Blasphemy Against The Spirit
(1) Study the passages on "blasphemy against the Spirit". After
reading the passages in context, what sin is Jesus referring to?
Matthew 12:22-37: Then a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute was brought to Jesus, and He healed him, so that the mute man spoke and saw. All the crowds were amazed and were saying,"This man cannot be the Son of David, can he?" But when the Pharisees heard this, they said,"This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons." And knowing their thoughts, Jesus said to them," Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself will not stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand? If I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? For this reason they will be your judges. But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 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.
He who is not with me is against me; and he who does not gather with me scatters. Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.
Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.
Mark 3:20-30: And He came home and the crowd gathered again, to such an extent that they could not even eat a meal. When His own people heard of this, they went out to take custody of Him, for they were saying, "He has lost His senses." The scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying."He is possessed by Beelzebul," and,"He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons." And He called them to Himself and began speaking to them in parables, "How can Satan cast out Satan?" If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. If Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but he is finished! But no one can enter the strong man's house and plunder his property unless he first binds the strong man, and then he will plunder his house. Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of eternal sin" ----- because they were saying,"He has an unclean spirit."
Luke 12:10: "And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him."
Let's look at the context:
(1) We know that Jesus was healing the blind and mute man by the power of God. We read in Matthew 9 of the healing of the paralytic. After Jesus had healed him we read in verses 6-8: "But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins" ---- then He said to the paralytic," Get up, pick up your bed, and go home." And he got up and went home. But when the crowds saw this, they were awestruck, and glorified God, who had given such authority to men.
....And we see also in Matthew 15:30,31 : And large crowds came to Him, bringing with them those who were lame, crippled, blind, mute, and many others, and they laid them down at His feet; and He healed them. So the crowd marveled as they saw the mute speaking, the crippled restored, and the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.
(2) The man was demon-possessed (Matthew 12:22)
(3) Satan cannot stand against himself or else he will destroy himself! (Matthew 12:25-29;Mark 3:23-27)
(4) The Pharisees accused Jesus of casting out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of demons, and even being possessed by Beelzebul himself! (Matthew 12:24; Mark 3: 22)
WHAT IT IS NOT!
Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is not simply becoming so evil and ungodly that one is unforgiven. Jesus does not call it the 'unforgiving sin', but the 'unforgiveable sin'. This is not just reaching the point of never considering repentance, and God 'giving up' on us, but is a particular sin for which there is no forgiveness. Any sin which we CONTINUALLY refuse to repent of is and will be unforgiven. But if we decide to repent of that sin it can be forgiven.
The word translated 'blaspheme' is from the Greek root words, blapto, meaning 'to hurt' and 'phemi', meaning to speak; therefore to "speak to hurt". Jesus was accused of 'blaspheme at his mock trial (Matt. 26:57-65). Paul admits that he was once guilty of blaspheme (1 Timothy 1:13). Stephen was accused of blasphemy (Acts 6:11-13). The people of Antioch and Corinth blasphemed (Acts 13:45;18:6). The name of God can be blasphemed (Rom. 2:24;1Tim. 6:1), and the name by which we are called can be as well (James 2:7). The word of God can be blasphemed (Titus 2:6). Blasphemy comes out of the heart (Matt. 15:19).
In the passages that we began with, we see that the definition fits perfectly. The Pharisees were speaking in order to hurt Christ. They were trying to discredit His authority and power. Jesus makes it clear that they are indeed "speaking to hurt" the Holy Spirit!
Jesus' comments are directed to the Pharisees for their accusations. Our understanding of 'Blasphemy of the Spirit' is not nearly as difficult as we make it. The Pharisees were accusing the Son of God, Jesus Christ of doing His works by the power of Satan! Jesus even says that blasphemy against the 'Son of Man' can be forgiven, but not blasphemy of the Spirit. Words spoken against the man Jesus have been and will be forgiven. Actually recognizing and crediting the work of the Godhead to Satan is another matter! Russell Boatman, in his book, "What The Bible Says About The Holy Spirit", says it well: "Whatever else may be involved in the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, contextually and grammatically, it is a public display of contempt and/or deceit. It is born out of a malignant and malicious spirit. In the setting in which Jesus warned, the blasphemy in which the Pharisees were indulging rooted in the sin of jealousy. The intent of their malicious slander was to equate the spiritual (supernatural) power Christ was manifesting (which power they could not, and did not, deny) with the kingdom of Satan rather than of God."
Whether the Pharisees had already become guilty of this sin or were near the point of committing this sin, Jesus doesn't say. But it is certain from the context that one or the other is true. If they were not guilty at this point, it would only be because of a complete understanding of what they were doing.
Why unforgivable? Perhaps it is because this is such a blind, hardhearted, callous, evil and blatant sin. One who would see the works of God through the Son and the Spirit as Satan's works would surely be hopeless! Jesus points out that it is OBVIOUS that these works were done by the power of God!
We are CERTAIN of this: Jesus made it plain that unforgivable blasphemy is against the Spirit and comes from the inward person. It is an action caused by a condition of the heart.
(1) Is this simply the final rejection of Christ?
No! This is unforgivable, not only unforgiven. If this were the case, why would Jesus have warned them? And if they were guilty of the final rejection of Christ, then this sin could be committed in ignorance, for the passage in Mark shows that at least some, if not all thought that Jesus was not in His right mind.
(2) Is this speaking against the name of the Holy Spirit?
No! To conclude this would be to ignore the context of Jesus warning. The Pharisees spoke against the authority and power of Jesus' actions. They did not speak 'directly' of the Spirit.
(3) Can this sin be committed today?
It would be rather dangerous to assume that it cannot. If it has to do with the malicious and evil heart, perhaps so. Can one today with such a heart knowingly attribute the works done by the authority and power of God as being from Satan? I don't know
(2) What sin is described in Heb. 6: 4-6? Also see Heb. 10: 26-31
To 'Fall Away' From The Faith
What sin is described in Hebrews 6:1-8? Also read Heb.10:26-31.
1Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. 3And this we will do, if God permits. 4For 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, 5and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6and 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. 7For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; 8but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.
Notice that the writer has just finished discussing spiritual immaturity. He has just informed (and warned) the Jewish Christians (For that it to whom this letter was originally written.) that they need to 'grow up' in Christ and "partake" of some of the solid food. And he points out that this means spending time in active service to God (i.e. teaching) instead of finding it constantly necessary to be 'retaught' or 'reassured' concerning the elementary teachings of the Gospel of Christ.
(1-3) So now that writer continues, by telling them to "leave" all of that behind. Leave what behind, you ask? (And I'm sure they asked.) These Jewish Christians had obviously been saints long enough to understand how to repent of their sins and approach God for forgiveness. (Although the writer was going to remind them later. See 10:19-22.) Instead it appears that they had either returned or were still observing Old Covenant practices in order to (they thought) obtain forgiveness for their transgressions. "Dead works" here likely refer to what were now useless practices of the Mosaic Law. The result of their "faith toward God" should be service to Christ and subjection to Him. The writer lists some of these dead works of the Law (Gal. 3:23-29). He mentions "washing" (ceremonial cleansings), "laying on of hands" (the priests laid their hands upon the offerings and sacrifices), "resurrection of the dead" (The Jews believed in the resurrection from the dead when they were still Jews.) and "eternal judgment" (This also was an Old Covenant teaching as well.).
One might make note that in the 'Jewish oriented' mind each of these matters listed here dealt with matters of eternal importance, matters of eternal life. The Jewish saints were having doubts, or at the very least were showing a lack of understanding (Which the writer has pointed out they should have dealt with long ago.) that "in Christ" ALL of these "dead works" were unnecessary, for He had met every one of these needs when He died upon the cross and arose to sit at the "right hand of the Father". All matters concerning eternal life have been taken care of by our Savior! So now the writer 'moves on' acknowledging that they too should 'move on'.
And he speaks of the case of those who have once been "enlightened", "tasted of the heavenly gift", been made partakers of the Holy Spirit", "tasted the good word of God" and "the powers of the age to come," (This describes EVERY Christian! Enlightenment = true belief. The heavenly gift = the grace of God. Partakers of the Holy Spirit = The indwelling seal of redemption. The good word of God = the truth of the Gospel. Powers of the age to come = the power of God in their lives.) So he is plainly writing of one who is (or has been) a Christian and then has "fallen away". The Greek term translated "fall away" here means simply to 'fall to the side'. As in a marathon, when runners who have not prepared themselves for the hardships start to 'drop out' of the race; so it is with Christians who drop out of the race ((1 Cor. 9:62). God has given the Christian everything that he needs to finish, but if the commitment to finish isn't present, the participant will 'drop out'. So it is with the Christian who "falls aside" because he "looks back" longingly to time previous. Unfortunately we usually think of the word 'fall' in relation to an accident. That is not what the meaning of the word is here. It is a willing choice! When they make such a choice it is "impossible" to renew them to repentance.
Why "impossible" you ask? First note of importance is that they didn't stumble. If they were to stumble, they could get right back up and get back in the race and their fellow saints would (should) be there to help them. (James 5:19,20). Again, they were given EVERYTHING that they needed to complete the race. The only reason that this person would not finish after they had entered was because they did not want to work to get to the finish line. They didn't want the prize as much as they wanted the world!
This passage does not say that forgiveness is not available, but that they can not be "brought to repentance". Repentance comes from the heart of the man (See Matt. 15.) who is convicted of his sin (John 16:5-11; 2 Cor. 7:9,10). The one who "falls away" in this passage is the man who will never respond to the warnings of the Holy Spirit of truth again.
How is it that "they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame"? Do you recall the Jews rejection of Christ? One who openly and knowingly rejects Christ after 'receiving heir ship' is the same as those jealous and angry Jews. They spit, cursed, cast insults and crucified Him.
The writer also compares one who would reject Christ and return to his previous life as "thorns and thistles". Fruitless, barren in spite of the fact that the tiller was the Father Himself!
From this passage of scripture we can conclude that the Jewish saints were in danger of "falling away" from Christ and returning to the "dead works" of the Mosaic Law, never to return. So also, we are to be warned by this same writing that we must not return to the "dead works" of the world that we once were a part of. We need to take this warning personal, lest we too "fall short" of receiving the promise of eternal life!
26For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries. 28Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30For we know Him who said, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay." And again, "The Lord will judge His people." 31It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
We read here in Heb. 10 the continuation of what the writer has been explaining to the Jews concerning their relationship to Christ and the doing away with the rites of the Jewish Law.
The phrase translated here "go on sinning willfully" is speaking of a continuous or ongoing practice of sin. Again, the Jewish Christians were guilty of continuing to practice the ceremonial rites of the Mosaic Law. The writer again warns that if they continue to deny the grace of Christ by 'ignoring His cleansing blood', His 'life's-blood sacrifice', they are in danger of ignoring the ONLY sacrifice that "remains" for their sins. There "remains" no other (Certainly not in the Jewish Law!).
And if they continue to "regard" the sacrifice of Christ (The holy, sanctifying, cleansing, eternal sacrifice.) as "unholy" and useless in their case, they "trample under foot the Son of God and insult the Spirit of grace", the Holy Spirit (For they are ignoring His indwelling presence as well.) and will be punished far more severely than even an adulteress (which is what they would be) under the Mosaic Law!
We can either live in God's caring gentle hands as His children or we can "fall" into His vengeful hands at the judgment! (Matt. 7:21-23)