Monday, October 14, 2013

If You Do That, There Will Be Hell To Pay!

What is the "Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit" that the Bible speaks of?  I have heard many different definitions preached but none of them agree.  Is there a single definition that the Bible teaches that we can all be settled with?

This is a great question.  I cannot tell you how many times I have been asked this question over the last two decades of ministry.  I wish I could tell you that my answer has always been the same.  Early in ministry, I tended to go with what I was taught by my pastors ... which you would think would be safe ... but as I have learned, pastors often, to our admission, find ourselves repeating things we thought we knew for ourselves only to find it flawed.  This is why we should always be questioning our positions and taking questions from those we minister before.  Without challenge, we only develop ruts.

The phrase, "Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit," comes from the following scriptures:

Mat 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. 32  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. 

Mark 3:28  "Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; 29  but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation"—

Luke 12:10  "And anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but to him who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven. 

In the past, I have always answered the questions asked of me ... which I am always ready to do.  But the goal behind this blog was to open a dialogue for everyone, including yours truly, to have the opportunity to learn.  As I stated before, my position on this has changed over the years ... and what do you do when the experts disagree?  Well, I say you get them talking.  So I am going to change the format a little ... I would like to know your positions on this vague set of scriptures, that are never expounded on again in any teaching directly in the Bible.

I do ask you to do this ... put aside what you have been taught.  Look at the whole context of what is going on.  Apply your conjectures to scriptural laws ... one cannot undo another.  Remember, there are no flawed scriptures, only the interpretations thereof.  Do not allow yourselves to get drawn into heated debate ... simply state your positions.  I am very interested in your thoughts.  In a couple of days I will release my answer ... and if you know anything about me, I always have one.

So ... it's been a few days ... here goes:

Blasphemy literally means to intentionally slander or speak against.  It derives from the literal to provide false testimony in order to injure the reputation of... So blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is to intentionally speak against the work of the Holy Spirit knowing it to be truly Him.

When the Jewish leaders in this case accused Jesus, they did so spitefully.  They knew what He had done and they knew whose authority He was doing these miracles in.  They accused Him of the worst of evils to intentionally slander Him.  They were sick of the attention He was getting.  Jesus' response to His accusers was a perfect gut punch.  Under Mosaic Law, which they would have known verbatim, there was one category of sins for which there was no sacrifice ... presumptuous sins.

Num 15:30  'But the person who does anything presumptuously, whether he is native-born or a stranger, that one brings reproach on the LORD, and he shall be cut off from among his people.  31  Because he has despised the word of the LORD, and has broken His commandment, that person shall be completely cut off; his guilt shall be upon him.' " 

It is important to remember that He was speaking under the Old Covenant.  We like to throw this verse around as a threat under the New Covenant.  This mindset causes the borderline insanity people face when confronting the supposed prophetic.  If someone speaks a word of knowledge by the spirit and it is embarrassing .. and you lie .. say it's not true .. there's no repentance granted??  That would seem a major contradiction to the finished work of the cross.

1Jn 1:9  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 

So ... all must mean all.  Remember, there are no contradictions or flaws in scripture, only in their interpretations.

So is there a New Testament parallel?  Well, first of all ... the world will be judged under the Original (Old) Covenant.  The Law is what all peoples will be judged by.  The just shall live by faith (Rom 1:17, Gal 3:11, Heb 10:38)... bc it is our faith that caused us to accept Jesus as our payment for accepting our guilty verdict ... under the Law, justice has been met for our sin.  Our sin is still sin ... but it is paid for.  So it is still very relevant.  The Bible teaches us that no one can confess their sin unless convicted by the Holy Spirit (John 16:7-15).

John 16:8  And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 

It is therefore completely agreeable for me to believe that when a sinner denies the convicting work of the Holy Spirit, that sinner will then be left with no hope for Salvation ... and to die without responding to that work would leave the sinner ruined in his sins ... hopeless.  We see this all throughout history.  People passively or violently rejecting the Gospel message ... people in rebellion to God and to the voice of His Spirit ... denying His godhood, blaspheming His Spirit.

How can a person enter into Heaven unless that person confess his or her sin and receive the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  If that person closes the only Voice that shows us our sin, than what other hope is there?

This is why we are to pray for the lost.

So can a believer blaspheme the Holy Spirit?

I have a much more important question (yes, I'm answering a question with a question!): Why would any believer slander the Holy Spirit ... what would be the purpose of that?  I think situations like 1 John 5:16-17 and 1 Cor 5:11-13 have some relevance here.  Both are situations where people who define themselves as Christians but are walking in rebellion towards God ... that would, at a minimum, demand some level of a hardened heart towards the sin convicting work of the Holy Spirit.

So is that believer damned?  1 Cor 5:5 says no.  Remember, under grace, there is no sin ... no unrighteousness ... that is excluded in the word "all" in 1 John 1:9.  If we confess our sin, He will forgive our sin and cleanse all unrighteousness.

Therefore, logically I say, yes, a believer can blaspheme the Holy Spirit .. but by the infinite love of God's goodness and grace can find his or her way back through Jesus.

That's my take anyways.

Don't be confused.  LEARN STUFF!!!
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  1. If you go by the context clues of the scriptures, it means to talk negatively about the Holy Spirit. To put down or down grade the Spirit of GOD.

  2. When researching the origin of the word 'blasphemy' I discovered the word 'slander' , which means to make false statements about a person which can harm his/her reputation. After carefully reading and pondering each verse, this is my conclusion: It is referring to those who deny Jesus, to those who reject him. Eternal condemnation is eternity spent in hell, right? I believe the verses are specifically calling out those who refuse to accept that Jesus is who he is. It also gives the consequences for not believing; conscientiously refusing to believe. Thus resulting in an unforgivable sin. Destination: Hell

    I am no Biblical scholar nor am I certified in Biblical Studies, but that is my answer. Hope I'm at least close to being correct. :)

  3. Yes, blasphemy requires the intentional purpose to slander ... consider who Jesus was speaking to, where, when, and for what purpose ... consider what we learn later concerning the fullness of His sacrifice ... there is much to be brought in when trying to apply this definition to the New Testament Church ... there are Christians who are scared to death of blaspheming the Holy Spirit to the point of paralysis ... not necessarily a bad idea but are we supposed to live in torment?

  4. Thank you for your thoughts ... forgot to say that!!

  5. He was being accused of having Satan as His source of power, of actually being under the lordship of Satan. So attributing the work of the Holy Spirit to the power of Satan is the blasphemy in view here. Right? So anyone who makes the final decision that Jesus was a fake, a liar, a deceiver because the spirit within Him and empowering Him was Satan and not God the Holy Spirit would also be rejecting the ministry of the Holy Spirit that leads unto eternal salvation. Right?

  6. Questions to ponder: did those who accused Him know beyond all doubt the truth of who He was ... and ... what was their purpose to accuse ...finally ... under what covenant was He speaking?

    1. Let's see... The Jews of that day had a misunderstanding concerning what their Messiah would do once He came. But they sent out committees to see if He was legit in His claims to be the Messiah, and He was indeed offering them the Messianic/Millennial Kingdom and performing all the miracles they said the Messiah would and could.

      But He disapproved of their (The Jewish leadership) witness, knew that most of them were not even seeking true righteousness, and told them so publicly. Since Jesus was influencing some of His listeners to return to Biblical standards of righteousness,which was a threat to the Jewish leadership, and since they could not regain their dignity by besting Him, they wanted Him dead. Tho' He claimed to be God, forgave sin with did divine acts, did miracles that showed at the very least God the Holy Spirit was with Him, they thought they could kill Him for making Himself equal to God. So I would say they most definitely did not know they had God in their midst.
      Yet they also knew Jesus had proven well that He was their Messiah. They did know Scripture taught God was their King and yet said they had no King but Caesar so Jesus would be killed.
      So I also say they should have known who He was but since they did not respect/fear God they deliberately killed their own Messiah in a blind rage of hatred.

      Now, I thought what they lost was the Messianic Kingdom occurring in their day and brought upon themselves divine judgement on the land, Jerusalem, and the Temple to show God no longer would be in their midst as His chosen nation until they repented as a nation and asked Jesus as their Messiah to return..

      Having said all of that, I still don't get the distinction of blaspheming the Holy Spirit bringing on eternal inability to receive forgiveness... unless that GENERATION sealed their fate as a NATION and so they went into divine discipline as a NATION because as individuals, Christ's death was a divine appointment and guaranteed forgiveness to all who turned to Him for this precious gift of God. So some, tho' realizing their sin and were granted forgiveness, still all went as part of the NATION, again even the faithful ones, under divine discipline as a nation.

      They were under the Mosaic Covenant. The New Covenant had not been instituted yet. That is why He kept fulfilling the Law and pointing out to them that the very Law they wrongly claimed to obey was their judge that they were not obeying the Law God gave them. And they were totally missing the mark of true righteousness, etc, etc.

      Am I right?

  7. Wow ... the thing is ... no one really can say ... THIS is it. I like your thoughts ... they cause me to think. Hence my nerve to attempt this post. I have added my thoughts .. and look forward to others. I am hoping to soon hear from a certain Messianic teacher and gain some insight on some of these very obscure texts.

    Thank you for your thoughts .. as always I appreciate and encourage them!