What is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit? This is a question I have heard many times, and here is my take on it. The blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is an event that takes place over a long period of time as an individual continues to reject the work of the Holy Spirit in his or her life, and in doing so rejects the forgiveness that is only available in Christ.
One of the main passages the idea is pulled from is Matthew 12:30-32. The passage reads,
“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. For this reason I tell you, people will be forgiven for every sin and blasphemy, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 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.(NET)
I would point the readers attention to verse 30. This event is relational in nature, to commit the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit one must be opposed to Christ. The one that is against Christ scatters. I believe this is a part of the unforgivable sin; rejecting Christ and His work by the power of the Holy Spirit. The blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is manifested in continued unbelief in the face of true knowledge of Jesus. The verses preceding this passage set the ground work for this idea.
“Then they brought to him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute. Jesus healed him so that he could speak and see. All the crowds were amazed and said, “Could this one be the Son of David?” But when the Pharisees heard this they said, “He does not cast out demons except by the power of Beelzebul, the ruler of demons!” Now when Jesus realized what they were thinking, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is destroyed, and no town or house divided against itself will stand. So if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? For this reason they will be your judges. But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has already overtaken you. How else can someone enter a strong man’s house and steal his property, unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can thoroughly plunder the house.”
This passage that builds the context for the idea of the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, reveals a crowd of people seeing Jesus work miracles by Holy Spirit power. Jesus says He is casting out demons by the Spirit of God and therefore the Kingdom of God has overtaken you. Some of the crowd immediately believes that Jesus is the Christ; the promised one which brings salvation. But the Pharisees reject Jesus as Lord and Christ, and they call the work of God here the work of Satan. They are hard-hearted and cemented in their intentional unbelief. They are in the process of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. They are rejecting God’s work through the Spirit-filled Christ. In so doing they are rejecting the only means of forgiveness and salvation that exists.
The reason the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is unforgivable is because in committing it you are in active unbelief against Christ. “Jesus replied, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me(John 14:6).” To reject Christ is to reject the only way to be saved, and would definitionally be unforgivable. You can’t be forgiven by rejecting the only avenue of forgiveness. I would encourage the reader to read Hebrews 6 which I believe to be a passage that parallels this one, because both deal with the fruit bearing illustration which follows verse 32 in Matthew chapter 12. The one who commits the unforgivable sin does not do it once on accident. This occurs over a lifetime of rejection of Christ. One who has experienced life and knows the Gospel is the only one that can commit this sin( see Hebrews 6).
If you are concerned that you have committed it, you have not. There is still hope for you. The same group of people that were in the process of committing the unforgivable sin( The Pharisees) produces the unlikely convert of the Apostle Paul. If you have breath in your lungs it is not too late. Trust Christ today and live. He is salvation, and through His work all can be forgiven.