What does it mean to blaspheme the Holy Spirit?
This question came to me recently from someone who had recently read Matthew 12:22-32. The question was asked based on what Jesus said in verses 31 – 32: “Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 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.”
The one asking the question was fearful of having done this very thing.
I quickly assured this person they weren’t alone. Many people get anxious having read this verse. For some, it even plagues them.
So, what does it mean?
It always helps to look at the context. Context is everything. Knowing what is going on in the passage makes all the difference in the world and will keep you from making a lot of interpretation errors.
A careful reading of the passage reveals Jesus casting demons out of a demon-possessed man. Onlookers are amazed and think Jesus may be the Christ. The religious leaders, however, have none of it. They quickly tell the people that obviously Jesus is of the devil because only by the power of the devil that anyone can cast out demons. Jesus then quickly talks of how ridiculous that is – to say the devil cast demons out of people – why in the world would he do that? Jesus continues to say that only someone stronger than the devil himself could cast out one with demonic power and possession.
In other words, after Jesus heals the demon-possessed man, he makes the case that only God could have done that; and, since Jesus did do it, the kingdom of God was among them.
The point? The only thing that makes sense of the miracle is that Jesus is God and the promised Messiah who has come into the world.
If you deny the fact that Jesus is the Messiah and the Son of God – you will not have forgiveness or eternal life.
If you embrace the fact that Jesus is the Messiah and the Son of God – you will be forgiven and live forever.
Now back up a bit and read what Matthew recorded about Jesus in Matthew 12:15-21. Did you notice what God said he would do to His Servant (Jesus) in verse 18 (a quote from Isaiah 42:1-3)? He said He would put His Spirit on Jesus.
Translation: The works Jesus did would verify – by the power of the Spirit – that He was indeed the Christ.
So – get this now – if you see Jesus do a miraculous work (i.e., cast demons out of a man) and attribute it to Him being the Messiah – you are glorifying the Spirit’s work in Jesus. However, if you deny or reject Jesus’ work being the work of God, you are speaking against (blaspheming) the Spirit.
So, when Jesus says whoever blasphemes or speaks against the Spirit will not be forgiven and will not have eternal life – he means (based on the context here) those who deny Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. The sin that will not be forgiven, in other words, is the sin of rejecting or denying Jesus as the Christ. The Spirit of God testifies that Jesus is indeed God’s Son. If we reject Jesus as this, we are speaking against the Holy Spirit.
The sin of “blaspheming the Holy Spirit” has nothing to do with saying a curse word in front of the Holy Spirit’s name or title (though I wouldn’t advise it!). In the context of this passage – it is clear that Jesus is telling the religious leaders (and us) that rejecting Jesus as God’s Son is blaspheming the Spirit. Doing this, then, cannot be forgiven.
If you believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God – God’s means of salvation for the world – YOU ARE AND WILL BE FORGIVEN FOREVER!!!!!!!! The Spirit of God revealed this to you and you are not “speaking against” Him. In fact, proclaiming and believing in the reality of who Jesus is is a means of glorifying the Holy Spirit!!!!
Stop letting Satan beat you up over this and rob you of your joy that was purchased by the Jesus you believe in so strongly!!