Blasphemy: Is this a sin for which you cannot be forgiven?
Many years ago, I had a dear friend who thought she had committed blasphemy. Because of how she was interpreting what she was reading in the Bible, she was very afraid.
32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. [Emphasis added]
Her misunderstanding of this whole matter put her in deep depression. She didn’t know for sure that she’d committed it, but she was very concerned that she had. Was there something she needed to know that could have helped her? Yes! This is just another case of many where the right division of Scripture was the road to her or anyone getting a right understanding of this subject.
What is the definition of blasphemy? The word itself simply means to speak evil against. It involves an expression of disrespect and rejection. When discussed in the Bible it is expressed against God, the Holy Spirit.
31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. [Emphasis added]
Again, what are we to believe about this? Is it possible that you have committed this sin? Please note that the great apostle Paul was at one time guilty of it. As you’ll see, quite obviously he was forgiven for this sin.
1 Timothy 1:12-14
12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;
Here we see that he not only got saved and Heaven bound but became a great man in the ministry.
13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. [Emphasis added]
Yes, this same man became not only a saved believer but became perhaps the greatest man in all history. Even just as an author his writings have been read more than those of any other. Paul was not only once a blasphemer, but a murderer. Scripture tells us he was fully involved in the stoning of a man named Stephen.
57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him [Stephen] with one accord,
58 And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul [later known as the apostle Paul].
59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep [he died]. [Emphasis added]
1 And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. [Emphasis added]
Again, obviously Paul gained forgiveness for his sins, or he wouldn’t have become God’s apostle to the Gentiles.
13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: [Emphasis added]
Unlike Peter who was an apostle to Israel, Paul was appointed to be the apostle to the Gentiles. He was even commissioned with a new and different gospel message.
7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me [Paul], as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;
For more information about these two gospels, please see my articles about them—
Gospel: Which gospel did the 12 apostles preach after the ascension?
Gospels: Did Peter & Paul preach the same gospel?
8 (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:) [Emphasis added]
Even though Paul went to the Jews first in the timeframe of the book of Acts, that was not the case from then on. When it became obvious that Israel was determined to continue in their blasphemous rejection of Jesus as their promised Messiah, he no longer went to them first. They lost that priority status.
27 For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
28 Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it. [Emphasis added]
What you must understand about the never-ending penalty for blasphemy is that the policy discussed in “the gospels” applied to Israel in a former time but not to us today. This policy was for those in the Kingdom Program only. Paul was “a blasphemer” who, as a strict, Law-abiding Pharisee (Acts 26:5), would never blaspheme the Father, but was among those who blasphemed the Spirit when they stoned Stephen. This rendered him ineligible for salvation under the kingdom program. The Lord had provided a clear warning about this.
10 And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven. [Emphasis added]
The nation of Israel blasphemed the Spirit in the world that the Lord spoke of as “this world” when they rejected Stephen, a man filled with the Spirit.
55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,
“The world to come” is defined in Hebrews 2:5 as the kingdom, the “world” which God will “put in subjection” under Christ, where people will fully know “the powers of the world to come.” These powers were first tasted on the Acts 2 Day of Pentecost. They will be fully enjoyed in the coming world spoken of as Christ’s kingdom.
5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, [Emphasis added]
Since blasphemy of the Spirit is said to be unforgivable in both those worlds, we know Saul was saved to later become known as Paul under a whole new program sometimes called the Dispensation of Grace.
Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit was not forgivable in times past and won’t be in certain times future. Israel was warned not to resist the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives. It was that which was their blasphemous act.
51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. [Emphasis added]
But now, in this present world, in this Dispensation of Grace, it is forgivable. The sins of this world were paid for and forgiven fully at the cross of Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:19
19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. [Emphasis added]
7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; [Emphasis added]
We didn’t earn this or deserve it, but God graciously provided it. By having a change of mind [repentance] and accepting it, salvation is then granted.
The offer of salvation was also rejected by the people of the nation Israel. They rejected Jesus as their Messiah, and they then rejected the ministry of the Holy Spirit. There was then no forgiveness for this. They eventually died in that state of unbelief with no hope of forgiveness and salvation. They did this individually but also as a nation. Their blasphemy was a national sin! It is this that is the subject of one of the most controversial of all passages of Scripture.
4 For it is impossible for those [the people of Israel] who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
This tells us they were eyewitnesses to all the miraculous things Jesus did that proved His identity as their promised Messiah and should have caused them to accept Him.
5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh [they reject Him again], and put him to an open shame. [Emphasis added]
This next passage shows their willful sin. In other words, they knew exactly what they were doing. They were expressing their rejection of the Messiah God had graciously sent for them.
26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
This was the one and only way of salvation that would be provided for them.
27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. [Emphasis added]
In 70 A.D. a final stroke of judgment came to the nation Israel. Roman legions stormed the walls and destroyed the city and the temple. After roughly two thousand years, the temple has still not been rebuilt. The temple will be rebuilt for the coming time of the Tribulation and the arrival of the one known as the antichrist.
The nation Israel’s rejection of their Messiah is the sin for which there will be no forgiveness. It was that which was blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. The book of Acts in the Bible gives us the documentation for that nation’s rejection of their Messiah. The stoning of Stephen in Acts 7 was the final expression of that rejection, their blasphemous act. Then immediately thereafter we have the salvation of Saul of Tarsus who would become the apostle to the Gentiles known as Paul. Through him God introduced a whole new program of which we are a part today as believers and members of what is called the Body of Christ. Let us always give thanks to God for giving us as Gentiles this wonderful opportunity to become beneficiaries of this grace that has been extended to us. Let us also give thanks for the fact that none of us are ever in danger of committing a blasphemous act that would render us unforgiven and condemned forever.