Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit

Text: Mark 3:28-30

People sometimes have questions about sin and forgiveness. Are some sins unforgivable? There is one sin in the Bible that many point to as being the unforgivable/unpardonable sin. This was identified by Jesus as blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. What is this sin? Why will it not be forgiven? Is it truly unforgivable? Let us consider.

Parallel Passages

  • Matthew 12:31-32 – “Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him“; context is about the accusation that Jesus cast out demons by the power of Beelzebul (Matthew 12:22-29)
  • Luke 12:10 – “Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him“; context is about confessing/denying Christ before men (Luke 12:8-9) and revelation by the Holy Spirit (Luke 12:11-12)

Defining Terms

  • Blasphemy – speaking evil against or reviling (in this context, this is against God)
  • Son of Man – Jesus, the second person of the Godhead; specific emphasis on His incarnation (Hebrews 2:14)
  • Holy Spirit – third person of the Godhead; His role was to reveal God’s word (John 15:26; 16:13; 1 Corinthians 2:10-13)

Understanding Sin

  • We sin when we transgress God’s law (1 John 3:4) – fall short of His glory (Romans 3:23)
  • This is a universal problem (Romans 3:23) – this applies to those who have reached the “age of accountability” (Romans 7:9)
  • Forgiveness of sins is available through Christ (Ephesians 1:7) – even under the old law, forgiveness pointed to Christ (Hebrews 10:1-10)
  • God is willing to forgive (Neh. 9:17) – this is why He was willing to send His Son to die on the cross (John 3:16); He is faithful to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9)

Why Will This Sin Not Be Forgiven?

  • Jesus came to earth and was rejected by His people (Acts 2:22-23) – however, this was part of God’s plan (Acts 2:23); He knew this was going to happen; Jesus had to die on the cross in order to make forgiveness possible (Hebrews 9:22, 26, 14)
  • Many who rejected Christ acted in ignorance (Acts 3:13-15, 17) – they could be forgiven (Acts 3:19; 2:38), but they had to accept/follow Jesus as Lord
  • Jesus was killed, raised, then ascended to heaven – they would learn this through the testimony of the apostles (Acts 1:8; Matthew 28:19-20); the apostles would receive their message from the Holy Spirit (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:13; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4); they would perform signs to confirm the message (Mark 16:20) by the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 2:3-4)
  • So what is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit? – it is a rejection of the Spirit-inspired message and attributing divine work to the devil; we blaspheme the Holy Spirit by asserting that the gospel He revealed is false and not from God
  • Why this sin cannot be forgiven – the gospel is God’s power for salvation (Romans 1:16); the apostles were Christ’s ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20); we will be judged by Christ’s words (John 12:48); therefore, if we reject the gospel, we will be lost
  • This is not a sin we accidentally commit – it is a willful rejection of the revealed testimony about Christ; it is also not “unpardonable” as we can see in the example of Paul (1 Timothy 1:12-16); but as long as someone rejects the Spirit’s message in the gospel, he cannot be forgiven

Conclusion

  • If we blaspheme the Holy Spirit (reject His message in the gospel), we cannot be saved
  • Why? – the message of the gospel tells us of Christ’s sacrifice and how to take advantage of it
  • It is not unforgivable – we can believe, repent, and obey the gospel
  • But it will not be forgiven – because the Spirit-inspired gospel is God’s power for salvation

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