What is blasphemy against the Holy Ghost?

By Tim Greenwood
The Word of God says that there are only two situations in which a man or woman cannot receive forgiveness. The first and most common is when they are in a state of unforgiveness. That is to say that they have been wronged (or sinned against) and they refuse to forgive the person, which we find in Mark 11:25.

The second, which is actually quite a rare occurrence, is blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. It is this second situation that I would like to address in this study.

Mat. 12:31 says, “Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.” But what does that mean?

Too many Christians have been stopped right in their tracks after being convinced that they have blasphemed the Holy Spirit. In all of those that we have counseled that believed or suspected that they had blasphemed the Holy Spirit, NONE of them had actually done so. The very fact that they were even concerned about it was a very good indication that they had no done so. Much of the problem has to do with misunderstands due to poor teaching and some twisted theology.

Before we get into this scripture, let me lay a little foundation concerning the Holy Spirit.
For 25 years I was taught that the Holy Spirit was a power like electricity and not the 3rd person of the Trinity. This is just not so and the scriptures bear this out. I don’t have the space to do a complete teaching on this here but the following should not only sow this as well as illustrating a few other things about the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit can be RESISTED.
Acts 7:51 Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.

The Holy Spirit can be QUENCHED.
1Th 5:19 Quench not the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit can be GREIVED.
Eph 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
What kind of things grieves the Holy Spirit? Read the next verse…
Vs. 31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

The Holy Spirit can be QUIETED.
Zech 6:8 Then cried he upon me, and spake unto me, saying, Behold, these that go toward the north country have quieted my spirit in the north country.
How can one “quiet” the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit is a gentleman. He will never force Himself upon you. If you continually resist Him, or “say” that you don’t want to hear what He has to say… He will back off and be quiet where you are concerned.

The Holy Spirit can be INSULTED.
Heb 10:29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite (Greek: to insult) the Spirit of grace?

And finally…
The Holy Spirit can be BLASPHEMED.
Which brings us to our scripture. But before we continue, I want to recap that the Holy Spirit can be: Resisted, Quenched, Grieved, Quieted and Insulted – None of these are Blasphemy! This has been part of the problem. People (all too often Pastors) have wadded all of these things together with blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Others have for the sake of emphasis, thrown a few additional real or imagined sins into the mix as well. And this has destroyed the lives of many an otherwise stable Christian.

Look, according to these scriptures, you can resist Him, grieve Him, Quiet Him and even insult Him and yet not commit the unpardonable sin by blaspheming Him.

But, the Holy Spirit can be BLASPHEMED as is shown in Mat 12:31.
Well, lets dig into this passage a little.

vs. 31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men:
What this is saying is that every other kind of sin and every other kind of blasphemy can be forgiven. The scripture says ALL! In the Greek language “All” is always translated as… ‘ALL’! (or every one). So what if you were an axe murderer? ALL! What if you were a child molester? ALL! What if you got divorced and remarried? (I bring up the last one because an extended family member of ours believes that somehow by committing this heinous sin of ‘divorce and remarriage’ he has blasphemed the Holy Spirit and is lost and separated from God forever. No!) ALL means ALL!

… but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.
But, there IS something called “Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.” So what is it?

Well here is what it is NOT:
vs. 32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: So it’s NOT talking against Jesus! Accusing Him of all manner of sin and crimes, calling Him a drunk and a glutton, accusing Him of healing and deliverance through the power of Satan … According to this that’s even forgivable. So even blasphemy against Jesus is forgivable.

Here is what it is…
but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.
Wow! That is rough! But what does that mean, “speaking against the Holy Spirit”?

Well it’s really pretty simple. “Blasphemy” is something slanderous and/or injurious to one’s good name. And the Greek word for “against” can mean “according to the case against” or “to the charge of” which is legal language. So what I believe this is saying is that “speaking blasphemy against” the Holy Spirit is like when someone one knowingly and deliberately as a legal witness attributes the works, operations and/or gifts of the Holy Spirit to the Devil or attributes the works, operations of the Devil to the Holy Spirit.

The Pharisees did this when Jesus was casting out demons by the power of the Holy Spirit. They proclaimed: “He cast out demon spirits by the power of Beelzebub!”
Jesus stopped their mouths right then and there and straightened them out.

Now Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is NOT someone that is just parroting someone else or speaking out of ignorance. Paul in 1Tim 1:12-13 said that He had even blasphemed the Holy Spirit, but that he had done this out of ignorance.

This is also NOT just something stupid that someone casually says once or twice. This is something that is said deliberately – in abundance – from the heart. How do we know that? We know that from the context of the rest of this passage.

vs. 33 Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit
vs. 34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth

vs. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.
vs. 36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
vs. 37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy. He is not above using religion to accomplish his goals. So I don’t care WHO told you that you have committed the unpardonable sin… a “friend”, a relative, a coworker, someone in your church, your Priest of Pastor or Satan himself… I guarantee you that you could NOT have done it accidentally (without knowing about it). You would have to knowingly and deliberately, from your heart of hearts reject and renounce the Holy Spirit and verbally slander Him and His works and character to others.

I don’t think a person like that would even be reading this article! That is why you need to realize that you have not committed this unpardonable sin. Now you may have indeed sinned. But God’s Word says that He is QUICK TO FORGIVE all other sins. So ask for His forgiveness, and believe by faith that you have received it and get on with your life.

Don’t let the Devil continue to hold you in bondage.
Don’t allow the Devil to hold you back any longer from your walk with God.