Saturday, September 3, 2011

Piper on the Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit

One of the issues that I think comes up with the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is why is this so unforgivable? Particularly I think from a Reformed perspective where we have a strong view of God's monergistic work and the deadness of our own heart--why would one sin be so strongly damning when all sin is damning. 

I believe part of the issue is that you are not just rejecting God, you are rejecting God's power and the person who operates to change your heart. You are doing it in full witness of his power and with a knowing rejection. Thus the change agent is cursed and made your enemy. The Father and the Son may be blasphemed and they still send the Spirit who changes and brings forgiveness. But if the mediator of this grace to the human heart is rejected with the willful knowledge in face of his activity then there is condemnation in this life and the next with no hope in either. 

This is to say that the rejection/blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is more than the normal 'knowing/seeing the truth but suppressing it in unrighteousness' that we find all sinners doing in Romans 1. The Holy Spirit can break through and shine the light of the gospel into the dead heart. But if the Holy Spirit is blasphemed and his activity is willfully mocked and he is cursed--there is nothing left for the person.

After formulating some of my thoughts, I found John Piper says it better than me:

But why does this one particular sin, this one blasphemy, make it impossible to repent and be forgiven? What about blasphemy against the Son of God, or God the Father, or angels, or Scripture, or the church? Why do these not put us beyond repentance and forgiveness? Why only blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? I think it's because of the unique and decisive role the Holy Spirit plays in our salvation. If we look to God the Father and then turn from his glory to embrace sin, that is bad. If we look to his Son Jesus Christ whom he sent into the world and then turn away from his glory to embrace sin, that is doubly bad. But in either case there is hope. The Father has planned redemption, the Son has accomplished redemption. This wonderful redemption is outside ourselves and available to us if we repent of our sin and turn back to Christ in faith. But it is the unique and special role of the Holy Spirit to apply the Father's plan and the Son's accomplishment of it to our hearts. It is the Spirit's work to open our eyes, to grant repentance, and to make us beneficiaries of all that the Father has planned and all that Christ has done for us. If we blaspheme and reject the Father and the Son, there is still hope, for the Spirit may yet work within us to humble us and bring us to repentance. But if behind the Father and the Son we see and taste the power of the Holy Spirit and reject his work as no more precious than the work of Satan, we shut ourselves off from the only one who could ever bring us to repentance. And so we shut ourselves off from forgiveness.
John Piper even gives this clear definition of the unpardonable sin: "What then is it? The unforgivable sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is an act of resistance which belittles the Holy Spirit so grievously that he withdraws for ever with his convicting power so that we are never able to repent and be forgiven."

We should not think that this makes the Holy Spirit somehow less merciful, forgiving or loving than the Father or the Son. We might be tempted to think: well all my sin is a blasphemy against the Father and/or the Son... and they forgive the sinner. Why doesn't the Holy Spirit has the same compassion?

The Holy Spirit does have compassion and forgiveness. He causes the light of the gospel to shine in the blackened heart of the sinner.

We are to remember though the situation of the Pharisees with the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. They were witnessing the power of God and they were boldly and forthrightly rejecting that it was the Spirit. They emasculated the power of God which was clearly seen right before their own eyes. The Holy Spirit is not someone less merciful that the other persons of the Trinity--rather he has handed them over to their own great sin and rebellion. There just punishment for cursing him is the impossibility of forgiveness because there can be no repentance if there is no Spirit at work and they have boldly told the Holy Spirit "you are not at work here" despite what they were witnessing.

The blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is a difficult topic. We are to treat the issue with careful reflection. But the teaching of Scripture is not ultimately designed here to enable us to peer behind the curtain on the nature of damnation--when is someone irrevocably damned and when do they still have hope. Rather, the warnings are fashioned to cause the person to run to God in repentance. It is much like in Hebrews 3 where we are told not to hardened our hearts like the wilderness generation did. There acts made the Holy Spirit their enemy--they saw the work of his hand but turned away (Isaiah 63:10).

3 comments:

Adam Wasson said...

Is swearing at the Holy Spirit blasphemous?

Christopher Sadoun said...

Every sin is blasphemy against the Holy spirit.

“For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” (Bible, New testament, James 2:10)

So blasphemy against the holy spirit is forgiven along with all sins because Jesus died for you you will go to Heaven.

My words of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit are credited to Jesus Christ.

And Jesus Christ's words are credited to me.

Jesus Christ is the only one who has to wory about the punishment for blasphemy against the holy spirit.It is good news for me and bad news for Jesus Christ.

Christopher Sadoun said...


There was the First Aion Age when Jesus was walking the Earth and arguing with the Pharisees, which corresponds to when Jesus said “This age” (Bible, New Testament, Matthew 12:31-32)
There was the Second Aion Age when Jesus was dead in the tomb, which corresponds to when Jesus said “the age to come” (Bible, New Testament, Matthew 12:31-32)
There is a the Third Aion Age when Jesus was resurrected alive again and also is the Age when Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit is forgiven and is also the age that we are in now. This age goes on for eternity.

Thus ALL GO TO HEAVEN and nothing changed about grace.
Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the term word for unbelief.
ALL GO TO HEAVEN BECAUSE unbelief is forgiven.

A Time in the Life of Jesus is an Age because Jesus is God and is that important.

“Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. ” (Bible, New Testament, Matthew 12:32)

Matthew 12:32 is when Jesus canceled the Old Code of the law found in Matthew 12:31.

“And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.” (Bible, New Testament, Matthew 12:31)

“Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. ” (Bible, New Testament, Matthew 12:32)

But in the Third age blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is forgiven.

"The Voyages..." Forays into Biblical studies, Biblical exegesis, theology, exposition, life, and occasionally some Star Trek...