All manner of sin and blasphemy - Βλασφημια, injurious or impious speaking, mocking and deriding speech, Anglo-Saxon. See Matthew 9:3.
But the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost - Even personal reproaches, revilings, persecutions against Christ, were remissible; but blasphemy, or impious speaking against the Holy Spirit was to have no forgiveness: i.e. when the person obstinately attributed those works to the devil, which he had the fullest evidence could be wrought only by the Spirit of God. That this, and nothing else, is the sin against the Holy Spirit, is evident from the connection in this place, and more particularly from Mark 3:28-30. "All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme; but he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation; Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit."
Here the matter is made clear beyond the smallest doubt - the unpardonable sin, as some term it, is neither less nor more than ascribing the miracles Christ wrought, by the power of God, to the spirit of the devil. Many sincere people have been grievously troubled with apprehensions that they had committed the unpardonable sin; but let it be observed that no man who believes the Divine mission of Jesus Christ, ever can commit this sin: therefore let no man's heart fail because of it, from henceforth and for ever, Amen. See below.
In this place, and in Mark 3:28-30, Jesus states the awful nature of the sin of which they had been guilty. That sin was the sin against the Holy Spirit. It consisted in charging him with being in league with the devil, or accusing him of working his miracles, not by the “spirit” or “power” of God, but by the aid of the prince of the devils. It was therefore a direct insult, abuse, or evil speaking against the Holy Spirit - the spirit by which Jesus worked his miracles. That this was what he intended by this sin, at that time, is clear from Mark 3:30, “because they said he had an unclean spirit.” All other sins - all speaking against the Saviour himself - might be remitted. But this sin was clearly against the Holy One; it was alleging that the highest displays of God‘s mercy and power were the work of the devil; and it argued, therefore, the deepest depravity of mind. The sin of which he speaks is therefore clearly stated. It was accusing him of working miracles by the aid of the devil, thus dishonoring the Holy Spirit.
Blasphemy - Injurious or evil speaking of God. See the notes at Matthew 9:3.
A word against the Son of man - The Jews were offended at the humble life and appearance of the Saviour. They reproached him as being a Nazarene - sprung from Nazareth, a place from which no good was expected to proceed; with being a Galilean, from Galilee, a place from which no prophet came, John 7:52. Jesus says that reproaches of this kind could be pardoned. Reflections on his poverty, on his humble birth, and on the lowliness of his human nature might be forgiven; but for those which affected his divine nature, accusing him of being in league with the devil, denying his divinity, and attributing the power which manifestly implied divinity to the prince of fallen spirits, there could be no pardon. This sin was a very different thing from what is now often supposed to be the sin against the Holy Spirit. It was a wanton and blasphemous attack on the divine power and nature of Christ. Such a sin God would not forgive.
Speaketh against the Holy Ghost - The word “ghost” means “spirit,” and probably refers here to the “divine nature” of Christ - the power by which he performed his miracles. There is no evidence that it refers to the third person of the Trinity; and the meaning of the whole passage may be: “He that speaks against me as a man of Nazareth - that speaks contemptuously of my humble birth, etc., may be pardoned; but he that reproaches my divine nature, charging me with being in league with Satan, and blaspheming the power of God manifestly displayed “by me,” can never obtain forgiveness.”
Neither in this world, nor in that which is to come - That is, as Mark expresses it, “hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.” This fixes the meaning of the phrase. It means, then, not the future age or dispensation, known among the Jews as the world to come, but it means that the guilt will be unpardoned forever; that such is the purpose of God that he will not forgive a sin so direct, presumptuous, and awful. It cannot be inferred from this that any sins will be forgiven in hell. The Saviour meant simply to say that there were “no possible circumstances” in which the offender could obtain forgiveness. He certainly did “not” say that any sin unpardoned here would be pardoned hereafter.
Let not one ray of light from heaven be held in questioning and doubt. In great power the Lord has revealed to you His grace, His mercy, and His love; and He who charges the work of God to undue excitement, and calls it fanaticism, is certainly standing on dangerous ground. If such do not retrieve their steps, their consciences will become less and less sensitive, and they will have less and less appreciation of the Spirit of God. It will become harder and harder for them to understand the message of God. Why?—Because they are sinning against the Holy Ghost; and as a result of their resistance, they place themselves where they cannot recognize the Spirit of God, but set themselves against every instrumentality that God might use to save them from ruin. “What sign shewest thou?” (John 2:18) said the Jews to Christ, when at the same time His life and character, His lessons and miracles, were continual signs of His holy mission and divinity. TDG 52.3Read in context »
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. Matthew 12:31. TMK 243.1
“The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). No matter how sinful a person has been, no matter what his position may be, if he will repent and believe, coming unto Christ and trusting Him as his personal Saviour, he may be saved unto the uttermost.... TMK 243.2Read in context »
How to Wear the Yoke—Take hold of the arm of God, and say, “I am nothing, and Thou art everything. Thou hast said, ‘Without me ye can do nothing.’ Now, Lord, I must have Thee abiding in me, that I may abide in Thee.” Then advance step by step, by living faith abiding in Jesus Christ. This is wearing His yoke, the yoke of obedience (Manuscript 85, 1901). 5BC 1092.1
Wearing the yoke with Christ, means to work in His lines, to be a copartner with Him in His sufferings and toils for lost humanity. It means to be a wise instructor of souls. We shall be what we are willing to be made by Christ in these precious hours of probation. We shall be the sort of a vessel that we allow ourselves to be molded into. We must unite with God in the molding and fashioning work, having our wills submitted to the divine will (Letter 71, 1895). 5BC 1092.2
30. Easy Yoke Does Not Give Life of Ease—The Lord calls His yoke easy, and His burden light. Yet that yoke will not give us a life of ease and freedom and selfish indulgence. The life of Christ was one of self-sacrifice and self-denial at every step; and with consistent, Christlike tenderness and love, His true follower will walk in the footsteps of the Master; and as he advances in this life, he will become more and more inspired with the spirit and life of Christ (The Signs of the Times, April 16, 1912, reprinted from The Signs of the Times, July 22, 1897). 5BC 1092.3Read in context »