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THE SIN AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT
What do you understand to be the sin against the Holy Spirit? is a question frequently asked by Christians and others, of those who are teaching that, that is the only unpardonable sin.
It is a question which has puzzled many Christians, and they have had fears lest they would commit it, or were already guilty.
Jesus says: All manner of sins and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men; but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven unto men.
And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him; but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world (age), neither in the world (age), to come. Matt. 12:31,32.
Those who oppose the idea of a future age of probation; say the world to come was mentioned for the sake of emphasis.
Why speak of it in connection with this one sin, if no sins shall be forgiven in a future age?
The language would certainly be meaningless, were there not two ages, during which the spirit does a work for the human family, making it possible for some to commit the sin which shall never be forgiven, in each. The Spirit is choosing a bride for Christ, during the Gospel age; at the end the marriage is consummated; and during the millennial age, the Spirit and the bride say come. Rev. 22:17.
The church as a chaste virgin espoused to Christ—2 Cor. 11:2; is chosen through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth. 2 Thess. 2:13.
Jesus says: “If ye love me, keep my commandments, and I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him, for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”
“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name he shall teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. John 14:15,16,17,26. But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.” John 15-26.
Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him; but God hath revealed them unto us by his spirit; for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. … So the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 1 Cor. 2:9-11.
Again, Jesus says: Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is expedient for you that I go away, for if I go not away the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth. John 16:7-13. These passages seem to teach, conclusively, that the Spirit began its work at Pentecost, where the Comforter came, after Jesus went away; consequently does its work in the two ages referred to; also that only those who have been made partakers of; and led, to some extent, at least, into truth, can commit the sin under consideration. Certainly it would seem that no one would claim that the Spirit has done so much for the great mass of the human race, during the gospel age, to say nothing of previous ages.
But a question involving a forever, we should expect to find very plainly stated and so we read: “Leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works; and of faith toward God; of the doctrine of baptisms; and of resurrection of the dead; and eternal judgment.” (A broader foundation, surely, than most Christians build upon.) “And this will we do if God permit; for it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were partakers of the Holy Ghost, and tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come; if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” Heb. 6:1-6.
It is positively certain, that whatever of spiritual truth is received by anybody, it is by the help of the Spirit. “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Cor. 2:14.
Paul says further: “Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed; and that no man can say that Jesus is Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” 1 Cor. 12:3.
Of course he means that no man can say so understandingly, from a scriptural standpoint. As has already been shown, the purpose for which the Spirit was given, was to lead into truth; the object of truth is to sanctify—set apart for a holy purpose. And this is the class who could sin against the Holy Ghost.
This conclusion is confirmed by another scripture, viz.: “If we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth; there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins; but a certain fearful looking for of Judgment and fiery indignation; which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised—violated—Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses; of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite—unto—insulted—the Spirit of Grace. Heb. 10:26-29. Peter says: For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled
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therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning; for it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb: “The dog is turned to his own vomit again;” and, “The sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” 2 Pet. 2:20-22.
Or as Paul says: “A fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.”
These passages give us a part of the sorer (worse) punishment; but not all. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father; and this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life. 1 John 2:24,25.
But if any “fall away,” or count the blood of the covenant, wherewith they were sanctified, an unholy thing, they will not receive the eternal life promised; but the opposite, eternal death: the second death.
There is a sin which is unto death; I do not say that ye shall pray for it. 1 Jno. 5:16. It has been shown that the “Gospel by Moses” shadows forth so many good things; which were to come; will it seem surprising if we shall find the unpardonable sin typified also? It may be found that the “jots and tittles of Israelitish history, as well as of the law and prophets, have a meaning, and point to something.”
The tribe of Levi, chosen to do the work of the tabernacle of the wilderness, represents the gospel church, chosen for the service of the “true tabernacle.” The other tribes then must represent the nations to be blessed by the church, in a future age.
We find in Num. 16, an account of Korah and others of the tribe of Levi; and a company of men of renown, of the children of Israel, murmuring against God’s commands, given through His servant Moses, and a new thing happened to them, different from the common lot of men: “And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods.” Is it far-fetched, to claim that this was typical? Is not the “second death,” which is the end of those who commit the “sin which is unto death,” a different thing from that which happens to others? whether in this age, or in the age to come. They are twice dead, plucked by the root. Jude 12.
B. W. K.
— September, 1880 —