I am a Christian who has struggled with three texts: the blasphemy against the Spirit texts, Hebrews 6, and Hebrews 10.
Regarding the blasphemy verses, they seem to teach that a person could utter blasphemy against the Spirit, repent, and then the Lord would choose not to save him/her. I’m not sure what exactly constitutes blasphemy against the Spirit, but I worry that I may have at some point committed it.
The other texts are from Hebrews 6 and 10, which suggest that after a person becomes Christian, if he sins, he can no longer be saved. I have not been a perfect person since I’ve become a Christian. In fact, I’ve even gone through periods of unbelief.
I would be grateful if you could share your thoughts on these texts.
Thanks for your question. Rest assured that many have wondered about the same verses.
As far as the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is concerned, we must always remember the context. Jesus is talking to the Pharisees (Matt 12:24-25) and they have seen the miracles of Christ. They determined that Jesus is empowered by Satan to do the miracles.
This was a unique situation.
The Pharisees attributed what was going on right before their eyes to Satan, not the Holy Spirit. But the only way God can bring a person to faith is through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. If a person rejects that ministry then there is no other way for that person to come to faith. If an unbeliever does not respond to the ministry of the Spirit he cannot come to faith. In other words, only an unbeliever can commit this sin.
By the way, some feel that this particular sin could only be committed by those who actually saw Jesus’ miracles. In any event, if a person believes in Jesus Christ for eternal life, he has not committed this sin because that is what the ministry of the Holy Spirit is about.
If you go to our website (faithalone.org) and click on the search button on the top right (with a small magnifying glass), you will find a 1997 Grace in Focus article that goes into more detail on the unpardonable sin.
Hebrews 6 and 10 are indeed directed towards believers, but they both concern temporal judgment, not eternal judgment. That is, God can discipline and judge believers in this life. And we should not confuse that earthly discipline with eternal condemnation.
In Heb 6:1-8, notice the illustration of worthless overgrowth being burned (vv 7-8). The field remains. That’s a picture of temporal judgment.
So is the reference to no sacrifice remaining in Heb 10:18, 26. Those are the sacrifices of the Mosaic Law. They no longer were effective since Jesus had already fulfilled them by His death. The issue in Heb 10:26-31, again, is temporal judgment, not eternal condemnation.
In other words, the author is writing to believers who are in danger of leaving the Christian faith. If they do, they will both suffer the loss of eternal rewards, as well expose themselves to the discipline of God in this life. For example, in Hebrews 10 he quotes verses from the OT (vv 27, 30) that refer to how God judged His people in the time before Christ. But the punishment did not deal with hell (or the lake of fire). It dealt with how God caused earthly judgments to come, such as sending enemies to destroy their cities, and how even God would use many means to kill His rebellious people.
The bottom line is that the Christian who rebels against God opens himself up to some serious discipline. But in any case, it is not hell. In fact, the author says that once a person is saved, he cannot lose it. He says it right before the warnings in chapter 10 (10:10, 14).
For more information on Hebrews 6 and 10, you can find multiple Grace in Focus articles (by Bob Wilkin and Shawn Lazar), a few Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society articles (by Dr. Paul Tanner), and even a video (Can Christians Lose Their Salvation by Falling Away? Hebrews 6:4-8) by searching our website. In addition, our Grace New Testament Commentary has a great discussion of both passages by Dr. Paul Tanner.
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