Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit
What the Bible Says About... | Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit
Jesus said that to blaspheme the Holy Spirit is unpardonable - that is, beyond forgiveness. It is indeed a serious offense. But sadly, many Christians live in fear and condemnation that at some point in their lives they blasphemed the Spirit and are doomed to an eternal hell. I hope to address this issue in this brief study, to define what blasphemy of the Spirit entails, and to explain why it is such as serious offense.
Let's look first and what Jesus said in Matthew 12:31-32: "Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come."
Blasphemy, from the Greek word "blasphemia," means railing, evil speaking, reproachful speech injurious to another person's name. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the continual and deliberate rejection of the Spirit, His witness of Christ, His guidance, and His convicting work against sin. The person who rejects and opposes the voice of the Spirit removes himself from the only One which can lead him to forgiveness.
The Process Leading to a State of Blasphemy
1. Grieving the Spirit. Paul wrote in his epistle to the Ephesians, "And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." (Ephesians 4:30).
2. Resisting the Spirit. Grieving the Holy Spirit, if continued, will lead to resisting the Spirit. Acts 7:51 states, "Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye."
3. Quenching the Spirit. The word quench, translated from the Greek word sbennumi, means to extinguish, suppress, or stifle. Resisting the Spirit continually will lead to quenching the Spirit. Paul stated in 1 Thessalonians 5:19, "Quench not the Spirit."
4. Hardening of the Heart. Finally, continually quenching the Spirit will ultimately lead to a hardening of the heart and searing of the conscious. A person hardened in heart will call that which is evil good and that which is good evil. When a person reaches this condition, the Holy Spirit can no longer strive with the person to bring them to repentance. They no longer see their own sin or error, and thus are not concerned. They often claim to be Christian, yet their indifference to the demands of Christ and warnings of Scripture state otherwise. The writer of Hebrews gives us a warning from the Spirit Himself, "Wherefore as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts...Take heed brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God." (Hebrews 3:7-8,12).
So we see that to blaspheme the Holy Spirit is not a one-time event or something done in impulse, but it is a process often taking many months or years. For those who are worried about having committed the unpardonable sin, the very fact of wanting to be forgiven and the willingness to repent is evidence that one has not committed blasphemy.
Matthew Henry writes in his commentary, "But humble and conscientious believers, at times are tempted to think they have committed the unpardonable sin, while those who have come the nearest to it, seldom have any fear about it. We may be sure that those who indeed repent and believe the gospel, have not committed this sin, or any other of the same kind; for repentance and faith are the special gifts of God, which he would not bestow on any man, if he were determined never to pardon him; and those who fear they have committed this sin, give a good sign that they have not. The trembling, contrite sinner, has the witness in himself that this is not his case."
Why is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit unpardonable?
God will not forgive because the person has reached a state where he doesn't feel the need for forgiveness, doesn't seek forgiveness, and the Holy Spirit has been rejected and offended continually to the point where He no longer will strive with the person. Again, it is not a one-time event, but a long and involved process.
God said in Genesis 6:3, "My spirit shall not always strive with man." The word strive is translated from the Hebrew word "duwn," which means plead, contend, or act as judge.
Before Jesus gave His warning against blaspheming the Holy Spirit, He made this statement, "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad." (Matthew 12:30). The person reaching a state of blasphemy, not only has condemned himself, but is now the enemy of Christ, working against Him, scattering the lost sheep as He is trying to gather them.
Paul wrote in Philippians 3:18-19, "For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things."
Could a person commit blasphemy before they became a Christian?
The answer to this is no. As we saw above, for a person to reach a state of blasphemy, they will have offended the Holy Spirit beyond forgiveness. Therefore, if they could blaspheme, they could never be saved.
For a good example of this, we can look to the apostle Paul. Paul was a religious man and devout in the Jewish faith. He was intent on keeping Israel's faith pure, and for him that meant that he must persecute the followers of Christ. In Galatians 1:13, Paul said, "For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it."
In his first letter to Timothy, Paul wrote concerning himself that he "was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief." Paul would later write, "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief." (1 Timothy 1:13,15).
Paul wrote in Romans 5:13, "Because, till the law came, sin was in existence, but sin is not put to the account of anyone when there is no law to be broken." (Romans 5:13 BBE). Paul, who was by his own admission a blasphemer and the chiefest of sinners, obtained forgiveness for he did it in ignorance and unbelief.