The Gospel Observer
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the
nations...teaching them to observe all that I commanded you,
and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age"
November 1, 2015
1) Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit (Charles G. Caldwell, Jr.)
2) Obedience is Necessary (Donnie V. Rader)
3) News & Notes
Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit
by Charles G. Caldwell, Jr.
In Matthew 12:31,32, Jesus said, "Wherefore I say unto you, All
manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the
blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And
whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be
forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it
shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the
world to come."
Down through the years, this passage has been the occasion of great
concern to devout, God-fearing people. This concern is the result of
a gross misunderstanding of what our Lord was actually saying. It is
the sequel to a perversion of His teaching and is productive of the
usual effect of such perversion in depriving men of the peace,
contentment, and happiness of soul and mind, and the joy that God
intends for us to have in Christ. It would, in the very nature of
the case, be impossible for one to "rejoice in the Lord always"
(Philippians 4:4) if there was the slightest possibility of his
having sometime inadvertently committed a sin that could not be
All Sins Forgivable
John said in I John 1:7, "But if we walk in the light, as he is in
the light, we have fellowship one with another [He with us, and we
with Him, CGC], and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us
from all sin." I do not consider this passage to be in conflict with
Matthew 12:31,32. Nor do I consider Matthew 12:31,32 to set forth an
exception to John's promise. In order to the forgiveness of sins --
all sins -- there are certain conditions, divinely ordained, that
must be met. If a sin -- any sin -- is not forgiven it is because
the conditions have not been met. One may fail to meet the
conditions either because of his unwillingness to do so or because
he is unable to do so. Both of these reasons might be involved and
it is my contention that such is the case with all those about whom
our Lord spoke in Matthew 12. It is possible for one to reach such a
state of depravity that he has no willingness to accept the truth
and be governed by it, no matter how strong the evidence, and sink
so low in the mire of degradation that he is unwilling and even
unable because of his degenerate attitude to submit to that which is
Anyone, therefore, who is interested in truth and righteousness or
who is concerned about his soul's well being has not committed the
The Case in Context
An understanding of the passage under consideration is dependent --
as is almost always the case -- upon the context in which it is
found. Jesus has just healed a man possessed of a demon which caused
the multitudes to marvel and be amazed. But there were others of the
Pharisees and Scribes who heard of it and being unable to deny that
a miracle had indeed been performed sought to explain it away by
attributing the power by which it was accomplished to "Beelzebub."
The claim was made by them that Christ was not exercising divine
power but rather Satanic or diabolical power. Christ then proceeded
to disprove their contention with a number of arguments which are
Argument Number 1: First, He showed that which is evident on
the surface, that Satan would not work against his own interest
because in doing so, he would destroy himself and be brought to an
Argument Number 2: His next argument to disprove their
contention was based upon their purported claim that their
disciples, "sons," cast out demons. If it was true that they did
cast out demons (which Christ did not admit) and that demons were
cast out only by "Beelzebub," then it would follow that their "sons"
exercised diabolical power. This He argued to show the absurdity of
their contention from their own premise.
Argument Number 3: He next submitted that since He could not
possibly be casting out demons by the power of the Devil, it must of
necessity be by the power of God and that such exercise signaled the
arrival of the kingdom of God.
Argument Number 4: His final argument in this regard was to
the effect that He had entered Satan's house (the body of the
demoniac) and had spoiled Satan's goods (the evil spirit in the man)
and, therefore, instead of being in league with the devil, He had
contested him and defeated him. The conclusion based on these
arguments is that these Scribes and Pharisees were wrong in their
charge that Christ was working miracles by the power of Satan rather
than by the power of God. Their charge was not against the power of
God, the Holy Spirit, but rather against Christ -- that He was in
league with the Devil and not with the Holy Spirit. This, Christ
disproved and sought to correct their misconception.
Misunderstanding the Charge
Contrary to popular opinion and acceptation, Christ did not say that
these Jews had committed the sin of blasphemy against the Holy
Spirit, but He did say in substance that they had blasphemed against
Him and He emphatically says that such will (or can) be forgiven.
The circumstances surrounding the incident, however, do suggest to
the mind of Christ a need for a warning to these people of the
danger of the course they are following. They had said that He was
casting out demons by the power of "Beelzebub" (the Devil). If they
persisted in this contention and in the light of all the evidence
became convinced that the power exercised was of God but
nevertheless was still evil because it worked through Christ, whom
they hated and refused to accept, then they would become guilty of
the sin against which Christ warned. In this they would be charging
the Holy Spirit with being a devil or being equivalent to the Devil.
Certainly, they were not now saying that the Holy Spirit was a devil
or that He was as bad as the Devil. They were not denying that the
Spirit is holy or affirming that the Spirit is evil. They were
simply denying that the Holy Spirit had anything to do with Christ's
If they were affirming that the Spirit of God was not holy but
rather was as evil as the Devil, this would, of course, have been
blasphemy against the Spirit and there would have been no point in
Christ's having attempted to correct them by presenting the
arguments that He did. They would have been beyond argument and
beyond the hope of correction. They were getting on dangerous
ground, however. They were approaching the point of no return. They
were getting near to a condition of heart and mind which would damn
their souls and Christ was simply warning them to stop before they
had gone too far; not to allow their hatred and their contemptuous
attitude toward Him to cause them to defame the Spirit of God. To
take that step and affirm that the Holy Spirit is not holy but is
evil and only evil continually, that He is a devil and on a par with
Satan is to sink beyond all hope. Such a frame of mind on the part
of anyone would be beyond all correction. Thus, the conditions of
correction and forgiveness given by the Spirit have no place in the
The Good Tree
Jesus said, "Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else
make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt" (vs. 33). If the
product of the working of the Spirit is good, the Spirit, Himself,
is good and holy, "for the tree is known by his fruit."
-- Via Truth Magazine, XXI, 49, pp. 781-782, December 15, 1977
"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly,
nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the
scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law
doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree
planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his
season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth
Obedience is Necessary
by Donnie V. Rader
Just a casual reading of the Scriptures will reveal that God expects
obedience to his will. Consider a few simple texts.
"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom
of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven" (Matt.
"But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which
I say" (Luke 6:46)?
"Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which
He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of
eternal salvation to all who obey Him" (Heb. 5:8- 9).
Those who heard the gospel in the first century were told to "Repent
therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out" (Acts
3:19) even though the sin they committed was done "in ignorance" (v.
We must conclude that there will be honest and sincere people who
will be lost. If such is the case, it behooves us to carefully study
God's word and live accordingly.
-- via The Beacon, October 27, 2015
News & Notes
Judy Daugherty has not been feeling well the last several
weeks. So she was admitted to the hospital a few days ago and
diagnosed with congestive heart failure.
Misty Thornton was recently fitted with a defibrillator life
vest, which she finds "pretty amazing," and has now had to leave her
job to go on short-term disability until her condition improves.
Frankie Hadley recently had a mini stroke.
Ronnie and Melotine Davis had both been a little under the
The Gospel Meeting at the North Valdosta church of Christ
begins today and continues through Friday (November 1-6) with
Nate Haygood as the guest speaker. The church meets at
4313 North Valdosta Road, Valdosta, Georgia, and will begin weeknightly
WordPress version of this week's bulletin:
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes
(Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24;
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts
5) Be baptized in water for the
remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal.
3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21)
6) Continue in the faith; for, if not, salvation
can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 5 PM
Wednesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
(Gospel Observer website)