Nightmare, I have to preach a sermon, no preparation, lack of clothes, can’t speak.
What is common about this nightmare is the sense of panic – and the lack of control. I realize I’ve done something, or should have done something – and it’s too late. I think that feeling is also the source of more Christian nightmares than any other – the worry that you may have inadvertently committed the unpardonable sin – the blaspheme of the Holy Spirit – and now on judgment day God sends you to hell for calling the Holy Spirit a bad name and off you go, plummeting down into the fire, totally out of control- dumbstruck on the stage of judgment.
Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Main text comes from Matthew 12:22-37. Two others:
Mark 3:28-29: I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.
Luke 12:10: And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
Few teachings of Scripture leave us more frustrated than this one. Of all the sins mentioned in the Bible, this is the one our hearts want most to be sure about, since it does seem to be the one unpardonable sin. Is it divorce? One man thought it was a murder he committed. Just a brief glance of saints of old tell us that this sin is not adultery (King David), murder (Moses and Saul of Tarsus), lying (Abraham), doubt (Job), the denial of Jesus (Peter). Some have said suicide is the unpardonable sin but Samson in Hebrews 11 makes us scratch our heads. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 tells us that some in the church were guilty of fornication, idolatry, adultery, effeminacy, homosexuality, thievery, covetousness, drunkenness, reviling and swindling. But vs. 11 says “you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
Before we say it is this or that, Scripture says so little about it that we can do little more than speculate about its true nature. Among those who have attempted to explain it, there is much disagreement about so many questions related to it.
We shall plunge ahead where few dare to go and seek to explain this doctrine the best that we can. Sticking close to Dr. Jack Cottrell’s book, Power From On High, pages 228- 235 and class notes. More detail, go to Carl Ketcherside’s Heaven Help Us, chapter 7.
Thesis: Talk about the two main views of this blasphemy, how these two views interrelate, and then end with the question, “Can this sin be committed today?”
Two main views of blasphemy of the HS
1. A general state or attitude
Rather than a particular act, it is a disposition of the will. Unwillingness to respond to gospel.
This attitude or state of mind could be forgiven IF abandoned or repented of. What makes it unforgivable is that in fact it persists until death. A sinner who is not forgiven and then dies.
2. It is the deliberate, malicious, verbal rejection of the Holy Spirit's clear testimony to Jesus Christ while knowing that it is true.
Ketcherside says, “Without speaking, it is impossible to commit the sin of blasphemy. Blasphemy is a sin of the tongue and not merely of the heart. Blasphemy is a specific sin against the Spirit as contrasted with every other sin.”
This is the preferred view. The context of Matt. 12:31ff. seems to require it. Vs. 36-37
The sin in the first view is unforgiven or unpardoned, but not in principle unforgivable. "One who stubbornly persists in rejecting the call of God's grace will die in an unforgiven state because he dies in his sins. But his sins and stubbornness could have been forgiven at any time" (Ketcherside, 105)
The statement in Matt 12:32, that this sin shall not be forgiven "in this age," means that it must be a sin that can be completed in this age, i.e., before death.
A rejection of Jesus Christ as God and Savior in the face of clear and convincing testimony by the Spirit. (This is why it is blasphemy of the Spirit.) Such rejection of Jesus Christ even though the mind KNOWS that Jesus is truly God and Savior.
A deliberate, verbal rejection of Jesus--which may or may not involve an actual mention of the Holy Spirit. Occult- Three stages to be initiated; Blaspheme against the Father, Blaspheme against Jesus the Son, Blaspheme against the Spirit
2 weeks ago we said that modern Holy Spirit miracles might be coming from Satan or demons
However, a sin that is so heinous as to be unforgivable must grow out of an exceptionally hard and sinful heart. Jesus makes this connection for us in the verses that follow His warning against Spirit- blasphemy in vs. 34-35.
Morris says, “It is plain that Jesus does not refer to the uttering of a few idle or slanderous words only. Jesus is referring to a whole attitude of life.”
how these two views interrelate
We must consider the state of mind that gives rise to this sin. Of importance here is the context in which Jesus first taught about the blasphemy against the Spirit. Jesus had just healed a deaf mute man by casting a demon out of him, leading the crowds to think of Him as the Messiah or Son of David. Vs. 24.
This is a sin that can be committed only in the context of an attitude of unbelief and open hostility toward Jesus. Faith healers, miracles workers today do not fall into this category.
Blasphemy against the HS is a sin that can be committed only by someone who refuses to accept Jesus as the divine Messiah, and who is deliberately trying to prevent others from accepting Jesus by openly attacking and opposing Him and by blaspheming or speaking evil against Him. Those who commit this sin are those who rebel against Christ openly, brazenly, and without any remorse.
Vs. 32a- Nothing that the Pharisees had done thus far had crossed the line between forgivable and unforgivable. Their hostile, open attacks on Jesus could be forgiven. Even attributing His miracles to the power of Satan could be forgiven.
What is the line, then, between the forgivable and the unforgivable? When do attacks upon Jesus become blasphemy against the HS?
When one knows in his heart that Jesus’ mission has been fully confirmed and authenticated by the power of the HS, but continues to reject Christ anyway. The Pharisees had not yet crossed that line. They did not know that Jesus’ power was from the HS. But from that point on, they had no excuse for not knowing this.
Jesus refutes, with logic, the Pharisees’ charge that He was using Satan’s power to cast out demons (vs. 25-27). He declares that he is doing it by “the Spirit of God.” They are warned
B against HS is a deliberate rejection of the HS testimony to Jesus while at the same time knowing that it is true. One scholar has said that this is not just a matter of doubting or simply denying the truth. It is a denial which goes against the conviction of the mind, against the enlightenment of the conscience, against the dictates of the heart.
When one understands that Jesus power comes from the HS, but continues to attack Jesus and attribute His power to Satan, this is blasphemy against the HS.
More than just “God giving them over to their sins” (Romans 1) and more than having consciences seared as with a hot iron (1 Timothy 4:2). These are steps on the road to blaspheme of the HS but this is not the final act of blaspheme. They know full well the mission and works of Jesus, the gospel, but attack it and stop others from accepting it.
Can this sin be committed today?
HS does not give the power to work miracles today. But does one have to witness a miracle to be convicted by its power? No. The Bible gives witness to the miracles. The power of the Word today in many ways is parallel to the power of the miracles Jesus himself performed. Both the Word and the miracles are the product of the power of the HS. One many commit the unpardonable sin today by deliberately, knowingly, and blasphemously rejecting the Word’s clear testimony to Jesus Christ.
Can a Christian commit this sin?
Some will say no because they believe in once saved, always saved.
However, many believe that one can fall from grace and are filled with spiritual agony because of something sinful they have done or some careless but blasphemous remark they uttered.
It is generally agreed that blasphemy against the Spirit cannot be committed by a Christian. A true Christian will never exhibit an open and hostile rejection of Jesus himself. 1 Corinthians 12:3: Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. Plan of salvation
“I am so worried I have committed this sin?” Ketcherside gives good advice: “A simplistic, but relatively safe, criterion is that anyone who is worried about having blasphemed the Spirit has not done so, for the kind of person Jesus described would never worry about it.”
But has anyone committed it today? Yes, but We should not judge others and say that they have committed this sin. Winter says, “Only God can read the hearts of men and tell when they have gone so far in their wicked insults to the Holy Spirit that they have indeed blasphemed the HS.”
Another scholar says that we cannot judge anyone, but he admonishes us to “warn those who are in sin, praying for them that they may escape such a terrible danger.”