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.
A Moment With The Bible
Matthew 12:22-30 #2
When the Pharisees could not deny the miracles of Jesus, they tried to discredit Him by saying that the source of His power was not from God but from Satan. Jesus proved that such could not be since Satan would not turn against his own kingdom and cast himself out. This being true, we are left with a simple conclusion: if the power did not come from Satan, it could have only come from God. Therefore Jesus states, “If it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” If the Pharisees were honest they would have realized that the casting out of demons was proof that God was now conquering Satan and therefore His kingdom (rule), that had been repeatedly prophesied in the Old Testament, had come.
Notice Jesus’ description of how He was conquering Satan in verse 29. Jesus could not be “plundering the strong man’s goods” unless He had first bound the strong man. The casting out of demons was intended to show to everyone that Jesus was now taking away the power of Satan. Hebrews 4:14-15 says it this way: “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Jesus cast out demons in order to prove that He was destroying Satan and releasing mankind from the bondage of death.
These facts offer two important lessons for us. First, Zechariah 13:1 prophesied that in the days of the Messiah God would cause the unclean spirit to depart from the land. This was fulfilled during the first century by Jesus and the apostles and proved that Satan had been conquered. Therefore, we no longer have demon possession. We certainly have other problems caused by Satan (1 Peter 5:8), but demon possession is not one of them.
Second, since Jesus conquered Satan, we also have the ability to overcome Him. If we will obey Him (Acts 2:37-38) and walk in the light (1 John 1:7), the blood of Jesus will cleanse us from all sins. But we need to heed Jesus’ warning in verse 30. There are only two kingdoms: God’s and Satan’s. We are serving one or the other. Just saying we are serving God does not make it so. If we say we know Him and do not keep His commandments, we are liars (1 John 2:3-5).