Are You For God, Or Against God?
Would you open your bibles to Mathew chapter 12; I want to read verses 30, 31, and 32;
Verse 30 says; “He who is not with Me, is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me, scatters.” Jesus is teaching that there is no “middle ground” when it comes to God. You’re either for God, or you’re against God. You either gather with God, or you scatter.
Verse 31 says; “Because of this, (because of the fact that you’re either on God’s side, or you’re against God) I say to you; Any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men, but, blasphemy against the Spirit, shall not be forgiven.” Evidently, if you speak blasphemous words, against the Spirit of God, then you’re not on God’s side. And if you’re not on God’s side, then you can’t be forgiven. That makes sense, doesn’t it?
Now listen to verse 32; “And whoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him. But, whoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall NOT be forgiven him, either in this age, or the age to come.”
Some people say that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, is the “unpardonable sin”. Is that right? Is that what this passage is teaching?
What I read in the bible, is that any sin can be forgiven, provided we meet the conditions of forgiveness. Like when Jesus says in verse 31, that “any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men”, we realize that those sins aren’t automatically forgiven, but rather, we need to meet the requirements of forgiveness.
For example, we’re told in 1 John 1:9; “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” So there’s a condition that must be met, before sin can be forgiven. And of course we’re told by Jesus, in Luke 13:3; “I tell you, unless you repent, you shall all likewise perish.” So there’s another condition.
Therefore, we know that in order for “every sin and blasphemy” to be forgiven, we first must meet the conditions that God has set forth. But what about the next part of the verse that says; “But blasphemy against the Spirit, shall not be forgiven.”
Now, I can’t imagine a faithful Christian saying blasphemous things about God. But what about the non-Christian? If a non-Christian were to belittle God Himself, and His Spirit, is he then doomed for eternity. Is he not allowed to repent, and return to God?
I’ll remind you of what the apostle Peter said, in Acts 3, verse 19; “Repent therefore, and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come, from the presence of the Lord.” Does the bible really teach that you can never repent and be forgiven, of blasphemy against the Spirit of God?
Every Sin Is Equal
To begin with, the bible doesn’t “classify” sins, as one sin being worse than another. We’re told in James 2, verse 10; “For whoever keeps the whole law, and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.” So then you can see that it’s not at all a matter of one sin being any worse than another. It’s simply a matter of being innocent or guilty. If you fail in even one point of the law, you’re guilty of all!
And so, in the absolute sense, comparing one sin with another, speaking blasphemously against the Spirit of God, is no worse, than speaking blasphemously against any regular person. And it wouldn’t be any worse than lying, or stealing, or murder, or adultery, or any other sin.
Let me read 1 John 1, verse 9, again; “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous, to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us ALL unrighteousness”. It doesn’t say that God will cleanse us of everything except the sin of blasphemy against the Spirit, but it says He’ll cleanse us of ALL sin
God is faithful, and God is righteous, and He will cleanse each and every one of us, of each and every sin, and ALL sin! Not some sins, but ALL sin.
No sin is worse than another sin, and God has promised to cleanse us of ALL sin, if we confess and repent. So then is the bible contradicting itself? No, it isn’t. And I’ll try to explain to you why it’s not contradicting itself.
Explaining The Sense
I already said that Jesus wasn’t speaking in the absolute sense, when He said that “blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. Here’s the “sense” in which He was speaking..
How you feel about the Spirit of God, determines whether you will be forgiven, or whether you won’t be forgiven. Understand, that the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, is God! And if you speak blasphemies against God, it will be impossible to be saved. “Blasphemy” simply means.. “to speak against” It refers to words that are abusive, and slanderous, and injurious. Blasphemy “against the Spirit”, is to speak slanderously against God. How you gonna be forgiven, if you slander and hate God?
In verse 34, Jesus says; “For the mouth speaks out that which fills the heart.” There’s a saying among little kids, that says “sticks and stones will break my bones, but words can never hurt me”. Well, it’s true that your words don’t have the power to hurt someone else, but your words definitely have the power to condemn you! Because your words are a true reflection of the thoughts of your heart, and the state of your mind.
Hebrews 11:6 tells us; “And without faith, it is impossible to please Him.” (referring to God) When a person blasphemes God, is he showing his faith? No, he’s displaying the absence of faith. Can a person who has no faith, still come to faith, through the word of God? Of course he can. That’s exactly what the word of God is for. “So then faith comes by hearing the word of God.” Romans 10:17.
But what if you’ve already heard the word, and you simply refuse to accept it? then you remain lost, and there’s absolutely nothing else that can save you. You’ve rejected the one and only thing that can produce faith in your heart, and so the one who rejects the word, shall not be forgiven. Doesn’t that make sense?
Well, that’s exactly what Jesus is saying about the Spirit of God. After all, who gave us the word of God in the first place? The Spirit of God did. Jesus told His apostles; “And when that one, the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth..” (John 16:13) And if you reject, and blaspheme the Spirit of God, and the truth of God, then you shall not be forgiven.
That is the sense in which you can’t be forgiven if you blaspheme the Spirit of God. It’s not that you cannot repent of that sin, but it’s because there is no other way to be forgiven and saved, except by the words of the Spirit of God. “It’s the Spirit that gives life..” Jesus said, in John 6:63. And without the Spirit, there is no life.
Son of Man and Spirit of God
But What’s the difference between the blasphemy of the Son of Man, and the blasphemy of the Spirit? When Jesus spoke those words, I think the basic difference there, was the ignorance of the people that He spoke to. On this particular occasion, Jesus was speaking to a multitude of people, including some of the Pharisees. And they didn’t realize that Jesus was the Son of God. They simply thought Jesus was just another man. And Jesus Himself referred to his humanity, with the phrase, “the Son of Man”.
And so Jesus told them, you can speak a word against a man; you can even speak a word against this man, against Jesus, the son of Mary and Joseph. But you had better not speak against the very Spirit of God!
Jesus often referred to His humanity, when He spoke to the Jews. That’s why He referred to Himself as “the Son of Man” so often. They didn’t believe he was the Son of God. One time Jesus said; “Though you don’t believe Me, believe the works (He was referring to the miracles that He performed) that you may know, and understand, that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.”
Let me read to you a couple of verses from Mark chapter 3. In verse 22, some scribes said of Jesus; “He is possessed by Beelzubul, and He casts out demons by the ruler of the demons.” In other words, by the spirit of satan.
The scribes were blaspheming, the Spirit of Jesus, by calling His Spirit, the spirit of demons. And what did Jesus say? He said in verse 29; “But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit (that’s the Spirit of Jesus) never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin.”
Again, Jesus is contrasting His humanity, with His Deity. If you blaspheme against the Spirit of Christ, the only Spirit that can bring you forgiveness, you’ll never receive forgiveness, but your sin will be “everlasting”.
Ignorance Brings Sin, But it Allows for Forgiveness.
So Jesus pleaded with the Jews to believe, but still the vast majority wouldn’t believe. And even as He was being crucified, Jesus said; “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23, verse 34). Because of their ignorance, Jesus prayed for their forgiveness.
The people thought that Jesus was just another “son of man”, they were ignorant of the fact that indeed, He was the “Son of God”. And we’re told in Acts 17, verse 30, that God, “overlooked the times of ignorance..” But now, “God is declaring that all people, everywhere, should repent.” And verse 31 says; “..having furnished proof to all men, by raising Him from the dead.”
Remember what the apostle Paul wrote, in 1 Timothy 1:13; “Even though I was formerly a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and a violent aggressor; And yet, I was shown mercy, because I acted in ignorance, and in unbelief.”
When Jesus told the multitudes that speaking a word against the Son of Man shall be forgiven, He was saying that because of their ignorance. But once it was proven that Jesus was also the Son of God, now it’s not the same anymore. Now that it’s been proven that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God”, (Mathew 16:16) how could you possibly speak against Him any longer, and still be forgiven. You can’t!
If you reject Jesus the Christ, there is no forgiveness. Why? Because as we’re told in Acts 4:12; “And there is salvation in no one else. For there is no other name (or authority) under heaven, that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.” Forgiveness is in Jesus, and only in Jesus. It’s now in Jesus the “Son of Man”, and in Jesus the “Son of God”. Now everyone knows, He’s one and the same.
So I hope this gives you a little more insight into the words of Jesus, and a little more understanding of what He said, concerning blasphemy of the Spirit, and forgiveness through Jesus.