In Matthew 12:22-32 we have the story of Jesus healing a demon-possessed man and after He cast the demons out, the Pharisees said in verse 24, “This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of demons” (NASB). Jesus responded in verses 25-26 with these words, “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself will not stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand?” (NASB). It was absurd to think that Satan, who is here called “Beelzebul the ruler of demons,” would cast out the demons that were in his kingdom, for in doing so his kingdom would fall. But the Pharisees were so blinded by their hatred for Christ that they were willing to “attribute the works of the Lord Jesus to Satan.” This, in essence, was “sinning against the Holy Spirit,” for every miracle Jesus performed was done in the power of the Spirit of God. It was also “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit,” for the word blasphemy means “to speak evil of someone,” and in this case they were “speaking evil of the Holy Spirit” by calling Him “Beelzebul.”

Because of this Jesus goes on to say in verses 31-32, “Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.” These words are solemn and condemning, for Jesus was charging them with “the unpardonable sin.” There was forgiveness of other kinds of sin and blasphemy, but not for “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.”

Can someone commit “the unpardonable sin” today? We don’t believe they can, at least not in the same sense that we have just seen, for Jesus is no longer on earth performing miracles by the Holy Spirit. Yet there is indeed an “unpardonable sin” today; the SIN OF UNBELIEF! Every sin can be forgiven through Christ’s atoning work on the cross, but if one rejects the gospel of Jesus Christ they can NOT be forgiven. And when we think of the fact that it is the Holy Spirit Who is seeking to convict sinners and bring them to repentance and faith, the Christ-rejecter is surely guilty of sinning against the Holy Spirit by resisting His testimony of Christ. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, told his murderers in Acts 7:51, “You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did” (NASB). If one resists the pleadings of the Holy Spirit, Who is trying to draw them to Christ for salvation, they are “resisting the Holy Spirit” and will die unforgiven. Jesus said in John 8:23, “If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (NKJV).

The Bible speaks only once of “grieving the Holy Spirit.” In Ephesians 4:30 we read, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (NASB). If you read verses 17-32 of this chapter you will see that the Apostle Paul is speaking to BELIEVERS and he is exhorting them to live holy lives. If we, as believers, fail to walk in holiness, we will grieve the Holy Spirit. He had just mentioned in verses 25-29 the sins of lying, anger, stealing, and filthy language; if we commit those sins we will bring sorrow to the heart of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. The truth is ANY SIN, whether it is in thought, word, or deed, will grieve Him. We do NOT lose our salvation when we grieve Him, for we saw that by Him we have been “sealed for the day of redemption.” But we do lose the sweet fellowship we had with God the Father and His Son, and the Holy Spirit will have to work in our hearts to lead us to confess our sin and forsake it, so we can once again enjoy the salvation that we have in Christ.  (187.1)  (DO)