Blaspheming the Spirit

“Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.” Matthew 12:31-32, NKJV

This passage we discussed at some length at a recent weekly Bible Study. It is both heart warming and spine chilling in equal measure. The Pharisees in a previous section have attributed the Lord Jesus’ power over demons to Beelzebub himself; a similar account in Mark 3 records an accusation that He was Himself possessed of an evil spirit. The text raises a number of questions, but chiefly: Why may one be forgiven for blaspheming Christ (‘the Son of Man’) but not the Holy Spirit, whose eternal substance and dignity are co-equal?

The differential is concerning their work rather than their persons. The Son came to seek and save that which was lost, not to condemn the world, but to save it. The Holy Spirit is allied to this mission, His role being to convict the world of sin. Those who deny Him and His work remain unconvicted, and therefore unrepentant and unforgiven. Thus, they are condemned, both now and in the world to come.

One can only recognise the Son of Man and His saving work by receiving the Spirit’s illumination and revelation. Rejecting His work, denying His power, slighting His office, is to condemn one to eternal separation from God. In the Christian, the Spirit’s work is received and appreciated; though before a conversion Christ was neglected, despised, or denied, the Holy Spirit softens the heart that it might call on His name and be converted.

Anyone who reads that text and fears they have blasphemed the Spirit need not tremble; consciousness of our sin and repentance thereof is evidence of regeneration and redemption. On the other hand, those who nonchalantly shrug, caring not about the gospel and Christ’s saving work, declare themselves to be unforgiven, unrepentant and unredeemed- or what we might deem blasphemers of the Holy Spirit.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen. 2 Corinthians 13:14