8 “And I tell you, every one who acknowledges me before men, the Son of man also will acknowledge before the angels of God; 9 but he who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God. 10 And every one who speaks a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. 11 And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious how or what you are to answer or what you are to say; 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”
Meditation: What is the unforgivable sin which Jesus warns us to avoid? Jesus knows that his disciples will be tested and he assures them that the Holy Spirit will give them what they need in their time of adversity. He warns them, however, that it’s possible to reject the grace of God and to fall into apostasy (giving up the faith) out of cowardice or disbelief. The scriptural expression to deny someone means to disown them. Jesus also speaks against blaspheming the Holy Spirit. What is blasphemy and why is it reprehensible? Blasphemy consists in uttering against God, inwardly or outwardly, words of hatred, reproach, or defiance. It’s contrary to the respect due God and his holy name. Jesus speaks of blaspheming against the Holy Spirit as the unforgivable sin. Jesus spoke about this sin immediately after the scribes and Pharisees had attributed his miracles to the work of the devil instead of to God.
A sin can only be unforgivable if repentance is impossible. If someone repeatedly closes his heart to God and shuts his ears to his voice, he comes to a point where he can no longer recognize God even when God makes himself known. Such a person ends up perceiving evil as good and good as evil (Isaiah 5:20). To fear such a sin, however, signals that one is not dead to God and is conscious of the need for God’s grace and mercy. There are no limits to the mercy of God, but anyone who refuses to accept God’s mercy by repenting of wrongdoing, rejects the forgiveness of their sins and the salvation offered by the Holy Spirit. God gives grace and help to all who humbly call upon him. Giving up on God and refusing to turn away from sin and disbelief results from pride and the loss of hope in God.
What is the basis of our hope and confidence in God? John the Evangelist tells us that “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Jesus’ death on the cross won for us our salvation and adoption as the children of God. The love and mercy of Jesus Christ, the forgiveness of sins, and the gift of the Holy Spirit are freely given to those who acknowledge Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Is your hope securely placed in Christ and his victory on the cross?
“Lord Jesus, you are my hope and salvation. May I trust you at all times and rely on your grace in times of testing and temptation. Let the fire of your Holy Spirit burn in my heart and fill me with a consuming love for you.”
2 By the mouth of babes and infants, you hast founded a bulwark because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.
3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have established;
4 what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?
5 Yet you have made him little less than God, and crown him with glory and honor.
6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet,
7 all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field.