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.Matt. 12:31-32
The Unforgivable Sin
In this study on who is the Holy Ghost in the Bible, a noteworthy contrast of sin and blasphemy is drawn by Jesus. In one instance, Jesus describes how blasphemy against the Son of man will be forgiven but in the next instance, he describes how blasphemy against the Holy Ghost will never forgiven. But, why was there no forgiveness for sin and blasphemy against the Holy Ghost and not the Son of Man?
On the surface, this almost implies a hierarchal or difference of importance between them but this was hardly the case. Most interpretations view these comments as a reflection of the complete and utter rejection of the gospel message from the Holy Ghost. Moreover, this presents an incredibly ominous message in that the opportunity to be forgiven will never be granted for such an offence.
This preaching message was so profound it was also recorded in two other gospel accounts by Mark and Luke. Mark records not only the bleak message of no forgiveness but also the destiny of such individuals, “But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.” [Mark 3:30-31] Further reference is provided with Luke’s recording of this preaching from Jesus in Luke 12:10.
But what prompted Jesus to say such a startling statement in the first place? Well, let us consider what transpired in Matthew shortly before this when Jesus cast out evil spirits from people. After this miraculous demonstration of power over the spirit world, the religious leaders, known as the Pharisees attributed the working of the spirit’s power as coming from Beelzebub, the prince of the devils.
This was also confirmed in Mark’s account as he recorded a statement which now connects the false and blasphemous accusation against Jesus with the message of no forgiveness, “Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.” [Mark 3:30] Jesus also connects the two events together, “But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.” [Matt. 12:28]
This week’s scripture reading on who is the Holy Ghost in the Bible comes with many interpretations on what it really means. Ten Bible commentaries could yield ten different interpretations on how to relate this scripture with the rest of scripture. While there are perhaps subtle iterations upon one another it does present a puzzling dilemma for readers on how one should see this scripture. There are similar verses in scripture that also tend to draw out multiple interpretations such as Heb. 6:6, 10:26, and 1 John 5:16.
With that said, readers should not lose track of the main point from this scriptural passage as shared in the preaching of Jesus. The attribution of God’s Spirit to the power of darkness and evil is deemed to be unforgivable. Call it the dichotomy of blasphemous contrasts but why anyone on earth would contemplate toiling and trifling down this road to perdition proves quite troublesome.
Let us depart then from this dispirited train of thought and ask the question of just who is the Holy Ghost in the Bible? The Holy Ghost or as he is commonly known today, the Holy Spirit, is part of the triune Godhead. The Godhead is represented by God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, Let it be clear that these are all co-equal, co-existent and co-eternal in nature. Time does not allow us to delve into proof texts to support this claim but avid readers of scripture will find them.
If readers are to view the Godhead in full context of the entire Bible, they will find the Old Testament presents God the Father explicitly, the New Testament presents the Lord Jesus Christ explicitly, otherwise known as God the Son, and the letters written by the apostles explicitly present the Holy Spirit as an integral part of a believer’s life. Why is this so? Well let us look at several scripture verses for this purpose to see just who is the Holy Ghost in the Bible?
Prior to the imminent betrayal and crucifixion of Jesus, he frequently encouraged his disciples by letting them know the Holy Ghost would come to them after his departure, “But the Comforter, [which is] the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” [John 14:26] Here we see, the Holy Ghost will teach us and bring things to memory from the teachings of Jesus.
This was such an important message for his disciples that Jesus told them that he must depart in order to have the Holy Ghost come to them as their comforter. This was again documented and embellished upon by the fact that the Holy Ghost will not only comfort believers but will also convict people of their sin and judgment. John the apostle records this statement from the words of Jesus and it is even more noteworthy since he states that the prince of this world will be judged.
“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.”John 16:7-11
Blessings of the Holy Ghost
In addition, as Jesus was preparing to depart from his loyal disciples, it was recorded near the end of John’s gospel account as he proceeded to give them the Holy Ghost, “And when he had said this, he breathed on [them,] and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” [John 20:22] As the disciples, and for that matter all believers in Christ, are regenerated by the new spiritual birth, they will receive power, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.” [Acts 1:8] What more could people hope for than receiving power from the living God!
It is of interest to learn of the many references to the Holy Ghost by the apostles in the Acts of the Apostles. They frequently made comments in relation to believers being filled with the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:4, 4:8, 6:4, 7:55, 13:9, 19:2). Further to this they described how receiving the Holy Ghost for believers in Christ is a gift from God (Acts 2:38). Paul the apostle noted how the love of God also comes from the Holy Ghost, “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” [Rom. 5:5]
Still not sure who the Holy Ghost is in the Bible? Let us look at a few more passages of scripture. The Holy Ghost teaches us (1 Cor. 2:13). The Holy Ghost was sent down from heaven (1 Peter 1:12). People prophesied as they were moved by the Holy Ghost (2 Peter 1:21). The Holy Ghost witnesses to us (Heb 3:7). The Holy Ghost sanctifies us (Rom. 15:6). We are baptized with the Holy Ghost as believers (Acts 1:5). The Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit as more commonly referenced today is indeed an active part of the trinity within the lives of believing saints!
An Eternal Invitation
Therefore to close off this Bible Study on who is the Holy Ghost in the Bible, let us always remember that the Holy Ghost is part of the Godhead in all of his deity as referenced by the apostles (Acts 5:3-4). Finally, as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, while we still live our life in a physical body this side of heaven, our bodies are now the dwelling place of the Holy Ghost as documented in the scriptures, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” [1 Cor. 6:19]
Dear readers, this is the collective answer to the question of who is the Holy Ghost in the Bible. Why not make the decision to believe in the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ today and receive the Holy Ghost as your comforter in your life for all of eternity!
Bible Study Questions
- Given the number of times Jesus miraculously healed the multitudes from infirmities, diseases and evil spirits, why do you think the Pharisees accused him of doing these things by the power of the prince of devils?
- In reality, the unforgivable sin is the complete and absolute rejection of believing in the Lord Jesus Christ as complete redemption from your sins, true of false? Hint John 3:18.
- If the Holy Ghost is part of the Godhead, can you name the other two persons of the Godhead that make up the trinity?
- What does it mean to you personally knowing that the Holy Ghost is the eternal comforter in your life?
- Can you name at least three blessings that come from the Holy Ghost as a believer in Christ? Hint – section called Blessings of the Holy Ghost.
- As a faith building exercise, memorize 1 Cor. 6:19 over the next week to remind you of the indwelling Holy Ghost.
- Knowing that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost how does this make you want to live your life today?
For reference, here are some frequently asked questions that are answered in this Bible Study. It is with sincere prayer that they have been answered through carefully researched and written commentary for seekers of faith. The absence of answers in the study is perhaps indicative that the events and circumstances were deemed less worthy of documentation in the overall importance of biblical scripture. What is the difference between the Holy Ghost and Holy Spirit? Is the Holy Ghost a person? What does the Bible say about the Holy Ghost? What is the role of the Holy Ghost? Holy Spirit in Christianity. Who is the Holy Spirit? The person and work of the Holy Spirit. Who is the Holy Spirit and what does he do? Holy Ghost vs Holy Spirit. Who is the Holy Spirit in the trinity?