Monday, April 24, 2006

What is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit?

Here are three passages where Jesus speaks of the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit:

Matthew 12:31-32 (NIV)
12:31 “And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 12:32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”

Mark 3:28-30 (NIV)
3:28 “I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. 3:29 But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.” 3:30 He said this because they were saying, “He has an evil spirit.”

Luke 12:10 (NIV)
12:10 “And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.”

This can certainly be a confusing statement. It is a concept that people have wondered about for years. If we look at the context of these verses, for example Matthew 12:22-37, we can see that those who commit this sin are ascribing the work of the Holy Spirit to Satan. The Pharisees claimed that it was Beelzebub, or Satan, who drove the demons out rather than the Holy Spirit.

It is likely that the blasphemy against the Spirit is not a momentary sin, doubt, or isolated act but a pattern of hostility toward the Spirit and His testimony of Jesus Christ over the course of one’s lifetime. It is persistent opposition to the work of the Spirit. Forgiveness is mediated through the Holy Spirit so repeated rejection of the Spirit would leave one in an unforgiven state. Some have even said that the blasphemy against the Spirit “cannot be reproduced today, for it required Jesus’ presence on earth with His performing miracles through the Spirit’s power.” [L. Barbieri, Matthew in The Bible Knowledge Commentary, p.47.]

Many Bible teachers would say that if you are worried about committing the blasphemy against the Spirit, you likely have not committed this sin since your heart is sensitive to the matter. The one who would commit this sin would not likely be concerned about this warning. Please see
"I Fear I Have Committed the Unforgiveable Sin!" and "Can a True Believer Commit the Unforgivable Sin?" in the “Probe Answers E-Mail” archive for further reading.

By J. Wright


  1. Thanks for renting out my blog this next 7 days, Jeff. I see that you have a lot of content on your blog. Keep at it.

    I was actually just doing a word study on the Greek word for blasphemy and this topic came up. Blasphemy can be used in any time when one openly denies and/or slanders another, mainly through one's speech. In fact, there is never one specific example given of someone blasphemying without using their mouth.

    I agree with you that Blasphemy of the Spirit can mean to attach His works to Satan. However, Jesus doesn't leave it there. His phrase does not at all suggest that it is only limited to just assigning his works ot Satan.

    In order for blasphemy to occur, one must actively and directly oppose the one whom he or she is blasphemying. Thus, with blasphemy of the Spirit, one must openly, verbally, and directly oppose, deny, and slander the Spirit. Yet, even among the most hard hearted atheists, this rarely occurs. Call it grace or chance, I'm not sure why.

    I do disagree that this sin can not occur today. Jesus taught that he must leave so that "the Helper," "the Spirit of Truth," might come. There is no doubt that the Spirit was present in Christ's ministry, but the Spirit is "more" present after Christ ascended than it was before. The Spirit still works and moves and is present.

    I agree that if a person is repentant and sorrowful for their sins, this is evidenace that they have not committed this unforgivable sin.

    Many have tried to explain this passage away because of uncomfortable it is by nature...and part of me doesn't blaim them. Yet, the most common-sense explaination of this passage is what I've just described.

    Thanks again, Jeff. If you ever are considering getting a template for your blog, check out my other blog, Pablo's Designs.

  2. Awesome post. I know someone close to me that feels this is an issue and this helps me to help them.

  3. Sorry guys. I had a problem with comments and I am just now reading these.

    "I see that you have a lot of content on your blog. Keep at it."

    Thanks for the kind words.

    "I know someone close to me that feels this is an issue and this helps me to help them."

    That's really great. Thanks for letting me know that.