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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit

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TMK
Member



Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 5830
NC, USA

 Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit

By Steve Gregg:
________________
A friend wrote to me asking to explain the "Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit." I sent the following answer:

Since Jesus seems to have only spoken once (or possibly twice) about this "blasphemy of the Holy Spirit" (Matt.12:31-32; Mark 3:28-29; Luke 12:10), and since no other biblical writer mentioned it (notwithstanding the desire of some to find it alluded to in 1 John 5:16-17), it is very difficult to draw much understanding of the subject beyond what is found in Jesus' statement. It is fraught with difficulties because:

a) Jesus contrasts the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit with all other blasphemies (even against Jesus), saying that the others will be forgiven while this one sin will not be;

b) How is one to recognize the distinction between "blaspheming Jesus" and "blaspheming the Holy Spirit"? It can't be so simple as merely speaking the name of the Holy Spirit (rather than that of Jesus) in a blasphemous remark—since no one in the context had mentioned the Holy Spirit by name;

c) It is not clear whether Jesus is insinuating that the Pharisees had actually committed this sin, or that they were only getting dangerously close to doing so, and needed to be warned about it (if they had already done something unpardonable, what would be the point of giving them further warnings)?

d) It is not clear whether this "blasphemy" is regarded as a one-time indiscretion, or as a habitual pattern of disrespecting the Holy Spirit.

e) It is not clear whether this sin is something that can be committed only by the Pharisees, only by unbelievers, or by Christians as well;

f) These ambiguities make it difficult to know how we are expected to recognize that we (or someone else) may have committed this sin;

g) The rest of the scriptures seem to indicate that all sin, without exception, can be forgiven upon the condition of repentance and confession (e.g., Psalm 103:3; Prov.28:13; Acts 13:38-39; Col.2:13; 1 Tim.1:15; 1 John1:7, 9). In order to win our confidence, any interpretation of this passage would have to harmonize with the general teachings of Christ and scripture.

Because of these difficulties, there have been a variety of interpretations of this sin. The two most commonly heard ones are:

1. The blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is attributing the work of the Holy Spirit to Satan. This is what the Pharisees had done, in the immediate context. This may be understood as, essentially, calling the Holy Spirit "Satan." While this fits the contexts well enough, it is hard to see this as the best interpretation. This would suggest that someone might accidentally commit this sin by making an honest mistake (e.g., if someone believed that divine healing was not a phenomenon for our time, and were to say that a certain instance of the same was "of the devil," but was mistaken). It seems unlikely that a sin that could be committed so "innocently" could be the one that God would, above all others, hold someone unpardonably accountable for. This particular interpretation would gain credibility if modified to include only such cases as those in which the perpetrator knows that the work is that of the Holy Spirit, but deliberately calls it the work of Satan. Arguably, the ability to do such a thing might be seen as an evidence of a heart so hardened as to be beyond repentance—and, hence, beyond pardon.

2) Since the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin and of the reality of Christ, one who rejects this testimony and lives his whole life failing (or refusing) to become a Christian, has done so (it is suggested) by continual resistance to the Holy Spirit's urging. Therefore, many people argue that blaspheming the Holy Spirit simply refers to the life-long neglect of salvation, and squandering the opportunity for repentance before death. In this case, everyone who dies in unbelief would be the ones intended by Jesus' words. One problem I have with this explanation is that Jesus does not sound as if He is speaking of neglect, but of the commission of an act—the speaking of a word against the Holy Spirit (Matt.12:32). It sounds as if Jesus has something more specific in mind than merely neglecting to do something.

Similar to the above view (or perhaps combining parts of both views mentioned above) would be a third option that currently appeals to me. On this view, speaking against the Son of Man would refer to the present campaign of the Pharisees in Jesus' lifetime. They were seeking to undermine Him at every turn. Yet, their last chance to repent and be forgiven had not yet come. Jesus would leave and would send His Holy Spirit, who would continue His work through His Apostles, and who would bear witness of Christ to the consciences of Pharisees and other unbelievers (John 15:26-27). If they would keep hardening themselves, and continue their resistance to Christ even in the age of the Holy Spirit's testimony, this would prove their last opportunity for repentance. There would be no third witness.

On this view, Jesus would be saying, "Go ahead and reject and resist me, if you like. You can still be forgiven, if you later repent. Soon I will be gone, and the Holy Spirit will take up the witness concerning me. While you may still find forgiveness in that day, despite your current blasphemies against me, your continuing blasphemies in the face of the Holy Spirit's testimony, will squander your final opportunity to come into my kingdom, and you will die without forgiveness."

This is the way I am currently inclined to understand His comment. It is similar to the second view mentioned above, but more specifically alludes to the transition from the "age of Christ's presence" to the "age of the Holy Spirit" (post-Pentecost). This would be the reason for Jesus' words, "either in this age or in the age to come" (Matt.12:32).

I hope this may shed a bit of light on a difficult passage.


_________________
Todd

 2017/7/3 10:06Profile
Sree
Member



Joined: 2011/8/20
Posts: 1908


 Re: Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit

I agree mostly with the post. Except I do not want this unpardonable sin to be only for unbelievers. Even if a Christian keeps resisting this ministry of Holy Spirit but not repenting from a habitual sin then he also will not be forgiven. I believe every scripture is equally applicable for believers also unless until stated clearly like people of the world or children of devil etc.


_________________
Sreeram

 2017/7/3 11:46Profile
amajesticone
Member



Joined: 2016/3/10
Posts: 43
Massachusetts

 Re:

Hi Todd,

I can't answer all your ponderings,
but Mark's account is most clear to me.

Mark writes "And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem
we're saying "He is possessed by Beelzebul," and
"He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons."

Jesus said "...whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit
never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin."

Mark writes "...because ... BECAUSE ... they were saying,
"He has an unclean spirit."

When I ponder that they were saying that the
HOLY SPIRIT of the LIVING GOD was UNCLEAN...
Whew!!

Mary


_________________
Mary

 2017/7/4 8:03Profile
Lysa
Member



Joined: 2008/10/25
Posts: 3433
This world is not my home anymore.

 Re: Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit

Quote:

On this view, Jesus would be saying, "Go ahead and reject and resist me, if you like. You can still be forgiven, if you later repent. Soon I will be gone, and the Holy Spirit will take up the witness concerning me. While you may still find forgiveness in that day, despite your current blasphemies against me, your continuing blasphemies in the face of the Holy Spirit's testimony, will squander your final opportunity to come into my kingdom, and you will die without forgiveness."


When and where do blasphemies stop?

We have Jesus' parable of working in the field all day and then those who come in the last hour and get the same pay. It doesn't say what those people did before they finally decided to work. They could have been standing there making fun of the people actually going to work.

I'm just saying... it's easy to write theology on what "we" mere humans beings think Jesus meant when He spoke on this once (maybe twice) but we really don't know. Reading this puts me into a negative state looking at people. The Holy Spirit told me to minister to the soul and not the sin; so that's what I do.

It's the anointing that breaks the yoke of bondage in people's lives. When you've seen the anointing fall, so does every theology we thought about Scripture too! :) :) :) I pray for the walls to come tumbling down!! :)

That's just my two cents!! :)
God bless,
Lisa


_________________
Lisa

 2017/7/4 13:46Profile
dohzman
Member



Joined: 2004/10/13
Posts: 2132


 One added observation

The Pharisees rejected the birth of Jesus as being divine and placed it in a category of that as illegitimate. That perhaps would be a good place to start such a dialogue on this subject matter and than read all the interactions of Jesus vs the pharisees, That way you will see a more complete picture and will be able to frame the full context of His statements and this subject.


_________________
D.Miller

 2017/7/4 14:07Profile





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