28 ‘Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; 29but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin’
Can NEVER be forgiven!!! I may be a little bit of a commitment phobic but any time you use words like ALWAYS and NEVER I get overwhelmed and some deep fear that I probably should spend more time investigating comes up. I especially don’t like the idea of never being forgiven. That doesn’t sound like Jesus at all. I mean, I believe in a Grace so big that even I get forgiven and I am pretty good at sinning. Maybe not in big enough ways to get arrested or banned, but I for sure make mistakes daily that has Jesus shaking his head. So is it possible to sin in such a way that God will not forgive you???
When I was in grade school my brother and I were friends with a family up the street. They were a pretty religious family and had lots of kids, which meant there was a girl for me to play with, and a boy for my older brother to pal around with. Because we knew they were religious my mom had given me a stern talking to about the words I was allowed to use around them. Now, our family was not pirate mouthed, but we definitely said some words that came more from our British heritage and could make some outside of our family blush. I was always really careful at this family’s house as I didn’t want to offend. One day I was playing with my skippit, that’s how old school I am! If you don’t know what they are they were kind of like the original fitbit, they counted each of your jumps and there was an awesome tally on the bottom and there were so much fun to jump over! So I was jumping and fell, and as I fell I decided to use what I thought was a safe phrase (I mean I had heard it on re-runs of the original Batman) so I yelled “holy moly” and the next thing I know I was sitting on a coach being told by my friends mom that I had just used a bad word! I couldn’t figure out what she was referring to until she said “we don’t use the word “holy” in vane, because it is using the Holy Spirits name in vane, and when you curse the Holy Spirit you are sinning.” I went home embarrassed and confused. I mean Batman said it… how could it be that bad.
Once I got to college and spent some more time reading scripture for myself I came across this verse and realized this is what she was refereeing to but what she hadn’t mentioned was that I would NEVER be forgiven! What? Did this mean I should start sinning big time since it apparently didn’t matter since I was already condemned. That didn’t seem right and it didn’t seem to fit with who I knew God to be. But there it was in bold words. It wasn’t until I did a little investigation as to where this came from and worked further on understanding it that I came to see that cursing the Holy Spirit is an eternal sin not because God will never forgive us but because blasphamey against the Holy spirit is really denying where we see the Holy Spirit at work in the world.
As I looked at the Greek (by reading really great scholars I myself am not a linguist) the sentence doesn’t really say “never” but instead says it is an eternal matter. Jesus is responding to the accusation that he heals in the name of Satan and therefore is guilty of blasphemy. Jesus does one of Jesus’ greatest ninja moves and says that there is no way he could work for Satan since he is doing actions of health, healing and wholeness. Those things are for the Kingdom and therefore it makes no sense to do them for a force opposed to the kingdom. In fact, Jesus says a true sin is to miss where the Holy Spirit is working. Missing out on the fact that Jesus is an agent of the Holy Spirit is truly a sin that has eternal consequences because you miss out on what is already happening around you. The kingdom is springing up and the Spirit doesn’t want you to spend eternity missing those moments!
So will young Sarah be forgiven? I think so…but my challenge now is to live a life that is looking for the Spirit in all things and trying to find it even in the most unexpected places. Places where I don’t agree with the people or things being said. Not recognizing the true origin of something is blasphemy, and I think that is a sin that is worth looking out for.