Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit

Posted: December 2, 2008 by npulpit in Doctrinal Question, Topical Question
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My thanks to David for suggesting a very good topic for our discussion board concerning blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. The three synoptic gospels record the words of Jesus concerning this: Matt 12.31-32; Mark 3.28-30; Luke 12.10. When you read these passages, it is clear the matter of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is a serious thing.

So this brings up some questions: what is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? What is not blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? Why can it not be forgiven? Is this something people can still do today? Have at it!

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Comments
  1. Larry Markle says:

    Well here goes…

    1. WHAT IS BLASPHEMY? Short answer, denying the divinity of God/Jesus/H.S.

    In Mt. 9:1-8 Jesus is called a blasphemer because he claimed equality with God by forgiving sins. The same charge was made against him in Mt. 26:63-65 for claiming that he was the Son of God. See, also John 10:36. It is also used to describe the same non-blasphmey of Artemis by the apostle Paul in Acts 19:37.

    The issue in each of these references is to the Divine nature of the Christ. We understand and believe that the H.S. is eually divine (omitting references for sake of space). Therefore, the Divinity of the H.S. should be equally important to our faith.

    Mt. 27:39 uses the same word “blasfemeo” to describe the “ABUSE” that Jesus received while on the cross. Luke 23:39 uses the same word in the same context. Paul also uses the word in Rom. 3:8, I Cor. 10:30. There it is translated “SLANDEROUS”. Paul uses it again in I Tim. 6:1 and it is translated “SPOKEN AGAINST”. I Peter 4:4 is translated “MALIGN”. Titus 2:5–“DISHONORED” and Titus 3:2–“MALIGN”. “REVILED”–II Peter 2:10, 12, and Jude 1:8,10

    To deny the Divinity of the H.S. is to do any of the things similar to those actions described above.

    2. WHY CAN IT NOT BE FORGIVEN? Short answer, b/c Jesus said so!

    3. CAN WE STILL DO IT TODAY? Short answer–Yes.

    The apostle Paul dealt with this denial of the NT teachings in Acts 13:45. There the Jews “began contradicting the things spoken by Paul, and were blashpheming.” See, also Acts 18:6.

    There is no time limit, qualifications or other distinctions given for this instruction. Compare this to the time limit/qualifications required for “Apostles” & “Spiritual Gifts”.

    The Comforter did not come as the seal of the new covenant until after Christ’s death. Why would Jesus give an instruction that would terminate without instructing how, when, where, etc., that termination would occur?

  2. Jon Singleton says:

    This is a very good question–one of those we Christians should give more attention to.

    Jesus says that people who speak against Him may be forgiven, but people who speak against the Holy Spirit cannot be forgiven. This seems paradoxical. Aren’t the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit one–and so speaking against one is also speaking against the other?

    My best sense of it right now is that Jesus seems to be saying, “In this confused world where you can’t see spiritual realities, lots of people will say and do things in my name–some of them really serving me, but some of them actually destroying my work. Some people might hate ‘Christ’ because of what their experience with so-called ‘Christians.’ So in this world, you MAY be forgiven for speaking against Me. (You would have blasphemed me in ignorance, having no evidence to know who I really am.) But if you set yourself against people who are actually being inspired, inhabited, motivated, and driven by the Holy Spirit working in this world, you cannot be forgiven; once you set yourself against God’s actual people, whether you recognize them or not, YOU have put YOURSELF out of bounds–on the other side, against God.”

    Admittedly, this may be reading a lot into Jesus’s short and cryptic statement. But I think this interpretation does fit with the larger context of Matthew, where Jesus is in conflict with the Pharisees. (Think of the “woes” against the Pharisees, which center on people saying the right things for the wrong reasons; the vine-dresser parables, which indict those who should be growing others, and have failed to do so; and the steward parables, which center on the character of people in between God and the rest of the household. Jesus seems to be attacking the Pharisees over and over for having misrepresented God to the people. So, when the Pharisees attack him as evil, isn’t it ironic that he would turn it around on them in this way?)

    I’m reading the verse through the tension between Jesus’s statements elsewhere that “He who is not against you is for you,” but “He who is not with ME is against me”. See also Gamaliel’s advice to the Sanhedrin in Acts, “If these men are from God after all, watch out, our you might find yourselves fighting against God!”

    Doesn’t this imply a serious warning for us Christians today? What if, in drawing our boundaries around the true church, we ridicule or speak against people who CLAIM to be working with the power of the Holy Spirit–who seem to us to be “fakers”–but, contrary to our best knowledge and assumptions, actually ARE being used by the Holy Spirit?

  3. npulpit says:

    Larry – great comments. I was wondering if you have a long answer to “why it cannot be forgiven?” Any insight whatsoever?

    Jon – In response to the last paragraph of your comment, I would look at Luke 21.15: Jesus says “I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.” It is usually the case with these “fakers” that the words that they speak are not in line with the Word of God (i.e. the NT). Hence, they contradict the apostolic word thereby demonstrating that their claims are not from the Holy Spirit. Also, Matt 7.21ff demonstrates the fact that many will claim to be of God, but Jesus does not know them.

  4. npulpit says:

    One other thing: Larry demonstrated for us what blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is, namely, the denial of the divinity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Perhaps you have seen the videos online where a number of people are denying the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, claiming this is the unforgiveable sin of Mark 3. Are these the same thing? Are these people committing the unforgiveable sin?

  5. cthoward says:

    Thanks, Larry, for the comments and explanation of blasphemy.

    Hey Jon! Good to hear from you. Glad you could join the discussion. I always enjoyed our discussions at Harding.

    I think Mark 3 gives us a significant clue as to what blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is…and I think you hit on it, Jon, in your last paragraph. Mark 3:29 records Jesus’ declaration concerning the sin and its punishment, but verse 30 tells us why He said it: “For they had said, ‘He has an unlcean spirit.'”

    It seems that Jesus is responding directly to what the scribes had done. They witnessed Jesus cast a demon out of a man (see Matt 12:22f for a more complete account), but then they attributed the miracle to the “prince of demons.” Of course, Jesus cast out the demon by the power of the Holy Spirit, and proves it so with his “house divided” argument. But, their sin was claiming that the work of the Holy Spirit was the work of Satan. That is most definitely blasphemy, as Larry defined it for us.

    Some say we can’t commit the same sin today because we no longer witness miraculous works. But, couldn’t we do essentially the same thing by naming another work of the Spirit as the work of Satan (such as interceding in prayer, sealing of the saints, adoption, etc.)? Or what if we said that the Spirit-inspired New Testament was the work of Satan? Of course, such a person would already be condemned because they do not accept the word of Christ which is the source of saving faith…but still, we are talking about an unforgiveable sin, not just a potentially temporary lostness.

    I don’t think it is something sincere Christians have to be on edge about….but it is something to keep in mind, and to be careful of. And, again, I think Jon made a good point about jumping to conclusions about a work that others may be doing in the name of the Holy Spirit. But, Nick also made a good point about being able to identify true workers by their teaching (and Jesus says by their fruit).

    I think the most significant thing about the incident as recorded in the gospels is that the work of the Holy Spirit was really undeniable. Obviously a miracle had been done…and it should have been obvious that it was the Holy Spirit’s work (because Satan wouldn’t cast his own out). Perhaps we could say that a denial of the obvious work of the Spirit is considered blasphemy….but, of course we still have to be careful because we, like the scribes, can be blind to the obvious.

  6. David says:

    (Thank you to everyone who has commented. I’m still studying and chewing on that as well as these comments. Very insightful. Thanks).

  7. Brian King says:

    Here’s my two cents:

    “Blaspheme” = “To be spoken evil of, reviled, railed at” Thayer’s, p. 102.

    This is just a word for how to say that a person is slandering, or speaking evil of anything. Blaspheme is simply slander towards something, and in this case it is the word of God that could be slandered.
    Blasphemy as it relates to the New Testament is used in this way, but as the New Testament writers were concerned with God as His word, usually we find the word taking on the connotation of God or His word being spoken against.

    Jesus does specifically make a statement concerning a blasphemy of the Holy Spirit in Matthew 12:31 and Mark 3:29. Jesus says that, “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.”

    Here the meaning of blasphemy does not change it is still simply to “speak evil of.” Jesus says just what he means to say when he tells the Pharisees that if they speak evil of the Holy Spirit that they shall not be forgiven. It is the situation here that warrants such a severe statement from our Lord.
    Jesus has just cast out a demon from a blind mute, and the Pharisees cannot deny the miracle. Jesus’ opposition could not deny what their eyes had seen; that Jesus had cast out this demon in a display of supernatural power. Jesus proved that He had power over the demonic realm. Now, it was necessary for the Pharisees, who had determined to reject Jesus of Nazareth, to account in some way for the miracle he had performed. It was a manifest miracle, an exertion of power unquestionably superior to what people could put forth. The common people were drawing the proper conclusion from it, and coming to the belief that Jesus was the son of David, the Messiah.
    Ever since the people began following Jesus the authority and power of the Pharisees had been declining. Unless they could in some way account for the miracle, their influence would be at an end. Whatever way of accounting they choose, they could not deny that there was “superhuman power” involved. The people were fully persuaded of this, and no one could deny it. They therefore ascribed the miraculous power to the prince of the devils to Beelzebub, even though they knew full and well that this was impossible. Still, their plan had two objectives: (1) to concede to the people that here was a “miracle,” or a work above mere human power. (2) To throw all possible contempt on Jesus because of the work He had done. Beelzebub, or Beelzebul, was a name given to the leader of the devils as an expression of supreme contempt.
    Jesus can handle them blaspheming Him, but a pure denial of the obviously power of God through the Holy Spirit at work in the healing of this man brings Jesus’ indignation out. He first points them to the obvious and logical point that Satan does not shoot his own troops, a fact that they understood, and had ignored. In their attempt to slander Jesus they had been willing to go to ANY length, even to speak evil against the manifested power of God in the Holy Spirit’s work in casting of the demon from this man. This was a sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
    It consisted in charging the Holy Spirit with being in league with the devil, or accusing Him of working His miracles, not by the “spirit” or “power” of God, but by the aid of the prince of the devils. It was therefore a direct insult, abuse, or evil spoken against the Holy Spirit – the spirit by which Jesus worked his miracles. All other sins, even speaking against the Savior Himself might be forgiven. But this was the sin of alleging that the highest display of God’s mercy and power were the work of the devil.
    Jesus says that this is unforgivable. To literally see the obvious, miraculous power of the Holy Spirit work on a man, to look upon the works of God and attribute it to the power of the devil is unforgivable Jesus says.
    Needless to say, we do not find ourselves in this situation today. In fact, we find this situation to be impossible for us to find ourselves in today as the miraculous works of the Holy Spirit have ceased. Still, the use of blasphemy here is congruent with the rest of the New Testament to simply mean to speak evil of.

  8. Jon Singleton says:

    I appreciate the insights others have made here. This is a topic on which I’ve never heard detailed teaching or even really discussion. Larry, npulpit, Clint, and Brian, thanks for your helpful thoughts.

    Brian, you said: “To literally see the obvious, miraculous power of the Holy Spirit work on a man, to look upon the works of God and attribute it to the power of the devil is unforgivable Jesus said.” By “miraculous,” do you mean visible change that interferes with the natural laws of physics? That certianly would be a miracle. But by my reading of the Bible, the inner transformation of the soul from death to life is equally miraculous, and equally beyond a human being’s will or power to perform. Isn’t rebirth into the kingdom of God miraculous? If so, would “seeing” the work of the Spirit in someone’s life, and attribute it to the devil (or even to simply deny that it is God’s work) come pretty close to blaspheming the Spirit?

    For example, many charismatic groups practice “speaking in tongues” as part of their worship. My best understanding of this phenomenon is that these people are sincerely misguided: I think that they have been conditioned, maybe even brought up from childhood, to think that they submit their will to God by emptying their mind and consciousness and letting their tongue utter whatever comes out. To me, it seems pointless. I know scripture that directly states that this is unproductive, unnecessary, and that it should not be practiced. And as npulpit suggests, there are doubtless many other points of their doctrine that I believe to be contradicting, or at least veering away from, scripture.

    But if one of these Charismatic self-proclaimed believers in Jesus says, “I’m speaking in a tongue by the power of the Holy Spirit,” should Jesus’s statement make me hesitant to say, “No, I KNOW that that is NOT the Holy Spirit, and in fact your speaking in tongues shows that your religion is a lie”?

    I only raise this point not to say we cannot or should not draw distinctions on the boundaries of Christ’s Church–just to suggest that maybe such distinctions should be made with humility and a little bit of a spirit of “Here’s how the truth seems to me, but I respect you because you follow the same Lord I do, and God will judge in the end.” We are often making judgments about people who SEEM to be displaying the fruits of the Spirit, who CLAIM to be working in the body of Christ and through the power of the Spirit, but who we are regarding as actually not “with God” (saved, transformed, in communion, in the body, having the indwelling Spirit) in the sense that we see ourselves to be “with God.” Again, I do make these judgments about others myself. But I’m just suggesting that, in making them, we may be walking (necessarily?) close to a cliff-edge.

    But rescue workers have to work on cliff-edges. This is just one of the problematic aspects of our service in the kingdom, the volatility and sensitivity of which we forget at our peril. A nuclear physicist or a demolitionist knows well that his materials could kill him, if he’s not careful. I believe that this matter of “blaspheming the Spirit” IS still something we should recognize as an inherent danger of our ministry today. To me, it’s like other problematics: “let he who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall,” or that the more you know the more you tend to rely on your knowledge instead of God, or that we have to give heart, soul, mind, and strength to serving God but remember that it’s always God, not us, that makes the work effective.

  9. Brian King says:

    I hear you Jon, and believe me, I share your sentiment that we should be more humble and loving in our spirit as we reach out to teach the truth to those who do not practice the truth.

    But I feel I must appeal a bit more to this particular instance in which Jesus tells the Pharisees that they are “blaspheming the Holy Spirit.”

    This is the only context in the entire Bible in which a person is said to be blaspheming the Holy Spirit. This is not mentioned anywhere else. Period. Furthermore, this is the only place in the Bible where Jesus tells someone that they are committing an “unforgivable sin.”

    The immediate question we must ask is: why does Jesus say this? What sets this particular case apart from all others?

    You are right in saying that the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit are not limited to this context only. But in none of the other contexts in which miraculous power is exerted do we see someone who is said to be “blaspheming the Holy Spirit.”

    The difference in this case and all others is the casting out a demonic spiritual power. Here is why:

    We clearly understand that angels are much more powerful than men as Peter states in 2 Peter 2:10-11 when discussing the foolish men who were reviled angelic powers.
    Spiritual forces of evil are also clearly more powerful than men. As created beings, they simply exist with greater power than mans. Hence the incident of the 7 sons of Sceva in Acts 19:13-16 where 7 men are easily overpowered by a single demon possessed man. The fact that demons are more powerful than men is also seen in the fact that men are POWERLESS to remove a demon from themselves. And men are powerless to remove a demon from other men, just as that context in Acts 19 showed. It was God’s power at work in Paul that was able to cast out demons as Acts 19:11 stated.

    Therefore, since demons are greater in power than men, it takes an even GREATER power to remove them!

    Every single person that observed Jesus casting out the demons in the context of Matthew 12:31 and Mark 3:29 KNEW that it was IMPOSSIBLE for the power of man to have cast out these demons. They furthermore KNEW that it HAD to be a power GREATER than that of a demon for Jesus to be able to simply command the demon and for the demon to comply.

    Now, there are many people who display in their lives certain things that are good and right, and all these things ultimately are from God. People only know what is right ultimately from God. “Moral people” eventually will have to trace their morals back to the source. BUT, the fact that a person lives a “moral life” is NOT proof that they are indeed inhabited by the Holy Spirit. Many Muslims and Mormons and atheists life “moral lives” but that is not proof of the Holy Spirit within them.

    Now, the POWER and AUTHORITY Jesus exerted in COMMANDING a demon to leave a man was OBVIOUSLY and UNDENIABLY the power of God at work! That is why it was unforgivable for these Jews to have slandered the good work as though it were from Satan.

    That is why the discussion of the “strong man” follows the casting out of the demon. Satan is the “strong man”, but Jesus showed that He was stronger and freed the man.

    Ever since the cessation (with the apostles death) of the manifested authority of the Holy Spirit through miraculous gifts there has been no situation which can compare to this one.

    We simply do not see the manifested authority of God’s Kingdom over Satan’s in the casting out of demons.

    That is why the sin was son unforgivable for those present when Jesus did this great work. Because if they denied this power that was ABSOLUTE proof of the presence of the Kingdom (or authority) of God and instead accredited it to Satan, then there was nothing that could be done for such a one with such a hardened heart against God.

  10. cthoward says:

    Brian,

    If this unforgiveable sin was limited to situations in which demons are miraculously cast out, why does Jesus specify in Matthew 12:32 that this sin will “not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come”? If it is unforgiveable then it is unforgiveable…why specify that those who commit this sin will be unforgiveable in both ages if this sin were not possible in “the age to come” (which I think we would agree is refering to the Christian age after the fall of the Jewish age)? Is he only refering to that portion of the Christian age when demons were still cast out? If so, how do you know if he simply says “the age to come”?

  11. Brian King says:

    Perhaps Jesus is using this expression to say that they are giving up their chance at forgiveness both now in the Jewish age as well as in the coming Christian age.

    So rather than speaking of the enduring nature of this “unforgivable sin” Jesus seems to be speaking of how they are “setting in stone” their unforgiveness “now and forever” because of their denial of the Holy Spirit’s work.

  12. […] sin. Much can be said about this passage and for a more  thorough discussion of it click here to connect to my discussion […]

  13. Brian King says:

    Hey Nick… that is like a bad link or something. It won’t allow me to open your discussion on blasphemy of the Holy Spirit…

  14. cthoward says:

    Brian,
    Nick’s comment is a “pingback.” What that means is that he put a link here to our discussion in his post…so the bit of comment we have there is a fragment of his post. Click on the link “A Call to Courage” and you will get to his blog…or go to lifefromthepulpit.wordpress.com

  15. Larry Markle says:

    Sorry it took so long to get back on. Alot going on here.

    I am reluctant to get as specific as this on a blog. You never know who is reading & therefore it is hard to read into someone’s comments, if you are offending them. My intention is not to offend, mere to give an example. So here goes.

    Several years ago I invited a Jehovah’s Witness worker into my home during one of their door knocking campaign. We studied together for about 9 months.

    During that study it was explained to me by the JW that the Holy Spirit was “like electricity”. That Jesus was not “Divine”. Without going into a lot of detail, this discussion was a very defining moment in the study. When confronted with “grieving the Holy Spirit”, etc. type of scriptures one of the JW’s actually confronted the leader about their own beliefs!

    This is the most obvious example of blashpemy of the H.S. that I have experience or could imagine happening in today’s world.

    To create your own version of the Bible, ignore the plain meanings of simple words, and to put doctrine above Scripture is totally baffling to me. However, it was very obvious that the JW did not acknowledge the divinity of the H.S. in any shape or form.

    Based on this experience, I have to conclude that this sin is still viable today.

  16. Brian King says:

    Larry thank you for your comment. You brought something out to me that I had not really thought of before…

    I don’t want to say that I am waffling, but I am thinking very hard about this passage and some others. Another passage that is coming to my mind right now is Heb. 6:4-6.

    “For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.”

    Why is it impossible to renew them to repentance? Because the thing that originally converted them is gone now. They even had within themselves “powers of the age to come” (apostolic age). They people cannot be returned to repentance because they turned away DESPITE having already seen ALL the things that were given to convert them. There was nothing more they needed to have faith and they still didn’t. So does the Hebrew writer say that it is impossible for them to be converted because God could not forgive them… or does the Hebrew writer seem to be saying that there is now nothing left which IS ABLE to bring them again to a conversion which God would accept? The latter seems to be the point the Hebrew writer is making.

    Why I was thinking about this passage is the idea of the reason of that they forfeited their change at salvation in each case. In the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit and also apparently in these people turning away from Christ.

    So this is my question/thought/whatever…
    What I am asking & thinking about is the nature of the inability to be forgiven in each case.

    In Hebrews 6:4-6 is the writer saying that EVEN IF a man wanted to repent after having fallen away that he would not be accepted by God, or is he saying that because he had everything and then turned away that he would not be forgiven because HE would not turn back?

    And in Mark 3:28-29 is Jesus saying to that these men CANNOT be forgiven, EVEN IF they repented and believed in Jesus after His resurrection? Or is Jesus saying that these men do not & will not have forgiveness because they were not seeking it. They watched what they knew HAD to have been the works of the Holy Spirit in Jesus exorcising demons and still they despised & rejected the very works that they KNEW to be of God? Because of their willingness to flatly ignore God’s works, how could they possibly believe in God’s words and respond to them and so be forgiven.

    Somebody please straighten me out…

  17. Brian King says:

    Please Ignore that first post because of the many grammatical errors and read this one:

  18. Brian King says:

    Larry thank you for your comment. You brought something out to me that I had not really thought of before…

    I don’t want to say that I am waffling, but I am thinking very hard about this passage and some others. Another passage that is coming to my mind right now is Heb. 6:4-6.

    “For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.”

    Why is it impossible to renew them to repentance? Because the thing that originally converted them is gone now. They even had within themselves “powers of the age to come” (apostolic age). They people cannot be returned to repentance because they turned away DESPITE having already seen ALL the things that were given to convert them. There was nothing more they needed to have faith and they still didn’t. So does the Hebrew writer say that it is impossible for them to be converted because God could not forgive them… or does the Hebrew writer seem to be saying that there is now nothing left which IS ABLE to bring them again to a conversion which God would accept? The latter seems to be the point the Hebrew writer is making.

    What I was thinking about this passage was this idea:

    Why have these people apparently had forfeited their one chance at salvation in each case? In the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit and also apparently in these people turning away from Christ.

    So this is my question/thought/whatever…
    What I am asking & thinking about is the nature of the inability to be forgiven in each case.

    In Hebrews 6:4-6 is the writer saying that EVEN IF a man wanted to repent after having fallen away that he would not be accepted by God, or is he saying that because he had everything and then turned away that he would not be forgiven because HE would not turn back?

    And in Mark 3:28-29 is Jesus saying to that these men CANNOT be forgiven, EVEN IF they repented and believed in Jesus after His resurrection? Or is Jesus saying that these men do not & will not have forgiveness because they were not seeking it. They watched what they knew HAD to have been the works of the Holy Spirit in Jesus exorcising demons and still they despised & rejected the very works that they KNEW to be of God? Because of their willingness to flatly ignore God’s works, how could they possibly believe in God’s words and respond to them and so be forgiven.

    Somebody please straighten me out…

  19. cthoward says:

    Brian,

    I am with you on your evaluation of Hebrews 6. It seems that the problem there is not in God’s ability to forgive, but in the unwillingness of the one who turned away to repent. As you explained, they experienced all of the blessings of Christ and still turned away. If they deny all of that, then what is left to draw them back to repentance?

    The key to Hebrews 6 is the statement, “For it is impossible to restore again to repentance…” The text does not say it is impossible for them to be forgiven. That may be implied in the impossibility of their repentance, but the focus is on the fact that they are unconvinceable. No influence can motivate them to repent because they have already experienced and rejected every influence, every blessing, every reason to be a Christian.

    The case of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is different. Jesus specifically says these violators will not be forgiven. Notice that He does not say “cannot be forgiven,” but, “will not be forgiven.” This indicates, to me, something similar to instances throughout scripture where people were given chance after chance to repent, but God finally punished them. Perhaps those who blaspheme the Holy Spirit have gone too far…their cup of wrath is full. But, although unrepentance may be implied, Jesus specifies a lack of forgiveness.

    So, Hebrews 6 seems to emphasize that they will not repent while Jesus’ statement about blasphemy of the HS says there is no forgiveness. They seem to be two different scenarios.

    There is another difference which may have considerable bearing…Hebrews 6 refers to believers who have fallen away, but Jesus addresses non-believers. Again, this tells me that these are two different scenarios.

  20. Brian King says:

    You’re right Clint. The two cases are definitely worlds apart in many respects. The only relation I was really trying to make between the two was in my question concerning why each could not be saved after this point.

    Clint, you pointed out the link I was thinking that I might have seen between the two cases when you said this:

    “This indicates, to me, something similar to instances throughout scripture where people were given chance after chance to repent, but God finally punished them. Perhaps those who blaspheme the Holy Spirit have gone too far…their cup of wrath is full.”

    Okay, this is what I was getting at but doing a poor job of doing so. That those who had blasphemed the Holy Spirit in this particular context had gone so far that they couldn’t come back because they WOULDN’T come back.

    Such as the way God used Pharaoh’s disobedience in hardening his heart. Pharaoh’s unrepentant, unbelieving heart would not believe in God no matter what he saw, and so to further show His Own glory God hardened Pharaoh’s heart.

    Now hold onto that thought and carry it back to the instance of Mark 3. What about this scenario where these men blasphemed of the Holy Spirit.

    I suppose what I am asking is almost back to the original question… Did Christ die on Calvary for every sin except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit?

    Or put it this way: could God forgive this sin if indeed the people could ever come to repentance after committing it?

    If so, then Jesus would be saying of their lack of forgiveness that they were not being (and would never be) forgiven because they were turning away from the most obvious and compelling EVIDENCE of the POWER of God to heal and offer forgiveness (by the Holy Spirit’s power manifested in Jesus works) that WOULD EVER BE SHOWN and therefore if they refused to believe that and be forgiven than they never would believe anything to be forgiven.

    I am led to say this because I only see this strong language used by Jesus in this particular situation with the most undeniably OBVIOUS and compelling working of God’s power in Jesus casting out the demon.

    That is why I did not believe that this sin could still be committed today, however…

    What Larry said previously (in post #15) I had not thought of before… about a person who simply denies the word of God… I think he may be right in saying that that is the closest scenario… because that seems to be the same “principle.”

    If they deny the clear and compelling evidence of scripture… there is nothing else for that will cause them to come to faith in God and thus be forgiven.

    This is my current understanding of the passage. I don’t want to misunderstand my Lord Jesus by any means. God forbid that I should do so at any time, I’m always seeking to learn more and grow.

    Thank God for His patience with me!

  21. cthoward says:

    Brian,

    The point I was getting at with the comment about cups of wrath being full was that perhaps blasphemy of the HS is unforgiveable no matter what beause the offender has gone too far…
    Like Heb 12:17 where we are told that Esau found no chance to repent though he sought it with tears…like the people of Israel of rejected God again and again until finally God refused to call physical Israel His people.
    Jesus’ statement concerning blasphemy of the HS seems to be so complete and final that it means there is no forgiveness no matter what, even if repentance is sought…I could be reading into it, I suppose…

    Anyway, here’s another dimension to the question:
    Did Ananias and Sapphira blaspheme the HS when they lied to Him?

    Thanks for the discussion.

  22. Frank says:

    cthoward says:
    December 3, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    I think Mark 3 gives us a significant clue as to what blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is…and I think you hit on it, Jon, in your last paragraph. Mark 3:29 records Jesus’ declaration concerning the sin and its punishment, but verse 30 tells us why He said it: “For they had said, ‘He has an unlcean spirit.’”

    I am coming into this conversation (from the other side of the pond) a little late in the day, but nevertheless I hope, with a fresh although very controversial view!

    To me most of the comments seem to miss the point. As in cthoward’s extract above most thoughts centre around the unclean spirit as some sort of litmus test. However the issue of blaspheming the Holy Spirit is, I think, far more simple.

    How does a man come to know God in the first place? Whether in Adamic or Patriarchal times or the Old Covenant or the New covenant, there is only one way and that is through the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. God whispers a love song to our hearts, and we surrender!

    The Holy Spirit works through what we call “conscience” or our “heart”.

    We see or hear something with our physical senses, eyes and ears etc, and yet there is something else that goes on INSIDE us, which is way, way, beyond simple intellectual assessment, or reason.

    Matt 16v13…..who do men say that I, the Son of Man am…..Simon Peter answered…thou art the Christ, the son of the living God.
    v14 and Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou Simon son of Jonah for FLESH AND BLOOD HAS NOT REVEALED IT UNTO YOU, BUT MY FATHER IN HEAVEN.

    Question, what was the “flesh and blood” that apparently HAD NOT revealed to Simon the Messianic nature of Jesus?

    Answer, Jesus Himself, as MOST VISIBLE flesh and blood, right in front of them all!!!!!!!

    Jesus is saying here, that His own true nature was NOT simply revealed by physical demonstration alone. but by the Heavenly Father convicting Peter within. (It goes without saying that the Father only ever works on a person’s heart -via the Holy Spirit.)

    Luke24v13…shortly after the resurrection, Jesus joins two depressed disciples as they walk towards Emmaus. They don’t recognise him. He asks what they are talking about, and in a dejected manner they recount the last few days of apparent defeat. After listening to them Jesus starts. v25.”O foolish ones and SLOW OF HEART to believe all that the prophets have spoken……………….and beginning at Moses he expounded all the scriptures concerning Himself……………………and as it came to pass as he sat eating with them he took bread…..and gave it to them, and their eyes were opened…32and they said one to the other, DID NOT OUR HEARTS BURN WITHIN US WHILE HE TALKED WITH US ALONG THE WAY.

    Here again we see the words received by the ears, but another activity of the heart as the Spirit challenges their unbelief.

    Apply this principle to “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit”, and all it means is that the Holy Spirit is that particular part of the Godhead which bypasses ALL our intellect to convict us to the point that we can never have any excuse. The Holy Spirit is the Litmus test.

    Before the Holy Spirit we are naked.

    The Holy Spirit is He who impregnates us and produces the “New Life” which we call being “Born Again” (from above). Once born again, we become God’s offspring. From this position we start to grow in the things of our Father in Heaven.

    When Nicodemus came to Jesus at night, Jesus cut straight to the point. Jn3v3…….unless a man be born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

    Unless we are part of the Father’s household by birth, we have no part in the Father’s house.

    This eternal principle was established long before the idea of the Cross was presented to men by Jesus. (Never forget that the New Covenant did not start until Matt26.) Jesus’s ministry was an Old Testament ministry to an Old Testament people, and he made it clear to Nicodemus that new birth came from surrender not graft, grace not law, humility not the legalism of the Pharisees.

    Contrary to evangelical belief our eternal new birth does not hinge on our understanding of the cross. Understanding of the cross hinges on our eternal new birth, which is from the Father above.

    WE DO NOT RECEIVE JESUS BECAUSE THE CROSS SATISFIES OUR REASON.

    1CORINTHIANS1V18 says …preaching of the cross is to them that perish, FOOLISHNESS, but unto us who are the saved it is the POWER OF GOD.
    How therefore can an unbeliever comprehend the cross BEFORE he has the PRESENCE OF GOD WITHIN HIM.

    This is why Jesus plainly said Matt12v32 AND WHOSOEVER SPEAKS A WORD AGAINST THE SON OF MAN IT SHALL BE FORGIVEN HIM.

    Contrary to popular teaching knowledge of the cross is NOT a prerequisite for eternal life. Trust in the cross IS a prerequisite for growth and salvation for a believer, WHILST IN THIS LIFE.

    This is why Jesus was not perturbed about what they said about him, because it didn’t count against them. He knew that the Holy Spirit worked in secret, and that no-one would have an excuse when they appear before the final Judgement. The things they said against Jesus of course were a clear indicator that they were rejecting the Father by spurning the Spirit.

    All of the disciples rejected the nonsense Jesus spoke about his dying, until well after his resurrection. Jesus never considered this technical detail as blasphemy because it was not the issue. His disciples had already responded to the Father via the Holy Spirit and He knew they were his children. (Ex Judas)

    By this it is clear to me that a believer can never blaspheme the Holy Spirit as he has already passed from death to life.

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