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What is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit?

"Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come." —Matthew 12:31-32

Thinking of an unforgiveable or unpardonable sin is a pretty scary prospect! Especially if we don't quite understand what this "blasphemy against the Spirit" even means. Let's take a look at the context of Matthew 12:22-32 and Mark 3:22-30, where we find this account of Jesus speaking to the Pharisees.

The Pharisees Deny Jesus' Divinity

We find Jesus healing a man who was mute and blind due to demon possession (Matthew 12:22). After the man can see and speak again, everybody was like, “Could this Jesus be our long-awaited Messiah?" (v. 23). Everybody but the Pharisees, that is.

The Pharisees were the religious leaders of the day, and they were upset by all this marveling at and praising Jesus. They cut in with, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons” (Matthew 12:24). Basically, they were saying that Jesus performed this miracle by the power of Satan. What a horrific thing to claim about Jesus! Downright blasphemy.

How did Jesus respond to this terrible accusation? He rebuked them first using logic: Satan cannot drive out himself...and anyway, WHY would he stop his own demons? How does that help Satan's cause if he makes people think Jesus is the Messiah? (See Matthew 12:25-29.) I mean, good point, right?

We know that Jesus was performing miracles by the power of the Holy Spirit because He is God in the flesh (Matthew 1:23). Likewise, the Pharisees had been given full proof from Jesus’ signs and wonders that He was the long-awaited Messiah; they should have understood Jesus was who He said He was. Yet they continued to speak against the power of the Spirit. That's when Jesus accused them of "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 12:31-32).

What is Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit?

Blasphemy is when you curse God or say something bad or untrue about God. The Pharisees were guilty of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit because they were claiming Jesus performed the exorcism through Satan's power—not the Holy Spirit. They were ultimately accusing Jesus of being demon-possessed rather than filled with the Holy Spirit.

The Pharisees weren't being naïve or ignorant. They knew the Old Testament prophecies. They knew Jesus was God. And yet they stubbornly, blatantly rejected Him. Jesus tells them that they can say what they want about Him, but blasphemy against the Holy Spirit can NEVER be forgiven (Mark 3:29).

Sorry-not-sorry, Pharisees, no forgiveness for you—ever! Claiming that the power of God’s Spirit is Satan while God is literally standing right in front of you has very special eternal consequences.

Can someone commit blasphemy of the Holy Spirit today?

This brings us back to that scary prospect of an unforgivable sin. The Bible says that God will forgive us no matter what (1 John 1:9), so what gives here? Quick answer: No, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit CANNOT happen today. Why? Because this was a specific sin committed only by the Pharisees in this unique moment.

Jesus is not physically on earth today where we can see Him and witness His miracles. Thus, no one can accuse Jesus to His face that He's performing miracles by Satan's power. Sure, people can deny Jesus exists, insult or hate Him, but Jesus Himself said, "Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven..." (Matthew 12:31a). If a person truly seeks forgiveness from God, there is no sin God will not forgive.

Is there an unpardonable sin today?

We get so many questions about this unforgiveable or unpardonable sin because there's some confusion about "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit" vs. what will cause a person to be rejected by God. The weirdest part is that many are afraid they might have "accidentally" committed the unpardonable sin through doubting God, questioning Him at some point, or having an invasive thought. If this is you, please be encouraged. You don't need to worry about "accidentally" committing the unpardonable sin. You'll know if you've committed it...and you won't care.

Today, the unpardonable sin is when a person continually rejects or denies Jesus despite the Holy Spirit’s conviction of the truth in their heart—past the point of death. Those who call God a liar by rejecting His call until the day they die have no hope of forgiveness (John 3:36).

You are alive today, and you still have a chance to thank God for His mercy and love by accepting Jesus as your Savior and Lord (John 3:16). If you believe that He died as a punishment for your sins, was buried, and rose again, you will be forgiven for every sin, receive eternal life, and will never have to worry about committing the unpardonable sin.

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TL;DR

Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit was a specific sin committed by the Pharisees when they accused Jesus of performing miracles and wonders by the power of Satan rather than being filled with the Spirit (Matthew 12:22-32). They knew Jesus was God in the flesh, yet they refused to acknowledge the truth, thus condemning themselves eternally (Mark 3:29). Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit cannot happen today because the exact circumstances of that moment in time no longer exist. However, there is one unpardonable sin that exists today: when a person continually rejects or denies Jesus despite the Holy Spirit’s conviction of the truth in their heart—past the point of death (John 3:36). As long as you still live, you have a chance to accept God's gift of salvation (John 3:16).

By: Vivian Bricker

Vivian loves learning, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She is dedicated to helping people learn more about Jesus and is ready to help in any way she can. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, cooking, drawing, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, you can find her soaking up the sunshine or going on an adventure.

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