GNB 2.13

January 15, 2023

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE REFERENCE:

“Whoever is not with Me is against Me. Whoever does not gather with Me scatters. So, I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven. However, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.” (Matthew 12.30-31)

TODAY’S REFLECTION:

What is blasphemy? To define it as “defiant irreverence” would be an understatement. It would allow a whole host of possible behaviors to be created and used “threateningly” to encourage people to conform. I have long said “You cannot legislate morality.” Many have tried and continue to do so. Morality comes from the heart bent to pure goodness and a will to promote such goodness as living the authentic life which God intended. Even those who profess an unbelief in God or a non-belief in God claim that there is a philosophical morality which can be lived. A morality of the mind is difficult to manifest without some sense of a higher calling in life which exceeds one’s own existence. If one is to be a truly moral person then there must be a truly moral God who leads, guides and directs such thinking. The greatest morality is “authentic love.” And we exist because of an authentically loving God. Yahweh Elohim is the sum total and complete essence of authentic love.

What then is authentic? We can start to understand “authentic” as relating to an undisputed origin and thus prove it is genuine; or the real deal. Some will attempt to “authenticate” something based upon accurate and reliable facts. When it comes to morality, the accurate and reliable facts would be seen in the consequences of one’s actions regardless of the intentions. I say that only because one may say that they intended to do good but in fact rendered harm and showed no remorse for the harm which occurred. Some may have a harmful or self-will intent but in the process failed to do harm and instead good came out of it. But, when the actions relate to the intentions of God’s will and purpose as determined by God alone revealed to us in His Word (scripture), through His Word (the Holy Spirit) and by His Word (Jesus Christ), then we can determine if the actions are revelations of that which is authentic and generated out of authentic love. The truth by which we can truly be set free comes only from God who is the origin and source of all life and living, faith and hope, and most of all love.

So, what can we discern about Jesus’ teaching on “blasphemy of the Holy Spirit” as the only sin which WILL NOT be forgiven. The powerful intent of that teaching relates to directly what can and may be forgiven and what cannot and won’t be forgiven. The entire question arises because the enemies of authentic faith in God revealed in the ways listed above attempted to persuade the listening audience that the works and intentions of Jesus were not derived from His relationship with God but with Satan. Their intent was to accuse Jesus of being “immoral” because His actions are self-serving and do not give credence to the ruling spiritual authority which they themselves represent. In short, Jesus must be anti-God and pro-Satan because He is not a scribe, Pharisee, priest, elder or a true teacher of the Law of Moses. In even shorter short, Jesus is “not one of us.” Their failure to see the good which He does without their permission and authority is a failure to acknowledge the authentic love which is His sole motivation. Jesus’ intent is to bring God’s love to bear on His people not to rule over them and make them slaves to self-righteousness and a self-serving God. His words which heal, reconcile, restore God’s people and lead people into a loving relationship with God and thus with one another are derived out of the true Spirit of God. These actions are the results of the Word which God commands just as He commanded the Word in creation. To deny their authenticity and to assign their good to that which serves another who is not of God and for God is to be guilty not only of blasphemy but a sin which will not be forgiven regardless of if it can be.

Can blasphemy of the Holy Spirit be forgiven? We must understand the difference between can and may. Can speaks to the ability. May speaks to the opportunity of permission and “agreed to” will. God most certainly has the ability to forgive any and all sin. Yet, in so doing, forgiveness must relate to a change of the heart and mind of the one who is forgiven. Peter wrestles with the idea of forgiveness from the standpoint of “when is enough enough” when it comes to a person unwilling to change their behavior and intent from evil to good. It is most certainly a human struggle. We do not always want to commit ourselves to what is seemingly impossible. But, what is impossible to us may be possible with God. He sees the full course of that life and whose word of understanding will inspire authentic repentance. If our ministry of forgiveness seems fruitless it may not be our ministry for that person or for that situation. But, we cannot surrender our extending forgiveness with the hope of restoration simply because that person is not responding to us. It isn’t about us that authentic forgiveness exists. It is about restoring the right relationship between that person and God. So, when Jesus tells Peter “forgive seven times, seven times seven, even seventy times seven” (Matthew 18.21ff), He is speaking to our commitment to believe that repentance and reconciliation can happen. But, it may not happen because the person involved is unwilling to allow it to happen and thus does not give permission for the Word of God to work within him or her. They are unwilling to have a contrite heart in order to have the mind of God and thus a spirit of peace and love toward God and others more over toward themselves. Sadly, in the broken world and state of being in which we exist, forgiveness which does not lead to authentic repentance only seems to create a false sense of privilege to be that parenthetical “wolf in sheep’s clothing.” In other words, there has to be a limit which can only be set by God as to what will and won’t be forgiven. We must do our best for the most effect which we can hope for and leave the rest to God.

Bearing that in mind, while “blasphemy of the Holy Spirit” can be forgiven in that God has the ability to forgive it, it will not be forgiven because in doing so the belief that God has no authority or rule is thus validated. God cannot cease to be God any more than any created thing can be God. Jesus speaks to the “tough love” which God must exhibit when it comes to saying when it comes to this sin “enough is enough.”

And for the moment, that seems to be enough reflecting on this subject until tomorrow. I pray you will forgive me for delaying to press forward but this is quite a lot to digest. Its implications are serious and vitally needed to be understood. Until we speak again, “let those with eyes to see see and ears to hear understand. Shalom!”

TODAY’S PRAYER:

Father, we are grateful for Your forgiveness and Your boundary to a moral and right life in which we may live. May we be ever mindful of the fullest effect of authentic love. May we extend forgiveness and mercy and grace as it has been extended to us for our good. In Jesus’ name we pray this, AMEN.

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