Jesus said every sin could be forgiven – except one! He freely associated with people who were caught up in sinful behavior that shocked the religious leaders. He was accused, Himself, of being a drunkard and a glutton. He told a woman who had committed several serial acts of adultery that He did not condemn her. Jesus was a compassionate and forgiving and taught that God the Father was also forgiving. And yet, He said, “Watch out! There is one sin that cannot be forgiven – ever.”
“And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” (Matthew 12:31-32)
What was He talking about? What did He mean? We don’t have to look far to see.
” Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see. All the people were astonished and said, “Could this be the Son of David?” But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.” (Matthew 12:22-24, NIV)
Jesus demonstrated the compassion and power of God in a healing of spiritual and physical dimensions. It was clear to “all the people” that He had done so by God’s power. Indeed, “all the people” began to suggest that He was the “Son of David,” the Messiah King, promised by God. But the Pharisees told the people that Jesus was acting on behalf of Satan (“Beelzebub, the prince of demons”), not because of what they saw Him do, but in response to what they heard the people saying about Jesus.
Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the act of publicly attributing the work of the Holy Spirit to the influence of Satan, when you know it is not true. Those guys had deliberately tried to diminish what God was doing, so they could control the people and protect their own reputations. They said, “That’s not God doing that, it is Satan.” Jesus said, “Watch out; doing that is unforgivable!”
Now, maybe you are thinking, “I don’t have to worry about that; I’m certainly no religious authority and nobody is going to be influenced by what I say.” Maybe so. But in the light of the severity of what Jesus taught, perhaps it is appropriate for us to be cautious about what we think whenever we see something that God does. For example, during the last several months, The River Church in Lyons, CO has experienced several astonishing acts of rescue and relief, as they were recovering from a devastating flood. Their well went completely dry. The experts determined that the ground water had shifted and that the only thing to do was to drill another well – something the church had no money to do. But a volunteer work crew, assembled from churches all around the country, gathered around the well house, joined hands and prayed that God would restore it. That afternoon the water began to flow – pure water that passed the county’s stringent health standards.
How do you understand that event? Who did that? How did it happen? There are many physical explanations you could use. Most of them would need to include the word, coincidence. Or, you could shake your head with awe and humility and give the credit to God. I’m pretty sure that is the safest course. And ultimately, it matters little how God pulled it off. The main thing is to understand why He did it. And to give credit where it is due.