In Matthew 12:30-32 it says whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come… (ESV). Basically, I’m asking two questions here: 1. How does speaking against the one not effect the other?! 2. What are the roles of the Trinity: the Father? The Son? The Holy Spirit?
It is always important when trying to understand scripture to also try and understand what is going on in context. Though the Bible is written for us, it was not written to us. The Bible is a collection of works written to and for people for the purpose of understanding our relationship to God.
That said, whenever we see Jesus talking it is in relation to what was going on around Him. He quite literally was manifesting the will of God for humanity on the earth. Jesus, while He was here, had come as the Jews’ messiah. He performed the miracles as proof to who He was, usually fulfilling what was written about this messiah.
Now, the Jews, and particularly the Jewish leaders (Pharisees) rejected Him at every turn, at times even admitting to knowing that He was doing the works of God. This opened the doors for the gentiles (all non-Jewish people) to have right to this salvation. When we get to the scriptures in question, we see something pretty evil happen.
These people were not just simply speaking bad about God. They were in fact recognizing the miracles, but then attributing them to the devil. They were declaring the works of God as the works of satan, and doing it for the purpose of rejecting Jesus and leading people astray. They didn’t want to lose their positions as the leaders and they didn’t want their works to be exposed.
So why is this blasphemy worse? Because the Holy Spirit is vehicle he by which mankind comes to the cross. What I mean is, Jesus died for us but we cannot receive that unless we receive the conviction of the Holy Spirit. To reject the work of the Holy Spirit is to reject the very One that leads us through the door of salvation. These weren’t people who didn’t know any better, these people were willfully rejecting what God was manifesting in front of them.
When Jesus was here He did the things He did, not because He was God, but empowered by the Holy Spirit. Acts 10:38 (NASB) says about Him, “You know of Jesus of Nazareth, HOW GOD ANOINTED HIM WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT AND WITH POWER, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” Even to His resurrection as seen in Romans 8:11, the Holy Spirit empowered Him unto resurrection. The Holy Spirit IS the work of God.
A simple way (if there is one) to understand the Trinity would be like this: the Father is the destination, the Son is the way, and the Holy Spirit is the vehicle from one to the other. The Destination and the Way are always present, but for one to reject the Vehicle to get there, they refuse it all. To attribute the power of God for salvation to the devil for the purpose of misleading people is the ultimate rejection.
The best explanation I ever heard for the Trinity was given to me from my grandmother. She said to me, “Think of water. Each state of water, liquid, gas, or solid are very different but they are still the same.” I like that. When it comes to what Each does, it really isn’t separate from One another. They are as much a part of Each other as They are individually. Each also has taken part in salvation of mankind and still does. God the Father, separated from us sent God the Son Who saved us and sent God the Holy Spirit Who leads man back to the Father through the Door that the Son became.
The key thing in all this to remember is mankind never misses God because a lack of what He has done but from simple refusal of it. Man never remains unsaved because salvation is too hard but because what they accept or reject in life determines what they ultimately end up with. The lesson in all this is to not refuse God while He is near. Our own pride can keep us from God, but that’s the way it’s always been.