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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#1067. Blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven (30/5/24)

This week in our Luke series, we are focussing on Luke 12:4-12, where the theme is on how we are to deal with the pressure to hide or compromise our faith. Today, we consider what is meant by he unforgivable sin of blasphemy against the Spirit. 

‘“And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.”’ (Luke 12:10)

Lesson: The unforgivable sin of blasphemy against the Spirit is the ongoing rejection of Jesus. Those who receive Christ cannot be in such a state, and those who are weak need to stand on Christ rather than their feelings.


You can listen to this devotional at:



Many struggle with what is called ‘the unforgivable sin’ - the sin against the Holy Spirit that is mentioned here. What does this difficult text mean? 

Firstly, it’s important to understand that this is aimed at the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. They are rejecting Jesus and His works. They are saying that what He is doing is empowered by ‘Beelzebul the prince of demons’. They calling the work of the Spirit, in the life of Christ, the work of the devil. Of course, we are to apply this text to ourselves, but always begin with the original context! These religious leaders are persecuting Jesus and His followers and Jesus is confronting them. 


“And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven”

Jesus teaches that anyone who speaks against Him will be forgiven. There is the possibility for everyone, like Peter who denied Him, to come back to God. To understand this text, we  must read it with the preceding verses:

‘“I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God.  But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God.  And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven…”’ (Luke 12:8-10a)

The wonderful promise is that if we have failed to ‘publicly acknowledge’ and have even ‘disowned’ Jesus, there is forgiveness available for everyone who has 'spoken a word against The Son of Man’. Jesus forgives all of our failures. We can be free from condemnation and free from judgment if we ask for Jesus’ forgiveness. 


However, after this wonderful promise, Jesus goes on to speak about the more serious sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit:


“But anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.”

Jesus teaches that the blasphemy against the Spirit is a more serious a sin. The one who commits it cannot be forgiven. This is concerning to say the least! This leaves many, particularly those who are emotionally vulnerable, wondering if they are in such an unforgivable state. How are we to understand this dark promise? 


Blasphemy (blasphēméō) means to defame, revile, slander, insult and curse. This is a serious sin and not saying something defamatory because we hit our thumb with a hammer! So what does this mean: 


All sin is against the Holy Spirit!

Firstly, it’s vital to understand that all sin is against the Holy Spirit! As all sin is against the Father and Son also. To speak against Jesus is always also a sin against the Holy Spirit, as it is a sin against the Father. The Spirit loves Jesus. The Spirit reveals Jesus. So all sin is against the Holy Spirit and so this must mean something specific. 


The blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the specific sinful attitude of rejecting Jesus and His work in an ongoing fashion. The blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is to read about the life of Christ in His Word and reject Him. It’s to hear the gospel message and keep rejecting it. The ESV study Bible puts it:

‘Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit - that is, the persistent and unrepentant resistance against the work of the Holy Spirit and his message concerning Jesus - this, Jesus says, will not be forgiven. The person who persists in hardening his heart against God, against the work of the Holy Spirit, and against the provision of Christ as Saviour, is outside the reach of God’s provision for forgiveness and salvation.’ (ESV Notes) 

Of Such people, we read in Acts;

‘“You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit!”’ (Acts 7:51) 

Response

Are you worried that you may be beyond forgiveness? I urge you to honour Jesus and His cross above your feelings or the accusations of the devil. 


If you are worried that you may have blasphemed against the Spirit - the unforgivable sin - the question to ask yourself is this: “Am I blaspheming against the Holy Spirit - am I defaming, reviling, slandering, insulting and cursing Jesus? If you want to be forgiven, and if you know that forgiveness is in Jesus, you are a Christian and are honouring the voice of the Spirit. Tim Chester shares this story of Charles Spurgeon helping a women full of self-doubt: 

‘The nineteenth-century preacher Charles Spurgeon once said, “It is impossible for you to love God without the strong conclusive evidence that God loves you”. He went on to tell the story of a woman who was full of doubts. It turned out she knew she loved Christ, but she was afraid he didn’t love her. “Oh,” said Spurgeon, “that is a doubt that will never trouble me; never, by any possibility, because I am sure of this, that the heart is so naturally corrupt, that love to God could never get there without God first putting it there.”’ (Tim Chester, Enjoying God)

The unforgivable sin of blasphemy against the Spirit is the ongoing rejection of Jesus. Those who receive Christ cannot be in such a state, and those who are weak need to stand on Christ rather than their feelings. 

 

COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY


1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News. 

  • Please ensure that everyone is aware of our week of prayer next week (3rd-9th June) and how to get the Zoom Link. 


2. Icebreaker

How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you? 


3. Worship together

Let’s begin our time together by lifting our eyes and hearts to worship our great God. Perhaps you have readings and songs that you would like to use together. Let’s be open to the gifts that the Spirit wants to give in order to encourage one another.


4. Study and pray together

Our message from our series in Luke on Sunday was based upon Jesus’ teaching from Luke 12:4-12. Here, Jesus is teaching Christians on how to deal with fear, and the pressure to keep silent about our faith. There is a lot in this short text and you may not have enough time to cover it all. However, our devotionals this week go into more details so please use these so as to think more deeply about these challenging words. 


Please read Luke 12:4-12, and discuss: 

  • What would you say is the main message and application of Luke 12:4-12? 

  • Did God speak to you about anything specifically from Sunday’s message?

  • How do verses 4-7 teach us to overcome fear of people? 

  • Verses 8-10a, warns us against allowing fear to keep us from sharing our faith. Do you allow fear to stop you from sharing the gospel? 

  • Continuing from the last question, if we have failed to ‘publicly acknowledge’ Jesus, what is the promise for us who have, in being ashamed,  ‘sinned against The Son of Man’? 

  • In verses 8-10, Jesus compares sinning against ‘The Son of Man’ (Jesus) and The Holy Spirit. What is the sin against the Spirit and how can you help someone who is worried if they’ve committed it?

  • In verses 11-12, What is the promise and how does believing this help us to overcome fear of sharing the gospel?  

  • SIV - Do we have any stories of how we have ‘Served, Invested, and inVited’ recently?

  • SIV - Spend some time together talking and praying about who and how you are seeking to bring your community to Jesus. 

  • Let’s pray together that, this week, we will have opportunities to SIV; and pray for anything else that's come out of our time in God’s Word.

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