinning a sin not unto death, he shall ask, and God will give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: not concerning this do I say that he should make request. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.

When John has said, that, There is a sin unto death; there is no other way of that being understood, than, that such a death is eternal death and separation from God; that being the punishment due toward sin that has not been pardonedOf course, if it is pardoned, it is forgiven, it has been atoned for, satisfied for, and the only way for that atonement, that satisfaction of the justice of God, is through the blood of the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world. Only the Blood can pardon. The writer of the epistle to the Hebrews has solemnly declared that, all things are cleansed with blood, and apart from the shedding of blood there is no remission. This, of course, speaks of the shedding of the blood of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

So we iterate, when John spoke of a sin unto death, this would be unpardonable sin. There is, therefore, unquestionably, such a thing as unpardonable sin.

    There is but one other occasion, in the Word of God, as far as we can see, where the phrase, sin unto death, is made use of, and it is found in the writing of the apostle, Paul, and in Romans 6:16. Here, in his epistle to the church of Rome, Paul has written something, somewhat parallel, or certainly related, to his language in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, which is stated, as follows:

What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye present yourselves as servants unto obedience, his servants ye are whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

 And again, we must inquire, what is this sin unto death; eternal death? Certainly, we would wish to avoid such a sin. We are reminded of the Man in the Iron Cage, which Christian is shown, when the Interpreter is guiding him through his house, and showing him many things to consider, as he continues his trek to the Celestial City. When Christian spoke to this man, the man informed him that he was once a fair and flourishing Professor (of religion) intending to go to the Celestial City. Upon this, Christian asked this poor man, “But what art thou now?” This man answered, “I am now a man of Despair. And am shut up in it (the Despair), as in this Iron Cage. I cannot get out; O, Now I cannot.” He further told our Christian pilgrim, “I have grieved the Spirit, and he is gone; I have provoked God to Anger, and he has left me; I have so hardened my heart that I cannot repent.” Does this not speak of that awful sentence pronounced upon Pharaoh? We may read, in Exodus, chapters 14 thru 17, how that Pharaoh, repeatedly hardened his heart against Jehovah, again, and again, and again, until we finally read that Jehovah hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that, even after he had let Israel go, he pursued after them, unto his destruction in the Red Sea.

    Jesus Himself, has spoken of the unpardonable sin. We read in Mt. 12:31ff, 

Therefore I say unto you, Every sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men; but the blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him; but whosoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in that which is to come.        

The unpardonable sin is evidently, according to Him who cannot lie, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. “It shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in that which is to come.” This, of course, requires us to ask, then, what is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? It is suggested by a good number of writers, that given the context of Jesus statement in Matthew, that He spoke of the words of the Pharisees, which followed upon His casting out of a demon from one blind and dumb, and more especially attributing this work of the Holy Spirit to Beelzebub, the prince of the demons. This seems to be the immediate referent. That they attributed to Satan, the work of God the Holy Spirit. If this is the unpardonable sin, denying credit to God, and giving it to Satan; we ought to reflect with horror upon how much Pharaoh did deny in all the miraculous plagues poured out upon him. Frightful, indeed!

    But to turn to our focus passage, and see if we can connect these things. Well do we recall an occasion some forty, or so, years ago, sitting under the Sunday school teaching of one for whom we had reason to hold in great respect. Yet, on that particular day, he was bringing into his remarks, the issue of homosexuality. While he did not assert that homosexuality was an unpardonable sin, he rather implied it when he said that he did not know of even one homosexual that was now a Christian. At that time, actually before conversion, the Bible was not as well known by myself as it has come to be, by God’s grace, or it would have been pointed out to this man, ‘well, Paul seems to have known some such persons,’ for he has written here to the Corinthians, saying clearly, Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves of themselves with men (that is, homosexuals), nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extor-tioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. What is that the apostle goes immediately on to say, after that horrific litany of wickedness? He has said, And such were some of you; but ye were washed, but ye were sanctified, but ye were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God. Wow? Amazing Grace of our loving God through His Son. 

    We are not defending homosexuality, by any means. What we intend to defend is the glorious power of the Blood of Jesus Christ to wash away any sins from individuals, even homosexuality, and many that are even more repugnant to us than that evil. The blood of the Lamb never fails in its cleansing, regenerating, sanctifying power, to make an elect sinner acceptable to the Father in heaven, who will also grant that prodigal, the Spirit of adoption, making him, or her, a son or daughter. Because this person was never guilty of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, they are given the Spirit of adoption whereby they may cry, Abba, Father. Amen?

David Farmer, elder

Fellowship Bible Church         


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