On March 19, 2006 I made a post about the blaspemy of the Holy Spirit entitled The Unforgiveable Sin. I thought I'd rerun that post to offer another voice on the issue. Here is that post:
Today I preached on Mark 3:20-35, the text that deals with "the blaspemy of the Holy Spirit," or the unforgivable sin. I've always been curious about what that meant and wanted to get a firm and simple understanding of it. What I came up with is that the unforgivable sin is "the continual rejection of all God's efforts to save you," or "the refusal to be saved."
I derived this definition partly from the context in Mark 3. The scribes from Jerusalem are looking at all of the people who Jesus has saved and delivered from demons and diseases by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus who saves and delivers and regenerates us when we believe in Jesus. They saw the evidence of the power. They could have responded in faith and been saved from their sins and joined the Family of the Forgiven. Instead, they responded with disgust and rejection. Jesus warned them that if they continued in that direction, they would never find and experience God's forgiveness.
The other source I found helpful was Jesus' teaching on the work of the Holy Spirit in John 14-17. Jesus says in 15:26 that the Holy Spirit will testify to people about him, and in John 16:8-11 that the Holy Spirit will convict people of their sin, Christ's righeousness, and the coming judgment. To respond to the Holy Spirit's conviction with faith and repentance results in salvation, to reject it is to reject the only source of salvation for the human race.
I believe that the opportunity to repent is offered us until the day our fate is sealed by death. Then our salvation or our seperation takes us into one of two eternal places. Never give up praying for those who aren't saved. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you and use you in his ongoing efforts to save people.