Monday, June 11, 2012
God Is Good
What is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? Well, according to Jesus it is a sin that is unforgivable and is called an eternal sin. One that cannot be removed from us. And this sin leads to eternal death. Why is that? Isn't God all powerful? Can't he take this sin away from us?
I had an atheist friend, who proudly told me that he had blasphemed the Holy Spirit. He told me how he cussed the Holy Spirit up and down in front of another Christian friend. The Christian friend gasped and said, “oh no! You're doomed!” My atheist friend laughed. He was so proud.
Was he doomed to hell? Well, by cussing at God, probably not. We are fallen and foolish, and God expects us to get angry at him. That's in our nature. We offend God every day with our sin, so swearing at him is not a big deal to him. He just shakes his head and rolls his eyes. We complain all the time. He's used to it. He doesn't like it, but he's used to it.
My friend swore at God because he didn't believe that God was really there. He's just being a fool. Psalm 53:1 reads, “The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.'” It's foolish, but its not an unforgivable sin. No, blasphemy is much more deep, and it does require belief, deep down in the core, even if the person blaspheming denies the existence of God.
A blasphemer against the Holy Spirit is someone who claims what the scribes claim to Jesus in this gospel passage. The scribes tell Jesus that the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, the healing, force of good in the world, is actually the devil. They are calling good evil.
As it says in Isaiah 5:20: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” This is not just a statement about a fool. This is a WOE statement.
Woe is an exclamation that precedes oracles of doom. Woe is exclaimed when death is involved. What kind of death can be worse than the eternal death that comes to people lost forever to God? These are big prophecies in the Bible that involve the loss of individuals or even whole nations. So, a fool can be angry at God or believe Him not to exist, but the one who calls good evil and evil good, he becomes lost forever—eternal death.
Scribes are the ones who declare this evil to Jesus in the gospel. Who are Scribes? They are not only keepers of the law, but they are jurists, lawyers, teachers, judges of the law. What comes out of their mouths is not just an opinion. They are the ones who make Jewish law. If they declare that Jesus has a demon, if they declare that the Holy Spirit of God is actually a devil, they are not just stating a whim, or a fancy, or an opinion. They are the law leaders. They don't just blurt out things that they haven't pondered in their hearts first. They are making a well-thought-out declaration, attempting to bring it into full Jewish law, which might read, “whenever someone performs actions like Jesus of Nazareth, we officially declare it to be of the devil.”
Who are today's scribes? They are authors who write books about God and religion being the problem with the world. Putting pen to paper makes it official. Today's scribes are elite, educated, they are resourceful, and they know how to access lots of information. They are knowledgeable. They write books with titles like “The God Delusion” and “God is Not Good.” They present lectures about God being the problem. They get on television easy. They become famous for standing up to the infamous God.
They are blaspheming against the Holy Spirit, and they will suffer eternal death.
I'm not trying to be judgmental, but when you know the truth, everything becomes clear. God is like the sun: we can't look directly at him, but without him we cannot see anything else. God is good. He heals us. He casts away the demons. Jesus' name is the name above all names. Evil cannot stand against him. God is the whole source of goodness in the world. We encounter evil every day due to the world, our own sin, and the devil, but any good that comes out of things is solely a gift from God. To call this pure source of good evil is so wrong, that it is understandable why that sin is unforgivable. One who believes such things is so lost that God finding him again would be nigh impossible.
The ultimate good thing that God, the source of all goodness, has given us is the cross. Through the cross, Jesus defeated death. He defeated WOE. Through the cross he draws us, humble children, not educated scribes who are wise in the world. We are fools in the world. We are children. We are drawn to the cross by folly. We know we do not know. We depend on God. God draws us together into community, into communion with him, into everlasting life, out of woe, out of death, out of false, into truth, into life.
God is good, all the time. Believe this and you will never fall into the unforgivable sin, the eternal death.
Posted by Rev. Fredric Barrett at 8:56 AM