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Matthew 12:31-34

Context
12:31 For this reason I tell you, people will be forgiven for every sin and blasphemy, 1  but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 12:32 Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven. 2  But whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, 3  either in this age or in the age to come.

Trees and Their Fruit

12:33 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad 4  and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is known by its fruit. 12:34 Offspring of vipers! How are you able to say anything good, since you are evil? For the mouth speaks from what fills the heart.

1 tn Grk “every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men.”

2 tn Grk “it will be forgiven him.”

3 tn Grk “it will not be forgiven him.”

sn Whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. This passage has troubled many people, who have wondered whether or not they have committed this sin. Three things must be kept in mind: (1) the nature of the sin is to ascribe what is the obvious work of the Holy Spirit (e.g., releasing people from Satan’s power) to Satan himself; (2) it is not simply a momentary doubt or sinful attitude, but is indeed a settled condition which opposes the Spirit’s work, as typified by the religious leaders who opposed Jesus; and (3) a person who is concerned about it has probably never committed this sin, for those who commit it here (i.e., the religious leaders) are not in the least concerned about Jesus’ warning.

4 tn Grk “rotten.” The word σαπρός, modifying both “tree” and “fruit,” can also mean “diseased” (L&N 65.28).



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