August 5: Trinity | Mark 3:28-30
Where does the doctrine of the Trinity come from? What is “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit” and why is it “unforgivable?” The Trinity is not a doctrine found in scripture per-se, rather it is a doctrine which makes sense of the various claims we make about the God of Israel, about Jesus, and about the Holy Spirit; each of which we understand as being in some sense “divine,” and yet in other ways distinct from one another.
The “work of the Holy Spirit” has taken on a broad meaning in the church, ranging from helping one to see their own guilt, to bringing comfort in times of extreme duress, to the conferral of spiritual gifts which make genuine Christian ministry possible. Within the New Testament Scriptures, the primary function of the Holy Spirit is one of vindication. Those on whom God’s Spirit rests are to be viewed as speaking and acting on his behalf. This is the claim that Jesus makes when he reads the prophet Isaiah in the synagogue: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me…” This is also the primary meaning of the Pentecost event: The presence of the Spirit marks the upper room assembly as God’s chosen. To “blaspheme the Holy Spirit” is to deny God’s presence in a place where his miraculous power has obviously been at work. In the context of Mark 3, this means the life and ministry of Jesus, where the signs and miracles seen by the authorities are explained away as the work of Satan. To cut yourself off from God’s redeeming work in the world is a sin that ultimately leads to death. You cannot be forgiven without it, as only God has the authority to forgive.