What is the 'Unforgivable Sin' of Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit?
In Matthew 12:31-32, Jesus makes one of His many astounding statements: "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."
Wow. Those are pretty tough words! Blasphemy against Jesus will be forgiven, but speaking against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven. So, am I even saved? Before I became a Christian several decades ago, I was an atheist. I know I said things against the Holy Spirit. Is there hope for me? Is there hope for anyone who is currently speaking against the Holy Spirit?
I usually tell people that if they fear if they've committed the unpardonable sin, then that is evidence that they have not committed it. People who blaspheme are not concerned about rejecting the truth of God. God the Holy Spirit convicts people of sin (John 16:8), so if you are the least bit concerned about possibly committing this sin, then that is probably an indication that you are being convicted of sin by the Holy Spirit, and there is plenty of hope for you.
I think it is also important to note that this warning by Jesus is never repeated again. The epistles contain no warnings to us today that believers are in danger of committing this blasphemy.
Is Jesus speaking about people hardening their hearts (like Pharaoh did) and thus going past some "point of no return?"
Or is Jesus saying something a bit more limited in scope, and so do we have nothing to fear about committing this particular sin today?
Rightly interpreting scripture requires examining the context of a passage, any examples of what it teaches, its original meaning, and how God would have us apply it today.
1. The context (Matthew 12:22-32).
A man possessed with a demon who made him both blind and mute was brought to Jesus. There was no normal way for people to communicate with this man, but healing him was no problem for Jesus. The crowd was astounded and asked, "Could this be the Son of David?" They were asking if Jesus could indeed be the descendent of King David and thus the Messiah.
The Pharisees jump in and immediately attribute the miracle to the power of Beelzebub (Aramaic for "lord of the flies"; a name for Satan). They simply cannot admit that what Jesus is doing comes with the approval of God and from His power.