SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5 (EGW)

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Chapter 12

24-32 (ch. 9:34; Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15). Eyes Closed to Evidence—They [the Pharisees] attributed to satanic agencies the holy power of God, manifested in the works of Christ. Thus the Pharisees sinned against the Holy Ghost. Stubborn, sullen, ironhearted, they determined to close their eyes to all evidence, and thus they committed the unpardonable sin (The Review and Herald, January 18, 1898). 5BC 1092.4

29, 30 (Luke 11:21-23). Stronger Than the Strong Man—“He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.” He who is with Christ, maintaining His unity, enthroning Him in the heart, and obeying His orders, is safe from the snares of the wicked one. He who unites himself with Christ will gather to himself the graces of Christ, and will give strength and efficiency and power to the Lord by winning souls to Christ. When Christ takes possession of the citadel of the soul, the human agent becomes one with Him. By cooperation with the Saviour, he becomes the instrument through which God works. Then when Satan comes and strives to take possession of the soul, he finds that Christ has made him stronger than the strong man armed (Manuscript 78, 1899). 5BC 1092.5

30. See EGW on ch. 16:24. 5BC 1092.6

31, 32 (Mark 3:28, 29; Luke 12:10; see EGW on Exodus 4:21). Firm, Determined Resistance of Truth—Christ was not warring against finite men, but against principalities and powers, against spiritual wickedness in high places. He tells His hearers that all manner of sin and blasphemy may be forgiven if done in ignorance. In their great blindness they might speak words of insult and derision against the Son of man, and yet be within the boundary of mercy. But when the power and Spirit of God rested upon His messengers, they were on holy ground. To ignore the Spirit of God, to charge it with being the spirit of the devil, placed them in a position where God had no power to reach their souls. No power in any of God's provisions to correct the erring can reach them.... 5BC 1092.7

To speak against Christ, charging His work to satanic agencies, and attributing the manifestations of the Spirit to fanaticism, is not of itself a damning sin, but the spirit that leads men to make these assertions places them in a position of stubborn resistance, where they cannot see spiritual light.... 5BC 1092.8

They think they are following sound reason, but they are following another leader. They have placed themselves under the control of a power which in their blindness they are wholly ignorant of. They have resisted the only Spirit that could lead them, enlighten them, save them. They are following in the path of guilt for which there can be no forgiveness, in this life or in the life to come. Not that any degree of guilt would exhaust the mercy of God, but because pride and persistent stubbornness leads them to do despite to the Spirit of God, to occupy a place where no manifestation of the Spirit can convince them of their error. They will not yield their stubborn wills. 5BC 1092.9

In this our day men have placed themselves where they are wholly unable to fulfill the conditions of repentance and confession: therefore they cannot find mercy and pardon. The sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit does not lie in any sudden word or deed; it is the firm, determined resistance of truth and evidence (Manuscript 30, 1890). 5BC 1093.1

Sin Against the Holy Ghost—No one need look upon the sin against the Holy Ghost as something mysterious and indefinable. The sin against the Holy Ghost is the sin of persistent refusal to respond to the invitation to repent (The Review and Herald, June 29, 1897). 5BC 1093.2

34-37. See EGW on Psalm 19:14; Isaiah 6:5-7. 5BC 1093.3

37. A Sanctified Tongue Needed—Cease to dwell upon the shortcomings of others. Keep the tongue sanctified unto God. Refrain from saying anything that might detract from the influence of another; for by indulging in these words of criticism, you blaspheme God's holy name as verily as you would were you to swear.... 5BC 1093.4

We need especially to guard against having a tongue that is sanctified to Satan. The tongue that God has given is to be used to glorify Him in speech. Unless it is, we shall be standing directly in the way of God's work in this world, and the judgments of heaven will surely fall upon us (Manuscript 95, 1906). 5BC 1093.5

42 (Luke 11:31). A Greater Than Solomon—Christ knew that the Israelites regarded Solomon as the greatest king that ever wielded a scepter over an earthly kingdom. By special appointment of God, he had built their first magnificent temple, which was a marvel of beauty, richness, and glory, and gave influence and dignity to Israel as a nation. He was endowed with wisdom, and his name had been glorified by them. To be superior to him was, in their eyes, to be more than human, to possess the prerogatives of Deity [Matthew 12:42 quoted] (The Youth's Instructor, September 23, 1897). 5BC 1093.6

43-45 (Luke 11:24-26). No Neutrality Possible—[Matthew 12:43-45 quoted.] Christ shows that there can be no such thing as neutrality in His service. The soul must not be satisfied with anything short of entire consecration—consecration of thought, voice, spirit, and every organ of mind and body. It is not enough that the vessel be emptied; it must be filled with the grace of Christ (Manuscript 78, 1899). 5BC 1093.7

(Isaiah 57:12; 2 Peter 2:20, 21.) The Curse of Self-righteousness—The garnished house represents the self-righteous soul. Satan is driven out by Christ. But he returned, in the hope of finding entrance. He finds the house empty, swept, and garnished. Only self-righteousness is abiding there. “Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.” 5BC 1093.8

Self-righteousness is a curse, a human embellishment, which Satan uses for his glory. Those who garnish the soul with self-praise and flattery prepare the way for the seven other spirits more wicked than the first. In their very reception of the truth these souls deceive themselves. They are building upon a foundation of self-righteousness. The prayers of congregations may be offered to God with a round of ceremonies, but if they are offered in self-righteousness God is not honored by them. The Lord declares, “I will declare thy righteousness, and thy works; for they shall not profit thee.” In spite of all their display, their garnished habitation, Satan comes in with a troop of evil angels and takes his place in the soul, to help in the deception. The apostle writes, “If after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them” (Manuscript 78, 1899). 5BC 1093.9