By: Rev. Joe Kramer
Blasphemy is one of those concepts that in modern society have been lost. Many a Christian will read that we shouldn’t blaspheme God but has no idea what it really means. Oh they have a vague conception, but couldn’t tell you if they had committed it or not. So today we will take a quick look at the concept of Blasphemy.
What we call blasphemy always means to insult God in some kind of way or fashion, to distort God’s character. The question is how does one blaspheme God? By consciously using derogatory speech and/or actions toward or about God. It can also mean to mock or do the same thing toward someone here on earth. Why? Because we are The Body of Christ and are made in the likeness of God. In today’s modern translations you will not see the word blasphemy. Instead most of them will employ the word “slander.” While slander is part of what we just discussed it is not the whole of it. Blasphemy involves malicious intent of will, it involves mocking and evil actions.
Blasphemy in the Old Testament was seen as a crime punishable by death. Isaiah called the worship of the golden calf a blasphemy against God. The reason was that they intentionally abandoned God and worshipped an idol made by hands. In the New Testament the religious leaders wished to kill Jesus for equaling himself with God. They considered this blasphemy (which it would be if it were anyone else other than Jesus, because He is God.).
The good news is that all blasphemy will be forgiven, except for blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. This is called the unpardonable sin. So let us look at it a little more closely, in context.
“22Then there was brought to Him a demon-possessed man who was blind and dumb, and He healed him, so that the dumb man spoke and saw. 23And all the multitudes were amazed, and began to say, “This man cannot be the Son of David, can he?” 24But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “This man casts out demons only by Beelzebub the ruler of the demons.” 25And knowing their thoughts He said to them, “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself shall not stand. 26″And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then shall his kingdom stand? 27″And if I by Beelzebub cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? Consequently they shall be your judges. 28″But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29″Or how can anyone enter the strong man’s house and carry off his property, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house. 30″He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters. 31″Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. 32″And whoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age, or in the age to come,” (All Scripture quotes are from the NASB).
-Matt. 12:22-32 (NASB)
There are a lot of thoughts on this subject, but Scripture, in context, gives us this answer. Look at verse 22. In this verse Jesus heals a man who was blind and could not speak. The Pharisees (the religious leaders of the time) state that Jesus does this by the power of Satan! Jesus responds stating how illogical that is because a kingdom that is divided can’t stand (we could go into politics here, but I won’t).
Now here is something you won’t hear every day. In the context of the passage we are dealing with miracles and who gets credit for them. Blasphemy against the Spirit is crediting the miracles of Jesus to Satan. But why is this case?
Well we can find clues in Jesus’ baptism. At His baptism He was baptized so that he might fulfill all righteousness. At this event the Holy Spirit descended upon Him. Now the priests of the day would anoint with Olive Oil and allow it to be poured on their heads and it would fall to around their feet. This was representative of the empowerment of the Holy Spirit; here we have the Holy Spirit actually descending on Jesus. This shows that He is the anointed of God and that His miracles come from the Holy Spirit. This would have been well-known by these Pharisees before they ever made their statements.
These miracles were done to validate what Jesus was here on earth to do (i.e. die and rise again for our sins). To attribute these miracles to Satan attributes the work of redemption to Satan as well. These Pharisees knew better in their minds and hearts and not only resisted Jesus in themselves but maligned all that He stood for. By doing this they not only resisted Him till death, but tried to lead others to do the same!
So the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is when an individual, knowing full well what they are doing (i.e. the redemptive work of Christ), resists Him till death while leading others to do the same. They attribute His works to Satan and mar what Christ has done for us.
A true believer would never commit this sin, because they have surrendered their hearts and lives to Christ. So if anyone out there is truly distressed as to whether or not they have committed this sin should not worry about it. This distress is evidence that they have not. Why? Well, the reason is because someone who has committed this sin wouldn’t be distressed at all over their choice. They have hardened their hearts to such a point that it would not bother them in the slightest.
I hope today’s article has helped you and that you now have a more firm concept of blasphemy. May god bless you on your journey.
- Manser, M. H. (1999). Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies. London: Martin Manser.
- Thomas, R. L., & The Lockman Foundation. (1998). New American Standard exhaustive concordance of the Bible: Updated edition. Anaheim: Foundation Publications, Inc.
- Carpenter, E. E., & Comfort, P. W. (2000). Holman treasury of key Bible words: 200 Greek and 200 Hebrew words defined and explained (236). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
- Cross, F. L., & Livingstone, E. A. (2005). The Oxford dictionary of the Christian Church (3rd ed. rev.) (215–216). Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.
- Myers, A. C. (1987). The Eerdmans Bible dictionary (162). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.