A Graceful Take on Blaspheming the Holy Spirit
This is Part 2 in a series of transparent posts on the Christian Doctrines I was taught as a young believer and have since abandoned and embraced what I believe to be the truth in love. The first was about The Eucharist and there are a few more to come. Thanks for reading.
There was this video back in the day that quite possibly was one of the funniest things I had ever seen. Some brilliant person gathered footage from a bunch of various television preachers while they were making these really intense faces in moments of prayer and preaching. Once gathered, they took that footage and dubbed (put the sound over the video) the sounds of elaborate and forceful fart sounds over those intense facial moments. After watching this, I just about dropped dead from laughter.
I started showing some friends and shared the laughter. Every time, it got funnier and funnier. I remember asking a pastor if he had seen it wanting to get a take from someone who could have potentially be on these videos or may just find them as funny as I did. The response I got was anything but funny. It was actually down-right terrifying.
"It's not funny. By laughing at that video you're blaspheming the Holy Spirit and that's the unforgivable sin."
I'm sorry, what was that? The unforgivable dowhata?
I thought Jesus forgave my sins. I thought his sacrifice was the propitiation for my sins. Apparently there is a sin that even Jesus is powerless to forgive and it involves farting preachers. I'm pretty sure I didn't pass gas for a few weeks after hearing this (talk about controlling your hole).
Years later, in God's grace and love for me, I was overjoyed to hear the truth about what Blaspheming the Holy Spirit really means. As the truth is made to do, it liberated me and it encouraged me. Not because it was some incredible knowledge but because it gave me a deeper understand and picture of the person of truth, Jesus. As grace was given to me, I share it with you now.
And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” And he called them to him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. But no one can enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house.
“Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.” Mark 3: 22-30 ESV
The Unforgivable Sin. I feel like it sounds like some Harry Potter spell (where my religious people at? #harrypotterhaters). It's kind of a pretty scary phrase. There is a sin that Jesus can't forgive you of and it's got some pretty elusive explanations.
One of the most important aspects of reading the Bible (that for whatever reason, people completely disregard) is the principle of context. You can't just read a part of a scripture and call it a doctrine, people! You have to read it in context to everything else in the scriptures. Like Luke 20:8 NLT says "And Jesus responded, “Then I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things.” So because of that individual scripture we can assume that all the other times that Jesus is telling us that he's come from the Father to us are moot and irrelevant and that we don't actually know where Jesus get's his authority. See how ridiculous we sound...
The context surrounding blaspheming the Holy Spirit is that the religious nerds and know-it-alls were jealous of Jesus' mad demon casting out skills. So like jealous middle-schoolers, they started talking garbage about Jesus, saying that he is the devil and that's why the under-demons listen to the varsity one.
Jesus hears this and drops a bomb on them (glad it wasn't a literal one but that would make for a cool video game). He tells them pretty clearly that they are talking gibberish and they need to shut their trap because they are embarrassing themselves with that logic. In short it comes down to this: Demons Vs Devil = Bad Teamwork & Ineffective Strategy.
J follows this up with a message to his followers: "whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin." Never has forgiveness! Ouch! Thanks for nuthin, Jesus! Guilty of an eternal sin! Oh the gift that keeps on giving...
But wait. What the heck does blaspheming the Holy Spirit mean? Does it mean laughing at flatulent preachers or making fun of the Holy Spirit? I don't think so.
According to the context, the religious douchebags were calling Jesus the Devil. They were attributing the character and works of Jesus, the perfect & spotless lamb sent for the propitiation of our sins, to the author of lies, master thief, convicted murderer, & dedicated destroyer of everything. They were saying that Jesus isn't who he says he is and he can't do what he says he can do because he isn't the Son of God but he's satan wearing a saviour's costume.
Let me break it down like this: The religious scholars weren't accepting Jesus and the Good News because they didn't trust in Jesus and didn't believe that he was going to take their sin to the cross, be nailed there with it, take it to the grave, kick Satan's ass...ociation of butts, then come back from dead, not be a zombie, and be glorified into heaven to take his rightful place seated next to the Father.
Jesus came to earth to take our unrighteousness upon himself and give us the gift of his righteousness and right standing with the Father. The religious scribes didn't think he could do that and so they called him the devil, ultimately showing us what the unforgivable sin is.
The Unforgivable Sin is not believing in Jesus.
Imagine this. It's Christmas day. All your life, all you wanted was a beautiful perfect super dope bicycle with 807215809372095743 gears, lighted spokes, and a spotlight on the front. You wake up, realize it's Christmas, jump on the bed (realize you're jumping in pee depending on your age and if you wet the bed until you were 13 #ithappens #noshame), then run down stairs and see this big beautiful box that looks just right for a bike. Waiting patiently until you're allowed to open it, you open it to find out it's a simple & plain bike that looks more like something you'd get a flea market than what you wanted. Like most disappointed people when they see something that doesn't match their expectations, you call it crap and wish you had something flashier and mightier and way better. You refuse to ride it and you're completely over it. You get around your friends and talk about how horrible it is even to the point of calling it the worst bike of all time. Meanwhile, your annoying, less cool, curious younger brother goes into the garage where you left it, gets on the bike and starts to take it for a spin in the neighborhood. As he rides it, he realizes that there is something incredibly different about this bike. It's gentle on the ride, it doesn't fall over, it doesn't break, it is comfortable, and it's actually really really beautiful. Your younger brother quickly discovers that the more he rides it, the more he adores it and the more he adores it, the more he loves it. Where you have rejected the greatest bicycle known to mankind, he has fallen completely in love with it and will never ride anything else.
The Unforgivable Sin is incredibly scary. It's not being able to accept Jesus' forgiveness for your sins because you don't accept him. It's not being able to ride the bike because you never got on it.
The only sin Jesus can't forgive is the sin that we don't give to him to be forgiven.
I hope you know that Jesus has conquered sin completely. But if we reject Him, we reject his victory over sin in our lives. What good is a gift if you refuse it? What good is forgiveness if you reject it? What good does Jesus do if we don't receive what he offers?
I'm thankful that now when I tell people that I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love; that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love, and that no power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39 NLT), when I tell them that and they say they aren't sure, I can tell them about the Unforgivable Sin. That there is only one thing that Jesus can't do and that's force himself on you. That he can only be received as a gift. And that if you accept the greatest gift we could ever receive, then there truly is nothing that can separate you from God's love.
I now love telling people about the Unforgivable Sin. I love telling them that Jesus has conquered death and sin forever and he freely and readily offers us that victory in his everlasting love.
I hope you get to tell people about the Unforgivable Sin in the beautiful context of the All-Forgiving Savior, Jesus Christ.
In His Solution,