The Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit
“The Unpardonable Sin”
28 “…Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.” 30 He said this because they were saying, “He has an impure spirit.” Mark 3:28-30
During the more than thirty years of serving in the office of pastor in various Baptist churches, there were more personal questions addressed to me by believers and unbelievers concerning the “Unpardonable Sin”, than any other biblical topic. To my surprise there was great misunderstanding of Jesus’ words spoken in Mark 3:28-30 about the “Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit”. If I were guessing, I am sure that even many Christians today have an uneasiness about this topic.
To the Pharisees, Jesus claimed to be “The Lord of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:28; meaning He was God in the Flesh). According to Mark 3:6, these “Religious Scholars” then decided to work with political forces in order to “destroy him” (When Religious and Political forces join together, Evil Always Results).
Jesus went to his home town of Nazareth and both his earthly family (his mother and brothers) and Jewish religious leaders (Scribes) were convinced that he had gone out of his mind. (Back then, insanity was believed to be caused by Beelzebul or Satan). They had reached the same conclusion as the Pharisees. The thing that all three groups held in common was that they had already decided who Jesus was; a person who was mentally unbalanced.
Interestingly enough, before going to Nazareth, while healing people of various diseases, the demons of Satan declared the apparent truth concerning Jesus that was missed by those mentioned above. The demons cried out: “You are the Son of God” (Mark 3:11b). These demonic beings were unwilling to submit to Christ’s authority. What was the difference between the two perspectives?
It was obvious that the presuppositions of his family and the Jewish religious leaders did not allow them to consider Jesus’ claims in spite of the evidence. To those who rigidly rejected the concept that God could be present in human form, Jesus’ words and actions were insane. There was no reason to even consider anything different; therefore they certainly were not going to follow him at this point. On the other hand, created demonic forces are not candidates for God’s redemptive work.
At the end of this episode Jesus said: “… whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin” (Mark 3:29). The Holy Spirit always testifies truth to the inner being of all sinners that Jesus Christ is God in the Flesh and that those who repent of sins and believe in him will have forgiveness of sins. To refuse to be open to the voice of God and to be convicted by the words and actions of Jesus make it impossible to be eternally saved.
Thus the unpardonable sin is simply a refusal to hear the truth from God Himself and respond appropriately. Such a stubborn attitude does not allow lost sinners the least opportunity to know God now and excludes them from eternal bliss in heaven. Thankfully, later, members of Jesus’ family and some Pharisees did repent and experienced complete forgiveness of sins. Always be grateful for the Eternal God’s Revelation of Himself by the Holy Spirit and the Crucified Resurrected Christ.