Ask an EOC: Does Baptism Clear All Sin, Even Blasphemy?
What do you want to ask an Eastern Orthodox Christian? Fill out the form below or submit your question online.
Commentary by Nicholas Damascus | FāVS News
The Sacrament of Baptism can be said to be an outward sign of an inward belief, a profession of faith, a rite of passage, the beginning of eternal life and the gateway to enter the Kingdom of God. The event presupposes that a transformation takes place within the individual who chooses to become more like Christ (Romans 12:2). This struggle is a commitment and process to die to the worldly passions (Colossians 3:5) and be resurrected as a newly illumined child of God (Romans 6:4-6).
Being saved in the Eastern Orthodox faith by the sacrament of baptism is not a one-day event but a lifetime process with an emphasis on developing a repentant attitude and behavior (Luke 3:3). Raised in a newly illumined life, the participant establishes an intimate communion and union with Christ.
Participation in this event should not be about conformity but rather a genuine effort to change (transform) one’s heart and mind, becoming more like Christ through His grace and mercy.
The following example compares the difference between conformity and transformation. A thief caught stealing and faces a judge who sentences him to a year of probation may only conform to the guidelines of his probation and then may resume stealing as a way of life. In this example, there is no change or transformation in the thief’s life to acknowledge that stealing is wrong and sinful.
Christ became man (through the Incarnation), wanting to renew all of his creation by offering the gift of salvation to man through repentance and baptism. If any man should choose to accept this gift of redemption, he will share in all that God wants to give us for eternity and not just a one-time shot.
Concerning the Sin of Blasphemy
The blasphemy of the Holy Spirit occurs when a person actively pursues a conscious, continuous, deliberate and malicious attitude of rejecting the Holy Spirit of God, calling God who is good, evil. This sin is unforgivable if that person continues in this intentional, continuous, declarative state, leaving no hope of salvation in this life or the next.
Many Christian fathers, including St. John Chrysostom, said blasphemy against the Holy Spirit “Would be forgiven to those who sincerely repent.” They say there are no unforgivable sins if a blasphemer turns toward God with a true contrite spirit and repents of this sin.
You can read more about this topic in a previous Ask an Eastern Orthodox column, “Will God Forgive the Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit of God?”
The views expressed in this opinion column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of FāVS News. FāVS News values diverse perspectives and thoughtful analysis on matters of faith and spirituality.
Ask an Eastern Orthodox Christian
What questions do you have about Eastern Orthodox Christinaity? Fill out the form below and our writer will get back to you by writing a column in response.