“And I say to you, everyone who confesses Me before men, the Son of Man will confess him also before the angels of God; but he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him.Luke 12:8-10
Now we come to a problematic verse. What is the meaning and context of the statement: “And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him.” We had better try to understand this verse because a lot is riding on it. It seems there is one “unforgivable sin”. So we had better work out what it is before we commit it.
Let’s investigate the building blocks first.
Examine the Scriptural references to “blaspheming the Holy Spirit” or “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit”.
So I tell you, every sin and blasphemy can be forgiven—except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which will never be forgiven.Matthew 12:31
I tell you the truth, all sin and blasphemy can be forgiven,Mark 3:28
but anyone who blasphemes the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven. This is a sin with eternal consequences.Mark 3:29
And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him.Luke 12:10
And he spoke terrible words of blasphemy against God, slandering His name and His dwelling—that is, those who dwell in heaven.Revelation 13:6
The definition from
blasphemeo – to vilify; specifically tospeakimpiously, defame, rail on, revile, speak evil.
to speak reproachfully, rail at, revile, calumniate, blaspheme, speak evil of
E-Sword’s ISBE (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)
- (blasphemy): In classical Greek meant primarily “defamation” or “evil-speaking” in general; “a word of evil omen,” hence, “impious, and irreverent speech against God.”
- Old Testament – Blasphemy is always in word or deed, injury, dishonor and defiance offered to God, and its penalty is death by stoning;
- New Testament – blasphemy can mean toprofess faith and living unworthily of it. Speaking against a heathen goddess. Uttering impious words (Rev_13:1,Rev_13:5,Rev_13:6;Rev_16:9,Rev_16:11,Rev_16:21;
- Rev_17:3);unworthy conduct of Jews (Rom_2:24) and Christians (1Ti_6:1;Tit_2:5),alleged to be usurping the authority of God (Mat_9:3=Mar_2:7=Luk_5:21), claiming to be the Messiah, the son of God (Mat_26:65=
- Mar_14:64), or making Himself God (Joh_10:33,Joh_10:36).
The Unpardonable Sin
Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit:As in the Old Testament “to sin with a high hand” and to blaspheme the name of God incurred the death penalty, so the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit remains the one unpardonable sin. In Mt and Mk a particular case of this blasphemy is the allegation of the Pharisees that Jesus Christ casts out devils by Beelzebub. The general idea is that to attribute to an evil source, acts which are clearly those of the Holy Spirit, to call good evil, is blasphemy against the Spirit, and sin that will not be pardoned. “A distinction is made between Christ’s other acts and those which manifestly reveal the Holy Spirit in Him, and between slander directed against Him personally as He appears in His ordinary acts, and that which is aimed at those acts in which the Spirit is manifest”. Luke does not refer to any particular instance, and seems to connect it with the denial of Christ, although he, too, gives the saying that “who shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven.” But which of Christ’s acts are not acts of the Holy Spirit, and how therefore is a word spoken against Him, not also blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? John identifies the Holy Spirit with the exalted Christ (Joh_14:16-18, Joh_14:26, Joh_14:28).
Plummer suggests blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is “Constant and consummate opposition to the influence of the Holy Spirit, because of a deliberate preference of darkness to light, render repentance and therefore forgiveness morally impossible.” A similar idea is taught in Heb_6:4-6, and 1Jo_5:16: “A sin unto death.” But the natural meaning of Christ’s words implies an inability or unwillingness to forgive on the Divine side rather than inability to repent in man. Anyhow the abandonment of man to eternal condemnation involves the inability and defeat of God. The only alternative seems to be to put this idea among the human limitations which Christ assumed when He became flesh. It is less difficult to ascribe a limit to Jesus Christ’s knowledge than to God’s saving grace.
There is much debate about the meaning of blaspheming the Holy Spirit among the experts. We will investigate that tomorrow.
… the worst possible heritage to leave with children: high spiritual pretensions and low performance.D A Carson
The deadliest Pharisaism today is not hypocrisy, but unconscious unreality.Oswald Chambers
When you say you agree with a thing in principle you mean that you have not the slightest intention of carrying it out in practice.Otto von Bismarck
It is easier to fight for one’s principles than to live up to them.Alfred Adler