|Topical Bible Study||July 1961|
The Holy Spirit Series—Lesson IX
Sin Against the Holy Spirit
JESUS explained that sin against his Heavenly Father, and against him, could be forgiven, but that sin against the Holy Spirit could not be forgiven. (Matt. 12:31,32) This is a definite proof that the Holy Spirit is not a third person in a trinity of Gods who are co-equal in authority and power.
Jesus made this statement to the Pharisees who charged that he had performed a miracle by the power of Beelzebub, the prince of devils. (Matt. 12:24-30) They had witnessed a miraculous demonstration of the power of God, and their attempt to discredit its significance was a sin against knowledge, against light, and therefore willful.
This is why any sin against the Holy Spirit is unforgivable. For all such sins there is an appropriate measure of punishment, depending upon the degree of understanding one may possess. (Luke 12:47,48) Any and all sin for which punishment is administered is not forgiven, but sins of ignorance and adamic weakness are not in this category.
We have another illustration of sinning against the Holy Spirit in the experience of Ananias and Sapphira, who lied to Peter concerning the selling of all their land. (Acts 5:1-11) Peter charged that they had lied against the Holy Spirit. This man and his wife had been associated with the brethren long enough to witness the miracle-working power of God in their midst. They presumed, therefore, against God by their attempted deception, and were worthy of punishment, which they received.
However, it is not necessary to witness outward manifestations of God’s miracle-working power in order to be guilty of sinning against the Holy Spirit. (Heb. 6:4-8) In Paul’s statement to the Hebrew Christians he reveals that to go contrary to enlightenment by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God, giving one a heart appreciation of divine grace, constitutes willful sin, and therefore sin against the Holy Spirit. Paul reveals that in such instances repentance is impossible.
Another warning, similar to this, is also given to us by the same apostle. (Heb. 10:26-29) Here the stress is placed upon enlightenment through a knowledge of the truth. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth, and to go contrary to this truth, under the influence of which we have dedicated our lives to divine service, would be a sin against the Holy Spirit. Here the punishment is indicated to be forfeiture of all further claims to divine grace.
Death is the ultimate punishment for willful sin. Adam’s sin was willful, and led to death; but from this penalty he has been redeemed by the blood of Christ. Through Christ, the Lord’s consecrated people have been made free from adamic condemnation. (Rom. 8:1) For such to revert to a continuance in willful sin results in the “second death,” referred to by David as “the great transgression.”—Ps. 19:12,13; Rev. 21:8
But there are willful sins which merit punishment less than eternal death. (I John 5:16,17) However, it is wise for all the Lord’s people to keep their hearts pure, and their minds cleansed, and thus prevent the beginning of sins which might eventually develop into the “sin unto death.”
What gross error is refuted by Jesus’ statement that sin against the Holy Spirit cannot be forgiven?
Relate the circumstances in which Jesus implied that the Pharisees had sinned against the Holy Spirit.
In principle, what is sin against the Holy Spirit?
Explain how Ananias and his wife lied to the Holy Spirit.
Is it possible for one who has received a heart appreciation of the truth to sin against the Holy Spirit? Explain.
While all willful sin must be punished, is the punishment necessarily “the second death”?
What is “the great transgression,” and how may we be guarded against it?
“The Atonement Between God and Man,” pages 270-273.
SUMMARY OF IMPORTANT THOUGHTS
Sin against the Holy Spirit is sin against knowledge and understanding. All such sin is willful, and will be punished. When there is a continuance in willful sin, the punishment is “second death.”