You have heard that saying, “he cut off his nose to spite his face,” right? It is a way of speaking of the folly of that person who grows angry or bitter enough to strike out in revenge or retaliation but in the process ends up hurting himself more than anyone else. That man who becomes offended by a parent and says, “I’ll never speak to you again,” does damage to himself and his own family by isolating them. People get hurt at work, quit on the spot, and regret their reaction a week later.
Ever heard of the unpardonable sin, a choice to persistently resist the work of the Spirit with the result of separating one’s self from the source of their salvation?
Jesus was doing God’s work, shaking up the establishment in the process. Some of the leaders angrily accused Him of using demonic power, being a tool of the Devil. The accusation was absurd as He says in His response. “If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand?” Evil does not fight evil. The Devil does not send his own demons packing, letting the oppressed find freedom. He goes on “But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” (Matthew 12:26-28, NIV) The implied question is “Will you perceive the work of God or cut yourself off?”
The signs and wonders that Jesus did were evidence of the dawn of the New Era in God’s work, which would find completion at the Cross and in the evidence of the Empty Tomb. Freedom from guilt, abundant life in the Spirit, was now a possibility to those who entered the Kingdom by faith. But, Jesus points out a tragedy.
He said that some of those listening to Him, seeing His work, would miss their salvation because they were shutting out the Person of the Spirit who was sent to change their hearts. Read Jesus’ words with understanding. “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters. And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” (Matthew 12:30-32, NIV)
My Christian friend, let’s always seek to remain open to the Spirit, tenderhearted before the Lord. Willful rebellion against God’s Word, ongoing resistance to the conviction of the Spirit, holding onto offenses when we know we should pray to forgive, giving bitterness against the family of God a place in our mind – these are things that separate us from the renewal of the Spirit.
If we continue to ignore His voice, if we attribute His work to things other than Himself, we slip deeper into deception by the day. The counsel of Hebrews is this – “So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it. The message God delivered through angels has always proved true, and the people were punished for every violation of the law and every act of disobedience. What makes us think that we can escape if we are indifferent to this great salvation that was announced by the Lord Jesus himself?” (Hebrews 2:1-3, NLT)
The so-called “unpardonable” sin is not some gross act that is beyond the reach of the redemptive grace of God. It is the often subtle choice to ignore the Spirit’s voice. Jesus said that the Word seed can be choked out and die IF we allow the “the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in (to grow in us) making it unfruitful.” (Mark 4:19) That is, however, of no concern to that person who is walking with God, responding to the Spirit, renewed day by day in worship and spiritual disciplines. Why? Because they are saving themselves? Not at all! That person is experiencing the work of the Spirit who makes us alive and aware before the God of our hope.
As we make our way through the 40 Days of Lent, one of the ways we use this time of preparation, is to pray for a heart more responsive to the Spirit. What a joy is found in the life of the one who responds to God with an attitude of child-like faith and ready obedience. “What’s next, Abba?”
Here is our core passage again, this time from the paraphrase of the Gospel, The Message. “This is war, and there is no neutral ground. If you’re not on my side, you’re the enemy; if you’re not helping, you’re making things worse. “There’s nothing done or said that can’t be forgiven. But if you deliberately persist in your slanders against God’s Spirit, you are repudiating the very One who forgives. If you reject the Son of Man out of some misunderstanding, the Holy Spirit can forgive you, but when you reject the Holy Spirit, you’re sawing off the branch on which you’re sitting, severing by your own perversity all connection with the One who forgives.” (Matthew 12:30-32, The Message)
Spirit Of God Descend Upon My Heart (Morecambe)
Spirit of God descend upon my heart
Wean it from earth thro’ all its pulses move
Stoop to my weakness mighty as Thou art
And make me love Thee as I ought to love
Hast Thou not bid us love Thee God and King
All Thine own soul heart and strength and mind
I see Thy cross there teach my heart to cling
O let me seek Thee and O let me find
Teach me to love Thee as Thine angels love
One holy passion filling all my frame
The baptism of the heav’n descended dove
My heart an altar and Thy love the flame
Frederick Cook Atkinson | George Croly © Words: Public Domain