John Gavazzoni
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The Unpardonable Sin
By John Gavazzoni

The following is my commentary on the "unpardonable sin" to a brother in an on-line discussion group. I think it brings a fresh look at an old, scary subject.

Concerning the so-called "unpardonable sin," the Lord dismantled my understanding of atonement as vicarious and substitutionary, that is, that God demanded a propitiating sacrifice be offered him in order to remove the conflict in His heart between His love/mercy/grace and His holiness, and, as it were, to thereby affect a change in the heart of God so that He could, in justice, be forgiving.

Upon that dismantling, I immediately was made to understand that Christ's atonement addressed a conflict in the human heart, not in God's, and it is we who, in our enmity toward God, needed propitiating, which we were by His blood. So, forgiveness, is first a steady-state quality in the nature of God. He requires nothing be done to allow Him to not impute sin to our account. It is integral to His unconditional love, that He not reckon our sins against us as separating Him from us, and changing His relationship of Father to us. Once that steady-state, non-sin imputing quality of the love of God penetrates the barriers in the human heart, it is there that forgiveness, as a change IN US occurs.

What we, in English, call forgiveness, is God bringing the conscience of our heart into alignment with His determination to never abandon us, His children. It might be coming to mind for you, that in the Lord's supper, Jesus made it clear that the blood was given TO US, not to God: "This is my blood which was shed FOR YOU, drink YE all of it." Also, "This is my body which was broken FOR YOU Eat YOU all of it." (I'm quoting from memory here. See I Corinthians 11:24).

When this epiphany burst on my mind, very miraculously, since it had been years ago that I'd last read it, or was conscious of remembering it, this verse came to me as if I heard it quoted by the voice of God: "I have given YOU, the blood upon the altar." (See Leviticus 17:11) "For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul."

So, what does this have to do with the "unpardonable sin?" Since Jesus said that all manner of blasphemy against the Son of Man would be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Holy Spirit would not be forgiven in (that) age, or in the age to come, what He was referring to was that when the human heart has set itself so stubbornly against, so as to reach a blasphemous level, the personal, subjective work of Christ, in the Spirit, a condition takes effect that numbs the heart to Holy Spirit conviction.

Jesus didn't say that such blasphemy would render forgiveness impossible for eternity, but until that age when He, so to speak, ratchets up His work in the human heart, so as to overcome the most stubborn resistance to His love.

Our modern English word "forgiven," comes from the Old English forgifan," which has this composition. The prefix is in the intensive mode, that is, it intensifies "gifan," What has come down to us in the etymology of the word, is that, faced with our sin, God does not turn His back on us, but rather His "gifanness"--- His grace, which is the giving quality of His nature--- is intensified. "For where sin abounds, grace does much more abound." (Romans 5:20).

The Unpardonable Sin - Part Two: Propitiation-Expiation

The following is my commentary on PROPITIATION-EXPIATION made during an on-line discussion which I feel fits in well with the topic of “The Unpardonable Sin” and God’s posture toward sinning humanity.

Just keep this in mind, all the elements of the administration of God, are just that, His administration, the administration of the wealth of His Being to His family, in and through His Son. One of my mentors described the triune nature and action of God as the riches of His glory coming from the Father as the Source, via the Son, as the Course, and by the Holy Spirit's transmission. Everything flows from the Father through the Son, and is transmitted/imparted/infused to/into us in/by the Spirit.

Propitiation, or if you prefer, expiation, is consistent with the above principle. It's from God to man. Expiation doesn't address a need in God, it addresses a need in man, albeit a need rooted in misunderstanding and deception regarding where God is coming from in that sovereignty that determined a role for great suffering in mankind's experience.

Expiation deals with that perverted understanding of justice that demands punitive suffering to relieve the heart of its burden of feeling the necessity to retaliate against an offense. That's not to be found in the nature of God, but it is within the distortion of human nature. It's man that is inclined to say, "I'll just never be satisfied until the one who has offended me has been made to suffer sufficiently." God doesn't need that kind of "closure."

Most Christians shy away from facing fully the question of to whom is the ransom paid for our redemption. It is obvious that a ransom is paid to the kidnapper, to the imprisoner. So the question arises, "Did God pay a ransom to the devil? That can't be. He certainly didn't pay a ransom to Himself; that's nonsense.

The answer is that it we who, in our collective unconsciousness, blame God for all that's wrong with the world, so that we, left to ourselves by God, imprison ourselves in enmity. Though it is suppressed beneath our conscious mind, we really believe God has offended us, and ought to suffer to propitiate us. I dare to say, that man believes that God owes us His blood.

So God, in His Son, gave US the blood. "This is my blood which was shed FOR YOU; drink ye all of it." His love is so great that He propitiated us even in our deception. He showed the kind of love in action that destroys all notions of God not doing right by us. Such love, as seen on the cross of Christ, reveals that a love without any element of retaliation, could only have man's best glory-interest at heart, even when the wisdom of that love includes subjecting us to great suffering.

In a word, the ransom price has been paid to us, for we imprison ourselves in our anger toward God. Our demand for blood was without understanding, but still God responded to the need within that deception. God went the extra mile, as it were, saying, "You want blood, well go ahead and take it," We did, and saw the nature of love, thus the implied wisdom of love, as Christ, in alignment with His Father's nature, prayed, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do."

We retaliated against God for perceived offenses against us, and when we demanded of Him that which was most precious to Him, His Son, He gave Him to us. "How shall He, who delivered up His own Son for OUR sakes, not, together with Him, give us all things."

John GavazzoniJohn Gavazzoni
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