R.T. Kendall | The Holy Spirit Can Be Blasphemed
This is an excerpt (Day 32) taken from 40 Days with the Holy Spirit by R.T. Kendall. For more reading on blaspheming the Holy Spirit, please check out “Beelzebub or the Finger of God? Accusations of Strange Fire.”
The blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven” (Matt. 12:31). This is arguably the scariest passage in the New Testament. It is called the unpardonable sin because there is no forgiveness if one blasphemes the Holy Spirit. Many pastors have someone in their church who fears he or she may have committed the sin. I get messages from time to time on Twitter from people who fear they have blasphemed the Holy Spirit. It is usually from someone who has battled sexual temptation and gave in.
What is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit? First, it is not any sin against the moral law (Ten Commandments). It is not greed, stealing, or bearing false witness; it is not committing murder or adultery. King David committed both murder and adultery, and he was forgiven. The unpardonable sin is committed when one’s final verdict regarding the gospel is to show contempt for the Spirit’s testimony - which is to glorify Christ. It is one’s final decision to undermine the Holy Spirit’s witness that Jesus is God in the flesh. One therefore blasphemes the Holy Spirit by finally denying that Jesus is God in the flesh - or saying that Jesus has an evil spirit. In Mark’s account it is written: “Whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of eternal sin”. And then Mark added that Jesus said this because they were saying, “He [Jesus] has an evil spirit” (Mark 3:29-30). How can you know you have not committed the unpardonable sin? If you can testify from your heart that Jesus is God, worry no more.
I watched a conference on YouTube in which the speakers poked fun at certain people who were falling out under the power of the Spirit and laughing their heads off. Ironically some of these speakers were laughing as they watched videos of people who were laughing their heads off. One of the speakers also had written that speaking in tongues is voodoo. This is perilously close to saying the Holy Spirit is evil. I don’t think this man would mean to say that. But it was sobering to watch these men who were laughing at sincere Christians and to read what I just referred to. I choose to come short of saying these men who were mocking blasphemed the Spirit. But it is scary what they were doing.
In my old church in Ashland, Kentucky, we had evangelists come in two or three times a year to hold revivals - missions, usually lasting two weeks each. It was common for the minister to preach on blaspheming the Holy Spirit at least once - usually on the last evening - scaring everybody nearly to death. However I cannot recall ever hearing a minister explain exactly what the unpardonable sin was - or how it could be committed. I fear it was used sometimes as a ploy to get people to run to the altar, lest they commit this sin and inevitably go to hell.
And yet I have had people in Westminster Chapel come to see me, worrying that they had blasphemed the Spirit. One dear man - who was solid in his faith - remembers a time before he was converted that he said, “Damn you, Holy Ghost.” After he was converted, he read the accounts about the blasphemy of the Spirit. Although he was serving the Lord faithfully, this incident haunted him. When I showed him that blaspheming the Spirit is showing contempt for the testimony of the Spirit, pointing to the person of Jesus, he was set free and never troubled again. I repeat: if you can say from your heart that Jesus Christ is God, you have not committed this sin. Paul said that no person can say “Jesus is Lord” but by the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 12:3).
Did Ananias and Sapphira blaspheme the Holy Spirit since Peter said they lied to the Spirit and they were instantly struck dead? No. They were believers who were overtaken with greed. This can happen to any of us. There is no hint they questioned the person of Jesus. They were struck dead because they willfully lied about the money in the immediate and direct presence of the Holy Spirit. God made an example of them to show the responsibility we have when God is present like that. If the Holy Spirit were to return to the church at that level of power - as I myself expect will come one day - we can expect this sort of thing to happen again.
If you can say in your heart of hearts, “Jesus is Lord,” it is because you have the Holy Spirit. You have not blasphemed Him.