SIN AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT
"Verily I say to you, all sins shall
be forgiven unto the sons of men and blasphemies where withsoever they shall
blaspheme. But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath
never forgiveness, but shall be held guilty of an eternal
"And whoever shall speak a word
against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him but unto him that
blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven. . .it shall not
be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to
Not every kind of blasphemy is intended but
a specific sin of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, by which whosoever shall
be bound, he shall never by any remission be loosed.
Many had spoken against Christ, calling him
deceiver and even adversary of God; but these can be forgiven upon
repentance. But blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be
forgiven. Sins against the Son of Man are pardonable because it was
sort of difficult to see the God through the humanity of Christ. But
the work of the Holy Spirit is evident now and even from the Old
What Christ is trying to say is this:
ye are offended at me because of the flesh with which I am
encompassed. But you cannot say this of the Holy Spirit; so your
blasphemy is unpardonable, both here and hereafter shall you suffer
The words that Christ spoke are not clearly
from the Son of God because of the veil of humanity of Christ; but the words
from the Holy Spirit are clearly from the Holy Spirit and to go against
those words is clearly to go against the Holy Spirit or to sin against the
And since the main work of the Holy Spirit
is sanctification, i.e., the work towards holiness, any attempt to go
against this, to thwart it, to disturb it is to sin against the Holy Spirit,
and to insult Christ, too. And, for this, nothing can avert your
punishment neither here nor thereafter.
This is how grievous this sin is:
That one is punished here and in the life after. For, of men, some are
punished both here and there; others here only, some there only.
Others neither here nor there. Those who sin against the Holy Spirit
are punished here and there; for both here do they pay a penalty and, there,
they shall undergo a very grievous punishment. Dives, the rich man,
did not suffer here; he lived a life of pleasure. But Dives suffered
there and hath not even a drop of water at his command. The
Corinthians who committed fornication were punished here but not there
because of their repentance. The apostles and the prophets and Job
were punished neither here nor there; their sufferings were not punishments
but part of the contest and spiritual combat.
Let us labor to be like the apostles; or,
if not, at least like those who are punished here but not there. For
fearful indeed is that, after judgment, inexorable the vengeance and
incurable the punishment. Above all, let us not work against the work
of the Holy Spirit, otherwise, our punishment is here and there.
This is the sin against the Holy
Spirit: to go against the work of sanctifying oneself or sanctifying
others; to know the way to holiness and harden one's heart against it, to
put obstacles in the path of one who is seeking personal holiness; to
discredit the message of the Holy Spirit knowingly; to be angry at those who
preach the way to holiness; to harass the preaching of the way to holiness.
. .all of these is "to speak against the Holy Spirit." The
Holy Spirit is the giver of grace of repentance, but to such as this the
Holy Spirit withholds the grace of repentance and so the sinner remains
It is excusable to say: "I did
not know Christ is God," because of His human nature. But you
cannot say: "I did not know this is a doctrine of the Holy
Spirit," because this is known to all, specially Christians, who are
the likely candidates for this awful sin. For Christ, after the
resurrection, had proven beyond doubt that the attainment of holiness is the
work of the Holy Spirit.
Labor now. Do not wait for God to
punish you now or, worse still, in the life after. Punish yourself
now. How? Lament and groan bitterly for your sins; humble
and afflict yourself by calling to remembrance your sins in their
particulars. This is no small torture to a man's soul.
Contrition punishes the soul more than anything. That is why God
rewards righteousness to those who are repentant. For the beginnings
of amendment is the continuous remembrance of your sins.
Do not confess merely your acts of
fornication or adulteries and other obvious sins, but confess your secret
plots, your false accusations and evil speakings and desire for vainglory
and envies. Those who enjoy pleasures fall into hell, the drunkard
cannot go to heaven; neither those who neglect the care of his ageing
parents and overlooks the poor can enter the kingdom of heaven. So
account not these things to be little. Do not forget them, for God
will bring them out before your eyes in the day of judgment.
Apply the counter-remedies to these evil,
Christ's remedies: alms, prayers, compunction, humility, a contrite
heart, contempt of possessions, showing mercy, removing our anger.
This way we shall obtain pardon for our sins and win the promised good
things by the grace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ.
St. John Chrysostom, Hom. XLI "On