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The sin against the Holy Ghost?

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posted on Jul, 1 2016 @ 05:02 PM
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We are told that when Jesus healed “a blind and dumb demoniac”, the Pharisees responded to the report by looking for evil in what was happening “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons”.
Jesus refuted the charge, claiming the healing as further evidence that God was at work;
“If it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Matthew ch12 vv22-28).

Then he went on to give a solemn warning;
“Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever says a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come” (vv31-32).

This warning has troubled many.
In their understanding of the term “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit”, it seemed possible that they might have offended in this way, and of course the thought made them anxious.
The most common answer to this anxiety is to explain that Jesus is referring to a rejection of God which is determined and incorrigible, “and if you’re still capable of worrying about it, then you can’t have done it”.

I recently came across or rediscovered the explanation offered by Richard Baxter.
His case is that the essence of the sin is continuing disbelief even in the presence of God’s power as expressed in his miracles;


And I think this is it which is called the sin against the Holy Ghost, when men will not be convinced by miracles, that Jesus is the Christ…
The sense of the place (which the whole context will show you, if you view it deliberately, will show you) seems to me to be this: as if Christ had said; while you believed not the testimony of the prophets, yet there was hope; the testimony of John the Baptist might have convinced you; yea, when you believed not John, you might have been convinced by my own doctrine; yea though you did not believe my doctrine, yet there was hope you might have been convinced by my miracles.
But when you accuse them to be the works of Beelzebub, and ascribe the work of the divine power, or Spirit, to the prince of devils, what more hope?...
I will after my ascension send the Holy Ghost upon my disciples, that they may work miracles to convince the world; but if you sin against the Holy Ghost (that is, they will not believe for all these miracles)… there is no other more convincing testimony left, and so their sin of unbelief is incurable, and consequently unpardonable.

Richard Baxter, “The Saints’ Everlasting Rest” (1650), Second Part, ch4.

I think Baxter may be on to something.
As he observes, the context of the warning was disbelief and hostility in the face of the healing miracles.
The Spirit of God, in the Bible, is always associated with power.
In the Old Testament, the Spirit falls upon one man, and he begins to prophesy.
Then the Spirit falls upon a man like Jephthah, and he goes out to fight the Ammonites (Judges ch11 v29).
Either way, it is about power, in one form or another.
In the New Testament, in the same way, the Spirit is guiding men to speak.
But as Jesus points out in this episode, the Spirit is also responsible for his powers of healing.
So those who knew of the miracles of Jesus were experiencing the power of God more directly than is usually the case, which gave them less excuse for continuing to reject him.
The Pharisees were expressing their hostility to the work of God almost in his face.

Baxter claims that the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit remains possible today because of the testimony of the miracles;
“Though the miracles are ceased, yet their testimony doth still live… So I think that when men will not believe that Jesus is the Christ, though they are convinced by undeniable arguments, of the miracles which both Himself and his disciples wrought; this is now the sin against the Holy Ghost”.

But this is an argument designed to suit his purpose in this chapter, which is to use the testimony of miracles “to prove Scripture to be the Word of God”.
Therefore it could be argued that he makes his definition of the sin too broad.
The original warning may have been meant for those who could see the works of Jesus in front of them, in which case it might be less applicable to a long-distance testimony about what he did.
Especially if it was part of the essence of their sin that the power of God was immediately recognisable in the person of Jesus.

For the writer of Hebrews, the ultimate sin is the deliberate abandonment of a Christian faith once truly known – “If we sin deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth…” (Hebrews ch10 v26).
This is because, like the Pharisees, such people are knowingly turning away from God, and not even intending to return.
While John speaks of a sin which is “mortal” and need not be prayed for, which may be talking about the same thing (1 John ch5 v16).
So both writers assume that the possibility of unforgivable sin remains.

Nevertheless, it seems to me that the usual assurance is equally valid under Baxter’s mode of explanation.
Their disparagement of God’s work was emerging from an attitude of hostility.
And the case of Paul shows that even hostility can be forgiven, when there is no previous experience of meeting God.
Whereas the behaviour of these Pharisees, knowing what they did, was beyond curing. They were unable to believe because they did not want to believe, and there was no getting past that obstacle.
Nobody who is willing to know God should have reason to think that their sin is unforgivable.




posted on Jul, 1 2016 @ 05:03 PM
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A classic case of this kind of anxiety is described in George Borrow’s autobiographical work Lavengro.

In his travels he meets a Welsh preacher, one Peter Williams, and his wife, and spends a few days in their company. Then he is woken in the middle of the night by voices and loud groans from the place where they are sleeping. “I heard the voice of Peter, in an accent of extreme anguish, exclaim ‘Pechod Ysprydd Glan- O Pechod Ysprydd Glan!’ and then he uttered a deep groan… Now Pechod Ysypydd Glan, interpreted, is the sin against the Holy Ghost”.

A couple of days later he has been able to coax Peter into telling his story (chapter LXXV). The cause of Peter’s grief began when he was only seven years old. He heard his father and others conversing about their hope of getting into heaven. They commented that nobody need despair save those who had committed the sin against the Holy Ghost. Then they began discussing the nature of that sin. It seems (from what follows) that they understood it as involving the repetition of some specific phrase or sentence.

“I lay awake the greater part of the night musing upon what I had heard. I kept wondering to myself what must be the state of a person who had committed the sin against the Holy Ghost., and how he must feel. Once or twice I felt a strong inclination to commit it…” He managed to hold off the temptation until the following night, and then he succumbed. “I murmured out words of horror- words not to be repeated- and in this manner I committed the sin against the Holy Ghost”.

For the moment, the act simply left him feeling stunned. But when his father, approaching death from sickness, said to his children “I trust that we shall all meet again in heaven”, Pater was filled with a sense of shame and horror which never left him, and kept recurring to his mind. Even after an old man introduced him to Christ, and even after he developed into a preacher in his own right, the memory was a blight on his life.

The first antidote he found was the comfort offered by his wife. When she discovered his anxiety, she assured him that his fears were all groundless. “You are afraid of a shadow. How often have I told you that the sin of your heart is not the sin against the Holy Ghost; the sin of your heart is its natural pride, of which you are scarcely aware, to keep down which God in his mercy permitted you to be terrified with the sin of having committed a sin which you never committed”. On the occasion of their meeting, Borrow was able to reinforce this comfort by pointing out that many children, and nobody except children, did the same thing, and it was meaningless. When they parted, Peter’s wife was convinced that this assurance had given ease to his mind.



edit on 1-7-2016 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 1 2016 @ 05:29 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

I always looked at it as they were in the presence of the Lord and attributed His works to the devil. Clearly they knew God was master of the demonic kingdom, and still said it was Satan because they refused to humble themselves and admit He was the Messiah.



posted on Jul, 1 2016 @ 05:31 PM
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a reply to: NOTurTypical
Yes, indeed, I think "presence of the Lord" is the key to the situation.



posted on Jul, 1 2016 @ 05:35 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

And I also believe you're right that if a person is concerned that they have committed the unforgivable sin then they haven't. Conviction is a work of the Holy Spirit itself.



posted on Jul, 1 2016 @ 05:36 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI


The most common answer to this anxiety is to explain that Jesus is referring to a rejection of God which is determined and incorrigible,

In other words more of the same, "believe or else".

Thank you mister hellfire and brimstone.



posted on Jul, 1 2016 @ 05:39 PM
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a reply to: intrptr
I have not mentioned hellfire and brimstone.
The moral is that people who don't want to believe end up not believing.



posted on Jul, 1 2016 @ 05:43 PM
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a reply to: intrptr

The fear of the Lord is the only thing that brings a man to repentance. You cannot separate the love of God from the fact that God hates sin, they're inserperable truths.




edit on 1-7-2016 by NOTurTypical because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 1 2016 @ 05:46 PM
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originally posted by: DISRAELI
a reply to: intrptr
I have not mentioned hellfire and brimstone.
The moral is that people who don't want to believe end up not believing.


You said the one unforgivable sin... not forgiving... meaning what exactly...

I'll wait.



posted on Jul, 1 2016 @ 05:49 PM
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a reply to: NOTurTypical


The fear of the Lord is the only thing that brings a man to repentance.

Fear is not love. Tyranny rules through fear.

What brings people to change their ways (ultimately) is there own exhaustion form being stubborn or filled with pride.

We do it to ourselves. We are responsible for our own and others demise.

Saying sorry, hell criminals always do that. I'm so sorry, it will never happen again. Boohoo



posted on Jul, 1 2016 @ 05:50 PM
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a reply to: intrptr
"Forgiveness" is what restores the broken relationship between man and God. It is something which happens on God's initiative.
But in this case, calling the sin "unforgivable" is partly a reflection of the fact that these people don't want to be forgiven. They are setting up their own barriers against him. The relationship is not restored.



edit on 1-7-2016 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 1 2016 @ 05:54 PM
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originally posted by: intrptr

originally posted by: DISRAELI
a reply to: intrptr
I have not mentioned hellfire and brimstone.
The moral is that people who don't want to believe end up not believing.


You said the one unforgivable sin... not forgiving... meaning what exactly...

I'll wait.


It's a logic chain that goes like this:

1.) The wages of sin is death. Always for any sin. Spiritual death.

2.) We all sin. Therefore, we have all earned this penalty.

3.) Christ is clear in his teachings. The only way to the Father is through Him. This implies there must be belief in order to gain salvation and forgiveness of sin, reprieve from death.

4.) Ergo, the one unforgivable sin is lack of belief.

It should be obvious to anyone with logic that a lack of belief has no recourse to salvation through faith under the Covenant of Grace.



posted on Jul, 1 2016 @ 05:58 PM
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originally posted by: NOTurTypical
a reply to: DISRAELI

I always looked at it as they were in the presence of the Lord and attributed His works to the devil. Clearly they knew God was master of the demonic kingdom, and still said it was Satan because they refused to humble themselves and admit He was the Messiah.



Yes, I would agree
I remember an atheist, satanist, yes I know?

He was cursing and denying the Holy Spirit, making a show of it to hi light his utter contempt for belief in God
Oddly I don't think this is denying the Spirit of God, because he never knew the Spirit of God how can he deny what he doesn't know

I think it is when a true believer, knows the Triune God, denies the working of the Spirit for personnel glory
Uses their own knowledge of God for self gain, effectively using God to serve themselves, deliberately



posted on Jul, 1 2016 @ 05:58 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI


"Forgiveness" is what restores the broken relationship between man and God. It is something which happens on God's initiative.

How'd you determine you are forgiven? Nobody knows that till that day.

Till the judge renders the verdict. One of the biggest problems I have with organized religious dogma. "Believing we are saved" already.


You know the verdict before you go into a court of law do you? Same thing.



posted on Jul, 1 2016 @ 06:00 PM
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a reply to: ketsuko


The wages of sin is death. Always for any sin. Spiritual death.

That means physical death, like drinking or smoking, just for instance.

The wages of sinning will compromise your health till you die from it, (if you keep doing it).



posted on Jul, 1 2016 @ 06:01 PM
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a reply to: intrptr
This is where trust comes in. Believing what the gospel tells you.
Faith is all about trust.



posted on Jul, 1 2016 @ 06:04 PM
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originally posted by: intrptr
a reply to: ketsuko


The wages of sin is death. Always for any sin. Spiritual death.

That means physical death, like drinking or smoking, just for instance.

The wages of sinning will compromise your health till you die from it, (if you keep doing it).


If drinking was such a sin, why did Jesus turn water into wine? Now I agree that drinking to excess is a sin, but that has more to do with becoming addicted to drink (alcohol) which threatens to put something else in God's place in your heart.

The Bible doesn't always talk about strictly worldly things. In fact, we are called to be in the world, but not of it, so a lot of the scripture talks about things of the spiritual nature as much as things of the world. Sins are as much about things not to do in the world as they are about things of spiritual importance.



posted on Jul, 1 2016 @ 06:06 PM
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The fruit of the Holy Spirit is a good indication of salvation.

We are saved by faith, constantly growing in our holiness, revealed in our works

"Work out your salvation with fear and trembling" work hard on your salvation, don't take it for granted, we are warned

How do we know if we are saved, faith I guess



posted on Jul, 1 2016 @ 06:06 PM
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a reply to: intrptr

No one does, but that is where the parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins come in. We are called to prepare ourselves as if we are. We are to trust that we are doing all we can to be saved and live our lives that way.



posted on Jul, 1 2016 @ 06:06 PM
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originally posted by: DISRAELI
a reply to: intrptr
This is where trust comes in. Believing what the gospel tells you.
Faith is all about trust.


Tilt. The trick is to find how they found that wisdom to write that. If you just follow others interpretation, you'll always be learning from men, not discovering the source of wisdom flowing through the conduit of your own soul.

Kingdom is within, and the praise Jesus gave Peter for learning it from "God" (and not from men).

Gotta go.



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