There are a number of ways that man can go against the Holy Spirit. Evans follows the outline given below. I would like to follow this format in this section. (“The Great Doctrines Of The Bible”)
Offences Against The Holy Spirit
By The Sinner Resisting Insulting Blaspheming
By The Believer Grieving Lying To Quenching
SINS AGAINST THE SPIRIT COMMITTED BY THE SINNER
Resisting The Spirit: Resist according to Funk and Wagnall is, “…..to strive against; act counter to.” (“FUNK AND Wagnalls STANDARD Desk Dictionary”; New York: Funk and Wagnalls Inc., 1977)
Stephen in his sermon told his listeners that they were resisting the Holy Spirit as did their fathers (Acts 7:51).
The context mentions the fathers: They persecuted the prophets, they killed the prophets, they betrayed and murdered Christ, and they received the law but didn’t keep it (vs. 52,53). They even rejected Stephen’s teaching and killed him (vs. 54-60).
The term used here is Strong’s number 496 and is the Greek word “antipipto”. This is the only usage of the word in the New Testament.
Young’s concordance tells us it means, “to fall over against”. Vine mentions, “to fall against or upon”. (Vine, W. E.; “An Expository Dictionary Of New Testament Words”; Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Co.)
Vincent mentions that it is used in classical Greek of someone falling upon an enemy in war. (Vincent, M.R.; “Word Studies In The New Testament”; Mac Dill AFB, Florida, MacDonald Publishing)
In the context it would be the rejection of the message: In what Stephen said, the rejection of the fathers was not listening to the message of the prophets, and the rejection of the listener was the rejection of the message of Stephen.
When used of the Spirit then it is the rejection of God’s message as delivered via the Holy Spirit. The rejection of the Gospel would be Resisting The Holy Spirit.
In the outworking of our doctrine it would be the rejection of common grace as delivered by the Spirit. The grace extended to these men and their fathers was quite specific.
Can the believer resist the Holy Spirit? In the context of Stephen we were speaking of non-believers, yet there is a distinct possibility of the concept of rejecting the Word of God in the believers life as well. The believer does not reject what the Word tells of salvation, indeed, if the person is a believer they have accepted that Word. The problem comes when we
speak of the person receiving the Word in other areas of life and the person not listening or in essence rejecting the Word.
Example: When teaching I saw students that were in rebellion against the school, but were really rebelling against the Lord. These people could hear lessons and messages that directly applied to them, yet they would not change their actions. This to me is resisting the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit desires to do all that He can in each life, but when the life is unresponsive then the Holy Spirit is resisted.
Insulting The Spirit: To insult is, “…..to treat with insolence or contempt; disparage; abuse; affront…..” according to Funk and wagnalls.
Hebrews 10:29 uses the word, “enubrizo” the only time that it is used in the Scripture. “Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of god, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, with which he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” (despite is the term under consideration. It is Strong’s number 1796: “…..to treat insultingly…..” according to Vine.)
Newell in his commentary on Hebrews mentions that this term is an intensified version of a term that is used in Luke 18:32. “for he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully treated, and spit on;” (spitefully is the term mentioned.)
The Hebrews text seems to have to do with contempt for and abuse of Christ’s work and shed blood. Newell mentions that the people in Hebrews were knowledgeable of things, but unregenerate and had rejected the Spirit’s work, and that work to them had diminished in importance till they counted the Spirit as not present. (Taken from: “Hebrews Verse By Verse”; Newell, William R.; Copyright 1947, Moody Bible Institute of Chicago; Moody Press. Used by permission.) (This is drawn from the fact that “unholy thing” can be translated “common thing.” Scofield mentions this also in his side note. They have counted the blood of Christ a common thing — they have ignored the Spirit’s application of this truth.)
Have you ever been talking to someone and have them walk away in mid- sentence? Have you met someone eyeball to eyeball — said hello and have them totally ignore you? We would be insulted and this is in essence what these people were doing. They were viewing the Spirit as insignificant. They were looking the Spirit in the eye, eyeball to eyeball, and walking away.
Blaspheming The Spirit: Funk and Wagnalls says of blaspheming, “…..to speak in an impious manner of (god or sacred things). 2. To speak ill of; malign.”
Years ago in the Navy we used to play touch football for something to do. One day the officers and enlisted men went to the field to play some football, but the officers noticed that we enlisted men weren’t really being open and serious about going after an officer. One of the officers stopped the game and said, “Now look, we are here to play football and not to stand on military etiquette. You play football just like you would if we were all enlisted men.” To which one of the enlisted men said, “Shut up you stupid knotheaded idiot, we want to play football.” Now, in military etiquette that would have been insubordination to an officer and punishable. That was speaking in an impious manner.
The term used in scripture is, “blasphemeo” Strong’s number 987. Young defines it as “…..to speak injuriously…..”
The main usage of this term is in the synoptic gospels. Matthew 12:31; Mark 3:22-30; Luke 11:14-21. The other mentions of the word are found as follows: Romans 2:24 speaking of the name of God being blasphemed; 1 Timothy 6:1 where not only the name of God, but the doctrine of God is blasphemed; Titus 2:5 mentions the Word of God in relation to
blasphemy; James 2:7 speaking of the name of Christ being blasphemed; Revelation 16:11,21 speaking of God of heaven being blasphemed.
The Matthew text mentions that the attributing of miracles to the Devil is the blaspheming. The Pharisees had accused Christ of casting out demons by the power of Satan. “Wherefore, I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men; but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him; but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this age, neither in the age to come.” (Something for free that is unrelated, this is one of the verses that the Roman Catholics build their doctrine of purgatory on. The age to come is purgatory but all can be forgiven in the age after that, speaking of eternity.)
In vs. 31 we are told that blaspheming of the Spirit won’t be forgiven. In vs. 32 we are told that speaking against the Spirit won’t be forgiven.
Let us consider some facts from the texts.
Matthew mentions that these are lost men involved. He also mentions that they have rejected the works of the Spirit. They spoke evil of the Spirit’s work. Mark tells us that eternal damnation is the result (3:29). Mark also mentions that “…..all sins shall be forgiven…..” except this one.
The rejection of the Work of the Spirit unto Salvation is the only thing that really fits these facts. They are rejecting his revelation to them of God’s grace and salvation. The miracles were to validate Christ as the Messiah. This they attributed to Satan.
The question comes up quite often today — Can you blaspheme the Spirit today? Yes, and indeed many do every day as they reject Christ.
Another question comes to mind. Why will God allow his Son, Himself, His name, His Word, His Son’s name and His doctrine to be blasphemed yet not the Spirit? It would seem that He would allow anyone to blaspheme as they wish, just to be sure they have opportunity to be
saved. The rejection of the Gospel is that final blaspheme against the Spirit that He cannot overlook or tolerate. It is that fact that when they reject the Spirit’s ministry they are rejecting the gospel and thus condemning themselves to eternal torment. They have rejected God’s authority over them and the possibility of God’s mercy having effect upon them.
The blaspheme comes only when they have rejected the Spirit’s ministry ultimately, and finally. This was the case of the Pharisees. They had been rejecting for so long and this was the final blast so to speak.
Be sure that you understand this thought that believers cannot blaspheme the Spirit, and be sure you can communicate it to another believer. You will probably have people come to you fearing that they have committed this unforgivable sin.
We should teach this in our churches. I have had older Christians that were fearful that their sin was the unforgivable one. They do not understand the text and doctrine, so fear out of ignorance.
SINS AGAINST THE SPIRIT COMMITTED BY THE BELIEVER
Grieving The Spirit: There were few things in life as a teacher that grieved me more than to have to flunk a student. I’m sure that my students found that one hard to believe, but it is true. When a student doesn’t turn in work that he needs to pass a class, it hurts me deeply. Not that they are doing anything to me because they aren’t, but that they are wasting all that work and money because they are too lazy to do the work as required.
It also hurts to see God call a student to a school for a purpose and see the student sitting around like a zombie wasting God’s time, money and talents. I grieve to a point in this case. It sorrows me greatly.
Funk and Wagnalls states of grieve, “…..to cause to feel sorrow or grief.” Ephesians 4:30 uses the term, “…Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God,” The term used is “lupio.” The context of this statement in Ephesians is in the middle of a list of vile things. Lying, anger, give place to the devil, stealing, corrupt communications, etc. Grieve Not The Holy Spirit. I suspect from the inclusion of this phrase in this list of sins would indicate that any sin in the believers life is grief to the Spirit.
Grieving the Spirit then is sin. Any sin in the believers life is going to grieve the Spirit.
The first step of grieving is when we take control from Him and impose our own control upon our life. Each additional sin adds to that grief. 1 John 1:9 is the only remedy for grieving of the Spirit. 1 John 1:9 assumes that you will attempt to rectify the problem.
One walking in a state of sin will only continue to deepen his sin and assume more and more the appearance and action of an unsaved man. There will be no fruit of the Spirit — no peace of the Spirit — no activity of the Spirit. In other words if you are walking in sin do not assume that you will be comforted, taught or led by the Spirit. You Won’t Be.
Unmarried young people. Let this be clear. If you have sin in your life on a continuing basis, don’t you dare tell anyone God is Leading you to get married. To be led you need to be filled. Mark it down in stone if you need to. To be led you need to be filled. I have had teenagers tell me that they have been praying that the Lord would lead them in their relationship. They now believe that the Lord has directed them to be married. This sounds so spiritual and is neat in the cases where the teens are walking with God in a manner in which the Spirit has freedom to lead them.
The problem is that some of these “lead” Christians are openly defying their parents in marriage, or are allowing other sins to continue on in their life. These Young People Are Not Lead Of The Spirit When They Are In Control.
Lying To The Spirit: Funk and Wagnalls states of lying, “The act of telling lies; untruthfulness.” A lie is “An untrue statement made with the intent of deceiving; a false impression.” (Funk and Wagnalls) One of the classic texts on lying to the Spirit is Acts 5:1-11. Take time to read this passage. (John 8:44 also relates)
The context of Acts 5 tells us that some had sold all their belongings and given all to the church for distribution to the saints. Ananias, with Sapphira sold and gave part of the money. They then told someone that it was all of the money. We aren’t told whether they told the apostles, the people or the Lord in prayer. The indications are that they told at least the apostles and possibly the people.
Verse four mentions that their lie was not to men but unto God. “…Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.” Vs. 9 mentions specifically the Holy Spirit.
The question comes, “If they lied to men how is it a lie to God?” There are a couple of possibilities.
a. They were lying to church leadership — lying to them was the same as lying to the Spirit. You Think About That One Folks. Have you ever lied to the church leaders? Have you ever told them you didn’t have time to do something, just to get out of doing it?
b. In prayers, they may have indicated before men that they had given all. (Verse eight might indicate that this is not the case.)
The first possibility seems the best to me. There are some scriptural passages that might add weight to this thought.
1 Thessalonians 4:6-8,
“That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also haveforewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. He, therefore, that despiseth, despiseth not man but God, who hath also given unto us his Holy Spirit.”
Luke 10:13-16, shows that those that heareth or despise the apostles heareth or despise Christ himself. The next phrase (last part of 5:16) mentions that anyone that despises Christ despises the one that sent Christ.
1 Samuel 8:7,
“And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee; for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.”
Numbers 16:1-11, The people gathered against Moses, but God took it personally. AAAAAWWWWSSSOOMEE… The indication is that lying to the Lord’s leadership, if not to any believer, is lying to the Lord Himself. If this be true and if we realized this throughout Christianity would we not revolutionize the lifestyle of the average believer?
Quenching The Spirit: Funk and Wagnalls defines quench thusly, “To put out or extinguish, as a fire. 2. To put an end to.”
The term is “sbennumi.” (Strong’s 4570) Young defines it as, “…..to quench.” (It is used in I Th. 5:19 of the Spirit.)
Hebrews 11:34 mentions the violence of the fire of Shadrach, Mechach, and Abednego being quenched. In this context you might gain the idea that the fire isn’t put out, only that the effects of the fire on the person were nullified. Indeed, the fire continued to burn, because others were confronted with the fire and killed (Daniel 3:21-25).
In Ephesians 6:16 the term is used with the Armor of God, specifically the shield of faith. It is to be used for the quenching of the fiery darts of Satan. Again fire extinguisher isn’t the idea, but nullifying the effect of, would be the idea.
1 Thessalonians 5:19 states simply, “Quench not the Spirit.” It should be observed that this is in the midst of simple statements of proper Christian activity which is introduced by the phrase, “…..furthermore, then, we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.” 4:1
Thayer tells us that it means “…..to suppress, stifle.” (Thayer, Joseph Henry, D.D.; “Greek-English Lexicon Of The New Testament”; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, p 572)
Walvoord indicates the belief that it means to say no, or not yield to the Spirit.
To compile all of these thoughts we might assume that quenching of the Spirit is either the extinguishing of His ministry to us, or more exactly, the nullifying of His effects upon us. It would seem that if we aren’t being controlled by Him that we are, in effect, nullifying His effect upon us. It would also seem that if we are not filled or controlled by the Spirit we are quenching Him.
The conclusion must be that quenching the Spirit is directly related to the control, or no control of the Spirit in the individual life. The cure: Restore Him to control of your life.
God Leads — unless you quench Him. God Teaches — unless you quench Him. God Comforts — unless you quench Him.
God Fellowships — unless you quench Him.
God Prays — unless you quench Him.
Man. That Really Puts The Monkey On Our Back. If God Isn’t Working In Our Life We Know Why. Don’t We?
If He has led you to give, and you don’t — You Quench. If He has led you to go, and you wait — You Quench.
If He has taught, and you don’t obey — You Quench.
In conclusion may we consider one more verse?
“Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” (Galatians 516)
What a promise to the believer.
This phrase “walk in the Spirit: is a present tense, thus if we continue to walk in the Spirit we Will Not Fulfill The Lust Of The Flesh. As believers we are told to avoid the walk of the flesh and here we have an iron clad promise and answer as to how to avoid it.
Again, we see that the monkey is on our back. It is a conscious decision of our own, as to how we walk the Christian walk. We have a will that must decide to allow Spirit control on a continued basis. We must decide who is running our life.
Does this give new meaning to that old tried and true text of James 1:13-15?
“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man; but every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringth forth sin….”
Vs. 17 is usually left out, but is the stark contrast to our walking in the flesh in what was just read. James 1:17,
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father….”
We reject all that is good, for all that is bad, when we assume control of our lives and tell the Spirit to go back into his corner.
Think on these things, to quote a famous author. Think on these things.
 Stanley L. Derickson Ph.D. B.A. (n.d.). DERICKSON’S NOTES ON THEOLOGY: A STUDY BOOK IN THEOLOGY.