Question of the week: Does God forgive flagrant blasphemy against him, post-conversion to Christianity?
Let’s say someone is in a dark place and foolishly takes it out on God by calling him awful curse words and slurs. The guilt I feel is immeasurable and I think the third commandment (about not taking God’s name in vain) is unforgivable as it is the only commandment followed by “for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name” (Exodus 20:7). I have repented and cried and begged but how can I know if God hates me or not? I have no excuse as I have been Christian since this past spring and I knew what I did was wrong, yet I have committed awful blasphemies several times in the last two weeks alone. I feel wretched and condemned. Paul says that he was a blasphemer but obtained forgiveness because he did it in ignorance and unbelief. Does this example imply that Christians who blaspheme God don’t fall under the same mercy?
My answer: The word blasphemy, when it appears in the Bible, is not always blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Blasphemy and blasphemy against the Holy Spirit can be two different things. Taking the Lord’s name in vain is forgivable. Abusing God’s people like Saul of Tarsus did is forgivable. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is not forgivable.
No one who is a Christian is able to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit. A blasphemer, according to multiple Bible passages (see page 161, Beyond the Cosmos, for a complete list of Bible passages relevant to blasphemy against the Holy Spirit and the rest of chapter 14 in that book),1 labels everything good as evil and everything evil as good. That person is unable to see or acknowledge sin in his life, is incapable of repentance, never feels wretched for what he has done, knows exactly who God is and what God is offering, and yet wants nothing to do with God, his mercy, his offer of redemption, or his disciples.
From everything you said in posing your question it is clear that you are NOT a blasphemer against the Holy Spirit. It is clear that you have NOT committed the unforgivable sin. I think it also is clear that you are Christian. Your responses are evidence that the Holy Spirit is working in your life.
The battle against sin in our earthly lives is long and hard. However, if we persevere in allowing the Holy Spirit to supernaturally give us the desire and power to live the life Christ wants us to live, we and other Christians around us will see progress.
Anyone can get a free chapter of Beyond the Cosmos at reasons.org/ross.
Hugh Ross, Beyond the Cosmos, 3rd ed. (Covina, CA: RTB Press, 2017), 151–166.