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.