Now THAT’s a Good Question!

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.”

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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.

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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!!

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3 thoughts on “Now THAT’s a Good Question!

  1. Rodney Wimberly says:

    Thank you for making clear something I’m sure has clouded many of us.

  2. Ralph Paisley says:

    You are right on, Paator Matt. Context is everything. Good word for lots of folks.

  3. Charles G. McAllen says:

    Indeed, I agree completely. There is no need to worry over this matter, even if the interpretation is incorrect. The Grace of God is endless and knows our hearts, and surely would forgive us even this sin, if we were true to Him.

    The quenching of the Spirit in 1 Thessalonians 5:19 (not “grievance” of the Holy Spirit; Ephesians 4:30), or the outing of the Fire of the Spirit may be possible. This would mean a revocation of the “promised” Spirit, but promised under the condition of not quenching Him (the Holy Spirit is God, no less important than Jesus Christ Who is, too, God) via Blasphemy of the Spirit of our Lord. Jesus is not the only person Who is Authorized by God’s Will to perform Works of the Spirit, as any of us by faith and according to His Will, alone, can do the same (John 14:12). If anyone, then, prophecies (1 Corinthians 14:1,38,39), for instance, even if one has the interpretation that this can be done only in the End Times (Acts 2:18), it would still be conscientious to be wary of not denying any Work of the Spirit of God: for they are of God and visibly Powerful.

    The one who denies what is plain to see, hear, or perceive by the human senses in response to the Holy Spirit’s Works would essentially deny both God (the Holy Spirit) and the human spirit within. The severity of the sin is derived from the fact that we knew the Truth, but blatantly denied this Truth to God’s Face: yes, God would MOST certainly be very, Very justified to declare this a greater sin than all other sins!

    If the Holy Spirit within us causes us to be concerned over this matter, it is because there is reason to be concerned – but not worried. God is loving and a graceful God, but He’s also not a wuss. Just because His Son redeemed us of our sins by His blood doesn’t erase the fact that there is a sin that leads to death (1 John 5:16). In Luke 1:18-20, Zacharias, a righteous man, sinned and was inflicted a great punishment for even “doubting” what was of God’s Word through the Angel Gabriel (NASB: “19 I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news … 20 because you did not believe my words”). It is clear, here, that when God Speaks through the Spirit and allows one to prophecy; to even “doubt” the validity of the prophecy would be a sin for the Believer or non-Believer, alike. However, the sin was directed at a specific Work of God, qualify as Blasphemy of the Spirit (God is still 1 God – 3 Persons). However, on the bright side: look how the Grace of God did indeed restore Zacharias’ speech! He displayed faith in God, and so effectively forgave and pardoned him, in the same Ch. verse 63! In conclusion then, as stated at first, we need not worry over this matter – but be wary. And if still in doubt regarding this matter, remember Zacharias and God’s Grace on him, and ask sincere forgiveness (The Model Prayer). Take courage in our Lord’s love for us all, brothers and sisters!

    This is only my humble interpretation, but I pray was inspired by the Holy Spirit. Grace, joy, and peace to all here, including our respected Pastor. In Jesus’ Name, Glory to God. Amen.

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