What is the sin against the Holy
- - -
What does it mean to blaspheme
against the Holy Spirit?
What is the sin against the Holy Spirit?
What does it mean to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit?
The sin against the Holy Spirit,
that cannot be forgiven,
consists of rejecting
with full knowledge and consent,
the salvation which God offers.
In the case of the pharisees,
the sin against the Holy Spirit,
was the deliberate rejection
that Jesus is God and Messiah
in spite of the clear witness
of the Holy Spirit,
by prophecies and miracles.
All sin is an offense against God, but Jesus refers to a specific sin with horrible consequences.
- First, let us pray to the Holy Spirit for wisdom and guidance.
- Second, let us thank Jesus that he cares enough for our souls, to not only warn us of this, and pay the debt to save our souls, but also to face every humiliation, persecution, hatred, contempt from devils, and the world and wicked people even to this day. But don't worry. Have confidence, Jesus has already overcome his enemies. (John 16:33)
- Third, we will use the best source of reference, the word of God himself. You will need to look up some of these passages in your own bible. Have it handy as you read this.
- Fourth, I do not recommend you read this haphazardly, just skipping around. It's not a quick read, it covers a lot of material, it's about a serious issue which requires prayer and reflection.
- Fifth, If you are having scruples, thinking you have committed this sin, you must find a wise, older, experienced, godly Christian counselor to talk to about this.
- Thomas a'Kempis in his Imitation of Christ, says that he who has himself for a spiritual guide, has a fool.
- A favorite trick of the devil is to get people side-tracked into doubts, fears, theological arguments, etc. to such a degree, that he succeeds in keeping us from simply doing what we're supposed to be doing.
- Another favorite trick of the devil is to make you think that what you are going through is so special, unique, or weird, that nobody understands you, so you talk to no one. That's why many alcoholics continue to be alcoholics, because they try to cover up the underlying problems. Jesus says the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32)
- And probably the most favorite trick of the devil is discouragement to steal our peace and joy, because he knows that the joy of the Lord is our strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)
What is the Sin against the Holy Spirit?
Those who deliberately do not believe the word of the Holy Spirit that Jesus is God, sin against the Holy Spirit. And this word of the Holy Spirit cannot be false or wrong, and must be believed without resistance.
This word of the Holy Spirit - that Jesus is God - was already prophesied and announced by the prophets.
The Pharisees had much knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. They clearly saw and heard about the miracles Jesus performed, as the Holy Scriptures prophesied.
Yet in the case of the Pharisees - which is further explained below - they denied that Jesus was God in the face of all this evidence.
They aggravated this sin - and showed their evil intentions - by trying to keep others from knowing the truth and believing in Jesus - trying to keep them from being set free from sin and receiving salvation.
They further aggravated this sin - showing their evil mind - by accusing Jesus of casting out devils, not by the power of God, but by the power of the devil.
Jesus says, "By their fruits, you will know them." We see that the Pharisees, who were very well educated in the law of God and the Holy Scriptures, were showing evil fruits of rejecting Jesus openly.
The Gravity of Sinning against the Holy Spirit
This sin - this blasphemy - against the Holy Spirit results in final impenitence.
(And often worse, they prevent others from knowing the truth, keeping them from being set free from sin and receiving salvation, as we shall see in the specific example of when Jesus warned against this sin.)
There are reasons that it cannot be forgiven, because the individual has so rejected the inspiration and grace of the Holy Spirit, that with stiff-necked pride and arrogance, with willful spiritual blindness and deafness, they have hardened their heart and deadened their souls even in the face of the greatest proofs and miracles, that not even God can change their stubborn will.
They have basically committed spiritual suicide with full knowledge, putting themselves above God who created them, his authority, and many warnings.
God is the Final Judge
God alone is the judge of each individual in this matter. We may never know the final destiny of an individual, nor the secret judgments of God, until eternity.
Further, Jesus says we are not to judge others. (Matthew 7:1) He explains what he means, that before trying to correct the faults of others, we should first address our own faults, and not in pride overlook our own.
There are certain things we must judge. Jesus himself says we must judge not by appearances, but judge righteous judgment. (John 7:24) By it's fruit, we will know the tree. (Matthew 7:16-20) In fact, Jesus says it twice here, it's that important.
There are also those in authority who by their office must make judgments based on external facts, such as official judges, parents, teachers, and the like.
What Jesus means is we cannot judge the interior motives of a person, or assume judgment that is reserved to God alone, such as Jesus holds, when he comes to judge the living and the dead.
The Bible Story
For Jesus' teaching on the sin against the Holy Spirit, our primary bible reading is Matthew chapter 12. (We also find related verses in Mark chapter 3, and specifically verse 29).
An important key to understanding this chapter, and the stunning revelation of verses 31-32, is a little verse earlier - verse 14. "But the Pharisees went out and took counsel against him to put him to death."
The background for that is the Pharisees accusing the disciples of picking grain to eat on the Sabbath. (v. 1-8)
Then, they asked him if it was lawful to cure a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath.
Jesus asked them questions, putting more value on men than animals.
Jesus goes ahead and cures the man.
But no, the Pharisees could not stand that Jesus was out of their control. They hated someone showing how wrong they were. They couldn't stand the gentle but absolute authority of Jesus, who was freeing people from their abusive control. Yet, in their hearts they knew for sure he was the Messiah.
So that's why they were going to kill Jesus.
The rejection of the Messiah was premeditated murder, and Jesus knew this. In their hearts, they knew he was the Messiah. They did not want to obey him, because that would mean they would have to change their lives, give up their power, their sins, their greedy lifestyle, and accept the teachings of Jesus, such as loving and forgiving and helping others to heaven.
Even though they were religious leaders, Jesus called them hypocrites, brood of snakes, clean on the outside and filthy on the inside, making a new follower of theirs a 2-fold son of the devil.
What Happened Next
Jesus withdrew from that place. (v. 15-21)
Then one day, Jesus cured a man possessed by a devil, who could not see or speak. (v. 22)
The crowd was amazed, and asked if Jesus could be the Son of David, a title of the Messiah. (v. 23)
But when the Pharisees heard this, they accused Jesus of driving out demons by the power of Beelzebub, the prince of demons. (v. 24)
Jesus knew what they were thinking. This is important. Only God can know what someone is thinking. Jesus is God. (v. 25)
In the next verses, (25-29) Jesus goes into great detail to show their illogical reasoning, and they knew it.
Then Jesus said, "Whoever is not with me, is against me, and whoever does not gather with me, scatters. Therefore, I say to you, every sin and blasphemy can be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man can be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the holy Spirit can not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come." (v. 30-32)
What we have here is Jesus doing his divine duty as prophet, teacher, priest, and king.
The Warning of Jesus
Is this scary?
Remember, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. (Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7; 9:10; 15:33)
And this is no light matter, when eternal life is at stake.
Sin is not a trivial matter.
If Jesus let people into heaven who thought sin was trivial, and they were not willing to exchange their sinful lives for the heavenly garment of God's life and grace before their death, such people would harm others, mock and slander others with no intention to repent.
This is why the rebellious angels were cast out of heaven, and we see their evil intent continuously trying to deceive, tempt, harm, mock and slander those who in this world, in our life time of testing here on earth, are making efforts to follow Christ, bring good into this world, and build up his kingdom.
Once the test was done, the bad angels were confirmed in their pride and rebellion.
Would you, after a lifetime of fighting the temptations, snares, and lies of the devil, feel safe if the devil was sitting next to you in heaven?
If an impenitent sinner, devil, demon would be allowed into heaven, God could not fulfill his promises to keep his family safe, with no death, pain, destruction, darkness, or evil of any kind.
I wrote this in a poem thanking God for Hell.
Thoughts on Sin - The Death of the Soul
Sin causes the death of the soul. The death of the soul is worse than murder, which is the death of the body.
Too many people let their soul die, and when it happens, they don't even notice. Like a flower that fades, there is no warning, no noise.
Jesus says, "What does it profit if a man gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his soul. And what will he give in exchange for his soul?"
What is the soul?
The soul is the life principle inside us, it is the spiritual body, that is harmed or helped by our actions and decisions while we live in the physical body here on earth. It lives eternally - either forever happy in heaven, or forever in torture in hell, depending on how we went through this life of testing on earth, whether we kept God's laws or not, whether we repented of our sins or not, and whether we die in God's grace or not.
How much does a soul cost?
The infinite value of the precious blood of Jesus. He shed every drop of blood for us.
Even if only one soul was to accept the gift of eternal life, which he bought by his cruel sufferings and death on the cross, it was worth it.
The Value of the Soul
Today, way too many people treat their soul as trash. They care more about their hair or fingernails, which is going to get cut off someday anyway.
Or they care more about their stuff, the world, their selfish entertainment, etc, etc, which will all pass away and be destroyed.
Plain and simply, they're the ultimate stupid fools. And yet, but for the grace of God, it can be any of us.
Jesus has to talk this way, and so do we, using very strong language, in the hopes that even a few more will wake up, repent of their sins, accept salvation, live a Godly life, and enjoy heaven eternally.
Otherwise, people will die in their sins.
Comment on the Word "Blasphemy"
Today, when we hear the word blasphemy, it's really just not a good translation of what Jesus meant.
Better would be rejection, hatred, opposition, against.
He who is not with me, is against me. (v. 30)
The Sin against the Holy Spirit - A Divine Judgment
Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
Some of the greatest scholars, fathers of the church, theologians, pastors, commentary writers have considered the verses about the sin or blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (v. 31-32) to be some of the most difficult passages in scripture.
And rightly so, because Jesus is using his office as judge, knowing what's in the hearts of men (John 2:24-25) to warn the Pharisees, who were hardening their hearts.
We cannot see what's in the hearts of men, but Jesus does.
The Tree and It's Fruit
However, Jesus does give us indicators, things that we can learn from - that good fruit comes from a good tree, and bad fruit comes from a bad tree, and that what a person says comes from the abundance of their hearts. (v. 33-35)
Against the manifest three-fold miracle - demons cast out, sight restored, speech restored - and against the common sense of good people speaking ... but more importantly, the witness of the Holy Spirit in the Holy Scriptures and prophecies ...
... these Pharisees dared to accuse Jesus of doing a good work by an evil power that hates Jesus and Jesus hates it, an enmity from the beginning. (Genesis 3:15)
Jesus told them to either call the tree good, and the fruit good, or call the tree rotten, and it's fruit rotten. A tree is known by it's fruit. (v. 33)
Jesus is the Tree of Life
Jesus is the good tree, and performed good deeds.
Jesus knew what was in the Pharisees' hearts, and he was right. They hated him so much, they eventually killed him, knowing that he was the Messiah, fulfilling all the scriptures.
They didn't kill Jesus because they were ignorant. They were some of the smartest religious people on earth. They killed Jesus out of envy. (Matthew 27:18; Mark 15:10)
They didn't want to give up their positions of honor, and wealth, and prestige. Actually, they didn't want to be told what to do. Too proud. Too arrogant. Too bad for them. Actually, very, very sad for them.
And very sad, that despite Jesus taking on himself all the sins of the world, past, present, and future, there are those who willfully reject the salvation he offers - by offering his own life on the tree of the cross.
Some Questions of Salvation
Could the Pharisees still repent? Could they still be saved?
God knows. On the cross, Jesus his son said, Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.
They don't know the full consequences of what they do. But neither did the devils. The devils and damned people in hell have eternal regret, they really did not know what the suffering of hell was like, but they were sufficiently warned.
It is a selfish regret, unwilling to beg forgiveness for having hurt others, in this case sin hurting God.
The problem was that the Pharisees were putting themselves in a position of extreme danger of going so far, and being so proud and stubborn, as to not be able to return, and thus Jesus gave them a timely and fearful warning.
A grave lesson to all of us that the noxious weeds of sin must be removed early, before they choke out - or not even let enter - the good seed, the word and life of God. (Matthew 13:1-30, Mark 4:1-20; Luke 8:4-15)
The Teaching of the Pharisees - a Real Poison
Jesus called these Pharisees what they were - a brood of venomous snakes. (v. 34)
Jesus was not going to let them stand around and spill their poison and ruin the chance for other people to be saved, not while he was standing there.
As a just judge, he said they could not say good things when they were evil. From the fullness of the heart, the mouth speaks. (v. 34)
The Warning that Words have Consequences!
On judgment day, people will render an account for every careless word they speak. By you words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned. (v. 36-37)
This is pause for some very serious reflection for each and every one of us.
James was later to write that he who offends not in words, the same is a perfect man. (James 3:2)
Some of the scribes and Pharisees asked for a sign. (v. 38)
This is tempting God, because Jesus was performing miracles they could see.
Jesus called them an evil and unfaithful generation. (v. 39)
But yes, there is one sign, his own resurrection. (v. 39). He predicted that even then, many of them would still not believe. (Luke 16:31)
Then Jesus said that the people of Nineveh and the queen of the south would rise with the people of that generation and condemn it, because the people in Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonah, and the Queen of the South came from a long distance to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and Jesus was greater than Jonah and Solomon, and worked miracles, and they still would not repent. (v. 40-42)
Then Jesus warned, that the evil generation would be worse after his coming than before, because getting rid of one evil spirit, that spirit will come back with 7 others more evil than himself, making the last condition of the person worse than the first. (v. 43-45)
Conclusion to this Lesson
While Jesus was speaking, his mother and relatives were outside, wanting to speak to him. (v. 46)
Someone came to tell him.
Jesus asked, Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?
Jesus answered "Whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother." (v. 50)
Do we always succeed? No, we sometimes fail. Thank God, he sees our efforts.
Thoughts on Good Will versus Bad Will
This bible lesson shows us the danger of having a bad will, and the importance of having a good will.
We should always want to do the right thing, and make efforts to do so, even though "the spirit is willing and the flesh is weak." (Matthew 26:41; Mark 14:38)
Thank God, he sees our good will. If we don't have a good will, let us ask him. "Ask, and you shall receive, that your joy may be full." (John 16:24)
We thank God that while we were yet sinners - even while most of his close friends abandoned him, because, like us, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak - Christ died on the cross for us sinners. (Romans 5:8)
Our Need for God's Help
We fail so often. Thank God, he sees our good will.
Our failures are a reason to receive his mercy and healing. Our failures are why we need
to receive his mercy and healing.
We need God's help always, because Jesus said, "Without me, you can do nothing." (John 15:5)
At Jesus' birth in Bethlehem, when the angel announced the good news to the shepherds, the angel armies said, "Glory to God in the Highest, and Peace on earth to men of good will." (Luke 2:14)
That's because Jesus was going to show men of good will the way to salvation from sin and hell.
Prayer and Work
We must pray, and we must work.
On one hand, we need God's help. On the other hand, we must make efforts.
We must ask for all good things in prayer.
We must do all in our power to amend, true. Yet we must beg God for his overcoming super-abundant surpassing grace even when it seems impossible to break our bad habits of sin and form good habits of virtue.
We need God's help to "work our our salvation in fear and trembling." (Philippians 2:12)
We must work at it, and work at it, and work at it - always with God's help - until we're safe in heaven. It is a lifetime of work here on earth, but the results will be well worth the effort.
God's blessings and peace to us.
Thank your stars!
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