By James Crumpton
See Matthew 12:22-32 and 1 John 5:10-17. The blasphemy of the Holy Ghost is usually called “The unpardonable sin.” However, that is not the name which Jesus gave it. He called it “The blasphemy of (against) the Holy Ghost” (Mt. 12:31). It is true that he made it emphatically clear that this sin is unpardonable. But let us use the name which He gave it. It will be clear later in the message as to why I am making this request.
In discussing what the blasphemy of the Holy Ghost is, let us look at it first from the negative viewpoint.
WHAT THE BLASPHEMY OF THE HOLY GHOST IS NOT!
In the first place, let me say that IT IS NOT PROFANITY. Cursing is a terrible sin and should not be in the vocabulary of God’s children. This is true of “profanity in long” and/or “profanity in short.” Some will not use the first, but they do use the second. For example, many folk will not say, “Damn,” but they will say, “Darn.” And “Darn” is short for “Damn.” They will not say “God!” in exclamation but they will say “Gosh” or “Golly.” And these are short for “God.” They will not say “Jesus Christ!” but they will say, “Gee Whizz!” And Webster’s International Dictionary tells us that “Gee Whizz!” is used for Jesus Christ in minced oaths. They will not say, “Hell!” but they will say “Heck!” And that is short for “Hell!” They will not say “Holy Spirit!” or “Holy Ghost!” but they will say, “Holy Smokes!” And that is short for “Holy Spirit!” or “Holy Ghost!” I repeat we should not use “profanity in long” or “profanity in short.” However, as bad as profanity (cursing) is, it is not synonymous with the sin of the “blasphemy of the Holy Ghost.” We may also use His Name in vain in our singing and praying by using His Name without it being sincerely from our hearts. The sin of profanity (cursing, using His Name in vain) is indeed a terrible, abominable sin. Nevertheless, it is not the sin of the blasphemy of the Holy Ghost.
Then we note that the blasphemy of (against) the Holy Ghost IS NOT SUICIDE. Indeed Suicide is a gross sin. Some would say that if you commit suicide you could not go to Heaven. But, really, this is not true. If one is a Christian and commits suicide, that one will go to Heaven, If one is a lost sinner and commits suicide that one will go to Hell. The Christian who commits suicide does not go to Heaven because of the suicide but because that one is saved. The sinner who commits suicide does not go to Hell because of the suicide but because that one has never been born again. Folk go to Heaven because they are born again, washed in the blood of Christ. Folk go to Hell because they are not born again, not washed in the blood of Christ. Some would say that they cannot understand how a saved person could commit suicide, and it is indeed difficult to understand. Something would have to “snap” in the mind of a Christian for that one to be able to commit suicide. However we cannot say that a Christian cannot commit suicide. Really, it is difficult to see how a Christian could commit a large number of the gross sins. But, God help us, they evidently do! However the sin of committing suicide is not synonymous of the blasphemy of (against) the Holy Ghost.
There are those who teach that REJECTING CHRIST is the blasphemy of the Holy Ghost. For one to go through life rejecting Christ is to positively go to Hell, forever. And no one who ever committed the blasphemy of the Holy Ghost had not rejected Christ first. One who has trusted Christ as personal Savior cannot commit the Blasphemy of the Holy Ghost. If it were possible, how could one who has rejected Christ for 70, 80 or 90 years ever be saved? And, praise God some of them do get saved! Amen and Amen!!!! Those who say that rejecting Christ is synonymous with the blasphemy of the Holy Ghost qualify their statement by saying that rejecting Him over a long period of time is the blasphemy of the Holy Ghost. They are very vague as to how long the time is before the rejection of Christ actually becomes the blasphemy of the Holy Ghost. Rejection of Jesus Christ is a terrible, terrible sin, and if one goes through this life rejecting Him, that one will definitely, dogmatically, and positively go to Hell. But, I am convicted that it is unscriptural to say that rejecting Christ is synonymous with the blasphemy of the Holy Ghost.
There are also those who say REFUSING TO JOIN THE LOCAL CHURCH is the blasphemy of the Holy Ghost. I do believe that it is sin for one who has been saved to refuse to be baptized and become a member of one of his local churches. To be baptized and “added to them” (one of His local churches) are the first things our Lord commands us to do as His children. Not to obey Him is sin! Personally, I question the salvation of one who professes to be saved and then refuses to be baptized and become affiliated with one of the Lord’s local churches But I do not find in the Bible that the sin of refusing baptism and church membership is synonymous with the blasphemy of the Holy Ghost.
Again, there are those who teach that LOSING ONE’S EMOTIONAL FEELINGS, as that one hears the Gospel over and over, is evidence that such a person is guilty of the blasphemy of the Holy Ghost. There are those who say that when I heard the Gospel the first few times, I was so convicted that I needed to be saved and was so stirred by my emotional feelings that I had to hold to the church pew to keep from going forward to be saved. Then that same person says that now that I have heard the Gospel over and over, I have lost that deep conviction and those emotional feelings that would compel me to be saved. Certainly, such a one admits that the knowledge that salvation is needed is still there, but the being stirred and moved have practically dwindled away. Some preachers would tell such a person that this is evidence that such a one has committed the blasphemy of the Holy Ghost. Oh, I would be the first to say that such a one is in a very dangerous condition. That one has become callused in heart to the Gospel and may slide on into Hell without much disturbance of heart. When I am preaching, I urge such a one to ask me to stop preaching and let them come and be saved immediately. Dear reader, if this condition describes you, I beg you to stop reading immediately, fall on your face and call upon the Lord Jesus Christ to save you.” “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).” That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and shall believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10). You see, dear friend, your sins (like the sins of every one of us) are as mountainous as the Alps, as black as the darkest night, and as numberless as the stars. Yet our Lord Jesus suffered all Hell for your sins and offers you imputed righteousness provided through His death, burial and resurrection, if you come to him confessing yourself a sinner, repenting that you have sinned against Him, and trusting Him personally to wash your sins away in His blood. God, help you do it right now!!!! To return to our subject, I must say, though, that as dangerous as such a condition is, it is not synonymous with the blasphemy of the Holy Ghost.
Let us turn to the positive side.
WHAT IS THE BLASPHEMY OF THE HOLY GHOST?
What did these people do Matthew 12? One who was “…possessed with a devil, blind and dumb (was brought to Jesus) and He healed him insomuch that the blind and the dumb both spake and saw” (verse 22). So Jesus freed one who was possessed by the power the Holy Spirit. Jesus did all of His work and His miracles through the power of the Holy Spirit. When this was done, the people began to say,” …Is not this the son of David” (verse 23)?” What did such a question mean? It meant that they were, because of the miracle, believing that Jesus was the Messiah!!!!
This greatly disturbed the Pharisees. They had seen and heard enough of our Lord’s teachings and miracles to be convinced also that he was indeed the Messiah. But they had adamantly rejected Him and were determined not to acknowledge Him as the Messiah. They were frightened by this suggestion of the multitude of people; so they blatantly and blasphemously declared, “…This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils” (verse 24). It is simple enough to see what they did in committing the blasphemy of (against) the Holy Spirit. THEY ATTRIBUTED THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE MINISTRY OF OUR LORD TO THE DEVIL. THAT IS THE BLASPHEMY OF (AGAINST) THE HOLY GHOST!!!!
Having identified the blasphemy of the Holy Ghost, we come immediately to the question, “CAN THIS SIN BE COMMITTED TODAY?” There are teachers and preachers who answer, “Yes!” And some will give illustrations of those who have committed it. I do not believe that it can be committed today. There are several reasons for this conclusion. In the first place, there is no record of it being committed any time after this in the New Testament. In fact, this is the only place in the Bible where we have a record of its being committed. Evidently, the Apostles, after the Savior went back to Heaven, met and dealt with the committing of all other sins, but there is no record of them dealing with any who had committed this. Again we do not have an analogy of it. It is true that if God’s servant stands, preaches, and does His bidding in the power of the Holy Spirit, and someone says that it is of the Devil, we have similar situation. But really, that is not an analogy because they attribute the work of the Holy Spirit in the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ (not some mere preacher’s) to the Devil.
DOES MATTHEW 12:32 REFER TO PURGATORY? Roman Catholic theologians have attempted to use Matthew 12:32 to support the doctrine of purgatory, but this is impossible. According to Catholic dogma, purgatory is a place where the souls of believers are purged from any sin remaining from their earthly lives so that they are prepared to enter Heaven. Purgatory is not a place of eternal torment, but a place of temporal torment. The judgment described by Christ in Matthew 12:32, though, is permanent. He is describing a punishment which will never end and which can never be rescinded. That some Catholic theologians have attempted to find biblical support for purgatory in this passage illustrates the utterly unscriptural nature of that doctrine. There is absolutely no biblical support for the Catholic dogma of purgatory.