The Greatest Promise (and Therefore the Most Encouraging Verses) in the Bible?
And Its One Caveat
Jesus says: “ALL the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.” Mk 3:28-29
ALL sins will be forgiven! There is no other similar promise in the Bible, as such it should be our focus and goal to fully understand and apprehend the Good News of this verse – let’s explore what it means in practical terms.
This is clearly the key theme of the New Testament and, while more subtle, also of the Old Testament as well:
· How to find forgiveness of sin – “receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 1Pe 1:9
· How to change a man’s universal, foolish and temporary default and permanent life-settings of personal pride and self-reliance to God’s promise of all sins being forgiven and made worthy of eternal salvation.
The Great Mitigating Promise
Yes, we are universally lost by default, meaning something must happen to reverse this deadly course – it will not happen by chance or man’s normal passivity:
“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Lk 11:9-13
This is the great promise of Jesus and our answer to receiving (versus blaspheming) the Holy Spirit! For there is not the third option of being neutral to the Holy Spirit – we either seek, accept, depend on (more and more as time passes) the Holy Spirit or, by default, we blaspheme Him and suffer the eternal consequences.
The “Big Deal” of the Holy Spirit
Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” Jn 3:5-6
“The Spirit gives life.” Jn 6:63
Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on Jesus. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.” Jn 1:32-34
“If you love me [Jesus], you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the [Holy] Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him.” Jn 14:15-17
“I [Jesus] tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life [hearing and believing ONLY come through the Holy Spirit] and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live [again, hearing and believing ONLY come through the Holy Spirit].” Jn 5:24-5
Jesus promises: “My Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes [seeing and believing also ONLY come through the Holy Spirit] in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” Jn 6:40
[Again, Jesus promises] “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him [with the Holy Spirit being God’s “enabler”].” Jn 6:63-65
“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Jn 14:25-27
“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these [ONLY through the power and leading of the Holy Spirit], because I am going to the Father.” Jn 14:12
And even Jesus requires the Holy Spirit (and we think He is optional for us? That is blasphemy!).
Mary was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit . . . conceived . . . from the Holy Spirit. Mt 1:18-20 Jesus was led by the Spirit. Mt 4:1 God put his Spirit on Jesus. Mt 12:18 Jesus said: I drive out demons by the Spirit of God. Mt 12:28 Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. Mt 28:18-20 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit Lk 10:21 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit . . . Lk 4:1
These are a few of the Bible truths and promises about the Holy Spirit – He is not only a Big Deal, He is the required “Deal” in man’s salvation!
What’s the Big Problem Then?
The “God-problem,” in a first-world country, is that conditions are generally so materially good, based on God’s “common” Grace (in contrast to the truly far more important and eternally specific and personal “special” Grace), that we can “get by” materially while being spiritually dead and thus we and others can laud and applaud our “success” and keep us, in our pride, from God. Looking to ourselves, what we and our money can do, will then remain our life’s default and permanent settings.
“I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way” – “a voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’” Mk 1:2-3
Finding God invariably starts “in the desert” (not life’s “joy halls”) when we humble ourselves and are willing to seek help, listen to the Holy Spirit and then repent to do what He is saying to us even when it is (as it usually is) and sounds impossible.
The greater issue, then, becomes whether (after a crisis has passed) we:
1) “Remain” in Christ, understanding we must have God continually, without interruption, for the next (and next and next . . .) inevitable trial or, as is more common,
2) Turn away from God and return to our main goal of “fun,” comfort, supposed self-security and self-reliance . . .?
Jesus says: “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.” Jn 15:4-10
The Hope of Spirit of Grace – Our ONLY Hope? Heb 10:29
So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Gal 5:16-25
So, by default, if we do not blaspheme the Holy Spirit we will be forgiven of all our sins – everything hangs on this. Something, if we are to be saved, must change our life’s default and permanent settings to looking to God for help and hope versus ourselves, our money, skills, education . . . Jesus’ first recorded public words (“The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” Mk 1:14-15) start this Grace-process, a Grace offered for “all seasons” (bad and good):
“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call.?” Ac 2:38-39
We are told four times in the Bible: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts” with another promise if we accept rather than reject (blaspheme the Holy Spirit): “From heaven he made you hear his voice to discipline” you (everyone who is ultimately saved) in His Grace “so that you might know that the LORD [Father, Son and Holy Spirit – the inseparable One] is God; besides him there is no other.” Dt 4:35-36
A great anthem and prayer of the Holy Spirit? Consider the words very carefully – these are great blasphemy of the Holy Spirit antidote reminders:
The Holy Presence living in us is God’s Holy Spirit – God’s faith, power, connection, His words spoken to us . . . we take it by Grace-faith or blaspheme the Holy Spirit by telling Him “No thanks – I can handle it myself.” And maybe we can temporarily, but what about when the heaven of God is no longer near, but here? Then those who are eternally lost will surely remember, and regret not taking them to heart, Grace and His Holy Spirit, Jesus’ first and greatest warning to them:
“The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” Mk 1:14-15
God’s Holy Spirit is the ultimate Good News! Believe in Him.