Whose Side Are You On?
Read Mark 3:23-30 (ESV)
And he called them to him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house. Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”—for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”
Why does Jesus say that all sins will be forgiven, except blaspheming the Holy Spirit? What sets that sin apart as unforgivable?
There’s a war on and it’s been raging since the beginning of time. It is the epic battle between good and evil. The Kingdom of Light vs. the kingdom of darkness. The Kingdom of God vs. the kingdom of the prince of this world. Satan is building an army, but so is God.
In today’s passage, Jesus is addressing the scribes who accused Him of being possessed by Beelzebul, which refers to Satan, and casting out demons by Satan’s power (v.22). Jesus responded by exposing the folly of the idea. During His earthly ministry, Jesus waged war against Satan by casting demons out of people that Satan wanted to possess. Satan wanted more troops but Jesus freed many people who were in bondage to Satan. Why would Satan possess someone and then use that person to cast himself out of other people? Why would he set free the very people he wanted to hold captive? Wouldn’t that weaken his own army?
That is what Jesus is saying here. If Satan were to rise up against himself, he’d be defeating himself. That doesn’t make any sense! Because Jesus was casting demons out of people, we can logically conclude that He is not Satan nor is He on Satan’s side.
Then, Jesus used another parable to illustrate His power over Satan. In this illustration, Jesus said that you can’t rob a strong man’s house unless you tie the strong guy up first. He is saying that Satan is strong and powerful and he is the ruler of this earthly domain. The world is his house. But that is why Jesus came! He is stronger than Satan and only He can bind him up and restrict his power. He also came to plunder Satan! Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit, is taking back souls that once belonged to Satan. He is transferring people from Satan’s domain into God’s kingdom!
Colossians 1:13 says, “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son….” When we place our faith in Jesus Christ, we become citizens of the kingdom of God. We move from being His enemies to being on His side.
Then, Jesus rebukes the scribes who had been equating Him with Satan. He said that all sins can be forgiven except for those who blaspheme the Holy Spirit. The scribes were deliberately slandering the work of the Holy Spirit. They knew the prophecies about the Messiah and yet they rejected Him when they could see Him with their own eyes! They were willfully irreverent, unrepentant, and deliberately defiant. By attributing the Holy Spirit’s power over satanic spirits to Satan rather than to God, they were rejecting the only way they could be saved! That is the eternal and unforgivable sin.
Friends, if you have accepted Christ, then you have received rather than rejected and blasphemed the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38 confirms this: “And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’” You are on His side. You have been transferred to His Kingdom. You are forgiven and free.
Lord, thank You for exercising Your power over sin and over Satan so that I could be set free. I humbly accept the work that You have done on my behalf and I believe that through You, I am forgiven and free. I am on Your side! Amen.