Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Importance of Our Words (2)

We all know that the words we choose to speak are significant. They can heal, hurt, comfort, or destroy. They can also proclaim Christ or curse Him. Scripture is clear that we are to take heed to the words we speak. One of the reasons they are so important is because reveal our hearts.

This passage in Matthew covers quite a bit, but for the sake of our discussion we will break it down into three different parts. First we will look at blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (post 2), Second we will look at idle words, and third we will look at our positive confession of Christ (post 3).

Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit
In this situation we have Jesus who has just healed a man who was blind and mute. Because of the work of the Holy Spirit through Christ, the man is healed and the truth that Jesus is the Messiah was being revealed. Many in the crowd even began to ask if this Jesus is the son of David. Understanding this truth themselves, the Pharisees say that the work that is being done by the Spirit of God is actually being done by the Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons. With this in mind Jesus goes on to give a few arguments as to why this could not be the case, and then lays on them some of the most terrifying words in scripture. He tells them that blasphemy of the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven in this life or the life to come.

What exactly is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit? There are a few basic views. The first one is that it could only be done while Christ was on the earth. This sin was to see what Christ was doing through the Holy Spirit and call it evil, but since Christ is no longer on the earth this sin can no longer be committed. Many great men and women of the faith have held this position. But the problem as I see it stems from the fact that the sin in this case is not against Christ, it is against the Holy Spirit. One of the greatest works of the Spirit is to reveal that Jesus is the Son of God. He has not ceased in doing this work and this work can still be called evil. Mark 3:29 says, “Whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness.” The use of the word “whoever” does not seem to limit this sin to the time of Christ being on the earth. Much like when Jesus says, whosoever believes in me shall have eternal life. The "whosoever" in this passage is clearly not limited to the time Christ was on the earth.

The second view is held by many and it is considered rejecting the Holy Spirit’s work until death. And I believe this is ultimately true. But it seems leave out the fact that blasphemy is a sin of the tongue.

A Third view holds that it is actually a sin of the tongue. It is a known, malicious, calling of the working of the Holy Spirit evil, and can still happen today. Many in this view believe it cannot be committed ignorantly. What this means is that there is some sort of mental assent or knowing that the Holy Spirit is actually the one doing the work, but in an attempt to suppress that truth in unrighteousness the person blasphemes against it.

One of the reasons some hold to this being a sin that involves a knowing or mental assent is because it is often linked with the sin found in Hebrews 6. In this passage, the person has been enlightened to the truth, and has even partaken in the Holy Spirit’s work in the fact that they understand the truths, and still reject Christ. In rejecting Christ they are rejecting the Holy Spirit. The person who does such a thing is said to have crucified Christ afresh, and that it is impossible to renew such a one to repentance. Since the scripture tells us that all sin is forgiven of men except blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, and the sin committed in Hebrews 6 also seems to be unforgivable, there seems to be a good reason to link the two together.

So how do Bible expositors link this specific sin to being a continuous denial of the grace of God? They do this by looking at Jesus’ words which shows us that this blasphemy is ultimately a sin that flows from the heart. Jesus says, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." This sin comes from a heart that is so hard toward the things of God that it will never repent, and God in his purposes has refused to bring it to repentance.

This passage has undoubtedly caused many people trouble and fear. They wonder after reading it if they have committed this sin. If this concern stems from a heart that desires to be right with the Lord then this person has not committed it. If a person’s heart is sensitive to the truths of God, then they are not guilty of it. The person who’s heart is as hard as those in this scripture would not be concerned about being right with the Lord. They would despise Him.

Another aspect of this sin is that those who have been saved cannot commit this sin. In Hebrews 6 the author says, to his audience of believers that he didn’t expect them to fall away and crucify Christ afresh. Instead he expected to see from them things that accompany salvation. From the context perseverance seems to be one of those things that will accompany salvation. So a Christian is unable to commit this sin. The Christian inability to commit this sin will also be addressed further in the next post.

God Bless,

Doug

3 Comments:

At Thursday, March 16, 2006 7:07:00 AM, Blogger T A Blankenship said...

Doug,
Great message, and I do agree with you about the blasphemy being a use of the tongue. I was not approaching it from that direction.

 
At Monday, March 20, 2006 3:26:00 PM, Blogger Modern Day Magi said...

excellent post doug.
I recently covered Matthew 12 in my latest post. With you permission i'd love to link to this post from there as you offer a much more detailed and probably accurate assessment of the 'unforgivable sin' than I did.

MDM

 
At Monday, March 20, 2006 3:36:00 PM, Blogger Doug E. said...

MDM,

Thanks for the encourgement. Feel free to use anything I post, if you find it helpful.

God Bless,

Doug

 

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