by John Lowe
(Laurens, SC)

According to Jewish teaching, the Holy Spirit had two supreme functions.

First, the Holy Spirit brought God’s truth to men; the Holy Spirit was God’s instrument in helping us come to know God’s will for us.

Second, the Holy Spirit enabled men to recognize & understand God’s truth when they saw it; the Holy Spirit works upon the heart & minds of men.

Therefore, man needs the Holy Spirit both to receive & to recognize God’s truth. To put it another way, the Holy Spirit is working on us to cause us to believe in Jesus Christ, & to bring us to accept Him as our Savior & Lord. But we dare not forget a very important principle of life, "What you don’t use, you lose." This principle is true in almost every area.

It is true physically. If we cease to use & exercise certain muscles, they will weaken & become unusable.

It is true mentally. Most of us learned things in school that we have since completely forgotten - because we haven’t used them in years. Maybe it was a foreign language - or how to play a musical instrument. The knowledge we once had has long since gone because we did not exercise & make use of it.

It is true morally. We can lose the ability to enjoy good clean fun - if we spend long enough in seeking our pleasure among those things which are soiled & degraded. What we see & hear, & with what kind of people & pleasures we indulge ourselves can really be a matter of life & death.

We can also lose the ability to be moved or changed by God’s goodness & truth when the Holy Spirit presents it to us. If we consistently shut our eyes & ears to God’s way, & insist on our own way; If we continually refuse to listen to the guidance God’s word offers to us, & turn our backs upon the messages which the Holy Spirit brings; if we continue to prefer our own ideas to the ideas that God is seeking to put into our heart & mind; then in the end we will come to the stage where nothing the Holy Spirit seeks to do will move or change us in any way.

That is the stage to which these Pharisees had come. They had so long been blind & deaf to the guidance of God’s hand; they had insisted on their own way for so long; that they had come to a stage where they could not recognize God’s truth & goodness when they saw it. They could look at God’s goodness & call it Satan’s evil. They could look on the Son of God & call Him the servant of the devil.

What is the sin against the Holy Spirit? The sin against the Holy Spirit is the sin of so often & so consistently refusing God’s will that in the end we no longer even recognize it, even when it comes in all of its power.

That brings to the last question, WHY SHOULD THAT SIN BE UNFORGIVABLE?

What makes it so much worse than all other sins? The answer is simple. When someone reaches that stage, repentance becomes impossible.

1. If we cannot recognize good when we see it, we can’t desire the good.

2. If we do not recognize evil as being evil, we can’t be sorry for it, & hate it, & wish to change for the better.

3. If we cannot love the good & hate the evil, then we can’t repent; & if we do not repent, we cannot be forgiven, because repentance is a vital condition for forgiveness.

It was to that stage that the Pharisees had come. They had so long been deliberately blind & deaf to God that they had lost the ability to recognize God when they were confronted by Him. It was not God who had shut them out; they had shut themselves out, for years of resistance to God had made them what they were.

There is a dreadful warning here. We must so pay attention to God’s will all our days that our sensitivity is never blunted, that our awareness is never dimmed, that our spiritual hearing never becomes spiritual deafness. It is a law of life that we will only hear what we are listening for, & what we have fitted ourselves to hear.

There is a story of a farmer who was in the office of a city friend, with the roar of the traffic coming through the windows. Suddenly the farmer said, "Listen!" "What is it?" asked the city man. "A grasshopper," said the farmer. Years of listening to country sounds had attuned his ears to country sounds, sounds that a city man’s ear did not hear at all.

On the other hand, let a coin drop, & a banker will hear it immediately, while the farmer might not hear it at all. Only the expert, the man who has made himself able to hear it, will pick out the note of each individual bird in the chorus of sounds. Only the expert, the man who has made himself able to hear it, will distinguish the different instruments in the orchestra.

It is the law of life that we hear what we have trained ourselves to hear. Day by day we must listen to God’s word, so that God’s voice may become, not fainter & fainter until we cannot hear it at all, but clearer & clearer until it becomes the one sound to which our ears are attuned.

It is decision time again. I hope that you will hear the words of Jesus as He calls you to come, & asks you why you are waiting. The desire you have to know Jesus comes from the Holy Spirit working on your heart. Don’t refuse Him because that only helps harden your heart against God until you will come to the point that you can no longer hear Him calling for you.

Won’t you come now to answer His call, “Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

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