Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. (Matthew 12:31)
Blasphemy Against The Spirit
There is nothing more basic to the failure of humanity than the blatant rejection of the word of God. When Eve fell to the whispering voice of the serpent to eat the forbidden fruit, she cast the spell of darkness on the hearts of men to openly rebel against the power of the Lord. She understood clearly what God had said about the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
Adam knew the warning of God not to partake of the one tree. There was no excuse for their actions. The tragic end of their decisions was the refusal to accept the will of their Creator. Rebellion to the word of God has been the hallmark of the human story.
God sent His Son into the world for men to see God. Jesus was God who came in the flesh. John said the word became flesh dwelling among men, and they beheld His glory. Through the agency of the Holy Spirit, Jesus proclaimed He was God. The authority to forgive sins was demonstrated by showing His power. His teaching was authoritative and indisputable.
The Jewish leaders repeatedly tried to trap Jesus, accuse the man from Nazareth, and find any means possible to discredit Him. All of their efforts were for naught. The height of the arrogance and hatred of the Pharisees came when Jesus healed a demon-possessed, blind, and mute man.
Some miracles have a more significant impact than others. Raising someone from the dead was quite remarkable. Casting out demons by itself was noteworthy. Restoring a blind man’s sight would astonish the crowds. When Jesus cast out a demon from a blind man to whom He restored sight and then loosened the tongue of the man who could not speak; the power of the miracle was without question the power of God.
As the Pharisees witnessed the incredible power of Jesus upon the poor man possessed, blind, and mute, the Jewish leaders could only accuse Jesus of a miracle by the power of Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons. Albert Barnes notes the accusation by the Pharisees “was an opprobrious (scornful, disgraceful) name given to the leader of the devils as an expression of supreme contempt.”
The depth of depravity in the hearts of the Pharisees was so dark there was no hope for them. Their total rejection of the power of Jesus was utterly an unmitigated failure of their hatred for Jesus. Rejecting the miracle of healing the man was rejecting the power of the Holy Spirit. To blatantly reject a powerful miracle was to blaspheme the Holy Spirit of which there was no recourse.
The context of the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit must be seen in the incarnation of Jesus on earth. The Son of God had a ministry of around three years in length. During this time, He taught with authority and, through the power of the Holy Spirit, confirmed His authority from the Father. This is the only time in the history of mankind God walked among men as Jesus did.
If there was a time that all men could see the glory of God in the flesh, the ministry of Jesus was such a time. Because of the prejudice and hatred of the Pharisees (and others), they rejected Jesus and thereby rejected God the Father and the Holy Spirit. Rejecting the miracles of Jesus was the height of rebellion. The Pharisees never denied a miracle performed by Jesus because there was no way to argue the evidence. They accused Jesus of working by the power of Satan – which was the spiritual last straw.
Jesus warns the Pharisees that every sin can be forgiven, but to blaspheme the Holy Spirit would damn the soul without measure. This contextual warning only applied when God walked among men manifesting His power. Blaspheming the Holy Spirit was to reject the miracles of Jesus seen with the eyes.
The blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is not a single word or phrase given or, even as some have argued, suicide. It is a perpetual rejection of the word of God, as seen in the manifestation of Jesus on earth. In the strictest sense, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit cannot be done today because Jesus is not in the flesh. There is a manner in which men suffer the same consequence when they reject the gospel of Christ.
Every sin committed by the heart of man can and will be forgiven when a man repents and changes his life. There is power in the blood of Jesus. The Pharisees were guilty of blaspheming the Holy Spirit when they charged a visible (and powerful) miracle by the Son of God to the work of Satan. There is no hope when the heart is that dark, and it is impossible to bring them to Christ.