INTRODUCTION: Last week we looked at the relationship that we have with the Holy Spirit, in how He manifests Himself in the lives of His people, both past and present, where we explored the “falling,” (OT) of the Spirit, the “indwelling” (NT) of the Spirit, and the “baptism” (NT) of the Spirit. This week we conclude our series by looking at how we can and do respond to the Holy Spirit…
BACKGROUND: There are numerous responses we can have to the Holy Spirit; (1) We can “love” the Holy Spirit (Luke 10:27) (2) We can “follow” the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:16) (3) We can “worship” (Matthew 4:10) the Holy Spirit. On the other side of the spectrum, (1) we can “resist” the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:51) (2) We can “quench” the Holy Spirit (1st Thessalonians 5:19) (3) we can “grieve” the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30) (4) we can “quiet” the Holy Spirit (Zechariah 6:8) (5) we can “insult” the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 10:29) and then we have the most “mysterious” and “confusing,” and just plain “frightening” response (because it carries the stiffest penalty) we can “blaspheme” the Holy Spirit! (Matthew 12:30)
THE UNPARDONABLE SIN – WHAT WE OFTEN THINK IT IS
• Murder – this coming from the 10 commandments, where God directly says “thou shall not” commit murder. The argument is that since man is made in the image of God, the taking of anthers life is so heinous that God won’t forgive us
• It’s true that there is nothing so revolting in this life than the death of a child of God at the hands of another, yet man’s inhumanity to man has been recorded for us since Cain killed Able, and never has such an action – evil as it is, ever bee unforgivable
• If that were truly the case, then three of Scriptures most loved characters, not to mention prolific writers Moses, David, and Paul would be eternally lost!
• Suicide – This is the one that I hear most often when it comes to the unpardonable sin.
• I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve had this discussion with people; the argument typically goes like this… “so and so committed suicide, and they are now in hell because suicide is a sin, and since their now dead that sin can’t be forgiven”
• This idea is just plain wrong on so many points, but because of its prevalence in our society, and even the church we’ll take time to unpack it
• Suicide is, in effect, self-murder, and the unfortunate thing about it is that the one who commits it cannot repent of it, and the consequences of it are permanent
• While death is permanent murderers can and have been forgiven… we see it all over scripture… Moses, David, Paul that we considered earlier
• While the singular sin of murder, or in this case self-murder is un-repented of, how many other sins are un-repented of when an individual dies?
• We must remember that being “under grace” and covered by the “blood” of Jesus means just that! – or else we’d never do anything in life but “repent”
• Blasphemy – the word comes from the Greek blasphçma which means to “speak against” God or the things of God, or the actions of God
• Though we’re dealing a specifically New Testament issue, the concept of blasphemy is as old as time itself – and it carried the stiffest of all penalties “death” (Leviticus 24:11)
• Though related, “blasphemy,” and “blasphemy against the Sprit” aren’t the same animal
• Saul (Paul) freely admits to being a “blasphemer” (and murderer) and he was forgiven (1st Timothy 1:12-13) – not only “forgiven” but “commissioned”
• We also read that Paul handed over to Satan (let them go their own way) Hymenaeus and Alexander so they would learn not to blaspheme – whether they repented or not we’ll never know, but Paul’s actions weren’t about “damnation” but “restoration!” (1st Timothy 1:19-20)
THE ISSUE IN PROPER CONTEXT
• In order to explain this sin fully, a look at the context of the statement is critical. While Mark (3) and Luke (12) also record this event, Matthew’s account offers the most detail concerning the setting in which Jesus’ statement was made
• Matthew 12:22-32 – Pharisaic opposition to Jesus comes to a head!
A demon-possessed man who was blind and mute was brought to Jesus, and He healed the man
• All the crowds were amazed and started saying “could this be the son of David?” i.e. Messiah
• This was a question that the Pharisees couldn’t and wouldn’t tolerate (it was too threatening) so they level an accusation against Jesus – a serious accusation ; Jesus is an agent of the devil
• They are leveling the charge that Jesus is “Satan incarnate,” instead of “God incarnate!”
• A verbal accusation “blasphemy” against Father (Who sent) Son (Who acted) and Holy Spirit (Who empowered) and this action gives us a clear explanation of what “Blasphemy against the Spirit” is
• Simply stated, blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is verbally attributing the miracles of Jesus (brought through the power of the Holy Spirit) to Beelzebub; to Satan himself
CAN WE COMMIT THIS SIN?
• The question can and must be asked… can we today commit this “very intentional” and “eternally damning” of all sins?
• Opinions on this question certainly vary, and scholars seem to be divided in their positions, I know this because over the past week I’ve read many of them…
• The evidence, however, seems to point toward the idea that this sin cannot be committed today
• Here are the reasons I draw such a conclusion (your conclusion may be different)
• (1 )The circumstances under which the sin is described cannot prevail today, due to the fact that the age of miracles (brought by God through the hands of men) has ceased. This is not to say that God doesn’t work miracles today!
• (2) There is no other mention of this sin in any biblical passage outside the single occurrence recorded for us in the Gospels
• (3) None of the inspired New Testament writers (post-Calvary) ever refer to this sin, none offer warnings to new converts about avoiding this sin, leading us to draw the conclusion that it was an Old Covenant issue, specific to the physical “presence” of Jesus, and directed “specifically” to Him!
CONCLUSION: It is true, great multitudes are going into eternity in rebellion against God to be finally and eternally lost; but it is for rejecting and neglecting pardon graciously extended in the Gospel while they live, not because they have committed some unpardonable sin. Salvation is available, have you accepted it today? If not… why wait?