The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Paul, the Foremost of Sinners

“The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the foremost.” (1 Timothy 1:15 NRSV)

“When they heard these things, they became enraged and ground their teeth at Stephen. But filled with the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. ‘Look,’ he said, ‘I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!’ But they covered their ears, and with a loud shout all rushed together against him. Then they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him; and the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ When he had said this, he died.” (Acts 8:54-30 NRSV)

Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, told the Jews about his vision of Jesus in heaven. The Jews covered their ears because they believed the words of the Holy Spirit spoken by Stephen were blasphemy. The Jews laid down their coats at the feet of their ringleader Saul. Then the hardened Jews stoned Stephen to death. And Stephen prayed, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”

The Jews believed the Holy Spirit inspired words of Jesus were blasphemy. And these Jews with hearts hardened to the words of the Holy Spirit stoned the Holy Spirit anointed prophet Stephen. And Stephen’s used his last breath to ask for the forgiveness of these hardened sinners who blasphemed the Holy Spirit started to murder Holy Spirit anointed prophet. And Saul/Paul later referred to himself as the foremost of sinners before the Lord saved him.

Could Paul have used hyperbole when he referred to himself as the foremost of sinners or was 1 Timothy 1:15 a literal statement?

second question added by editing the original post

Why did Stephen ask the Lord to forgive the respective murderous blasphemers of the Holy Spirit?

He didn’t because that would contradict the “sin unto death” in 1 John 5:16 that the Apostle John said “don’t bother” to pray for and Mark 3:29; Matt 12:32; Lk 12:8-11 the eternal sin to blaspheme the HS that Jesus said shall not be forgiven in any age ( thus why its called a eternal sin). Steven didn’t ask God to forgive the murderous blasphemers of blaspheming the HS but asked God to forgive them of the sin of killing him and sinning against Steven, not the HS. The same way Jesus prayed… paraphrasing “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” He was praying to the Father for the people to be forgiven of their sin they committed against Jesus ( killing him]) , not blaspheming the HS. Jesus has already established that anyone who blasphemes the HS shall not be forgiven in any age! :wink: People don’t pray for a sin that Jesus has already declared unforgivable…The Apostle John understood this and reiterated it in 1John 5:16. :wink:

People you must understand…to blaspheme the HS is not an isolated act, but a settled condition of the soul that is a result of continuous and consistent denial of the truth to the point of the most hardened heart towards God and having no desire to repent but only to blaspheme his name… leaving you in unbelief. Ex: Rom 1:18-32; Rev 16:8-11.

Aron, thank you for detailing what you believe is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. I am leaning more towards Evangelical Universalism, and I can hold out hope for those that are so hardened that one day they will repent of this heinous sin. I am thankful that the Lord has made it to where we will all be able to ‘wake up’ one day.

James Jones

In other words, anyone who disagrees with you.

James, thank you for what I believe is a flawless argument against the viewpoint that blasphemers of the HS cannot be forgiven!

Wow, so God forgives them of one sin but not another? What’s the point? This ridiculous argument is nonsensical.

This post has been edited to remove a personal remark because I Justin thought that Aaron had gone too far in inconsistency to support what I believe to be an unjust and unloving theology. However personal remarks are against the rules so I’m editing it out.

Thanks James. (For some reason I can’t edit my own post.)