What Is Blasphemy Against The Holy Spirit?

Posted by Pastor J.D. on February 24, 2013
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With the release of my new book, Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart, I have gotten a lot more questions recently about blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, or the “unpardonable sin.” I deal with that in the book, but for those of you who didn’t choose the “expedited shipping” option and are still checking the mailbox every day for your copy, I thought I’d address it here as well.

The idea of “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit” comes from the gospels, where Jesus calls this a sin for which there is no forgiveness (Luke 12:10, cf. Matt 12:32; Mark 3:29). Unfortunately, Jesus does not spell out definitively what blasphemy against the Holy Spirit means. It would have cleared things up if he had said, “Whoever says these specific words or does this specific act, they sure are in for it. No grace for them.” Alas, he did not.

I know many who fear they have committed this blasphemy and thus forfeited their opportunity to be saved. When asked what people are worried about, they will usually mention some combination of rejecting the Spirit’s urging, saying something disrespectful about the Holy Spirit, or committing some particularly heinous sin.

This isn’t just idle speculation for me, either. At one point in my past, I thought that I had committed the unpardonable sin. I thought that since I had seen so much of God’s grace when I turned away and sinned so egregiously that surely I had committed that blasphemy.

In this case, the popular pastoral advice is spot on: if you are worried that you have committed that blasphemy, you probably haven’t. The idea of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit includes the removal of any desire to be reconciled to Jesus. It is God, after all, who puts in us the desire to come to Him (Phil 2:12–13). Thus, your fear about having reached the “point of no return” is good proof that you haven’t. If you want to repent, He will always receive you. He will not cast out, for any reason, any who come to Him (John 6:37).

So what is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? Ed Welch gives a biblical and compassionate answer to that question here. I would summarize some of what he says like this: blasphemy against the Spirit is any hardened and consistent stance against God. We all have moments, even sustained periods of our lives, when we defy God. But there may come a point in a person’s life when that becomes an unyielding defiance against God, refusing to let his Spirit speak. At that point, God finally says, “You want to do this on your own? You want me out of your life? Okay.” Or to put it another way, the only unpardonable sin is refusing to let God pardon you.

For a while my wife thought she couldn’t repent because she was evidently not “predestined” by God for salvation. She had heard the gospel a lot growing up, but because it didn’t take root, she concluded that God had apparently not chosen her to believe.

But in our moments of doubt and confusion, the Bible never tells us to analyze the wickedness of our hearts or to speculate about God’s predestination. The Bible simply commands us all to repent. “If you hear God’s voice,” the writer of Hebrews says, “obey today.” In the entire Bible, there is never a time when a person who turned to God with repentance was refused forgiveness. Never.

So if you continue to struggle with the fear of this “unpardonable sin,” don’t struggle alone. Let your brothers and sisters in Christ help preach the gospel into the deepest and darkest areas of your life. But know that if you are reading this right now, the choice is truly yours—regardless of your past. You have the opportunity and obligation, right now, to repent. And if you obey that voice, God will save you. As the old hymn goes, “He breaks the power of canceled sin, He sets the prisoner free. His blood can make the foulest clean, His blood availed for me.”

Pastor J.D.

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J.D. Greear is the lead pastor of The Summit Church, in Raleigh-Durham, NC and author of Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary (2011) and Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart: How to Know for Sure You Are Saved (2013). More

11 responses to What Is Blasphemy Against The Holy Spirit?

  1. There are ways I would like to say that I do believe what was said in the comment post about the blasphemy of the holy spirit but the way I had interpreted it had/has me terrified and uncertain about my future. I had a bad teenage life with drugs and alcohol abuse and mental illnesses from that abuse. One particular day I was really stressed with the events in my life that I was overwhelmed terribly. I knew not to blaspheme the Holy Spirit but due to the stress of my situation I willfully used an onslaught of profanity to the confrontation of the Holy Spirit. Life wasn’t too good after that. Maybe 2-3 years later, I went to jail then to prison. My roommate was reading a borrowed Bible. I had an open mind about God so I wanted to read too. My mom sent me one from the free world. So I started to read and the Bible turned out to be actually a really good book to me. To make a long story short, I read and read until I got to Matthew 12:31,32 about blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Ever since I read that passage which I actually knew from 3-4 years prior, came to haunt me really bad. I could not even hardly live with myself for the next 5 years from jail to prison back to home again. It was like I was living in peril of fears from the time I woke in the morning to I went to sleep. I kept talking about it to everyone until everyone was tired of hearing about it. Most of the time I would weep about it but the fear and worry haunts me from time to time. Ever since then recently, it would stay in the back of my mind but the concern is great. I would read eternal torment vs. eternal annihilation in my Bible literatures. It is a bad experience for me personally in my life. I had a letter sent from the Pastor of a bible literature brochure and the only thing I can come up with in my situation is that me not him, is that, I shouldn’t have done that terrible thing. But as far as the letter stated is that in the Judgement Day of God He will know who blasphemed the Holy Spirit and who didn’t. He told me just to ask for forgiveness and keep praying about it until then. As I mentioned earlier, it slowed down on my conscience, but it still has me concerned at a high level because I want to be forgiven or have the opportunity to be forgiven again. If you have any reassured proof that I may not committed the unpardonable sin, any comment would be acceptable. Thank you.

  2. We had a minister in England who shared his testimony with us. He talked about how he would witness to his dad after he got saved. As they walked to work together to the coal mines every day he would give the gospel to his father. Day after day his dad would tell him he wasn’t interested.This went on for a long time until one day his dad turned to him, stomped his foot and say “I do NOT want to hear about your god anymore” – he dropped down dead. The son bent down to try to revive him but as he did the scripture came to him “my spirit will not always strive with man”. I think that coincides with your article.

  3. Pastor J.D, I thought blasphemy was attributing the working of the Holy Spirit to the power of the devil. Kind of like the Pharisees in the N.T. They stated that Jesus cast out demons by the power of Satan. My fear is that I may have done this because I grew up in one of those fundamental independent “culottes”-wearing, no pants for women, no shorts for us men and everyone else is unrighteous but them” type of churches. They said speaking in tongues was of the devil and I believed that and said it until I attended a COG church that I knew was of God in everyway! Is this blasphemy ? Have I crossed the line?

  4. You guys- relax. Remember Saul (who became Paul)? He hated the idea of Jesus. He killed Christians. He was very against God, Jesus, all of it. If anyone should be guilty of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, it’s him! But…God used him. God wanted him. God forgave him.

    You can still be saved. There is hope.

  5. David Tarver, I think you should read Jeremy Myers book, Why You Have Not Blasphemed The Holy Spirit: Finding Forgivness for the Worst of Sins. I beleive it will help you.
    You can go on amazon and type in “unpardonable sin” and it’s like the first book.
    God Bless you. I hope you find the peace and forgivness that God extends to us.
    2 Pet. 3:9

  6. i am really worried I comitted the unforgivable sin (blasphemy against the Holy Spirit). Im so scared I may be going to hell now and I don’t know what to do. Some people say ‘just ask for forgivness’ but how does that work…its an unforgivable sin!? I ‘ve thought things like ‘maybe Satan is better than God’ , “Jesus is an evil spirit’ or cursing the Holy Spirit and thinking the Holy Spirit is stupid. I dony know what to do anymore. Did I.commit the unpardonable sin? .I REALLY need help!!!! I dont want to go on living my life like this and I don’t know if there is any way i could ever feel better now:( please help all you can I fell no hope!

  7. Danielle, I am in the same shape as you, it has been 2 years with no help. I have tried to repent with no change. I do not feel any grace, and everything has gone wrong. If you didn’t speak anything, I would think you are ok, just keep your faith. I feel doomed, and have lost any joy in life.
    I was a happy person nearly every day. Yes, I am worried. I have gotten sick recently. amd had always been healthy. I hope there is someone that can help because like you, I feel no hope.
    Let me know about you. I would like to ask anyone reading this to please pray for us.Thank you.

  8. first of all Im don like it when people sy you PROBABLY havent comitted the unpardonle sin but it makes me wonder if I.may be the eception to that MOST people. I am really worried I comitted the unforgivable sin (blasphemy against the Holy Spirit). Im so scared I am going to hell now and I don’t know what to do. Some people say ‘just ask for forgivness’ but how does that work…its an unforgivable sin!? I ‘ve thought things like ‘maybe Satan is better than God’ , “Jesus is an evil spirit’ or Holy Spirit and thinking the Holy Spirit is stupid. I thought I wish I had never recieved the Holy Spirit because I’d be better in ignorance. Sometimes I feel like I’ve comitted the unpardonable sin for sure but i can’t remember what exactly is I thought too. I REALLY need help!!!! I dont want to go on living my life like this and I don’t know if there is any way i could ever feel better now:( please help all you can I feel no hope!

    Sent from Samsung Mobile

  9. Danielle, Jay, and David,

    Im in kinda the same boat. I believe however that we could be an encouragement to each other. Email me at mattis0717@gmail.com. would love to discuss this further.

  10. Its my belief that Jesus was speaking of the hard heartedness of those who would accuse Him of working through Satan. Not that they “couldn’t be forgiven but that they “won’t” be because they won’t ask for it. In other words, those who could be a literal eyewitness to Jesus working through the Holy Spirit, and fulfilling a Messianic prophecy while were at it,and yet accuse Him of working through Satan,had such depraved hearts that they would not repent. I mean if someone were to witness this and STILL not be convinced He was the Messiah then they probably never would be convinced He was the Messiah, which is essential to salvation and forgiveness. Suppose for a moment those same pharisees came to Jesus and asked forgiveness, I have a hard time envisioning Jesus turning them away.

  11. pls read the ff philipians 2:12-13(conviction and longing for Jesus is Gods work in your heart);john 6:37(jesus invitation,no condition);hebrew 7:25(assurance when you come to Jesus);1 john 1:9(assurance that all unrighteousness can be cleansed);1 john 1-7,(assurance that His blood can cleanse all sin).God bless u all,hope this verses will help.

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