Blaspheming the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12)

Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. And whoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age, or in the age to come. (Matthew 12:31--32)

Few passages of Scripture have been more misinterpreted and misunderstood than these two verses. Because of their extreme seriousness and finality; it is critical to understand them correctly.

Jesus first stated that any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men. Although blasphemy is a form of sin, in this passage and context the two are treated separately-with blasphemy representing the most extreme form of sin. Sin here represents the full gamut of immoral and ungodly thoughts and actions, whereas blasphemy represents conscious denouncing and rejection of God. Blasphemy is defiant irreverence, the uniquely terrible sin of intentionally and openly speaking evil against holy God or defaming or mocking Him (cf. Mark. 2:7). The Old Testament penalty for such blasphemy was death by stoning (Lev. 24:16). In the last days blasphemy will be an outstanding characteristic of those who rebelliously and insolently oppose God (Rev. 13:5--6; 16:9; 17:3)...

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