How Could Paul as a Blasphemer Be Forgiven and Saved?
We have the record and thereby know from Scripture that Israel blasphemed; 1) The Lord God, 2) The Lord Jesus and 3) the Holy Spirit. After rejecting the entire tri-part Godhead Israel ‘fell’ and was set aside for at time (an age) … with the stoning Stephen who was speaking by “the Holy Ghost” (Acts 7:55). It was ‘three strikes and you are out.’
Jesus had said this during the time of His earthly ministry to the Circumcision (Israel):
Matthew 12:32 (KJV) 32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world (Gk. aion, age), neither in the world (Gk. aion, age) to come.
Paul wrote this of his own blasphemous history – yet he was forgiven and converted:
1 Timothy 1:13 (KJV) 13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
Paul clearly blasphemed the Holy Spirit speaking through Stephen, a man “full of the Holy, Ghost” (Act 8:1), when Paul ‘consented” to the stoning of Stephen as noted in Act 7:58.
Acts 7:58 (KJV) 58 And cast him (Stephen) out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul (later called Paul).
Acts 8:1 (KJV) 1 And Saul [Paul] was consenting unto his [Stephen’s] death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.
Question: Considering Jesus’ words in Matthew 12:32, how could Paul, a blasphemer of the Holy Spirit, be saved?
Answer: God created a ‘new, Gentile age’ that Paul calls “the dispensation of the grace of God” (Gal 3:2), which is a new age that is nestled between the ‘former age of Israel under the Law’ and ‘the age to come’ after today’s Gentile age of “the grace of God” ends with the Rapture of the Gentile body of Christ.
Thus Paul was the “first” grace age believer to be saved. With this change to a brand new dispensation, God began today’s “dispensation of the grace of God” under which all men and all women of all races of every societal status may be freely forgiven and saved by faith in Christ alone. Paul says he and his experience is the “pattern” or prototype for all grace age believers.
16 Howbeit for this cause I [Paul] obtained mercy, that in me [Paul] first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering [patience], for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. 1 Timothy 1:16 (KJV)
By Arthur J Licursi