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This discussion is continued from Unpardonable Sin = Mocking Tongues? In the following e-mail exchange, the e-mailers' comments are in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My comments are in red.
>Please, I need this answer to go on with my life. I saw your posts but my situation is a little different. My boyfriend and I are both Christians and believe that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior and died for our sins. Ever since I found out that blasphemy is unforgivable I have been tormented with worry. Sometimes I would get blasphemous thoughts in my head that I did NOT want, but I after months of searching I don't believe I am condemned because of that because I rebuked the thoughts and did not want them or believe them.
But the other day my boyfriend was making fun of speaking in tongues and also mentioned that he does not believe that someone can be filled with the Holy Spirit by raising their hands in church and that those people are trying to "show off." My boyfriend would NEVER turn against God or the Holy Spirit or intentionally say anything bad about them. But he was also mocking praying tongues and trying to be funny because he doesn't believe in that either, but he DOES believe in the Holy Spirit and that He fills people.
I e-mailed him after that and and told him to be careful and mentioned the unforgivable sin. But I didn't go too much into it because it is so scary to even think about! I am so scared because I don't think anyone would tell me even if he or I HAD committed this sin. If he thought he may have done it I know he would be scared to death like me.
Could you imagine what it could be like if someone had a finance that was condemned to hell and there was nothing you could so to save them? It kills me to hear about any kind of pain he has to go through, much less eternal pain in hell! It is terrorizing to think about it even if it is someone you hate, much less someone you love!
Please help and tell me WHY the answer is what it is, so I can look back on it when I get scared again.
The context of Matthew 12:32 is as follows: First Jesus rebukes the Pharisees for their legalism, specifically, putting their interpretation of the Law above human needs. Jesus then tells them that "mercy" is more important than legalism (vv.1-8).
Then Jesus performs a clear and undeniable miracle of healing, but the Pharisees are enraged because it is on the Sabbath. Again, this is a case of the Pharisees putting their legalistic misinterpretations of the Law above human, physical needs. But most of all, this was an undeniable miracle. The Pharisees could not in any way attribute it to anything else other than a miracle. In addition, it was not a "meaningless" miracle but one that provided for a very real and pressing need (vv.9-15).
Then Jesus performs additional miracles of healing (v. 15). Jesus tells them not to make His miracles known (v.16). Matthew then quotes Scripture to support what Jesus is doing (vv.17-21).
Then Jesus performs another clear and undeniable miracle. And again, this is not a "meaningless" miracle but one that provided for a very real and pressing human need (v.24). The people then think this undeniable miracle shows Jesus is the Christ (v.26). The Pharisees, faced with this undeniable miracle and not wanting to believe Jesus is in fact the Christ, do the only thing possible: they attribute Jesus' healing abilities to Satan (v.27).
It is at this point that Jesus states, "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?" (vv.26,26). He says this because in some way His miracles of healing involved the casting out of demons, either directly or indirectly (i.e. sickness is in the world because of sin, and sin entered the world through the temptation of Satan).
Jesus then makes the statement about blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (vv.31,32). He follows this with the declaration that a tree is know by its fruit (vv.33-37).
Now with this background a few points need to be noted:
1. Nowhere throughout this passage is tongues speaking mentioned, alluded, referred to, or even hinted at. The idea simply is nowhere to be found anywhere in the context.
2. Tongues speaking is NOT an undeniable miracle. There are many non-miraculous explanations that can be given for it.
3. Tongues speaking does not provide for very real and pressing human, physical needs.
4. In no way can NOT speaking in tongues be attributable to Satan in the way that sickness, at least indirectly, can be. So saying speaking is tongues is from Satan could not be a case of "Satan being divided against himself."
5. The Pharisees are using their claim of Satan's involvement because they refuse to believe that Jesus is the Christ. And it is on this very belief that one's salvation hinges. But in no way does the Bible even hint that salvation is dependant on believing in tongues speaking. Moreover, people who speak against tongues usually are already saved by faith in Jesus. They are not not denying tongues as a means to keep from having to believing in Jesus.
6. Tongues speaking is not a good "fruit" in itself as being healed of a serious physical problem is.
7. The number and kinds of hearings Jesus is performing are varied. Recorded in this passage are the healing of a withered hand and of deaf and muteness. And of course, Jesus performed many other kinds of miracles elsewhere. So the Pharisees are not speaking against one miracle or even type of miracle but a full spectrum of undeniable miracles. But speaking in tongues is one specific type of claimed miracle.
8. And finally, throughout this passage, it is Jesus Himself, standing in the flesh, physically before the Pharisees that is performing the miracles. But when someone claims to be speaking in tongues by the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is not visible.
Putting this all together, speaking against tongues in not in any way in the class as what is happening in this passage. When someone today speaks in tongues and claims they are doing so by the Holy Spirit it is not even close to Jesus Himself, in the flesh, performing an undeniable physical healing.
There simply is no relationship whatsoever between the two situations. So to try to apply Jesus' words about blaspheming the Holy Spirit in Matthew 12 to someone speaking against tongues speaking today is to wrest the passage completely out of its context and to apply it to a situation that bears no relationship to the original context.
I don't know how much clearer I can make it that saying that criticism of tongues speaking is blasphemy the Holy Sprit is simply a nonsensical idea.
And finally, the most important point of all is that the Pharisees used the claim of Jesus healing by the power of Satan as a way to keep from having to believe in Him. It is this hardened attitude against believing in Jesus despite all the undeniable evidence that is the unpardonable sin. The unpardonable sin is not some passing thought, no matter how "blasphemous" one might think it is. It is a hardened attitude against Christ that is in view.
>Gosh, I can't thank you enough, and only God knows how much you have helped. May I ask you one more question that probably only needs a short answer?
Considering what you have written, can I also assume that when my boyfriend said that he thought people just raised their hands in church to show off and that the Holy Spirit doesn't fill people that way (even though my boyfriend knows the Holy Spirit does fill people) that he has NOT committed blasphemy, even if he continues to believe that you cannot receive the Spirit that way?
Also I have had blasphemy thoughts that scared me to death and I did NOT want them and rebuked them as soon as they came. Do you agree that neither of these things is blasphemy? Just a short answer will do.
Last night I prayed for the Holy Spirit to help me see the truth and be comforted in knowing that my boyfriend and I are going to heaven. I think he has chosen you to help me. I know that last response took a lot of time and I appreciate it so much.
My answer to your questions should be obvious given what I previously wrote, but since you seem to need to hear it: Your boyfriend has not and is not committing blasphemy. He is simply expressing his opinion on a controversial matter, and one that many other Christians
And you have not committed blasphemy. Sinful thoughts may come and go, but it is what we do with them that matters. Dwelling on and especially acting on sinful thoughts would be a problem. But you are obviously not doing so.
Thank you for putting it so bluntly. You have helped me see the light. I will remember you always. If you would, please pray that I would be able to let my heart rejoice fully and that the Holy Spirit would continue to work in my life and the life of my boyfriend Nathan.
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