Happy Friday. It’s time to look at the Bible. I like the Bible. I really do. It’s very interesting to me, and it is the Truth that sets me free. What’s not to like? I know what is to like: I just rhymed back there, and it wasn’t even on purpose. As promised last week, I will spend my time talking about portions of Scripture that I feel get a lot of misinterpretation. I’m talking about the story of the unpardonable sin. Click the link to read the story.
There is a lot of confusion surrounding this sin. There is a group of atheists that run a website with the Blasphemy Challenge on it. The point is for you to make a video of yourself saying the Holy Spirit doesn’t exist, and just like that, you have blasphemed Him and taken your chances. I’m not sure how that proves He doesn’t exist, but I’ve never understood how one can prove or disprove God, when either position you take – He exists or He doesn’t exist – takes a leap of faith on your part. Anyway, that’s not what Jesus warned against, but I’m not surprised that they would get that wrong. A lot of Christians get that wrong. I’ve heard it taught incorrectly more than once.
Incorrect things I’ve heard regarding the unpardonable sin:
1. God does not forgive blasphemy. I’ve heard this taught by people who also taught that using God’s name in vain (especially in conjunction with a certain D word) is blasphemy. That’s a pretty careless and dangerous teaching.
2. As mentioned above, denying the existence of the Holy Spirit will finalize your reservations for Hell.
3. If you want to accept Christ as your Savior, He will forgive you of all of your sins, except for one. I think what they are implying is that you are screwed if you’ve blasphemed.
The truth about those misconceptions:
1. God does forgive blasphemy, but it’s important that we first identify what that means. Using God’s name in vain is not blasphemy, but it is irreverent and identified as sin. To blaspheme is to vilify God. It is to defame Him or to attribute evil to Him. It is only specifically stated that blaspheming the Holy Spirit is the nail in the coffin. You have to read more of the Bible than one verse to understand it, though, so I’ll try to further clarify that in a minute (or several minutes, depending on how quickly you can read).
2. Disbelief is never condemned as a deal breaker with God. Until we come to know Jesus as our Savior, we all live in disbelief. If disbelief at any point in one’s life sent him to Hell, we’d all be done.
3. If you want to be saved, you can be saved. I know, I’m throwing down that church word like it’s still in style, but I get to assume, as this is my blog, that if you are reading this still, you have some idea what I am talking about when I say saved. So, if you want to be, you can be saved. But what if I’ve committed the unpardonable sin? Well, if you want to be saved, it’s safe to say that you haven’t.
What the Pharisees were guilty of was more than just saying words out loud. They had already committed the sin they were just now verbalizing in that moment. They had completely rejected the drawing of the Holy Spirit, and as a result, they gave the Devil credit for His (the HS’) work. They had seen Jesus living a sinless life; they had heard much of His teaching; they had witnessed many of His miracles. It should have been completely obvious to them that God was at work. It was obvious to others. The reason He taught and performed miracles was to draw people to the Father, which only happens after placing faith in Jesus Himself. How did He perform the miracles? How did He draw? His power came through the Holy Spirit, Whom He received after His baptism. There were no miracles before that time. They were performed through the Holy Spirit, as Jesus had willfully sacrificed His ability to perform them by Himself.
When the Pharisees attributed God’s good works to the Devil, they were verbalizing their already existent permanent resistance to the Holy Spirit’s drawing them. When they did that, the Holy Spirit ceased His trying to draw them to God. They would never have the desire to know Him. Some people spend time worrying about whether or not they have done something similar in their past that would keep them from coming to Christ now that they want to, but that verse cannot be taken out of context of the rest of the Bible (like no verse should ever be). The Bible says in John 6:44 that no one can come to God unless he is drawn by God Himself. Your desire to know Him is a direct result of His desire to know you. You will only be moved to answer the door when He is knocking. So if you want to come to Christ, place your faith in Him, and spend an eternity with Him, you can. Your desire proves your eligibility. If you sought Him, and did not find Him, He would be a liar, because He promises a number of times that “whoever will” come to Him will be saved.
I will save this post for another time, but I think Christians are guilty of coming closest to the unpardonable sin than most anyone I know. I don’t want to write about that today, though, because this post is already too long.
So when I say that your desire to know Him is a direct result of His desire to know you, am I talking about predestination? Well, I’m not this week, but next week I will be.