Sermon # 26 Series: Matthew


            Title:              “THE BLASPHEMY AGAINST THE HOLY GHOST”
            Text:              Matthew 12:22-37
            Subject:        The Unpardonable Sin

            Date:             Tuesday Evening – January 10, 1995
            Tape:            # Q-88




            The passage we have read contains some of these “things hard to be understood.” The principle thing that is dealt with in this test is “the Blasphemy Against The Holy Ghost.” This is a subject about which it must be acknowledged little is known. The best and fullest explanations of it are far from being exhaustive and satisfactory. And I have no delusions about being able to fathom the depths of this subject. I will say no more about it than I know to be so and no less than I know to be clearly revealed.


            We must never be surprised to find things in the Bible that are simply beyond the reach of our minds. If it had no deep places here and there, which no man is capable of understanding, much less explaining, it would not be the Word of the Infinite God. However, rather than stumbling around and falling over the things we cannot understand, we ought to give thanks to God for these revelations of wisdom and grace, which even the simplest minds are able to grasp.




            That which God reveals it is the duty of man to believe.




            There are five things in this paragraph that demand our attention.


  1. The Prejudice of the Pharisees (vv. 22-27).
  2. The Binding of Satan (vv. 28-29).
  3. The Impossibility of Neutrality (v. 30).
  4. The Blasphemy Against The Holy Ghost (vv. 31-32).
  5. The Importance of our Words (vv. 33-37).


I.  In verses 22-27 we see The Prejudice of The Pharisees against Christ and his gospel, and learn that no slanderous speech is too vile and reprehensible for lost religious people to use against the gospel of Christ.


            When our Lord cast out devils, the Pharisees said, “He does that by Beelzebub!” It was an absurd charge, as our Lord demonstrated, but these men were blinded by religious prejudice. And none are so blind as those who will not see. When they could not refute his doctrine, could not deny the validity of his works, and would not acknowledge him as the Christ of God, the only way these men could justify their behavior was to slander the Savior’s name and cast reproach upon his character.


            These Pharisees are not the only people who have lost reason, good sense, and civility when confronted with the Kingdom of God. The religious world called  Athanasius a devil when he insisted upon the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. The pope called Martin Luther a devil when he proclaimed the doctrine of justification by faith alone.


            This ought never to surprise us (Matt. 10:25).  I have been called a devil by more than a few people over the years.


NOTE:  When religious men are determined to reject the doctrine of the gospel, which they cannot refute, they attempt to defend themselves by blackening the character of those who preach the free grace of God in Christ.


II.  Verses 29-29 describe the work of Christ as The Binding of Satan.


            The Son of God came into this world to “save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21) and “that he might destroy the works of the devil” (I John 3:8).  The Word of God reveals a threefold binding of Satan…


A.  By his death upon the cross, in the accomplishment of our redemption, and by his resurrection from the grave our Savior bound satan and broke the power of his usurped dominion over the nations of the world.



B.  In regeneration and conversion, by the power of his grace through the operations of his Holy Spirit in the new birth the Son of God binds satan in the hearts of chosen, redeemed sinners and takes possession of his house.



C.  When he comes again to make all things new, the Lord Jesus will cast satan out of this world into the lake of fire, where he shall have no more power.



NOTE: There is no such thing as “a devil’s hell.” Hell belongs to God. It is his torture chamber in which he will forever torment the devil and all who have followed him to destruction.


III.  In verse 30 the Lord Jesus shows us The Impossibility of Neutrality with regards to him, his gospel, and his kingdom.


            Multitudes try to straddle the fence, halting between two opinions, not wishing to deny Christ altogether and not wishing to serve him altogether, not wanting to engage in open rebellion to the Son of God, but not wanting to engage in the cause of Christ. But such neutrality is impossible.


            There are, with regard to spiritual things, only two camps, there are only two sides. Either you are with Christ, committed to him and his cause, or you are against Christ, committed to the world, the flesh, and the devil. You cannot serve both God and mammon. If you do not serve Christ, you oppose him. There is no middle ground. The gospel of Christ demand decisiveness!



IV.  Verses 31 and 32 introduce us to what our Savior calls “The Blasphemy Against The Holy Spirit,” and warns us against the danger of what he declares is the only unpardonable sin.


            It is not difficult to show from the Scriptures what this sin is not. The difficulty is showing clearly what it is. The Lord willing. I will address this subject again in more detail on another occasion, perhaps next Sunday morning. But for now, I want you to see these things…


A.   First, our Savior clearly declares the free, full, absolute and everlasting forgiveness of all sin to all believers.


            Almost all of us are such spiritual dolts that we pass right over these words of grace – “All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men.”  And seize these dark, dark words of judgment – “but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.” I don’t know about you, but I would a whole heap rather meditate upon, understand, and talk about the first sentence than the second! “If we confess our sins.” No matter what they are, no matter how vile, how many, how old, nor how new – God “is faithful and just to forgive us our sins” – All of them! – Completely! – Forever! – “and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness!” (I John 1:9). “The blood of Jesus Christ, (God’s) Son, cleanseth us from all sin” (I John 1:7).


            Yet, our text does speak about one particular sin that is unpardonable. It is called “blasphemy against the Holy Ghost.”


B.  So, secondly, I want you to see that this “blasphemy against the Holy Ghost” does not involve sins of ignorance.


            The distinction drawn between “speaking against the Son of man” and “speaking against (blasphemy) the Holy Ghost” must not be overlooked – The sin against Christ as the Son of man was committed out of ignorance, by those who did not know that he is the Messiah. Therefore they did not receive him, believe him, and obey him; but opposed, persecuted, and even crucified him. But they did it ignorantly.



C. So, Thirdly, this sin and blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, which is the unpardonable sin, is committed by men and women who willfully persist in unbelief and obstinate impenitence, deliberately rejecting the counsel of God against themselves, and are therefore given up to a reprobate mind.


            J.C. Ryle accurately describes it as, “The union of the clearest head-knowledge of the Gospel with deliberate rejection of it, and deliberate choice of sin and the world.”


            John Gill wrote, “It is a despiteful usage of the Spirit of grace, an opposing, contradicting, and denying of the operations wrought, or the doctrines revealed by him, against a man’s own light and conscience, out of a willful and obstinate malice, on purpose to lesson the glory of God, and gratify his own lusts. Such was the sin of the Scribes and Pharisees; who, though they knew the miracles of Christ were wrought by the Spirit of God, yet maliciously and obstinately imputed them to the devil, with a view to obscure the glory of Christ, and indulge their own wicked passions.”


            This unpardonable sin is the willful, deliberate rejection of Christ though you are fully convinced that he is the Son of God and the only Savior of sinners – It is a deliberate refusal to bow to him as Lord – It is choosing to save your life, rather than lose it to the dominion of the son of God – It is nothing less than running over top of the Son of God to get to hell!


D.  Fourthly, those who are troubled with the fear that they may have committed this unpardonable sin, most assuredly, have not done so!


            The one thing that always characterizes those people described in the Scriptures as reprobate is a callousness and hardness that is the result of a seared conscience. When God gives a man up in reprobation, that man is no longer concerned for the glory of God, the knowledge of Christ, and the things of God.


E.  Fifthly, you who trifle with the gospel you are in very real danger of committing the unpardonable sin.


            As a rule, the children of godly parents and you who attend the ministry of the gospel year after year, and yet refuse to commit yourselves to Christ, seem to be the hardest to reach with the gospel. You sometimes appear to be past feeling.


            Lot’s wife, Pharaoh, King Soul, Ahab, and Judas Iscariot stand out as beacons to warn you. Each of them had crystal clear knowledge. Yet, each of them do libratory rejected Christ. They had light in their heads, but darkness in their hearts. Each of them today is in hell, suffering the wrath of God!


            Beware, my friends, of despising the light God has given you! Do you know the truth? Then walk in the truth! Walk in the light God has given you. That is the best safeguard against the unpardonable sin!


V.  Verses 33-37 show us The Importance of Our Words.


            In these verses our Savior shows us the immense importance of being careful about our words. He says, “for every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give an account in the day of judgment.” Then he adds, “By thy words shalt thou be justified, and by thy word thou shalt be condemned.”


A.  Our Words reveal the state of our hearts – (vv. 33-35).


            Words of grace, kindness, goodwill, and cheer, give evidence of a heart renewed by grace. Words of envy, malice, slander, and gossip, words that are intended to hurt others, reveal an evil, depraved, unregenerate heart (Eph. 4:30-32).


B.  Idle words may seem frivolous to us, but they do permanent damage.


            “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” (Pro. 18:21). Idle words often stick in the minds of those who hear them long after the one who speaks them is dead.


C.  No member of our bodies is more powerful to do good and to do evil than our tongues.


·        James 3:2-8

·        Psalm 141:3

·        Colossians 4:6


If there were nothing else in the Bible to do so, these statements of our Lord about the tongue should convince all who read them that we are all guilty before God and need the righteousness of Another, even the righteousness of Christ, to give us acceptance with him in the day of judgment (Phil. 3:9).


Application: Philippians 3:13-14