A Moment With The Bible
Jesus is still rebuking the Pharisees about their remark that He was casting out demons by the power of Beelzebub. In this section, Jesus deals with the careless use of their tongue. Notice how strong Jesus’ words are: “You brood vipers! How can you speak good when you are evil?” Vipers in the Middle East are extremely deadly, killing a man in a matter of minutes. To be called a viper spiritually would indicate how dangerous these Jews were to the salvation of others. The words that came from their mouths would destroy the souls of men. What a powerful lesson for us! Think of it: “mere” words can cause a person to lose his soul forever. How cautious we must be in what we say and how we present the teachings of the Lord to others.
But controlling the tongue does not begin with the tongue, it begins with the heart. A good tree will always produce good fruit and a bad tree will always produce bad fruit. If we are to speak wholesome, encouraging words, we will first have to be wholesome and good on the inside. Have you ever seen a garbage can that was overflowing? That is a fair representation of what can happen to our minds. If we continue to allow our minds to be filled with evil, worldly things, it will eventually overflow and come out of our mouth. Thus Jesus states, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” We can know what is in a person’s mind by the things that come out of his mouth. It is interesting that sometimes we hear folks comment about a individual who speaks or acts wickedly as a person who is deep down, “good at heart.” No he isn’t. Evil fruit comes from an evil heart. Evil words come from an evil mind. It is true with others and it is true with us. We must not deceive ourselves: “A tree is known by its fruit.”
A Moment With The Bible
Jesus cast out a demon who had caused a man to be both blind and mute. The miracle was so convincing that the Pharisees could not deny the power Jesus displayed. Instead, they said that His power came from Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons. As a result, Jesus warned the Jews that every sin and blasphemy that men commit can be forgiven, but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit can never be forgiven. What is especially intriguing is that Jesus says that men can even blaspheme Him and still be forgiven, but there is no forgiveness for blaspheming the Holy Spirit.
This passage has caused no little concern among students of the Bible. I have met many who feared that at some time in their past they had blasphemed the Spirit and as a result were now in a state of never being forgiven. Let’s first notice how Jesus’ words fit into the context and then how the text applies today.
The miracle Jesus performed was done by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Pharisees had instead ascribed that power to the Devil. The parallel passage in Mark 3:30 tells us that Jesus gave this warning because they said He had an unclean Spirit. The danger about which Jesus is warning has to do with the work of the Spirit once Jesus went back to heaven. John 16:7-13 tells us that Jesus would send the Spirit who would guide the apostles into all truth. The Holy Spirit revealed the words of the New Testament, words that must be obeyed if a person expects to be saved. Therefore, it would be possible to reject Jesus and speak evil of Him, but later still have an opportunity to listen to the Spirit and be saved. However, if one rejected the words of the Spirit, he would have rejected his only hope of salvation. There would be no future salvation to be revealed. The Spirit has sent the last and only words of salvation. Reject these words and there can never be forgiveness.
Therefore, Jesus was not teaching that there was one particular sin that could be committed and never forgiven. Instead, He was warning about how one treats the words of the Holy Spirit. To reject these words is to reject one’s only hope of salvation. 1 John 5:16-17 teaches a similar principle. A “sin unto death” is a purposeful, unrepentant sin. God will not forgive a rebellious person, only a humble repentant person.