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Ask An Eastern Orthodox Christian: Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit

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According to the fathers there are no unforgivable sin.  St. John Chrysostom says that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be forgiven to those who repent. Is that true?

First, let’s look at these two verses:

Luke 12:10  And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.

Matthew 12: 31-32   And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but 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.

A sin against Christ to reject Him as the Messiah or God incarnate, before anyone was converted or born again, could more easily be forgiven because of the inconceivable events of God becoming man, His death and resurrection,  let alone the concept that Christ was the Son of God. 

The blasphemy against the Holy Spirit of God according to many Christian fathers and Saint John Chrysostom would be forgiven if one were to repent of it.  Christ never implies this sin is “unforgivable.”  However, the implication of this action calling pure divine goodness “evil” and willfully choosing the rejection of Who is Good (God), creates a separation from God by the foolishness of man’s prideful and hardened hearts.

So how does repentance forgive the sin of blasphemy?  Genuine repentance, not out of pride or obligation, is the submission of one’s will out of love to the will of God.  The purpose and intent of His presence within us are to transform and guide us into becoming much more than what we are, to become like Him by His grace and mercy.

Genesis 1:26  Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image (love), according to Our likeness (holiness)…..”

Galatians 2:20  I have been crucified with Christ and “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”

Iconography of trinity
Icon image of trinity

The Triune Christian Godhead (The Holy Trinity) is one God in three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, three distinct Persons, Who are yet mystically undivided, co-equal,  of the same essence, and each dwelling entirely within the Other by virtue of an unceasing movement of mutual love.  Where One is the Other Two are. Their communion with one another is what makes God be and much more.

The function of the Holy Spirit of God within the Godhead is to pour out the love from the Father to the Son and return that love from the Son to the Father.  The function of the Holy Spirit of God outside the Godhead is pour out this love into the creation and return this love from us back to the Godhead.

It is the Holy Spirit of God the Creator of Life Who brought the presence of God; in the burning bush on Mount Horeb; in the Ark of the Covenant; in the Temple in Jerusalem; in the womb of the Theotokos, the mother of God; and finally to dwell in each one of us who have become a temple of the Holy Spirit. 

1 Corinthians 6:19-20  Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

The Holy Spirit is the conduit and connection to God.  When one willfully rejects the Holy Spirit one is severing that connection to God.  Christ our God says, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” (John 14:6).  If one disconnects themselves from “life itself” by way of the Spirit, then one condemns themselves to a spiritual death. 

This movement within the Godhead is “the life source” what we call “love” and is what is needed to be present within us.   A Christian is a work in progress as they struggle to surrender to the will of God.  We are the temple of the Holy Spirit of God and if He does not dwell there, then who does?

John 14:20  At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.

John 14:21  He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me.  And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”  

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.   And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Although fasting, prayer, and almsgiving are all well and good, the primary aim of every Christian should be “the acquisition of the Holy Spirit of God” by providing the environment where He may dwell.

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