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Our Relationship with the Holy Spirit


If people would have been asked in 1968 which nation would dominate the world in watch making during the 1990s and into the twenty-first century the answer would have been uniform: Switzerland. Why? Because Switzerland had dominated the world of watch making for the previous sixty years.
The Swiss made the best watches in the world and were committed to constant refinement of their expertise. It was the Swiss who came forward with the minute hand and the second hand. They led the world in discovering better ways to manufacture the gears, hearings, and mainsprings of watches. They even led the way in waterproofing techniques and self-winding models. By 1968, the Swiss made 65 percent of all watches sold in the world and laid claim to as much as 90 percent of the profits.
By 1980, however, they had laid off thousands of watch-makers and controlled less than 10 percent of the world market. Their profit domination dropped to less than 20 percent. Between 1979 and 1981, fifty thousand of the sixty-two thousand Swiss watchmakers lost their jobs. Why? The Swiss had refused to consider a new development—the—the Quartz movement—ironically, invented by a Swiss. Because it had no main-spring or knob, it was rejected. It was too much of a paradigm shift for them to embrace. Seiko, on the other hand, accepted it and, along with a few other companies, became the leader in the watch industry.
The lesson of the Swiss watchmakers is profound. A past that was so secure, so profitable, so dominant was destroyed by an unwillingness to consider the future. It was more than not being able to make predictions—it was an inability to re-think how they did business. Past success had blinded them to the importance of seeing the implications of the changing world and to admit that past accomplishment was no guarantee of future success.
── James Enery White, Rethinking The Church, Baker Books, 1998, p. 20.



This statement (Matt 12:32, par Mk. 3:29, Luke 12:10) has been the subject of much questioning. Obviously the reference here is not to the naming of the Holy Spirit in a blasphemous utterance, for in Matt. 12:32 even blasphemy against the Son of man can be forgiven. Among the many attempts at exegesis, the most convincing is the suggestion that the man who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit is he who has recognized that God is working through the Holy Spirit in the actions of Jesus, and who quite consciously "misrepresent faith in God as faith in the devil.  This saying is an extremely serious warning against the demonic and scarcely conceivable potential in man: To declare war on God.  This is not done in weakness and doubt, but by one who has been overcome by the Holy Spirit and who knows very well on whom he is declaring war" (E. Schweizer, The Good News according to Mark, 1971, 87; cf. H.W. Beyer, TDNT I:624; O.E. Evans, "The Unforgivable Sin", ExpT 68, 1956-57, 240-44). This is the blasphemer who does it deliberately, after encounter with the God of grace, as the context shows. For Jesus has just been accused of casting out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons. "Therefore he who blasphemes the Spirit is no longer speaking against a God who is distant, about whom he entertains mere foolish thoughts, but against the one who makes evident to him his gracious work, and confirms it with his manifest, divine seal. He is a man who ought to give thanks, not to blaspheme" (A. Schlatter, on Matt. 12:32). 


W.L. Lane draws attention to Sifre on Deut. 32:38 (end): "The Holy One, blessed be he, pardons everything else, but on profanation of the Name [i.e. blasphemy] he takes vengeance immediately" (The Gospel of Mark, NLC, 1974, 145) Lane goes on to comment: "This is the danger to which the scribes exposed themselves when they attributed to the agency of Satan the redemption brought by Jesus. The expulsion of demons was a sign of the intrusion of the Kingdom of God. Yet the scribal accusations against Jesus amount to a denial of the power and greatness of the Spirit of God. By assigning the action of Jesus to a demonic origin the scribes betray a perversion of spirit which, in defiance of the truth, chooses to call light darkness. In this historical context, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit denotes the conscious and deliberate rejection of the saving power and grace of God released through Jesus' work and act" (ibid). Thus blasphemy here is much more serious than the taking of the divine name in vain which a believer may have done before coming to repentance and faith. 

It may be said to those who have been tormented by fear that they have committed the unforgivable sin that their concern is itself a sign that they have not committed the sin envisaged in Jesus' teaching here. Lane's interpretation also helps to explain the distinction drawn between blasphemy against the Son of man and blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. The distinction suggests that "while an attack on Jesus' own person, as son of Man and therefore 'hidden', is pardonable, any speaking against the power by which he works (i.e. the divine endowment for his messianic ministry) will not be pardoned" (D. Hill, The Gospel of Matthew, New Century Bible, 1972, 318). For such an action would be deliberately to attribute to Satan the action of God himself. (NIDNTT, v. 3, pp. 343-344)


What is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? Though many suggestions have been offered, I think the answer lies in the context here (Luke 12:7-12) and in the context of redemptive history. Remember that the Holy Spirit had not yet been poured out, and it is the Spirit who causes men to recognize who Jesus is. Hebrews 6 and 10 contain discussions of unforgivable sins, but the distinction between blasphemy against Christ and the Spirit has disappeared. Jesus seemed to be saying this: Because the Holy spirit has not yet been poured out in fullness, the Jews will be forgiven for blaspheming the Son of Man. They will be given a second chance to repent, as we see in the book of Acts. If, however, they continue to blaspheme after the Spirit has come, they will not be forgiven. But what is the sin, specifically? Since it is blasphemy, we must see it essentially as a verbal sin. In context it is the sin of saying that Jesus Christ is of the devil. Jesus was willing to excuse this blasphemy before Pentecost; but, in the new covenant era it is not longer excusable. If a person curses Jesus, but does not really know who Jesus is, that sin is forgivable. But if the Holy Spirit has borne witness to a person that Jesus is indeed the Son of God, and that person curses Him, it cannot be forgiven. ── Tabletalk, July 12, 1990.



Ⅰ. As  Warriors. Walk in the Spirit. “ Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh”( Gal.5:16).

Ⅱ. As Redeemed Ones. Continuing in the Spirit. “ Having begun in the Spirit,, c. (Gal.3:3).

Ⅲ. As Suppliants. Praying in the Spirit. “ Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit”(Eph.6:18).

Ⅳ. As Worshipers. Worship God in the Spirit. “ Which worship God in the Spirit” ( Phil.3:3).

Ⅴ. As Brethren. Love in the Spirit. “ Declared unto us your love in the Spirit” (Col.1:8).

Ⅵ. As Untied Ones. Access in the Spirit. “ Have our access in one Spirit” (Eph.2:18. R.V.)

Ⅶ. As Obedient One. Live in Spirit. “ If we live in the Spirit, let us,” c.( Gal.5:25).

── F.E. MarshFive Hundred Bible Readings

The Sins Against The Holy Spirit
1. We have seen where the Holy Spirit is certainly active in God's
   scheme of redemption...
   a. Revealing and confirming the Word of Truth - He 2:3-4
   b. Convicting hearts of sin through the Word - Jn 16:7
   c. Regenerating those who respond to the gospel - Jn 3:5
   d. Indwelling those who obey the gospel - Ac 2:38; 1 Co 6:19
   e. Leading those who walk in the Spirit - Ga 5:16-18,25
   f. Producing the fruit of the Spirit in those so led - Ga 5:22-23
   g. Strengthening those seeking to please God - Ep 3:16
   h. Serving as a seal, marking Christians as God's own - Ep 1:13
   i. Serving as an earnest (guarantee) of our inheritance - Ep 1:14
2. Because of the Spirit's activity, it is possible for us to sin
   against the Spirit...
   a. We can resist the Spirit - Ac 7:51
   b. We can quench the Spirit - 1 Th 5:19
   c. We can grieve the Spirit - Ep 4:30
   d. We can insult the Spirit - He 10:29
   e. We can blaspheme the Spirit - Mt 12:31-32
[Lest we be guilty of sinning against the Spirit, let's examine how such
sins are possible...]
      1. Stephen condemned his listeners for resisting the Spirit - Ac
      2. How did they do this?  By persecuting (i.e., resisting) the
         prophets - Ac 7:52
         a. Who foretold the coming of Christ
         b. In whom the Spirit of Christ was working - cf. 1 Pe 1:10-11
      -- Resisting the Spirit-led prophets resulted in their resisting
         the Spirit!
      1. The same Spirit led the apostles of Christ to preach the
         gospel- cf. 1 Pe 1:12; Ro 15:19
      2. We can resist the apostles today
         a. By refusing to obey their word - cf. 1 Co 14:37
         b. By refusing to abide in their doctrine - cf. Ac 2:42
      -- Are we guilty of resisting the Spirit, by resisting the words
         of the apostles?
[Certainly those who refuse to obey the gospel are guilty of resisting
the Spirit, but even those who are Christians can be guilty.  Christians
can also be guilty of...]
      1. Written to the church at Thessalonica - 1 Th 5:19
      2. How could they become guilty of this?
         a. To quench means to extinguish, suppress, stifle
         b. To whatever extent the Spirit was at work, they were not to
            suppress it
      3. Two examples...
         a. The Thessalonians were not to despise prophecies - cf. 1 Th
            5:20 ("Do not despise the words of the prophets" NRSV)
         b. Timothy was encouraged not to neglect his gift - 1 Ti 4:14;
            2 Ti 1:6
      -- Suppressing (or neglecting) the Spirit's work is quenching the
      1. The Spirit is at work in our lives today
         a. Teaching and guiding us through His revealed word - cf. Ep
         b. Strengthening us through His indwelling - cf. Ep 3:16,20
         c. Producing the fruit of the Spirit as we are so led - cf. Ga
      2. But we neglect or stifle the Spirit's effort...
         a. When we fail to read and heed the Word of God
         b. When we fail to pray, asking for strength
         c. When we fail to produce the fruit of the Spirit
      -- Are we guilty of quenching the Spirit, through our own neglect?
[Another sin against the Spirit that Paul warned Christians about is...]
      1. Written to the Ephesians - Ep 4:30
      2. What does it mean to grieve?
         a. To make sorrowful, to affect with sadness
         b. To offend
      3. How could they grieve the Spirit?
         a. By corrupt speech - cf. Ep 4:29
         b. By bitterness, anger, evil speaking - cf. Ep 4:31
      -- When Christians sin, they grieve the Spirit who indwells them!
      1. The Spirit desires to produce good fruit in Christians...
         a. The fruit of graceful words that lift up others - cf. Ep
         b. The fruit of graceful conduct that bless those around us 
            - cf. Ep 4:28,32
      2. But we make the Spirit sorrowful every time...
         a. Unwholesome words proceed from our mouths
         b. We engage in conduct unbecoming those who have been sealed
            (marked) for the day of redemption!
      -- Are we guilty of grieving by our speech or conduct the Spirit
         who indwells us?
[As bad as it is for Christians to quench the Spirit (through neglect)
or grieve the Spirit (through disobedience), it can get worse!  We can
even be guilty of...]
      1. Written to the Hebrews - He 10:29
      2. What does it mean to insult the Spirit of grace?
         a. KJV, ASV, "despite the Spirit of grace"
         b. NRSV, "outraged the Spirit of grace"
      3. The context pertains to willful sin - cf. He 10:26-31
         a. Persistent sin with full knowledge and no desire to repent
         b. Conduct that tramples Christ underfoot, and regards His
            blood a common thing
         c. For which remains a fearful and fiery judgment
      -- Christians can become so hardened by sin that they insult the
         Spirit through outrageous conduct!
      1. We need to be aware of the danger of apostasy - He 3:12-14
         a. We can become hardened by the deceitfulness of sin
         b. We can thereby depart from the living God
         c. We must hold the beginning of our confidence (faith)
            steadfast till the end - cf. Re 2:10
      2. We become guilty of insulting the Spirit...
         a. When we sin willfully, with full knowledge of our sin
         b. When we have no desire to repent - cf. He 6:4-8
      -- Sinning through ignorance or weakness grieves the Spirit, but
         sinning willfully insults the Spirit!
[Finally, we note that Jesus warned about...]
      1. Jesus told the Pharisees of the unforgivable sin - Mt 12:31-32
         a. He had just healed a demon-possessed man - Mt 12:22-23
         b. The Pharisees attributed His power to Beelzebub (Satan) - Mt
         c. He illustrates the absurdity of their charge - Mt 12:25-28
         d. He explains the implication and necessity of casting out
            demons by the Spirit of God
            1) The kingdom (rule or reign, power) of God has come - Mt
            2) For such to be complete, the strong man (Satan) must be
               bound - Mt 12:29
            3) This Jesus ultimately accomplished through His death and
               resurrection - cf. Jn 12:31-33; Ro 14:9; Co 2:15; He 2:
               14-15; Re 1:18
      2. What is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit?
         a. It is attributing Jesus' power to an unclean spirit - cf. Mk
         b. It is ascribing the work of the Holy Spirit to Satan (B.W.
      3. Why is this sin unforgivable?  When one concludes that Jesus'
         power was of the devil...
         a. He has rejected the evidence which produces faith in Jesus
         b. He has rejected the efforts by God to save those in sin
      -- When one is willing to believe that Jesus was in league with
         the devil, saving faith is not possible!
      1. We must be careful not to reject the testimony of the Spirit
         a. He is the means by which God bore witness to Jesus - cf. Ac
         b. Otherwise we can neglect that "great salvation" - cf. He
      2. If we reject the testimony of the Holy Spirit...
         a. We reject heaven's last effort to save man (Ferrell Jenkins,
            The Finger Of God, p.45)
         b. We reject the evidence which convicts of sin (ibid.)
      -- The consequences of rejecting the Spirit's testimony are
         serious, depriving one of the forgiveness found only in Christ!
1. Sins against the Holy Spirit can lead progressively into apostasy...
   a. Resisting the Spirit can lead to quenching the Spirit
   b. Quenching the Spirit can lead to grieving the Spirit
   c. Grieving the Spirit can lead to insulting the Spirit
   d. Insulting the Spirit can lead to blaspheming the Spirit
   e. Blaspheming the Spirit leads to a condition where forgiveness is
      not possible
2. Note the sad condition of those in full-blown apostasy - cf. He 6:4-6
   a. This passage describes those who at one time:
      1) Were enlightened
      2) Tasted the heavenly gift
      3) Become partakers of the Holy Spirit
      4) Tasted the good word of God
      5) Tasted the powers of the age to come
   b. Yet they had fallen to the point:
      1) Where it was impossible to renew them to repentance
      2) Where they were crucifying again the Son of God, putting Him to
         open shame
How to prevent such a sad end?  Make sure that we are not guilty of "The
Sins Against The Holy Spirit"!


--《Executable Outlines