Thanks for joining us on this journey of building a consistent habit of reading our Bibles every day. The Bible reading plan we are using this year can be found here: One Year Bible or here on the Bible app. As always, if you miss a day, don’t feel compelled to go back and catch up. Just skip it and start back on today’s date. I am reading the NLT this year, but feel free to use whatever version you prefer. Now here are some thoughts from today’s readings:
But anyone who blasphemes the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven. This is a sin with eternal consequences.” He told them this because they were saying, “He’s possessed by an evil spirit.”
– Mark 3:29-30
Our New Testament passage today ends with a very stern warning. We are told a that whoever blasphemies the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven them. That sounds scary! But what does Jesus mean when he says blasphemy of the Holy Spirit?
People have argued about this for a long time, but the answer is obvious. The statement is made of the Pharisees who are claiming that the works Jesus is doing are from the devil. In fact, right after Jesus brings up blasphemy, it says that He said this because they were claiming He had an evil spirit. So, the answer to “What is blasphemy?” is very clear. Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is when someone attributes the works of God to the devil.
We must be careful what we claim is of God, but we must be equally careful of what we claim is not of God. Attributing acts of the Spirit to the devil clearly will not be forgiven! Now, just because it says it will not be forgiven doesn’t mean we should jump to conclusions and think these people won’t be in heaven. The Bible many times clearly states that certain categories of people will not be in heaven. If Jesus wanted us to think people who blaspheme in this kind of way weren’t going to be with Him in the afterlife, He would have made that clear. Rather, the Bible speaks of a “believers judgement” in Heaven that is works based. My best guess is we will all deal with our blasphemies there.
The truth is, there are a lot of Christians today who blaspheme the Holy Spirit. Anytime you watch something on Christian television and make a joke about it or call it fake, you could be at risk of blasphemy. Anytime you attempt to talk about the validity of a brother or sister in Christ or their ministry without knowing them personally and being close enough to them to “taste their fruit” as the Bible instructs us, you could be at risk. Any time you see something crazy at a Church service and start judging “those” people, you’re at risk.
The point is, God never intended for us go around judging God’s work in the lives of people we don’t know and love. The Pharisees had motives they weren’t being honest with themselves about. They were claiming it was the work of the devil to save face and in the name of “theological accuracy” and “doctrinal purity”. Often those are the same things people claim today when downing the possible work of God in someone’s life. A good rule of thumb is to never comment on the possible work of God in someone or through someone unless God has given you special access into that person’s life AND God has spoken to you telling you that what they are experiencing isn’t from Him, given you scripture to back it up, and urged you to share it with them. If you get all those checks, then you should proceed with caution and in love.
Last point I want to make: It always amazes me how people in whose lives God is obviously NOT moving feel so qualified to judge the moving of God in others. Just because you haven’t experienced it doesn’t mean it isn’t from God. When we see someone having an experience they claim is from God that we haven’t experienced, our first response should be hunger, not skepticism. The Pharisees were skeptics. The disciples were hunger. Which one do you want to be?
Is their possible blasphemy in your life you need to repent of? Have you spoken ill of someone else’s relationship or experience with God when it wasn’t your place to do so? What do you think you should do about it?