Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation. (Mark 3:28-29)
This is an amazingly thin line that Jesus draws in the sand. You may do anything you like to me, he says, and be forgiven, but revile the Holy Spirit and there will be no forgiveness.
Abuse the Holy Spirit? Just what could this mean?
In context, Jesus made this proclamation after the Pharisees had accused the healing miracles of Jesus to be the work of the devil. How can the devil heal the darkness caused by the devil, he exclaims. This makes no sense. And then he brings down the hammer of God: for this one act of yours, you will never be forgiven.
Just what is this act, then?
Well, think about it. The greatest insult to God would be the charge that God does not love the accuser. You do not love me, he says. You cannot love me. And, conversely, I do not love you.
All Jesus does is to go around demonstrating the love of God for everyone. Everyone, no matter their station in life, their occupation, their presenting sin.
Until the Pharisees come and attempt to diminish the work of Jesus.
The Pharisees are men who should have known better. These are men who are outwardly observant Jews, religious men who commit themselves to a strict observation of their religious laws.
These men, by definition, commit their lives to their belief in God.
And, yet, they see Jesus. They see his works right before them. But they do not recognize the love of God in what they see.
It is, in essence, an open act of apostasy: a renunciation of their own religious belief.
So, then, to put oneself in the position of being unforgiven, for all time, one must stand before God and assert that one not only knows better than God about the nature of his love for mankind, but must also turn his face away from the gift of love God demonstrated in that person’s life.
For the demonstration of God’s love is the work of the Holy Spirit. And to deny that work, consciously, knowingly, hard-heartedly, is to deny the sacrifice of Jesus, the graces and even the glory of God.
Quite a large and significant act, I think.
It is, in short, a final shutting of the door between God and man.
And, for this, there can be no forgiveness.