Blasphemy of the Holy Ghost

BlasphemyThe devil is a liar. When he speaks, he speaks lies. His words are not without reason for each is tailor-made to destroy the soul of a man or woman. One of his favored deceptions is to take God’s Word and twist it to his own benefit. One way the devil does this is making God’s children feel they’ve committed the unforgivable sin of blaspheming the Holy Ghost. This blasphemy is spoken of in the Bible. But the kingdom of darkness has taken those words and twisted them into a perverted doctrine that has negatively affected many saints over the years. If this deception succeeds, the affected man or woman will miss the opportunity of experiencing the life that’s found only in Jesus Christ. Those who’ve bought into this deception find themselves feeling spiritually lethargic. This leads to them alienating themselves from the biblical identifiers by which the body of Christ is known, and then lastly to an all out abandonment of any hope of being ‘saved.’

Let’s examine this subject and see what the Bible has to say about this Truth. The [Bracketed italic] areas in the following passages are my comments, and the bolds are added for emphasis:

Matthew 12:31-32 ESV
(31)  Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.
(32)  And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

Mark 3:28-30 ESV
(28)  “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter,
(29)  but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin“-
(30)  for they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.”

To begin, I ask that you think over the following three questions:

(1) The first day a man or woman begins serving the Lord, how willing is the devil to take them back into his kingdom?
(2) After walking with the Lord a few months, how willing is the devil to take them back?
(3) After being in God’s kingdom for many, many years, how willing is the devil to take their soul back into his kingdom?

I believe everyone would agree that regardless of the time period, the devil would be more than willing to take any soul back that he has lost to Jesus. As a matter of fact, stealing souls from God’s Kingdom and causing saints of God to miss out on the fullness of God’s Kingdom, is the devil’s fulltime job. With that thought now established, let me now ask the next question: if the devil is always willing to take a person back, no matter how good or faithful they may have been to God, how much more willing should God be to forgive a person and take them back, regardless how bad or unfaithful they’ve been? The next scripture helps put this question’s answer into perspective.

Romans 5:20 ESV
(20)  Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,

Here Paul indicates that when sin (sin is rebellion against God’s rule) is present, God’s grace (grace is God’s favor) is available in greater measure.  The knowledge of God’s ever present grace is a vital part of experiencing the fullness of God’s kingdom. To know – without doubt – regardless of the degree we may stray from God’s Will, God is there, desiring to lead us back to His presence, is an empowering element of Jesus’ New Covenant Gospel. The issue of this is not dependant on whether or not God is willing to forgive men, but rather if a sinner is willing to believe God’s forgiveness can forgive his failures. Jesus dealt with the way we view God’s love toward us in the next parable:

Matthew 7:9-11 ESV
(9)  Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?
(10)  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?
(11)  If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

Here Jesus deals with a man’s attempt to compare God to ourselves. He shows that even to the degree God is comparable; He is still far greater than any man or woman. Remember, since this was spoken before Calvary, Jesus was addressing this to people not yet Born Again. Because so, even though these folks were yet evil and undone, Jesus said they still found enough softness in their unregenerate hearts to give good things to those they loved. But that degree of ‘good’ is incomparable to the love God daily offers mankind. Jesus said, “HOW MUCH MORE” the Father would supply His children’s needs. That is a ‘wow’ statement! Such expression of God’s love lead Paul to later indicate that it is God’s ‘goodness,’ and not His power or wrath that chiefly leads a person to repentance (See Romans 2:4). Repentance is designed to align a man’s direction to the straight and narrow path of salvation, and to give him a direction whereby he can walk by faith toward a closer relationship with His creator and mediator, Jesus Christ! Those who truly experience God’s forgiveness will also feel the warm touch of His love. The prodigal son can tell you all about the affectionate embrace that awaits a son returning to a loving and forgiving Father.

Now let’s focus on the scriptures typically mentioned when discussing God’s willingness or unwillingness to forgive our sins. These passages have splintered more than one denomination into different opinioned groups. They are as follows: Hebrews 10:26-29; Matthew 12:31-32; Mark 3:28-29; Hebrews 2:3.    

We will deal first with Hebrews 10:26-29 since it’s probably the one that brings the most misunderstanding regarding this issue.

The book of Hebrews is focused mostly on Jewish believers. It centers on how Jesus is more superior to all the Jews held important or sacred in their beliefs. These include how Jesus is better than the High priest, better than the animal sacrifices, better than the Temple, better than Melchizedek, and so forth. To properly interpret the meaning of the verses in chapter 10, all one needs to do is read them in context with the preceding passages. Man, not God, added the chapters and verses in our Bibles. If you remove these manmade barriers and read from Hebrews 8 through Hebrews 10 it becomes much clearer what is being said in the verses in question. Hebrews 8 explains that God exchanged His sacrificial system of animals and His Old Covenant with Jesus’ sacrifice and New Covenant. Then in Hebrews 9 it states that Jesus is now the High Priest who offered up His own blood for our sins, and that God would no longer accept animal blood for atonement. This line of thought then goes right into Hebrews 10 where the author states [Bracketed italics areas are my added comments]:

Hebrews 10:8-18 ESV
(8)  When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law),  [God never desired animal blood]
(9)  then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He abolishes the first in order to establish the second.  [God removed the old covenant and sacrificial system to establish the second]
(10)  And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.  [Jesus’ blood is sufficient enough sacrifice for all men…forever!]
(11)  And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.
(12)  But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins[Calvary is the greatest and final sacrifice for all of mankind’s salvation needs] he sat down at the right hand of God, [Why did Jesus sit down? Because there was no more need to sacrifice. Jesus explained that when from the cross He said, “It is finished.”]
(13)  waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet.
(14)  For by a single offering [there will never be another after Jesus’] he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified[His sacrifice cleanses from all sin and changes us into new creatures made after His perfection.]
(15)  And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,
(16)  “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,”
(17)  then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” [Verses 17 & 18 spell out the new covenant and what Jesus’ blood can now do for mankind when it brings man into a right relationship with his Father]
(18)  Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin[Jesus didn’t just push these sins ahead until the perfect sacrifice for sin would come, His WAS the perfect sacrifice that could remit {pay} for all men’s sins. Because of that there is no remaining reason for another sacrifice to ever be needed or recognized by God.]

From this we see why Hebrews 10:26 said: “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.”Left within context of the earlier verses this clearly shows this passage is stating: “If you reject the sacrifice of Jesus for your sins, or if you think animal blood may still be accepted by God for your sins, you’re mistake will have eternal consequence.” It is clear that this verse is not speaking of a time when Jesus’ sacrifice cannot save a person, but rather that Jesus’ sacrifice is the only one through which all men can be saved from their sin! John had something to say about this in his first epistle.

1 John 2:1-2 ESV
(1)  My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin [notice it says “sin”], we have [Who is “we”? The Church!] an advocate [Jesus is our defense lawyer and our judge! No wonder He can declare us debt-free from sin!] with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. [Notice that it is Jesus’ righteousness and not our own that declares us righteous before God.]
(2)  He is the propitiation [The place of meeting where man’s needs are met by God’s mercy. This is the same word from which we get the Ark of the Covenant’s “mercy seat.”] for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. [The whole world’s sins can be forgiven through Jesus’ blood…that includes yours and mine!]

These examples make it easier to see that regardless of the sin a Born Again man or woman may have committed, if they repent, Jesus’ blood is still more than able to cleanse and wash away their sin. The next are to discuss is Hebrews 10:26-29.

Hebrews 10:26-29 ESV
(26)  For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins[Jesus is the only sacrifice]
(27)  but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.
(28)  Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses [The old covenant] dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. [There was no Jesus and no true forgiveness since they only had animals during this time.]
(29)  How much worse punishment [To know this forgiveness was available and not claim it could cause a man to lose out with God.], do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified [This is referring to either those who rejected the  truth of Jesus or those who received it only to later walk away from its promises.], and has outraged the Spirit of grace[They had all they needed to have a right relationship with their creator, but they rejected His offer of grace and thereby rejected their chance to receive forgiveness.]

Before discussing when rejecting or rebelling against God’s Spirit leads to the point of blasphemy, let’s establish a basis of what “blasphemy” is and is not.

Webster’s Dictionary 1858 Edition

BLAS’PHEMY, n. An indignity offered to God by words or writing; reproachful, contemptuous or irreverent words uttered impiously against Jehovah.

Blasphemy is an injury offered to God, by denying that which is due and belonging to him, or attributing to him that which is not agreeable to his nature.

In the middle ages, blasphemy was used to denote simply the blaming or condemning of a person or thing. Among the Greeks, to blaspheme was to use words of ill omen, which they were careful to avoid.

1. That which derogates from the prerogatives of God. Mark 2.

Blasphemy is a direct rejection or attack on God and His Kingdom. It is rebelling – sinning – against God without regard of His truth or judgment. To see when this occurs, first ask yourself: is sin a matter of thought or of action? For instance, if a man looks at a woman, is that sin? It might be, but it might also simply be a man looking at people around him. Jesus taught about this when He said:

Matthew 5:27-28 ESV
(27)  “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’
(28)  But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Jesus is not describing a casual look or thought, but instead a look and fantasy that is more beastlike than Christlike. The next scripture shows how this develops.

James 1:14-15 ESV
(14)  But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.
(15)  Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

An innocent ‘look’ is not sin. But if a man or woman begins romancing thoughts about another person, and if those thoughts become a longing for an immoral physical affair, then a simple ‘look’ has become sin. Such transgression occurs when men and women allow sinful desires and lusts to rule their life instead of making Jesus Christ their King. Such defiance is the heartbeat of sin.

The devil sees the weak areas where men are vulnerable to temptation. A saint’s weakness is proportional to the amount of prayer and repentance in their life. If they disregard the life-altering power of Jesus, they will be inundated with lust; but if they spend time seeking Jesus and His Kingdom, then their weakness will be overcome through Jesus’ perfect strength (See Matthew 6:33; 2 Corinthians 12:9). Satan can plant thoughts into a person’s mind. Through the carnal mind these thoughts can be birthed into sinful acts. This now brings us to discussing sin that constitutes “blasphemy of the Holy Ghost.”

Matthew 12:31-32 ESV
(31)  Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.
(32)  And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

Mark 3:28-30 ESV
(28)  “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter,
(29)  but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin“-
(30)  for they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.”

Did you notice that these accounts say all sins and all blasphemies will be forgiven? Then it goes on to single out one type of blasphemy, “blasphemes against the Holy Spirit.” The Bible adequately shows this blasphemy comes from the belief that Jesus’ powers were not from the Holy Ghost but from satan. If such a person never changed their minds about this error, then they would never be able to be set free from their sins. Unfortunately some still believe this lie and reject Jesus as their God and savior. Such an omission would cause a man or woman to miss out on their opportunity to receive salvation. In his paraphrased Bible, The Message, Eugene H. Peterson clearly communicates this meaning.

Mark 3:29 MSG
(29)  But if you persist in your slanders against God’s Holy Spirit, you are repudiating the very One who forgives, sawing off the branch on which you’re sitting, severing by your own perversity all connection with the One who forgives.”

So blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is not simply about a person sinning or speaking against the Holy Ghost, but instead involves a person’s ongoing rejection of further workings of Holy Ghost in their life.

The question now is when does this type rejection occur? One way we know is by a person’s actions. Can a person be said to have rejected the Holy Ghost if they’re still actively concerned and pursuing Jesus’ salvation? If a person thinks negatively about God, does that mean that they have rejected Him? No, it most certainly does not! Imagine over the years how many parents have cursed God in anger for their children’s death, or the men who’ve blamed God for their business failure, or the women who’ve been angry at God for the abuse they received from their spouse. Such a list could go on and on…. But what if these same people later remembered God’s goodness and love, and wanted to be right with Him; after showing their disgust and saying the sinful things they did, can they still repent and come back to God?

Paul discussed this battle of the mind to a degree in Romans 7 and Romans 8. There he showed that a carnal mind entertains ungodly unspiritual thoughts, and that these thoughts can be overcome through Jesus Christ. Paul explained that he didn’t allow such thoughts to overcome him. He knew men were born with a nature enslaved to sin, but when they are reborn in Jesus’ name, they receive a new nature whereby they are set free from their old ways of sin. This changing power is available to all saints who yield to the Spirit of Jesus Christ. When looking at the following scriptures, pay close attention to the underlined areas while keeping Jesus’ life-changing power in mind.

Romans 7:1-25 ESV
(1)  Or do you not know, brothers–for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives?
(2)  Thus a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage.
(3)  Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.
(4)  Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.
(5)  For while we were living in the fleshour sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death.
(6)  But now we are released from the lawhaving died to that which held us captive, so that we serve not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit.
(7)  What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”
(8)  But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. Apart from the law, sin lies dead.
(9)  I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died.
(10)  The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me.
(11)  For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me.
(12)  So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.
(13)  Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure.
(14)  For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin.
(15)  I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.
(16)  Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good.
(17)  So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
(18)  For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.
(19)  For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.
(20)  Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
(21)  So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.
(22)  For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being,
(23)  but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.
(24)  Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? [Much of this discourse is Paul talking about the sinful state of man, not his present state. Why I think this is in verse 18 Paul says “no good thing dwelled in me,” yet we know Paul had Jesus dwelling in him by this time. Also he now in verse 25 states to addressing this need with the answer being Jesus’ ability to make everyone into a new man]
(25)  Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

Romans 8:1-9 ESV
(1)  There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus[Here it is. They now, through Jesus have the ability to walk not after their old desires but now have power to walk after God’s ways]
(2)  For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
(3)  For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,
(4)  in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
(5)  For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.
(6)  To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
(7)  For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.
(8)  Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
(9)  You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.

Paul explains there are ‘laws’ that can hold a man and woman in bondage or that can set them free. These laws are either set in motion or held at bay depending on whether a person focuses on the flesh or on the Spirit of Jesus. When a born again believer allows the mind of Christ to govern them, then their thoughts bring blessings to their life. Such thoughts and their fruit are only possible when the work of the Jesus’ Cross brings death to a man’s former self. Jesus continues Calvary’s work by giving men and women His Spirit. His indwelling presence raises them up to receive newness of life. The writer of Hebrews referred to this opportunity in the next verse:

Hebrews 2:3 ESV
(3)  how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard,

This escape is not a rapture that whisks the church from the earth into heaven. Instead it speaks of a man dying to his former sinful, spiritually-anemic life, so he can live a life filled with power, love, and sound mindedness. Such existence is only possible when one doesn’t blasphemously neglect Jesus’ great salvation. Can Jesus forgive your sin? Of course He can. But the hard part for many is not Jesus forgiving their sin, but them forgiving themselves.

1 John 3:20-21 ESV
(20)  for whenever our heart condemns usGod is greater than our heart, andhe knows everything.
(21)  Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God;

The Bible never gives license for men or women to live in sin. Instead it says that any sincere person can receive forgiveness for their sins through Jesus Christ. Jesus can both wash away a man’s sin and the guilty conscience that accompanies it. Jesus came and died to make a way for all men and women to receive His salvation. He knows better than we do that there’s a lot of longsuffering that goes into transforming a sinner into a matured saint. Never give up on Jesus because of your failures. He never gave up on you while suffering on the cross…and three days later when He arose, He showed all mankind that sin has a season of death, but afterward they can receive true life!

 

Copyright  2009 TK Burk. All Rights Reserved.
www.tkburk.com

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