What Is Blasphemy Against The Holy Spirit?

Posted by Pastor J.D. on February 24, 2013

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.


J.D. Greear is 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

22 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.

  12. I almost lost my mind 40 years ago when a friend said that she thought speaking in tongues was, if not the work of satan, was close to being something that was conjured up in someones mind, I instantly nodded my head and muttered something that could have been an agreement, but mainly… possibly to avoid any discussion of the matter given she was Baptist.

    My involvement in the Pentecostal movement began at a very young age (I am now 66) and all those years I was taught that if you questioned any thing happening in the Pentecostal church you ran the risk of committing the unpardonable sin….if it meant dancing in the spirit, tongues, interpretation of tongues, etc. I had seen people in church who would even interrupt the preacher by giving a word of knowledge (The Holy Spirit is a gentleman I believe and would not do anything to disrupt a service in session) After the incident with my friend I started thinking that I had committed the unpardonable sin and I was scared to death. I sought out ministers for help in this and unfortunately it was the penticostal ministers. I then started having thoughts that tormented me no end…I was cussing the Holy Spirit. Please keep in mind that a thought would come and I would ask forgiveness and it would come again. Some might think I was mad at God and that was not it at all. If you tell yourself not to think about something you inevitably do.

    I eventually found a minister that got me into the word of God and helped clear up some of this, however there were just too many years in the penticostal church that these things continue to haunt me…I still fight it. I have wished so many times Jesus would have been clearer on these passages of scripture and when I think that I start to feel guilty and wonder if this is some kind of blasphemy. My Life verse is John 6:37.which I cling to with each ounce of my being. My heart aches for those who have thought they have committed this, and as a result agonized over it most of their lives… they have my prayers.. I believe some of the most godly people on Gods green earth have had similar experiences.

    sawillhite@yahoo.com. Would love to chat with someone about this.

  13. 1 John 4:15 King James Version (KJV)

    15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.

  14. Repent and BELIEVE that God still loves you and turn from your sins and give your all to the Lord , show him the repentance in you and see the work of the holy spirit , the enemy has put these feelings in you , he wants all of you to turn from God and start living in fear and not seek forgiveness and give up , remember the devil is the father of lies , he wants to bind you with these lies and think there is no hope , JESUS IS OUR HOPE , seek him while you are still breathing and ask for forgiveness and guidance and wisdom , BELIEVE AND HAVE FAITH AND PUT IT IN GODS HANDS , I love you all and will be praying for you

  15. Skimming through what are fairly old comments by now, but – Danielle, I have had experiences similar to what you’re describing where I’ve been very anxious about thoughts I was concerned I’d had, whether those were me thinking something evil about God or worrying I was violent or bad in some way. I realized that a lot of the issue for me was a condition, OCD. I’m not saying this is the case for you, but you may want to do google searches for things like OCD intrusive thoughts, or OCD scrupulosity and see if anything seems to describe you. One thing about people with OCD is our extreme distaste/intolerance for uncertainty. Just a thought. Best to you.

  16. When making an argument or a comment or answering a question, please quote from The Bible, not jus plain bold letter that juast came to your head. Thanks.

  17. I committed the eternal sin. It’s very difficult to do. I didn’t believe in forgiveness of sins for 10 years and didn’t repent. I also didn’t believe I was a sinner. Then I got s divorce and repented and felt god’s love. He forgave me and I knew it. I was reborn. But I got scared and thought that the love was coming from a guy I had loved for 10 years. I felt I needed to be with him. He was married though and I ended up committing adultery. This is something I would normally never ever do! I feel the devil and evil spirits took over me. Now my heart is hardened and I can’t repent. The holy spirit left me. This is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. It’s not just a one time thinking something bad about the spirit. Believe in Jesus and forgiveness of sins!

  18. Nicole, please have peace in your heart. You can indeed be forgiven. Your heart is not so hardened that you can’t repent even thou you may feel that way. The fact that you want to repent and turn to Jesus for forgiveness (which I know you do) means that God is still drawing you to him. If your heart was truly hardened, you would not even want to repent. You would not be even the least bit concerned about your eternal destiny or being right with God. When we sin we open ourselves up to the Devils attacks. These include guilt, fear, despair etc. he has convinced you that you can’t repent. But you can! Find time with God learn his work and express your sincere desire to repent. Even if you feel that you fall short in your sincerity, ask God to give you a sincere heart. He will do it! Heeling may not occur over night but be persistent I seeking God and he will not let you down. Remember David committed adultery and was forgiven freely but his road was not easy either. However he is in Heaven with our Lord as we speak! Be free and live forgiven!

  19. I have lived in fear of this for years . I lashed out at God in anger over something stupid . When I lashed out I didn’t curse God nor the Holy Spirit . In fact I wasn’t even directing what I said at the Holy Spirit . I shouted at God and said I asked you for a measly peace and you can’t even do that for me . Then I mocked and made fun of God and said He didn’t lift me up when I was down ! After I said that I felt nothing but fear and doom . I fell down and asked God to have mercy on me and forgive me . I felt I crossed the line with God and made Him very angry with me . I felt I indirectly Blasphemed the Holy Spirit indirectly without even realizing it at the time . I’m so sick and live in torment daily . I take meds just to cope . I pray that God would help me . I feel for those who have this fear .

  20. J.F.
    Please don’t give up. Keep going to a prayer warrior group that can support you. Many others have felt the same way you’ll find if you stay in a good group that is honest with their failings and struggles, too.

  21. Matthew 12:31-32

    Unpardonable sin: Even after seeing the Holy Ghost do only God power miracles, some Pharisees and Sadducees still “didn’t truly believe in Yeshua” (Jesus even said they were truly NONBELIEVERS – it happens) so they had no other option then but to belive Jesus miracles must be of the devil and Jesus isn’t Who He says He is – ALL THE WAY TO THEIR DEATHS. He who dies in true heart denial of Christ Jesus isn’t forgiven in the first life – and though the denier becomes a believer in the next life, it’s too late by then and they can’t be forgiven there either. This is not of a believer or their fate.

    If one believes on Christ Jesus in 1st life they’re always fine in both – name in book of life forever. Scripture says so and God does not lie. Ask forgiveness, confess the sin that was actually committed in hurt, carnal minds, and deceptive hearts: pride, anger, testing God, rebelliousness, etc. ALL forgivable because of the blood of Christ.

    Paul committed blasphemy of the Holy Ghost in denying Who Christ Jesus was, but became a believer and was forgiven – 1st life. So it can’t be a one time only sin, but a constant one to the death. Compare scripture with scripture. They all come to one conclusion: believing on Christ Jesus saves and forgives all sins. We suffer for our sins, but don’t stay there, God wants us to know truth and work for Him. Keep serving God, love Him, share the gospel :)

    Demons lie…send them away now in the name of Yeshua Messiah. The Spirit will always be with the believer.

  22. Hi! danielle

    I have that kind of thoughts before, i feel like i am the most hopeless in the whole earth
    and i was asking God why this things happen to me, God knows i fear him very much,
    i ask him forgiveness all the time, begging him to accept me but i feels like i am rejected
    and someones taking to my mind and condemning me; that time i was so tired and not enjoying
    the life being a christian until i notice that this is a deception of satan, injecting to my mind
    that the forgiveness of God Jesus and his Grace is not enough, but God comforted me and reveling his everlasting love

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