The one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.

What does Jesus mean here? How is blasphemy against the Spirit an unforgivable sin? Let’s think about this. First, we know that God is above all things. Nothing is greater than him, not even the worst sin. That means he can forgive anything. Second, we know that God is love. There is not, and there never will be, a person whom God doesn’t love deeply and unconditionally. There is no sinner whom God won’t forgive if they come to him.

So what is blasphemy against the Spirit?

The answer can be found, appropriately enough, in the Prayer of Absolution that we hear in Confession. After we have confessed our sins and prayed an Act of Contrition, the priest raises his hand over us and prays, “God the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son, has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins” (emphasis added).

This prayer shows us the vital role the Spirit plays in our experience of God’s mercy. He’s the one who pours God’s mercy into our hearts (Romans 5:5). He’s the one who convicts us of our sin and who also tells us that we are beloved children of God (John 16:8; Galatians 4:6). He is our divine Advocate who offers healing to our guilty consciences (John 14:26-27). So to “blaspheme” against the Spirit is to deny him the chance to minister God’s mercy.

Very few, if any, of us will ever go that far in resisting the Spirit! His grace is too attractive; his love is too compelling. But Jesus’ words can act as an extra dose of encouragement. They can remind us just how deeply we need the Spirit in our lives.

Every day, recall God’s mercy. Every day, ask the Spirit to show it to you. Never be afraid to come to him for forgiveness. His love for you is too great, and his mercy is too precious. Receive it today and every day!

“Come, Holy Spirit, and show me again how merciful my heavenly Father is!”

Romans 4:12, 16-18
Psalm 105:6-9, 42-43
Luke 12:8-12


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