Vincible vs. Invincible Ignorance

Vincible vs. Invincible Ignorance

The sins of the unbeliever against the Holy Spirit; does ignorance matter?

ignoranceThe church has made a distinction between vincible and invincible ignorance. Vincible ignorance is ignorance that can be overcome. I should have known, the Scriptures were available for me and God had made it absolutely clear. I have been clearly lazy or willfully negligent in not searching out the truth.

Invincible ignorance is ignorance that could not possibly have been overcome. Ignorance that you could not possibly have known any different. There is a sense that such ignorance mitigates the severity of judgment.

In the context of the passage the Pharisees had vincible ignorance, they should know what they are doing. They had no excuse. There was an abundance of miracles, the clear teaching of scripture. They should have known. But Jesus asks that that ignorance be forgiven.

Luke 23:34 — Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Acts 3:13-17 — “You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders.”

Hebrews 10:26-29 — “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?”

What God had forgiven earlier, Scripture now warns that “you insult the Spirit of grace,” because he had clearly and deliberately made the truth about who Jesus is known to you. If now you trample under foot the blood of the new covenant, therefore, there is “no sacrifice for sins left but only a fearful expectation of judgment.”

The unforgivable sin

The unforgivable sin is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit by blaspheming Christ after the Holy Ghost has revealed to you clearly that Jesus is not Satan but He is the Son of God.

It means that there was a time in history before the Holy Spirit had opened your eyes and you don’t know that Jesus is the Son of God and if you blaspheme him there is still hope for you. But with the illumination of the Holy Spirit there is a Rubicon. If then you stand up and say, “He has a demon,” you have blasphemed the Holy Spirit.

The question often asked is “Can a Christian, a regenerate person, commit the unforgivable sin?”

Yes and No.

Left to yourself, do you as a Christian have the capability to do this? Yes! That capability has not been erased from you fallen nature by your conversion.

But am convinced that God who began a good work in you will by his saving providence keep you until the day of completion (Phil. 1:6). If he didn’t you could and you would do this. But He has promised to keep you from it. The weakness of my flesh is trumped by the grace of God’s persevering love. I think He would take my life before I would every do this.


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