Mark 3:22-28: Spiritual Warfare and the Unforgivable Sin
22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.”
In this text, we see the Pharisees trying to discredit the ministry of Jesus by saying that the reason he can cast out demons is that he is the prince of the demons. Again, the Pharisees were shooting themselves with this statement as they set up Jesus to preach a truth about God’s kingdom:
23 And he called them to him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan?24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. 27 But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house.
In division, there is no power. Even among the demonic forces – they cannot stand if they are not united. The second thing we can observe is that Satan must be bound first before he can be defeated.
In the ministry of spiritual warfare, we must understand that as Christians we have the power to bind Satan and his demons. This is the authority that was given to the disciples when Christ commissioned them to preach the gospel. It would also be good to take note that doing warfare as a group is still the best way to go. There is power in unity as we see in the first lesson on this text.
I’m a believer in the power of being under the authority of the local church and I am wary of seeing so many Christians doing ministry work apart from the local church. Warfare should never be done outside the covering of a local church. Many have fallen into sin and spiritual pride when they operate alone.
After teaching this, Jesus then faced the Pharisees and declared:
28 “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— 30 for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”
All sins will be forgiven but whoever blasphemes the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven in the life now and life after. That was such a strong statement of Jesus. What does it mean?
One of the best explanation I’ve seen is by John Piper who said:
What then is it? The unforgivable sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is an act of resistance which belittles the Holy Spirit so grievously that he withdraws forever with his convicting power so that we are never able to repent and be forgiven.
I do hope and pray that we do not reject the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. Christ is calling us to come to him and surrender our lives to His will and His kingdom. All sins will be forgiven and as long as you can still hear from the Lord – respond well!