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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

BLASPHEMY AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT

Matt 12:31-33 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. (Also Mark 3:28-31)

"Wherefore" tells us that what is about to be said applies to the previous message or action. Just prior to this reprisal of the Pharisees and scribes, Jesus had healed the man possessed with a devil and was also blind and dumb. Since these Jewish religious leaders refused to accept Jesus as the Messiah, the promised seed of David, it was necessary to explain His miraculous power to heal the sick, lame, and demon possessed. They did so by contending that Jesus received His unearthly power and authority directly from Beelzebub, who, in this context, is understood to be Satan, himself. The application is that, for these beliefs and their comments, Jesus found these Jews to be guilty of blasphemy in the sight of God.

Jesus prefaces these remarks to the Jewish spiritual leaders by telling them, as well as us today, that all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men. In other words God will extend His mercy to all that, through godly sorrow, repent and turn away from their sins and seek His forgiveness. Blasphemy in this instance can, and will, be forgiven by God to all having a contrite heart and sincerely seeking His forgiveness. Matthew continues by saying that blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. Using similar language, both Mark 3:29 and Luke 12:10, confirm this type of blasphemy committed by these Jews, was an unforgivable sin. First of all it is in order to define the term "blasphemy." The secular dictionary defines it as a "profane or mocking speech or action concerning God or anything regarded as sacred; it is a demonstration of contempt for God." However, as we noted above, this general act of blasphemy is forgivable to one that is truly repentant of this sin. The question is this: how did these Jews commit the sin of blasphemy that was unforgivable? The answer, as given here, is because they spoke and demonstrated unrepentant blasphemy against the Holy Ghost.

The Holy Ghost has the same translation as the Holy Spirit - the third person, along with God and Christ Jesus, which make up the Godhead. The responsibility of the Holy Spirit was to serve God by bestowing His miraculous power and doctrine to Jesus, and to all of His chosen disciples that were responsible to teach the gospel of salvation to all mankind. Through these few disciples, complete knowledge of God's plan of eternal salvation was brought into the world. Then, how was God's message instilled into these few preachers and teachers; these messengers of God? It was through the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:16, 28:25, and 2 Timothy 3:16, tell or infer that the will of God was delivered through the prophets and the writers of the New Testament by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. What about the teaching and miracles of Jesus? He also received His spiritual gifts through the Holy Spirit. We know that the conception of Mary, which resulted in the virgin birth of Jesus, came through the Holy Spirit (See Luke 1:35). Because of this we know that Jesus received His miraculous power to heal, as well as His inspired gospel message of salvation, through the Holy Spirit of God.

The Pharisees and scribes were guilty of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, because they completely rejected the teaching and miracles of Jesus. And, by doing so, they rejected the Holy Spirit of God, through whom Jesus received His miraculous power to speak as the oracles of God and confirm His teaching through healing the sick, physically disabled, and demon possessed people of the world. To intentionally and unequivocally attribute the teaching and miracles of Christ Jesus to Satan, and to do so without any intent of ever retracting their conscience action to denounce and refuse to accept Jesus as the Son of God, was an unforgivable sin. Jesus knew their unrepentant hearts and their unwillingness to accept Jesus as the promised Messiah. In conclusion, there is no sin that will be forgiven, by our Heavenly Father, that men or women refuse to recognize and from which they will not repent. To attribute the earthly teachings and miraculous works of Jesus to Satan is to reject His deity as the Son of God and Savior of the world.

With these things in mind, Jesus then compares the stubborn, unyielding hearts and minds of these Jewish leaders to fruit trees. This was an extremely good analogy - one that could be understood by all, due to the abundance of fruit trees within the nation of Israel, such as almond, date, fig, and olive trees. Looking back to Matthew 7:16-20, we find that one's thoughts will determine the type fruit that one will produce. The spiritual analogy is this: if, spiritually, they are good trees, then good, spiritual, and righteous fruits will be produced such as truthful, helpful, and consoling words, as well as loving, compassionate deeds. However, if corrupt thoughts fill one's mind, evil will come forth and will be demonstrated in the things said and done.

Finally, eternal judgment will be determined by the type fruit, either good or evil, that has been produced by one's thoughts. In the last verse of the lesson text we are assured that the blasphemous minds of these Pharisees and scribes were so corrupted, by misunderstanding the will of God, that nothing good will ever be produced by their unrepentant hearts and minds. The blasphemy of the Holy Spirit of God, that resulted from their obstinate hearts, was demonstrate in their complete rejection of the Son of God, Christ Jesus, as the Savior of mankind. Their spiritual condition, due to their conscience minds being so seared and calloused with false teaching, was beyond the knowledge of their sinful state, and they were unable to recognize their need for repentance. In this state there is no forgiveness. However, it must be said, at this point, that any sin a Christian man or woman is capable of recognizing will be forgiven by God if they will demonstrate humble repentance, turn away from, offer a heartfelt petition for forgiveness, and continue to live in faithful obedience to the will of God.

This teaching is summed up in the four verses following the lesson text. Their meaning is fully disclosed without any words of explanation. O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned (Matt. 12:34-37).