Some of these people have come to me, seeking counsel in the past, because they thought for sure they had blasphemed the Holy Spirit. This happened to at least three people I know, who had backslidden away from Christ, and then repented. When they returned to the Lord, the enemy was so angry that he had lost them that he tried to get them to give up on serving Jesus. The demons would whisper to them some horrible, blasphemous things to deceive them into thinking that these were their own thoughts, and then the demons would heap condemnation on them for having such thoughts cross their mind.
The Pilgrim's Progress, which he wrote during one of his imprisonments. Although he authored sixty titles, that book is considered one of the most significant works in English religious literature. It has been translated into over two hundred languages. In fact, it has never been out of print.
There is a chapter about him in Foxe's Book of Martyrs, documenting some of his persecutions for the sake of Christ. In that book it states that "He was at one time quite assured that he had sinned the unpardonable sin against the Holy Ghost." Yet we know that he overcame that fear and went on to serve the Lord effectively for the rest of his life.
Are You Being Attacked Like This?
It could be that you have been attacked like this in the past. I know I have personally been. Or perhaps you are presently being tempted this way. If you are being tempted with such thoughts now, it is my hope and prayer that this blog has helped you. I believe it will be a great relief to a troubled heart. Let me encourage you with two verse of Scripture:
"Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death." (Rom 8:1-2)
"Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin"-- (Mar 3:28-29)
Please read Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit in order to understand what this sin actually is. And also remember that if you feel convicted for sin, that itself is a work of the Holy Spirit in you. Jesus said, "And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged." (Joh 16:8-11, NASB).
So if you can still experience conviction for sin and godly sorrow, then the Holy Spirit is still at work in you to bring you to repentance. If you are convicted of sin you have committed, then repent and ask forgiveness. If God had finally determined not to forgive you, because you had committed the unpardonable sin, then why would the Holy Spirit still be working to convict you and bring you to repentance?
There is also a difference between a temptation and a sin. It is one thing for an unwanted thought to cross your mind, which can be a temptation placed there by a demon. However, you must reject that temptation the moment it comes, and you must not agree with it or entertain it. The best way to rid yourself of it is through prayer, fasting, and the Word of God. Spend plenty of time each day in prayer, pray without ceasing, and spend plenty of time reading the Word of God. Ask the Father for (and receive) the baptism with the Holy Spirit, as well as the Holy Fire Baptism. As soon as you wake up in the morning, get on your knees in prayer and put on the full armor of God (Eph 6:10-18). Then plead the blood of Jesus upon yourself and your dwelling place. I also encourage you to pray a Covenant Prayer that I have found to be very helpful Close every door that was open in your life to the enemy. Renounce every form of sin that you have been involved in. Spend time each day making your own personal proclamations of faith, and continue to trust in the keeping power of God .
The moment an unwanted thought comes, you should redirect your thoughts to the Lord, and there are a number of ways to do so. You can say aloud, "It is written...," and quote the Word to the devil, as Jesus did against satan in His wilderness temptation. Take the sword of the Spirit and cut the demon's head off. You can shout, "Holy fire!" This is very effective, as the demons hate the holy fire. You can plead the blood of Jesus. You can say, "Get behind me, satan, in Jesus' name!" or "The Lord rebuke you, satan!" or "I bind you, blaspheming spirit, in Jesus' name, and I command you to depart from me!" Learn about the power of The Name of Jesus and how to use it. You can praise the Lord by saying, "Glory to God!" Or you could begin to sing a worship song to the Lord. The main thing is to fight those demons in the Lord's strength, and in His mighty power.
The problem is once you begin to entertain a thought and actively participate with it, and provide it with a place to dwell within you, you are going in the wrong direction. To the extent that you give in to it and accept it, then you are entering into sin. The Lord knows the thoughts of your heart, and He knows the truth. So if you have given into it in the realm of your thoughts, you must repent and confess it to the Lord, asking Him for forgiveness through His shed blood on the cross. Then receive His forgiveness!
And you certainly must avoid acting upon these thoughts in sinful word or deed. I also encourage you to confess your sins to one another. If you are a brother, then confess to a trusted brother, who will pray for you. If you are a sister, confess to another sister. Ask for prayer, and the Lord will help you to overcome. Cry out to God to rid you of these unwanted thoughts. But even if you have committed sin in your thoughts, do not automatically assume you have committed the unforgivable sin, if the thoughts you had were blasphemous. Rather, go to the Word and learn what the actual Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is, and then avoid committing it.
It could also be that you know someone who is being tempted like this, and you found this article in your search to help them. If so, please share this article with them.
Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.
Author's note: Also see Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, Discerning the Things of the Spirit, and Eternal Destinations. You can access the Main Directory for this blog for more articles like this, as well as my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master." Now I'd like to ask a very important question.
Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus. Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?
“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15). He preached that we must repent and believe.
Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International. He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.