Can a person who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit be forgiven if he repents?

13 feb 2012 | ora 09.01 Doctrine | Vasile Filat

Question:

Knowing that you are a Baptist priest (minister), I would like to ask you about a certain passage from the Bible. It is Matthew 12:31-32. It is written that the man who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven. Why is this so? What happens if the person feels bad for what he has done and want to repent and is very sincere?

First, let’s begin by reading the entire passage from which you quoted.

Then one who had been demon-possessed was brought to Him, blind and dumb. And He healed him, so much so that the blind and dumb one both spoke and saw. And all the people were amazed and said, Is not this the son of David? But when the Pharisees heard, they said, This one does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub the ruler of the demons. And Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation. And every city or house divided against itself shall not stand. And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then shall his kingdom stand? But if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you. Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house and spoil his goods, unless first he binds the strong one, and then he will plunder his house. The one who is not with Me is against Me, and the one who does not gather with Me scatters. Therefore I say to you, All kinds of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven to men, but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven to men. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him. But whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this world or in the world to come. Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree corrupt and its fruit corrupt; for the tree is known by its fruit. Offspring of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart brings out good things; and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings out evil things. But I say to you that every idle word, whatever men may speak, they shall give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned. (Mat 12:22-37)

If we want to define “what” blaspheming against the Holy Spirit is, according to the text previously read, it means that, because of envy and wickedness, in all conscious understanding, you see something done by the Holy Spirit and you attribute it to Satan, saying that it is his power that caused this to happen. Another thing that I would like to point out is, in my opinion, Jesus leaves a door of repentance open for the Pharisees to repent of their mistake (sin) when He said, “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree corrupt and its fruit corrupt; for the tree is known by its fruit.” This was great motivation for them to come to their senses and think about what they are saying and doing. Also, Jesus’ warning is very stern, in fact it is categorical, and we must learn to accept things as Jesus presents them.

I am not sure what sin this person you speak of has committed to think that he has blasphemed against the Holy Spirit but, if he is remorseful about his actions and desires to repent then he should quickly do so because remorse and a desire to repent are works of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is what convicts people of their sin and sinful lifestyle, about righteousness and judgment. (see John 16:8) Therefore, I do not believe that without the work of the Holy Spirit, this person would ever have admitted guilt for this action that was committed and would not have the desire to repent. The work of the Holy Spirit in this person’s life is proof that God has not given up and that there is a chance for forgiveness. This person should quickly seek out to repent and be reconciled with God.

There are other texts in the Bible that give hope to a person to return to God, especially the one who has turned away (an apostate). God calls that person to repentance. Here are a few of those passages:

Brothers, if anyone among you err from the truth, and if anyone turns him back, know that he who turns back the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. (James 5:19-20)

But the servant of the Lord must not strive, but to be gentle to all, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those who oppose, if perhaps God will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth, and that they awake out of the snare of the Devil, having been taken captive by him, so as to do the will of that one. (II Timothy 2:24-26)

But pity some, making distinction. But save others with fear, snatching them out of the fire; hating even the garment having been stained from the flesh. (Jud 1:22-23)

May the Lord protect us from ever turning away from Him.

Translation by: Erik Brewer

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I am the pastor of the ”Good News” Church in Chisinau, Moldova, I teach God's Word at the Inductive Bible Study Institute of Eurasia, and I also lead the "Precept Ministries in Moldova” Association. With God's help I founded the Taekwon-Do club " Stolas Leukas ""English for a New Life" School, the Computer School "ScripTehInfo", the International Sports Coaching School and the International Media School. I am married to Anastasia, and we have three children. Since April 2007 we have provided answers from the Bible on this website to 1189 questions submitted by readers. To learn more about me, please read here.
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