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
This knotty problem is one of interpretation. What does “blaspheming the Holy Spirit” mean and why is the punishment for it so severe? The context of this difficult verse always helps us to determine the meaning of what was said. From the verses I gave you over two days ago, and repeated yesterday, you will see that the context of the verse in Mark stems from verse 3:22 – the teachers of religious law who had arrived from Jerusalem said, “He’s possessed by Satan, the prince of demons. That’s where He gets the power to cast out demons.” The same is true of the use of this verse in Matthew. The same incident is recorded in Matthew, so the root cause to elicit the response from Jesus was the same statement as in Mark 3:22. “He’s possessed by Satan . . . that’s where He gets the power to cast out demons.” said by the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees no less.
The passage in Luke is a little more problematic because Luke doesn’t have the verse of blaspheming the Holy Spirit in the same context. What have they done that is so bad in Luke’s context to cause Jesus to make that statement? For that, I believe we need to go back to what started all this opposition between Jesus and the pharisees and teachers of the Law. This long section started with them asking for a sign. They were being contrary. They didn’t want a sign at all. They were playing games instead. They knew full well they had seen the signs that were predicted in the Old Testament. But they refused to acknowledge it. So they asked for a sign, when all the time they didn’t want one. In doing that they masked God’s glory.
I find it interesting in the context of writing the Gems, that when I deal with these difficult-to-understand passages and quote from the commentaries, there is a marked drop-off in responses to the Gems. I believe there are two reasons. Firstly, the commentaries are often hard to understand, especially for non-native speakers of English. Secondly, the topic seems to be a harsh statement of Jesus which takes time to work out. Most of us just side-slip the issue and hope it will go away. But as I said two days ago, we had better take the time to work this one out. If there is an unforgivable sin, isn’t it better for us to find out what it is, so we don’t commit the unpardonable sin?
Note, in both contexts, the Pharisees comments are thick with pretense. That is who they were deep down, nothing but pretense; going through the motions for show. But they stepped over the line when they attributed the signs Jesus was doing, to the power of satan. They stepped over the line again, when they asked for a sign that Jesus is Messiah, when they knew full well who He is, because He was fulfilling everything word for word of what Isaiah prophesied about the Coming of Messiah. The Pharisees and the experts in the Law, of all people, should have known. This response of Jesus in Luke 12, is the proof that they did know. It brought the strongest condemnation of them. They were blaspheming the Holy Spirit of God. Playing with truth for the sake of their own sense of importance and honour. In so doing, they demonstrated they were willing to sacrifice the honour and the glory of God, for their own honour and glory (reputation).
As I quoted Clarke’s commentary yesterday, “sincere people are troubled to think that they may have committed the unpardonable sin. But no one who believes in the Divine mission of Christ (God’s purpose in sending Jesus for our salvation) could ever commit this sin. This sin is not just the uttering of words. It is a life orientation. A deep, deep wanton and deliberate act of blasphemy against God and His work in and through the Holy Spirit, manifested in the Son of God when He walked the earth.” The culmination of all that the Old Testament taught. For those who were experts in the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings of the Old Testament, to turn around and throw it all back in God’s face (Jesus) by attributing His work to the devil just because of their own willful pride and refusal to repent, sealed their fate. “It is a despiteful (I would call it spiteful and despicable) usage of the Spirit of grace denying the work done by Christ.” (Gill)
These Pharisees, who ought to have known better, thought they could reject God’s particular way of salvation laid down in Christ (the Messiah), and yet still enjoy His favour in the end. Their conscious rejection of the saving power and grace of God, removed any possibility of Divine forgiveness, then or forever. Their actions were reprehensible. I have never known anyone who adopted that stand against God or His Christ or His Holy Spirit. That is sin on a level that is mind blowing.
Many blaspheme the name of Christ. When they do that, they don’t know what they are doing.The devil has attempted to make THE NAME that is above EVERY NAME of no worth. Hence people with no religious background or even who follow religions opposed to Christian teaching use Jesus’ name as a swear word. Those who are Christians would not do that. I have heard those who claimed they were Christian doing that but I seriously doubt they were followers of Christ. But as Jesus said, even blasphemy against the Son of Man could be forgiven. But to do what the Pharisees did, and in so doing, set themselves against the total plan of God for salvation, defies imagination. This is the deepest, most depraved sin coming from those who should have known better. That is apostasy of the highest level. For that sin there is no forgiveness.
Don’t worry, you could never inadvertently fall into “blaspheming the Holy Spirit”. It is not a verbal thing, it is a willful, spiteful, degrading of the purpose of God and then giving the glory of what God is doing to satan. It is the ultimate insult to the things of God. You can’t just do it by accident. You would have made many steps of rebellion before committing the act of blaspheming the Holy Spirit.
Man’s insulting God is not reversed by our insulting man.Sinclair Ferguson
How can I clearly see what’s wrong with someone else, and then look at myself as though I’m standing in front of a fogged mirror?Jarod Kintz
The difference between my sins and theirs is that when I sin I know I’m sinning while they had actually fallen prey to their own fabricated illusions.C Joybell C.
He does not believe that does not live according to his belief.Sigmund Freud