Matthew 12:31-32; Mark 3:28-29
Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.Matthew 12:31-32
Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:Mark 3:28-29
Blasphemy is a very specific sin. The Oxford English Dictionary says that it is profane speaking of God or sacred things; or is an impious irreverence. This means that the Pharisees were not just speaking against Jesus in their accusations. They were speaking profane things about the Holy Ghost when they accused Jesus of casting out devils by the power of the devil himself.
Jesus makes some very bold statements about this sin and its consequences, not the least of which is that it will not be forgiven.
In order to understand what Jesus means, we need to realize a few things.
- The Bible does not contradict itself. Therefore, if there is a single statement about a subject it must be interpreted in comparison to the Bible as a whole.
- We need to remember that every sin of every child of God was paid for by Jesus on the cross. There is no sin left out of that.
- The sins of the wicked are not forgiven.
So there are a few possibilities of what Jesus means.
Some think that this is a specific sin that could only be committed by the unbelieving eye-witnesses during the first century. The sentence against them is very specific because Jesus knew their hearts. He calls these people a “generation of vipers,” and that they are evil in the heart so their actions are all evil. In this case, there is no forgiveness for them in time or eternity.
Another possible explanation is similar to the first. All of the sins of God’s people are counted against the Son, Jesus Christ, and are therefore forgiven. All of the sins of the wicked are counted against the Holy Ghost, and are therefore never forgiven.
A third explanation interprets the “ages” as during Jesus time, and then some time after that. So, this explanation is only during time, not eternity. With this possibility, we can see that anyone, wicked or elect, that commits this sin will not be forgiven during his life.
There are, no doubt, positive and negative points that can be made about each of these positions. I think adherence to any of these options is OK provided the three principles mentioned above are not violated.
The main point that elect need to draw from this is that we should be careful to honor God in all things, and never forget that nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. We do not need to live in fear of accidentally committing this sin. We have been made free.