Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit

Some Christians maintain that the blasphemy of the Spirit cannot be committed today since Jesus is now resurrected and no one can attribute an “impure spirit” to Him since Mark 3.30 defines precisely what this particular sin means. I will argue that people today as well as people in the Old Testament committed the sin of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.

A prooftext for my contention is Acts 7.51: You stubborn people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are always resisting the Holy Spirit, like your ancestors did. (NET) Here Stephen says the actions of the council are on a continuum with the historic failures of some of God’s people. This opposition that would make Stephen the first Christian Martyr is the same opposition Moses faced in the wilderness and is repeated throughout Israel’s history including the ministry of Jesus. The resistance is of a nature that equates it with blasphemy since its crucially decisive. Its a decision that has to be made either in acceptance or rejection. To be confronted by the eternal Spirit of one’s eternal need and to resist, one has to attribute malfeasance to that same Spirit or else they would accept the offer.

Though Jesus was divine, He was also fully human and ministered in the power of the Spirit as the O.T. Prophets, Stephen, and other Christians. The false charge against Jesus was that He had an impure spirit and not against His Person in general. Therefore, it makes no difference that Christ is ascended since The Spirit continues in Christians. So the same sin can still be committed against those Spirit-empowered ministers today as what occurred in Jesus’ time or with the previous prophets.

Jeremiah provides a prior example of Spirit blasphemy just as Stephen provided a post-resurrection instance. Jer. 20.11 provides a stark parallel of opposition just as Jesus and Stephen experienced: But the Lord is with me to help me like an awe-inspiring warrior. Therefore those who persecute me will fail and will not prevail over me. They will be thoroughly disgraced because they did not succeed. Their disgrace will never be forgotten. (NET)

Jeremiah and other prophets of God, described in the bible, were empowered by the Spirit to give God’s message in the face of opposition. Some folks at that time accepted the message such as Ebed Melech (see Jer. 38 and 39.15-18), Zephaniah the priest (see Jer. 29.29). Others opposed Jeremiah and counted him a lunatic which is essentially saying that Jeremiah had an impure spirit. Shemaiah the Nehelamite  rejected the message which God gave Jeremiah for the exiles in Babylon and so suffered divine displeasure on a personal basis with the reply from the Lord that he would miss out on the return from exile and the good things the others enjoyed (Jer. 29.24-32).

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