Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit

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This is the first post in an on-going series on Difficult Passages in the Bible.  What makes a passage difficult?  Well, when it isn’t explained very well in the context and there isn’t much to cross reference it with you end up with a myriad of interpretations out there.  Some are very good and some not so much.  I believe we have a degree of Christian Liberty in interpreting such passages as long as we stay consistent with the full council of scripture.

If you have read more than one or two of my blog posts you know that I frequently say we should read the Bible and believe what it plainly teaches at face value.  And this is true, when you have multiple clear texts that can be cross referenced.  When this isn’t the case a hermenuetical approach should be utilized to protect from error.

In each one of these posts I am going to present a few different commentaries and then at the end I’ll weigh in with my opinion.  Feel free to sound off in the comments if it suits you.  But first, let’s look at the text.

 

“And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” And he called them to him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan?  If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.  And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.  And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end.  But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house.  “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter,  but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin” — for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.” Mark 3:22‭-‬30 ESV

 

Wow!! That is a scary passage.

That means there is one sin that will never be forgiven!!  Obviously none of us want to be guilty of that!  But what exactly is Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit anyways?

 

Bible Commentaries

 

“With solemn emphasis Jesus gives the Pharisees this warning. Jesus knew that the scribes did not believe their own theory as to His ability to cast out devils. “You are not merely mistaken theorists, you are men in a very perilous moral condition. Beware!” 9) God’s mercy is as wide as heaven and earth; His forgiveness actually embraces all sins, even the ordinary blasphemies, wherewith so many people continually offend against Him. But there is one great exception, namely, when the blasphemy is directed against the Holy Ghost. This sin is unpardonable, its guilt lasts forever, it has no forgiveness forever. He that commits it is guilty of a transgression whose consequences will last throughout eternity. This solemn and complete declaration was called forth by the charge of the Jews that Jesus had an unclean spirit. Thus the blasphemy was directed against the Spirit of God that lived in Christ, and hence His warning. If the scribes had been ignorant, or if they had misunderstood the Lord and had been seeking some explanation of His strange power over demons, that would have been a sin against the Son of Man, and therefore pardonable. But they spoke against better knowledge; their charge was a deliberate, malicious blasphemy, and therefore their charge cast mockery upon the Holy Ghost.” – Kretzmann Commentaries

“In danger of eternal damnation.—Better, eternal judgment, the Greek word not necessarily carrying with it the thoughts that now attach to the English. The best MSS., however, give, “in danger of an eternal sin”—i.e., of one which will, with its consequences, extend throughout the ages. It is, of course, more probable that a transcriber should have altered “sin” into “judgment,” substituting an easier for a more difficult rendering, than the converse.” – Ellicott’s Commentary

“It was plain that the doctrine of Christ had a direct tendency to break the devil’s power; and it was as plain, that casting of him out of the bodies of people, confirmed that doctrine; therefore Satan could not support such a design. Christ gave an awful warning against speaking such dangerous words. It is true the gospel promises, because Christ has purchased, forgiveness for the greatest sins and sinners; but by this sin, they would oppose the gifts of the Holy Ghost after Christ’s ascension. Such is the enmity of the heart, that unconverted men pretend believers are doing Satan’s work, when sinners are brought to repentance and newness of life.” – Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

“The great exception, blasphemy against the Holy Ghost.—εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα: hath not forgiveness for ever. Cf. the fuller expression in Mt.—ἀλλʼ ἔνοχός ἐστιν, but is guilty of. The negative is followed by a positive statement of similar import in Hebrew fashion.—αἰωνίου ἁμαρτήματος, of an eternal sin. As this is equivalent to “hath never forgiveness,” we must conceive of the sin as eternal in its guilt, not in itself as a sin. The idea is that of an unpardonable sin, not of a sin eternally repeating itself. Yet this may be the ultimate ground of unpardonableness: unforgivable because never repented of. But this thought is not necessarily contained in the expression.” – Expositors Greek Testament

 

So what does it mean?

Let’s look a the passage one more time, this time I will highlight the areas that stand out that I think help with understanding.

“And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” And he called them to him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan?  If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.  And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.  And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end.  But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house.  “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter,  but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin” — for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.” Mark 3:22‭-‬30 ESV

Here is the deal, they clearly didn’t believe in Jesus Christ.  Obviously they reject him as being God, and have no faith in him.  This is evidenced by the fact that they are confessing him as a servant of Satan.  Locked in this confession there can be no faith in Christ, their hearts are hardened in unbelief.  With no faith there is no salvation.

We are saved by Grace through Faith in Christ unto the forgiveness of sins.  If one hardens their heart in unbelief there is no faith and no salvation, hence no forgiveness.  This is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.

What hermeneutic am I using to come to this conclusion?  In this case it is my studies on Salvation by Grace alone through Faith alone.  To get a breakdown on that see an older post on Justification.

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About ACTheologian

I am a layman who blogs my Biblical studies. Enjoy, please read with an open Bible and do double check with your pastor.
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