“Truly, I say to you… whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin.” Have you ever read this verse and felt afraid—concerned that you might have committed the eternal or unpardonable sin? That fear is actually good news because it is a solid indicator that you haven’t committed the eternal sin. To blaspheme the Holy Spirit is not the equivalent of taking the Lord’s name in vain. It is to persistently and consistently harden your heart against God, against the power and work of the Holy Spirit, and against the provision of Jesus as Savior for a lifetime.
- Although you might not have blasphemed the Holy Spirit, have there been times in your life when you have hardened your heart toward God or resisted the work of the Holy Spirit?
Read The Word: Mark 3:22-35 (ESV)
22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” 23 And he called them to him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. 27 But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house.
28 “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— 30 for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”
31 And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. 32 And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” 33 And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- What work of the Holy Spirit, through Jesus, did the scribes attribute to Satan (vs. 22)?
- What are the different analogies Jesus used to illustrate his point that it was not Satan at work in him? Restate them in your own words.
- In looking at the passage, what is the distinguishing mark of a spiritual brother, sister, or mother of Jesus?
- What are the promises or truths from this passage that give you encouragement or hope?
- If there are areas in your life where you are hardening your heart toward God or resisting the work of the Holy Spirit, what would it look like for you to begin to do the will of God in those areas? Be specific.
Respond to God:
The great hymn “Come thou Fount” explains the position each of us find ourselves in every day: “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love.” Our tendency is to want to harden our hearts toward God and resist the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, but true life and joy are found in the intimacy with Jesus that comes through doing his will.
- Spend some time in prayer asking God to reveal the areas of your life where change is needed.
- Talk to God about how you need his help in taking steps to obey or to stop resisting his will.
- Ask God to soften your heart and declare to him that you want his will to be accomplished in every area of your life.