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WHAT IS THE SIN AGAINST
Rev. P. Mulder
Rev. Mtdder is pastor at Scherpenzeel, the Netherlands. This article was translated from Daniel.
The question found in the title of this article can be asked from a simple desire to know more. But the question can also be asked from a sense of a true spiritual need, because the questioner is plagued with doubts, with worry that there can be no grace for him because he has committed the sin against the Holy Ghost.
The Lord Jesus Himself first discussed the sin against the Holy Ghost. This discussion occurred after He had healed a man who was blind and dumb. The people had asked, “Is not this the Son of David?” In other words, the multitude expressed the thought that He was the promised Messiah. The Pharisees would hear nothing of this. Their response was sharp and full of enmity: “This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils” (Matthew 12:22-32).
Jesus’ saving work regarded as the work of the devil
The Pharisees here openly regarded the work of the Lord Jesus as the work of the devil. From their understanding and knowledge of the Old Testament they perceived that the question posed by the multitude was proper. Yet they willfully and knowingly opposed the question and the multitude. Otherwise they would have to bow before Him and give up their own religious kingdom, something they did not want to do. In their enmity and attempt at self-justification they used a terrible device—they made the work of the Lord Jesus to appear to be the work of the devil. In this context the Lord Jesus said, “All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.”
The witness of the spirit mocked
The sin against the Holy Ghost is thus committed by people who live under the Word. They are persons who are very familiar with the things of God and of Christ and who have been convinced of these things in their consciences. This convincing is the work of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit bears witness to the saving work of the Lord Jesus. The Pharisees willfully and knowingly, in a particularly crude and frightening way, mocked with this work of the Spirit. That sin is unforgivable. The Holy Spirit convinces of sin and reveals and assures of grace in Christ. When a person mocks with this work in an especially open way, against light and better knowledge, who will then convince him?
Fear of this sin
Are you afraid that you have committed this sin? If someone is truly concerned about this, that is, in my opinion, proof that he has not committed this sin. Someone who has committed this sin is hardened. He goes on in enmity and steadily worsens. The Pharisees soon made plans to kill the Lord Jesus and thus went deeper into evil. The devil can sorely test a person by placing this fear in the mind in an attempt to keep him from the Word and the throne of grace. It is sometimes difficult to distinguish between thoughts of your own and thoughts placed in your mind by the devil. Pray much after the Lord and His light and Spirit.
Forgivable sins against the Holy Ghost
We must be careful about saying that a person has committed the sin against the Holy Ghost. Stephen said to the Sanhedrin, “Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost.” This sin, resisting the Holy Ghost, is committed by every unconverted person who lives under the Word. We must not confuse this sin with the unforgivable sin. Even God’s children can, in a certain sense, sin against the Holy Ghost. Thus the apostle Paul warns against ‘grieving” and “quenching” the Spirit (Ephesians 4:30; Thessalonians 5:19). If God’s children persist in sin, do not recognize God’s works, or do not use the means, they commit these sins. These are terrible, but forgivable, sins.
His statutes, right and true,
Rejoice the heart anew
And show the Lord’s salvation,
His pure commands have lent
Mine eyes enlightment
In all my meditation.
He that in faith on Thee
Observes them piously
Shall reap a great reward
Ask much to be enabled to have this blessing through the work of the Holy Ghost, for Jesus’ sake.
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