Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit

by Rayola Kelley

Q: There are many differing opinions of what blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is. Could you please explain your conclusions on this matter?

A: It is true that there are various opinions about what it means to blaspheme the Spirit of God. Obviously, we cannot overlook this subject because to blaspheme the Holy Spirit is the only sin that is unpardonable (Matthew 12:31-32).

In my search to understand this issue, I did not just consider the text in which Jesus made this statement. Clearly, the Pharisees were falsely accusing Jesus of being part of Satan’s kingdom (Matthew 12:34-30). Although it was a personal affront against Him, Jesus stated that it was their blasphemy of the Holy Spirit that would result in irreversible judgment.

How can we resolve this issue? To me it comes down to the work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus stated that He cast out devils by the Spirit of God. Keep in mind, the Holy Spirit anointed Jesus at His water baptism, identifying Him as the Messiah. (See Matthew 3:16, Luke 4:18 and John 1:30-34.) We are reminded of Zechariah 4:6: “…not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.”

To consider this issue, we must understand what the Holy Spirit’s real mission is. We know that His mission is to lead people into all truth about Jesus (John 14:26; 16:13-14). After all, Jesus alone saves. If people refuse the witness, revelation and work of the Holy Spirit, they will perish in their sins. Obviously, the issue with the Pharisees was not their false accusation against Jesus, but their refusal to recognize, accept and acknowledge the witness of the Holy Spirit in regards to Jesus.

My conclusion is that Jesus was warning the Pharisees that they may take liberty to falsely accuse Him and reject Him, but they better be wise enough to discern the move and witness of the Holy Spirit. Clearly, Jesus’ teachings proved He was of God, and the miracles verified He was the Promised One of God. In fact, He fulfilled the prophecies concerning the Messiah, and we know that the Holy Spirit was behind the inspiration and establishment of these prophecies in Scripture (2 Peter 1:20-21).

This brings us to the unpardonable sin and why it stops at the place of the Holy Spirit. When you consider salvation, the Father draws people to His Son, and the Son invites people to Himself, while the Holy Spirit convicts people of their need for Jesus (John 6:44; 7:37-39; 16:7-13.) As you consider the work of these three, you will realize that the Father draws the longing heart, Jesus invites the thirsty soul, and the Holy Spirit convicts the guilty conscience. Obviously, this is a complete work of salvation that involves all three Persons. It is a progression to reach every arena of man’s spirit and soul to bring him into God’s kingdom. As you follow this progression one must recognize that if a person ignores the Father’s advancements, and rejects the Son’s invitation, there is only one means left in which a person can truly experience the salvation of Jesus Christ, and that is the convicting power of the Holy Spirit upon his or her conscience. If the person shuns, mocks or discards this conviction, there will be no other means by which the person can be spiritually stirred up to obtain redemption. William Law put it this way, “…there remains no further or higher power of redemption.” Without redemption there is no means to obtain forgiveness, resulting in committing the unpardonable sin.

As stated, this is simply my conclusion to this matter. Certainly, eternity will reveal the full truth about the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Until then, we must keep in mind that the Holy Spirit can be easily grieved and quenched, and that He will not always strive with people in their sinful state (Genesis 6:3; Ephesians 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19). Therefore, we need to believe God’s Word, ask Him for wisdom and walk by the Spirit in godly love, fear, obedience, and honor before our holy God.