“Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men” (Matthew 12:31)
What is blasphemy of the Holy spirit?
To understand what blasphemy of the Holy Spirit means, first we need to understand what the following words mean:
· Holy Spirit
What is blasphemy?
· To disrespect God and sacred things.
· To perform actions in such a way that it violates the religious sanctity of sacred things.
· To defame God in an extreme manner.
Blasphemy is usually used in the context of biblical studies. It is found in the Old Testaments and New Testaments. The word is rooted in every form of religion.
What is the Holy Spirit?
In Christianity, Holy Spirit means the following things:
· God’s existence on earth
· God’s appearance on earth
· God in the shape of a spirit
· Third person of the Holy Trinity
· An agent of God – to communicate with people on the earth
What is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit in Christianity?
In Christianity, intentionally speaking in an evil manner against God and claiming what is false. Blasphemy includes deceit, lies and false impressions. it is the act of saying what is false to be true. There is heavy punishment for those people who commit blasphemy.
The idea of ‘blasphemy against the Spirit’ is repeated several times throughout the Holy Bible. Some places where blasphemy is mentioned in the Bible:
· The Second commandment
” You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain”
The use of God’s name uselessly is prohibited according to the second commandment.
In regard to the Catholic teaching, the second commandment allows the use of God’s name while taking a true oath supervised by a legitimate authority.
Whereas, lying under oath, taking God’s name for magical purposes and speaking in defiance of God are considered blasphemy.
· Matthew 12:31
“ Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men”
The basic form of blasphemy involves speaking evil about God. Meaning that the tongue of a blasphemer is the sinner. The sin does not involve actions but rather words and the thought process of the blasphemer.
From Matthew 12:31 it is concluded that other types of sins and blasphemy which involve actions are forgivable. Whereas, the sin which involve speaking ill of the Holy Spirit is unforgivable. Denying of Christ and talking against Him is an unforgivable blasphemy.
· Luke 12:10
“And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but to him that blasphemes against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven”
Here, the Holy Ghost is another name of the Holy Spirit.
To speak against the Son of man, i.e. Jesus himself, is written as a forgivable sin. A sin that can be repented through prayers, regret and following the right path eventually
But to speak against the Holy Spirit, i.e. God, is an unpardonable sin.
· Mark 3:29
“But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of eternal sin”
Here, eternal sin means an unpardonable or unforgivable sin.
· Leviticus 24:16
“Whoever blasphemes the name of the LORD shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall stone him. The sojourner as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death.”
In this verse, the following points are made clear for better understanding:
Blaspheme in the name of the Lord is a grave sin.
Those who commit this sin shall be ‘put to death’
Everyone assembled in the church for religious prayer ‘shall stone him’, meaning that they will punish the offender together
Even if the blasphemer has temporarily come in that region or is a residing member of that region, he shall be sentenced the corporal punishment.
Understanding the context behind the verses
It may seem complicated to understand the verses describing the concepts of ‘unpardonable sins’ and ‘eternal sins’. But to understand them completely, the context can be taken into account.
For example, let’s take Mark 3:29 and understand it with the story behind it:
Jesus was speaking particularly about the complaints of the scribes and Pharisees. This was when Jesus mentioned the ‘eternal sin’. The scribes and Pharisees witnessed the power of Jesus on a first-hand account. They saw how Jesus healed a demon-possessed man. Yet they made comments of the nature like, “It is only Beelzebul” and “By the prince of demons he cast out demons”.
Even after witnessing the miracle, the scribes and Pharisees chose to reject the Holy Spirit revealed in Jesus Christ. They associated Jesus’ works to the workings of the devil. They didn’t doubt what they had seen. Neither had they denied it. But by deliberate choice they evilly gave a different and cruel sense to what they had seen with their eyes.
Here, we can understand that the scribes from Jerusalem aimed to criticize Jesus’ works.
They did not seek help or refuge in the name of the Lord.
They had no intention of rationally seeking out Jesus’ teachings.
They also did not care enough to find out about what His intention was or what His actions were. Instead, they had wickedly made their minds to berate Jesus.
It can be understood that people who have a fixed mindset of this kind deserve punishment. The belief of criticizing or finding fault within the working of the Holy Spirit will definitely bring about eternal sin on themselves.
Unforgivable sins and those who commit it
In Christianity, sin is an evil act committed by a human. It breaches the reasonable nature of man. And also oversteps the God’s nature and His eternal law. St. Augustine of Hippo describes sin as “a word, deed, or desire in opposition to the eternal law of God”. Whereas, the scripture describes it as “sin is the transgression of the law”.
In Christianity, the belief of sin is a dominant theme. Since the basic essence is about redemption in Christ, sin is also divided into different themes. Like, according to the person who is committing it, the reason why the sin is being committed and to whom the sin is being committed to.
So the sin of blasphemy is branded as an unforgivable sin. What makes this sin so unforgivable is the reason behind committing this sin. Since the blasphemer has no intention of redemption and carries no regret, the sin becomes unpardonable. The sin becomes unforgivable because the sinner knows what they are doing and yet they choose to keep doing it and persist upon it. The heart hardens so much that they are unable to repent. They become null and become impotent to go down the way of forgiveness. The way which includes confession, repentance and belief in the Christ.
The death of Jesus would suffice to liberate them. But their unconditional envy, impotency and inability to see reason takes them down the path of irreversible damage. There is no sin which is considered excessively great. Whoever confesses and repents is forgiven. There does not exist a sin that outdoes the virtue of Christ’s payment on the cross. But the sin of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit invokes no forgiveness. This is because the blasphemer does not turn away from it making the forgiveness unfeasible.
Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is the intentional rejection of the Lord’s work. The incidental evil thought or resentment towards God does not count in as blasphemy. Although it is a sin, but the fact that it is not persevering and purposeful deems it to a forgivable sin.
The unpardonable sin in today’s time is the continuous state of disbelief. The act of sticking to the same thought of disbelief and denying all the signs of the Lord. Watching all the signs unfold right before the eyes and yet choosing to stray away from it. This act makes the disbelief a sin and the sinner unpardonable. Also, forgiveness is not given to a person of this age or any age for that matter. Whoever denies the Holy Spirit’s reminders to put their trust in Jesus Christ and then dies as a disbeliever.
Now that it has been understood what is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, a question may arise for Christians about committing this unforgivable sin. No believing Christian entail in the fear that the unforgiveable sin has been committed by him. In reality, Christians believe in the Christ and the works of the Holy Spirit made through the Christ. Even thinking about this question requires such a sentimentality in the believer’s heart so as to prove that the heart hasn’t hardened to God.
Even though the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit does not present itself as a danger for now, the hardening of the heart does. Remembering the warnings and persuasions from the author of Hebrews must always be in our mind.
“Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken through angels proved to be so firm that every violation or disobedience received its penalty,
how will we escape if we neglected such great salvation?
It was first communicated through the Lord and was confirmed to us by those who heard him,
while God confirmed their witness with signs and wonders and various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.”