“How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;” (Hebrews 2:3, KJV)
It’s time I tackled the issue of the Unforgiveable sin. This is something that torments many Christians, and actually causes many of them to avoid reading Hebrews.
It’s a fact that a lot of people have a change of heart in their lives, and decide they need to get right with God. But that’s not being saved. To understand that YOU ARE A SINNER requires a major change in your life.
To not change is to have the repentance of Judas.
“Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.” (Matthew 27:3–5, KJV)
What word is not present in that verse?
Repented himself (μεταμεληθεις [metamelētheis]). Probably Judas saw Jesus led away to Pilate and thus knew that the condemnation had taken place. This verb (first aorist passive participle of μεταμελομαι [metamelomai]) really means to be sorry afterwards like the English word repent from the Latin repoenitet, to have pain again or afterwards. See the same verb μεταμεληθεις [metamelētheis] in Matt. 21:30 of the boy who became sorry and changed to obedience. The word does not have an evil sense in itself. Paul uses it of his sorrow for his sharp letter to the Corinthians, a sorrow that ceased when good came of the letter (2 Cor. 7:8). But mere sorrow avails nothing unless it leads to change of mind and life (μετανοια [metanoia]), the sorrow according to God (2 Cor. 7:9). This sorrow Peter had when he wept bitterly. It led Peter back to Christ. But Judas had only remorse that led to suicide.
A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1933), Mt 27:3.
“And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.” (Matthew 26:75, KJV)
There’s a huge difference between Peter and Judas’ repentance.
Now, let’s look at the Blasphemy of the Holy Ghost.
“And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils. And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan? And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end. No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house. Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation: Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.” (Mark 3:22–30, KJV)
Here’s an issue – Paul says he was a blasphemer.
How do we reconcile?
The blasphemy against the Holy Spirit was said to the enemies of Jesus Christ, who’d witnessed His miracles. We have no record that Paul ever saw Jesus’s miracles.
After the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we see no more reference to this. Indeed, we see that the blood of Jesus Christ forgives us from ALL sins.
Why did I detour into a discussion of the repentance of Peter and Judas?
Peter was saved – and denied Jesus Christ. Judas was not saved – and denied Jesus Christ. Judas is suffering for that betrayal to this day. Peter was forgiven.
Judas was concerned with Judas. Peter was concerned with his Lord. He was overwhelmed with sorrow.
Judas never got saved. Peter was.
I bring this up, because a lot of people today commit what they think is the unforgivable sin, and then afterwards try to turn to the Lord. They weep many bitter tears, haunted by the consequences of sin and rebellion.
What is the ministry of the Holy Spirit? to lead you to Jesus Christ. How do you blaspheme it? By refusing to come to Jesus Christ and be saved. That’s how the Holy Spirit is blasphemed today.
The use that the Lord referred to in the Gospels was connected to the warning in Deuteronomy…
“I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.” (Deuteronomy 18:18–19, KJV)
Only someone who witnessed the miracles of Jesus Christ personally, and then cursed that by saying it was the power of an evil spirit has committed the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit involves a stubborn refusal to acknowledge God at work in Jesus and attribution of that work to Satan. Repentance and forgiveness are not possible for those who consistently reject God’s saving work in Christ. In the “top slice of bread,” Jesus redefined His family as the community of those who enter into a student-Teacher relation with Him (“those who sat around him,” 3:34; see 4:10) and who obey God’s will (see 1:20; 10:29–31).
Christopher L. Church, “Mark,” in Holman Concise Bible Commentary, ed. David S. Dockery (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998), 432.
This is a split train of thought – I’m trying to contrast what the modern application of these verses are, with the original. Did you witness Jesus Christ cast out devils? heal the sick? raise the dead? Some of these feats are amazing! Paralytics healed. The Blind given sight. Lepers given cleansing and restoration. The dead raised. Twice. Walking on water. Commanding the storm. Feeding thousands with nothing.
After watching all that, if you could curse that, you had an incredible hardness of heart, a stony heart that would simply refuse the things of God, even if God Himself was standing in front of you and PROVING He’s God.
Which is exactly what was happening. God Himself was standing in the midst of the Pharisees. He was casting out devils, with a word.
That’s pretty impressive. “Leave him.” Wow. Sure beats bells and whistles and impressive chanting in Latin or Hebrew!
Dead people getting up and living again. That’s kind of tough to do.
Have you personally watched Jesus Christ do these things right in front of you?
So you can’t do the original meaning of the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. So… what about the other one?
Do you believe, with faith, that Jesus Christ is the son of God?
Well, then, you didn’t do the only other way of blasphemy against the holy spirit.
I spent a little time on this, because quite a few Christians (I’m very sure) think they have committed this sin.
Peter repented and was forgiven. Judas did not repent Biblically, he was just sorry.
Peter was driven to spend the rest of his life enduring beatings and imprisoning for Jesus Christ.
So, if you think you’ve done this sin, your life is probably marked as dedicating yourself to God as well.
Returning to the issue of Paul being a blasphemer, it is important that he never witnessed Jesus Christ until after he was saved by faith.
If Paul and Peter were forgiven, so are you.