What Is Blasphemy Against The Holy Spirit?

With the release of my new book, Stop Asking Jesus Into Your HeartI 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.”

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  1. Terry Collier   •  

    I don’t think anyone living has committed blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. The revelation of Jesus as Savior comes through the Holy Spirit. There is no other message, no other means of salvation. If we have not responded to the Holy Spirit’s revelation to us when we draw our final breath, we cannot be pardoned.

  2. Bob Cleveland   •  

    The best Bible teacher I ever heard said this: If you deny the truth of the Bible, refusing to trust the Jesus of the Bible for salvation, then you are calling those things you do not believe, a lie. As satan is the father of lies, you are in fact attributing the work of the Holy Spirit, to the devil. If you show up at the gates not believing in the truth of the Bible, you aren’t getting in.

    I haven’t found a better explanation in 40 years or so.

  3. Branton Burleson   •  

    “And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either IN THIS AGE or in the age to come.” – Mt 12:32

  4. Christopher Sadoun   •  

    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.

  5. Christopher Abdulla Sadoun   •  

    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 worry about the punishment for blasphemy against the holy spirit.
    It is good news for me and bad news for Jesus Christ.
    Because I am under grace and not under the law.
    “For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.” (Bible, New Testament, Romans 6:14)

    The world of Grace is completely different than and set apart from the world of law.

    You are in the world of Grace.
    I am in the world of grace too.

    So my blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is forgiven.
    So your blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is forgiven.

    The curse and punishment for blaspheming the holy spirit is sealed in the world of law and can not harm me or you or anyone. It only harmed Jesus Christ. And that is what Jesus Christ set out to do to save us.

    And Jesus was victorious.

    I effect the world of law with this blasphemy against the Holy Spirit sin and the world of Law can not effect me because I am in Jesus Christ the world of Grace.
    In the world of grace blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is forgiven.

    In the world of law blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is not forgiven.

    ALL are in the world of Grace except Jesus, sin, death, the devil , and the world . And in the world of Grace all sins are forgiven even blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

  6. Christopher Abdulla Sadoun   •  

    What is Prophecy?
    Prophecy is always a promise of God. God gives prophecy-promises of hope to His children. God also gives prophecy-promises of judgment to those who disagree wither are indifferent to Him.

    Can men give prophecy?
    No! Genuine prophecy comes only from God. “No prophecy was ever an act of human will” (1 Peter 1:21)

    Why is prophecy (a great gift from God), avoided today by many? Why do Lutheran pastors often avoid preaching on prophecy?
    In recent years a small group of Baptist, Pentecostal, Charismatic, and Dispensationalist preachers have predominated television preaching. These preachers claim that the key prophecies of God deal with the state of Israel. These misguided preachers have twisted God’s prophecies and removed Christ from the center of prophetic preaching. By doing this, they replace Jesus Christ with the geographical state of Israel. This misuse of prophecy has cause many Lutheran pastors to avoid teaching about prophecy altogether, thereby leaving their people in the dark and without the hope that God desires to give His people through Christ-centered prophetic preaching.

    If you were to make a tree diagram of all Old Testament prophecies–with a branch or twig representing each specific prophecy–why would Genesis 3:15 be the root of this big “tree” of many old testament prophecies?
    There are 1,189 chapters in the Bible. Already in the third chapter of the first book, God gives His “root,” His “foundation block,” or His cornerstone prophecy. This cornerstone prophecy on which all other prophecies are built is Genesis 3:15. Every activity of the entire Old and New Testament is tied in some way to Genesis 3:15, just as every branch and smallest twig of a tree is in some way tied to the root.

    WHY IS GOOD NEWS DEVOTING AN ENTIRE ISSUE TO PROPHECY?
    The primary purpose of GOOD NEWS is to give its readers hope. As You turn these pages and see specific prophecies explained, you will also experience the hope God desires to give you.

    HOW CAN YOU EASILY DETECT THE HERETICAL TEACHING OF TODAY’S TELEVISION PREACHERS AND DISTINGUISH IT FROM THE SOLID AND RELIABLE TEACHING THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH HAS ALWAYS USED REGARDING PROPHECY?
    Popular and heretical preachers of prophecy usually focus on the Bible books of Revelation, Daniel, and Ezekiel. These books are then used to explain current world politics, especially current events, and to guess when Jesus will return. The greatest condemnation of these charlatans is the clear teaching of Jesus: “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone” (Matthew 24:36)

    WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT FOR CHRISTIANS TO KNOW ABOUT THE TWISTED HERESY OF DISPENSATIONALISM?
    As already noted, the Dispensationalist teaching of prophecy takes Jesus from the center of all prophecy and replaces our blessed Lord with the state of Israel. In Luke 24:44, Jesus says, “All things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Dispensationalists, in effect, have recast this section of God’s Word to say, “All things written about the state of Israel in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Furthermore, as Luther points out, Israel, even in the Old Testament, has always referred to those who believed and followed God, not to a particular race of people or to a certain geographical area.

    WHY IS IT ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL FOR CHRISTIANS TO KNOW WHAT THE WORD ‘ISRAEL” MEANS TODAY?
    Over the centuries, in its worship services, the Christian church has always used the Psalms. The Psalms regularly refer to Israel. When the Psalmist is referring to Israel, he is pointing to those whom God has promised to bless. In their false understanding of Scripture, the Dispensationalists have misled millions to believe that the Psalms are referring to God blessing the state of Israel, when, in fact, the Psalms refer to a blessing God wants to give to all who are worshiping him. In other words, the heretical Dispensationalist theology twists and redirects God’s promises of blessings from children who are His through Baptism to those they believe are His through geography.
    So, the bottom line is this. When people in your congregations are hoodwinked into believing Dispensationalist theology, they do not experience the blessings that God has to give them as His New Israel! (Romans 9:1-8)

    WHERE ARE THE CHIEF THEOLOGICAL SCHOOLS THAT TEACH DISPENSATIONALISM?
    Among themselves Dispensationalists would agree that the leading schools teaching their interpretation of the Scriptures would be Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois, and Dallas Theological Seminary in Texas. One of the founders of Fuller Theological Seminary was also a major promoter of Dispensationalism.

    WHO HAVE BEEN SOME OF THE LEADING AND MOST POPULAR TEACHERS OF THE TWISTED THEOLOGY OF DISPENSATIONALISM?
    The most popular teacher of dispensationalism has been Hal Lindsey, the author of The Late Great Planet Earth which sold some 35 million copies and was translated into over 50 languages. In more recent years, Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins authored the Left Behind series of books, which netted each author over fifty million dollars. These figures demonstrate how widely this 19th-century American heresy has been spread and the threat that it poses to Christ’s church. Jesus says, “Many will … mislead many” (Matthew 24:5).

    WHY DO THESE RELIGIOUS FICTION BOOKS, ESPECIALLY THOSE THAT DEAL WITH PROPHECY, SELL SO WELL?
    All people, even those committed to secularism, are interested in getting a peek into the future. Thus, when a charlatan comes along who claims to be interpreting present and future events ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE, there are many buyers! Even members of the U.S. Department of Defense were known to be reading The Late Great Planet Earth in the hope of seeing the future of world political and military movements. One author noted that reading The Late Great Planet Earth was like getting an advance copy of tomorrow’s newspaper!
    Finally, on e could read many, many books explaining how the twisted theology of Dispensationalism has impacted politics in the United States and other parts of the world. But politics is not our mission at GOOD NEWS. While we have taken some space to point out the deadly menace of Dispensationalism, you can see that the greater percentage of this issue is devoted to the true and correct Biblical understanding of prophecy, a great blessing God wants you to have!
    Dispensationalism is effectively exposed in volume XIII of Confessional Lutheran Dogmatics: Escatology by John R. Stephenson. p. 83-97, in the essay titled, “Fictitious Signs of His Coming: Sundry Dreams of the Dispensationalists” (Published by the Luther Academy, Fort Wayne, IN. 1993).

    For Bible Study questions about this page, turn to page 41 and use questions 43 through 45.

    43. The heresy of Dispensationalism has been promoted by many popular evangelical preachers on television and radio. Major schools of theology, such as the Moody Bible Institute, promote Dispeationalism. Bestselling books like The Late Great Planet Earth, and even the series, sow the tares of dispensational thinking in the minds of million of Christians (Matthew 13:24-30). Nevertheless, Dispensationalism is not a God-Pleasing doctrine. Jesus warns us: “Many will come in My name … and will mislead many” (Matthew 24:5).

    44. Jesus claims that the entire Old Testament speaks of Him (Luke 24:44). Dispensationalism removes Jesus from the center of Biblical prophecy and replaces Him with the modern state of Israel. Dispensationalists base their teaching on obscure passages while ignoring the Bible’s clear teachings, such as: “But of that day and hour no one knows” (Matthew 24:36). Finally, Dispensationalism robs God’s children of the comfort of their Baptism. By focus-ing on bringing back the political state of Israel, Dispensationalism denies God’s promise that, through Baptism, He has established the Christian church as His New Israel (Romans (:1-8)

    45. No matter how persuasive and exciting television preachers or popular books may be, always remember: Christ, not the state of Israel, is the center of all Scripture (Luke 18:31). When you hear novel interpretations drawn from books such as Revelation or Daniel, keep in mind: “No prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation” (2 Peter 1:20). Search the Scriptures daily (Acts 17:11), and compare the claims of Dispensational teachers to God’s clear testimonies, such as Matthew 24:36 and Romans 9:1-8. Fix your eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2), knowing that the entire OLd Testament speaks of Him (Luke 24:44). And bear in mind that all prophecy springs from the root of Genesis 3:15. When you are armed with these clear Biblical teachings, and refreshed by God’s forgiveness in Word and Sacrament, you will be able to “stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11).

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