Doctrinal view

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Doctrinal interpreters base their analysis on verses found beyond the immediate context of the blasphemy passages. They believe a correct understanding of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit can be achieved through the inclusion and proper application of related scriptures.

Key doctrinal verses

Beyond the blasphemy passages, the most frequent verses they cite are 1st John 5:16 and Hebrews 6:4-8. John advised Christians not to pray for one who commits a sin “leading to death.” The Hebrew writer, discussing fallen Christians, stated it was “impossible to renew them to repentance.”

These verses point to the obvious conclusion that sin which is not repented of is not forgiven. Furthermore, one can become hardened to the truth beyond the point of repentance. For such a person penitence is unthinkable.

The Apostle Paul wrote that all have sinned (Romans 3:23). Even the most faithful stumble (1st John 1:8). Yet those who walk in the light, even though they occasionally stumble, are cleansed by the blood of Jesus (1st John 1:7).

Hardening of the heart

Hardening of the heart is a progressive process. Sin grieves the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). Repeated sin, without repentance, sears one’s conscience and eventually hardens one into resisting the Holy Spirit (1st Timothy 4:2, Acts 7:51).

The hardened person exchanges the truth of God for a lie (Romans 1:25); resulting in God giving such a one up to his own impurity and depraved mind (Romans 1:24, 28). One so hardened receives a spirit of stupor, having closed eyes and deafened ears to the truth (Romans 11:8, Matthew 13:14-15).

Insulting the Spirit of grace, the hardened one ultimately disregards the blood of Christ – the only source of redemption (Hebrews 10:29, Romans 5:9, Ephesians 1:7, Colossians 1:14, 1st Peter 1:18-19).

The hardened person, whose final response to the Spirit of truth is one of rejection, never receives forgiveness because he never repents. The sin leads to eternal death because it’s never confessed. Un-repented sins of one walking in darkness are never pardoned.

Contents of the heart

After discussing blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, Jesus said, “For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart” (Matthew 12:34). A man’s words reveal his spiritual condition. One who outwardly speaks against the Holy Spirit has inwardly rejected the testimony of the Holy Spirit. The verbal rejection reveals the inward rejection.

Jesus’ warning, “for by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned,” ring true because words reveal the contents of the heart (Matthew 12:35-37).

Mission of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit was sent to convict the world of sin, and bring men to Christ, whom he glorified (John 16:7-15). One who rejects the Spirit’s testimony of Christ, rejects the only grounds for forgiveness. Final, utterly complete rejection of Christ and the testimony of the Holy Spirit results in eternal death.

Sholars with the doctrinal viewpoint interpret blasphemy against the Holy Spirit not as one sin, but as a class of sins that are spiritually fatal. Sin leads to spiritual death (Romans 5:12, 6:16, James 1:15). Paul wrote, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life (Romans 6:23). Un-repented sin is spiritually fatal.

Doctrinal view conclusion

The conclusion of those inclined to this view is comforting. A Christian who utters a rash statement in an unbelieving moment can be forgiven if he repents. According to 1st John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from unrighteousness.”

So the despondent Christian who fears he has committed blasphemy against the Holy Spirit need not worry. His conscience has not been seared. His own words of confession reveal that his heart is not hardened to the truth.

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