Saturday, September 15, 2007

What is the Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit?

Jesus mentions a sin that is unforgivable in Matt. 12:31-32 and calls it blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. But what exactly is this unforgivable sin?

Matt. 12:22-32 says, "Then there was brought to Him a demon-possessed man who was blind and dumb, and He healed him, so that the dumb man spoke and saw. 23And all the multitudes were amazed, and began to say, "This man cannot be the Son of David, can he?" 24But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, "This man casts out demons only by Beelzebub the ruler of the demons." 25And knowing their thoughts He said to them, "Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself shall not stand. 26"And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then shall his kingdom stand? 27"And if I by Beelzebub cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? Consequently they shall be your judges. 28"But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29"Or how can anyone enter the strong man’s house and carry off his property, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house. 30"He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters. 31"Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. 32"And whoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age, or in the age to come," (All Scripture quotes are from the NASB).

Jesus did His miracles by the power of the Holy Spirit (rather than out of his divinity) who had come upon Him at His baptism and had lead him into and out of the wilderness temptings. The Pharisees were a prominent group of religious leaders who held strong political influence in the Jewish community of the first century. The knew that Jesus' miracles validated His teaching and ministry (see John 11:45-48) and they were attempting to discredit Jesus' ministry (and thereby his role as Messiah) by saying that His works were by the devil and not by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, when the Pharisees accused Jesus of casting out demons by the power of Satan, they were blaspheming (slandering) the Holy Spirit by whom Jesus performed His miracles. This is unforgivable because they knowingly sought to slander what God was doing in order to protect their own influence. In so doing, they were alienating further those who so desperately needed salvation.

There is no biblical support for a believer committing this sin. If you are worried that you may have committed the sin and can’t be forgiven, then don’t be concerned. If you are worried about it, then that is a sign that you have not committed it. If you had, you probably wouldn’t be concerned about it.


rgeorge61 said...

In the Berean class Intro to Pentecostal Doctrine there is a book by Dr. Horton (which of course I can't find so its hard to refer exactly). One of the ideas I came away with is that the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is a willful rejection in light of knowledge. This seems to be on the same lines of what you are saying that the Pharisee's were doing. I can't remember if its from this same book or another but I remember reading that there was also a thought that the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit may also be when Gods Holy Spirit is trying to reach someone (and they know it) but they openly and constantly reject the call to repentance. This of course seems it may be hard to pin down not knowing the exact position someone is in spiritually and mentally and whats going on inside them when God is trying to reach them. I was thinking of Judas who spent so much time with Jesus and shared in his life and ministry and yet betrayed him. Can you shed some light and wisdom on this PD?

Pastor Dave said...

Not sure if we can stretch Jesus' terminology beyond the context of his statements. That seems to be where the problem with this concept lies. Certainly, anyone who willfully rejects the prompting of the HS in his life is in danger of losing out with God. To make that the unforgiveable sin, however, is a stretch in my opinion.
Judas lost out with God because he misunderstood the Kingdom. His betrayal was complete. But peter also betrayed, and returned to the Lord. I think that is an offense that Judas needn't have died in- yet he did - and at his own hand.

rgeorge61 said...

Good word PD and thanks for your wisdom and for clarifying that. I see what your saying. We all have opinions and thoughts on various subjects but the measuring stick is scripture and not our thoughts and opinions or even our feelings. The scripture never makes mention of this concept so to try and tie it in with what this specific scripture is saying is a stretch. Its trying to add someones opinion on this scripture and read into it what isn't there based upon a thought outside the meaning it was specifically written about (eisegesis?). Thats why I needed your thoughts on it. We do have to have a standard like we do for building codes to measure something against. There are specific calculations used for headers (beams used above doors, windows and garages) based on what load its carrying and the size of the opening. I've seen guys build things that were totally wrong because it wasn't thought through correctly and using non existent standards (I've done it myself). A co-worker wanted to put in a pocket door on a load bearing wall and not use a header above the new door. Without hesitation I told him we couldn't do it. He was angry with my remark but it was based on facts and not just a random thought or a slader against him. When I explained there would be a chance that the second floor could come down he listened a little bit more. We had to build a temporary wall to hold up the ceiling while we placed the header in and he didn't think we needed it. And again when I explained the second floor could come down he finally agreed. Many things that seem like a waste of time may be necessary. We didn't make any money on that job and actually lost money but we didn't get sued and no one was hurt (Thank God) and that makes for a good day. What makes a 90 degree angle is two 45 degree cuts coming together and they equal 90 degrees. You can take a 44 & 46 degree cut and it still equals 90 degrees (in theory mathematically) but its not true in the sense that it not a 90 degree angle and won't line up properly (It also looks bad). We have standards we use for building that always work and as a chirstian the word is our standard to measure off of. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge and wisdom.