I am so tormented with the fear of the sin against the Holy Spirit. When I read the Scripture, its says "blaspheme" which is to "speak." How can one change that to "reject?" How can I be assured that God will forgive me of any and every sin? I am a Christian in the Church of Christ. Please help me with this issue.
I could turn your last question around and ask where is your faith? Paul tells us that God cannot lie -- not will not lie, or sometimes doesn't lie, God is not capable of lying (Titus 1:2). It is God who stated, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:9). Do you believe God or not? You see, becoming a Christian is a statement that you as an individual have put your full confidence in God. But now you are stumbling over your own unbelief.
What evidence do you have that God will not keep His promise? I know of none. So why to you given in to doubt? "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6).
Your definition for the word "blasphemy" is incorrect in that it oversimplifies the actual definition. I know of no reputable dictionary that defines blasphemy as simply "speak."
Smith Bible Dictionary: "in its technical English sense, signifies the speaking evil of God ... according to its derivation it may mean any species of calumny and abuse"
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: "In classical Greek meant primarily "defamation" or "evil-speaking" in general; "a word of evil omen," hence, "impious, and irreverent speech against God.""
American Tract Society Dictionary: "A man is guilty of blasphemy, when he speaks of God, or his attributes, injuriously; when he calumniously ascribe such qualities to him as do not belong to him, or robs him of those which do."
God defined blasphemy in Numbers 15:30-31. "But the person who does anything defiantly, whether he is native or an alien, that one is blaspheming the LORD; and that person shall be cut off from among his people. Because he has despised the word of the LORD and has broken His commandment, that person shall be completely cut off; his guilt will be on him." Hence, we learn that God's definition of blasphemy is acting in defiance of the Lord and His commandments. It is a person who purposely sets out to slander or ruin God's reputation in the eyes of others. In others words, blasphemy is willfully slandering when you know full well that it is wrong.
You are helping me. Thank you so much. I have been reading the passage in I John 1:9. for a long time now and it has been about the only Scripture to give me hope. I do believe that He forgives sins, but it seems like Jesus gives an exception in Matthew 12. He says in Matthew 12 that though sin is forgiven there is an exception.
The reason the exception is given is for the simple fact that a person who blasphemes the Holy Spirit will not ask for forgiveness and, thus, it cannot be forgiven. Not that God would not be willing to forgive, but because of the stubbornness of the sinner it cannot be forgiven. That is why is it important to understand that blasphemy is willful defiance. You are not guilty of this sin for the simple fact that you are concerned about having God's forgiveness. A person guilty of blaspheming the Holy Spirit doesn't care what God thinks about him. See the article "A Sin Leading to Death" for greater details.
You said that blasphemy of the Holy Spirit was "willfuly rejecting." If you then apply that to the text, then how can one blaspheme (willfuly reject) the Son of Man and be forgiven? Because Jesus said that one could blaspheme Him and get forgiveness. Sorry that I don't understand this. Thank you for all your help and please be praying for me.
I think what you are missing is that the work of the Holy Spirit is the bringing of the word of God to man and the confirmation of that word. In other words, the Bible is the product of the Holy Spirit. If a person rejects Christ, the Bible still remains as testimony to persuade that person to reconsider and accept Him. But if a person rejects the Spirit (thus reject the Bible), there is nothing left to turn him around. After all God chose only one method to save mankind: "For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe" (I Corinthians 1:21).
You have not defiantly, willfully rejected the teachings of God, especially not to the point that you are actively trying to ruin the reputation of the Spirit of God in front of other people. You still consider the Bible the work of God, thus you haven't been guilty of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Jesus, in Matthew 12, was warning the Pharisees that they were on the verge of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Jesus was teaching the words of God and with the Spirit confirming those words by a miracle that all present had witness. Yet despite the obvious evidence right in front of them, they purposely chose to say that this work of God was the work of Satan. That was blasphemy and with such an attitude toward the Holy Spirit they would never turn from their sins to be saved.
J. W. McGarvey, in his commentary The Four-Fold Gospel, explained it this way: "Blasphemy against the Son may be a temporary sin, for the one who commits it may be subsequently convinced of his error by the testimony of the Holy Spirit and become a believer (I Timothy 1:13). But blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is in its nature an eternal sin, for if one rejects the evidence given by the Holy Spirit and ascribes it to Satan, he rejects the only evidence upon which faith can be based; and without faith there is no forgiveness. The difference in the two sins is therefore in no way due to any difference in the Son and Spirit as to their degrees of sanctity or holiness. The punishment is naturally eternal because the sin is perpetual."
Thus we return to the original point. A person who blasphemes the Holy Spirit has no interest or desire in turning from his sins. He completely rejects the Bible as truth and will not be persuaded by its words. Therefore, such a person cannot be forgiven; not because God is unwilling to forgive, but because the nature of that man's sin is such that he will never seek the forgiveness of God.
Here is something that I was thinking. What do you think?
If there was a sin that God would not forgive, even if the sinner repented and confessed, then that would mean that Christ died for all but one sin. That would go against the entire Gospel. Also that would go against I John 1:9.
Your last email was great, I guess I was taking Jesus word literal.
I wouldn't say you took Jesus' words literally. His words could be accurately taken in one of two ways. You assumed that the "cannot be forgiven" was because God refuses to forgive, but when you add in the rest of the Bible, we must realize that the "cannot be forgiven" is because the sinner refuses to return. The problem is that you jumped to a conclusion based on only one passage and, thus, didn't realize that there was another way to understand what Jesus said.
Mark's account is a bit clearer in this matter, especially when you realize the problem lies in the sinner and not in God. "Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation" (Mark 3:28-29).