Ephesians 4:30 Commentary

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Charts from Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission
Click chart by Charles Swindoll -Note "EMPHASIS" --
Ephesians 1-3 = Doctrinal: vertical relationship with God
Ephesians 4-6 = Practical: horizontal relationship with others

Ephesians 4:30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: kai me lupeite (2PPAM) to pneuma to hagion tou theou en o esphragisethete (2PAPI) eis hemeran apolutroseos.

BGT καὶ μὴ λυπεῖτε τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον τοῦ θεοῦ, ἐν ᾧ ἐσφραγίσθητε εἰς ἡμέραν ἀπολυτρώσεως.

Amplified: And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [do not offend or vex or sadden Him], by Whom you were sealed (marked, branded as God’s own, secured) for the day of redemption (of final deliverance through Christ from evil and the consequences of sin). (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

BBE And do not give grief to the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were marked for the day of salvation.

CSB And don't grieve God's Holy Spirit. You were sealed by Him for the day of redemption.

ESV And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

GWN Don't give God's Holy Spirit any reason to be upset with you. He has put his seal on you for the day you will be set free from the world of sin.

Grundy And don’t be grieving God’s Holy Spirit [compare Isaiah 63:10], in whom you were sealed till the day of redemption.

NET And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

NIV And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

NLT (revised) And do not bring sorrow to God's Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.

NLT: And do not bring sorrow to God's Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he is the one who has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. (NLT - Tyndale House)

KJV And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

NKJ And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

NRS And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption.

NAB And do not grieve the holy Spirit of God, with which you were sealed for the day of redemption.

NJB do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God who has marked you with his seal, ready for the day when we shall be set free.

Phillips: Never hurt the Holy Spirit. He is, remember, the personal pledge of your eventual full redemption. (Phillips: Touchstone)

Wuest: And stop grieving the Spirit, the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed with a view to the day of redemption.  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission)

Young's Literal: And beware of grieving the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you have been sealed in preparation for the day of Redemption.

DO NOT GRIEVE THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD: kai me lupeite (2PPAM) to pneuma to hagion tou theou:

Related Passages:

Isaiah 63:10  But they rebelled And grieved His Holy Spirit; Therefore He turned Himself to become their enemy, He fought against them. 

Psalm 78:40 How often they rebelled against Him in the wilderness And grieved Him in the desert! 

1Th 5:19+ Do not quench (present imperative with a negative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) the Spirit;

1 John 4:7+  Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

Romans 15:30+ Now I urge you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me 

Matthew 26:37 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved (SAME WORD AS GRIEVING THE SPIRIT) and distressed.


This passage provides powerful motivation for saints to put off the garments of the old man and put on the garments of the New Man in Christ. 

Do not grieve (lupeothe Holy (hagiosSpirit (pneuma) of God - Note that the first word in the Greek is "kai" (and) which unfortunately is not translated by the usually relatively literal NASB95 edition or the 2020 revision (but it was translated in the NAS77 edition!) And in this context is important because it clearly links the grieving of the Holy Spirit with Eph 4:29 regarding unwholesome speech. In short, the implication is that "rotten" speech will grieve the Holy Spirit. Of course this verse may also be linked to Ep 4:25-28 to indicate that lying, unrighteous anger, and stealing also hurt Him. And finally it is also related to the sins that follow in Eph 4:31, all of which grieve the Holy Spirit. In a more general sense this is an exhortation to abstain from anything and everything (aka "sin!") that grieves the Holy Spirit. Our sin grieves the Holy Spirit because He is holy. In short, Paul is appealing to the saints to practice their position because of a Person! In other words, they (we) should be motivated not to sin, because when we do, we hurt the One Who loves us! And when we grieve Him, clearly this disturbs our fellowship with Him, a fellowship which Paul described in 2Co 13:14+ "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship (koinonia) of the Holy Spirit, be with you all." (See Cole's list of some of the consequences we will suffer if we grieve the Holy Spirit). Finally, notice His Name is not just the Spirit nor the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit of God, (almost like a double reference, for the Holy Spirit is God) which adds even more import to our seeking to never grieve Him. 

Paul uses the present imperative with a negative particle (in Greek "me") saying in essence "Stop grieving the Spirit" (or "Don't start grieving the Spirit"), which conveys the implication that some may have been grieving Him. A T Robertson says “Cease grieving” or “do not have the habit of grieving.” The Holy Spirit is grieved or pained by sin, in context, especially the sins of the tongue! Jamieson adds that this is "A condescension to human modes of thought most touching."

Sin grieves the Holy Spirit and is the cause for the loss of fellowship, the loss of filling, which equates with the loss of the controlling ministry of the Spirit. When we sin remember that if we want to be completely united with Christ, we need to confess and repent from deliberate sin. When we persist in deliberate sin, the Bible says that we “grieve the Holy Spirit of God” (Eph. 4:30). Thankfully, our confession and repentance will be met with forgiveness (1 John 1:9+). As the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, He also guides us to the truth of forgiveness through the work of Jesus. As He works in our lives, we can expect nothing less than change as dramatic as resurrection (cf. Ro. 8:11).

THOUGHT- So Eph 4:30 begins with an "and" (and in my experience of hearing two live messages on this passage unfortunately some pastors totally miss this simple but very important connection because they don't give "and" the credit it deserves -- EVERY word of God is inspired and is profitable - 2 Ti 3:16+!) In fairness to the pastors, as discussed above, the NAS95, does not translate the Greek word for "and"! Notice that the majority of the translations listed above thankfully do include the "and". What is the problem in verse 30? That's easy = grieving the Holy Spirit. What is easy to miss is "WHY" is He grieved? Context is king in all communication and here the context is rotten words (Eph 4:29+ - "unwholesome"). Paul's point is that if we let "rotten words" fly out of our mouth, we will grieve the Spirit. And the problem with that is we have just "short-circuited" (so to speak) our spiritual Power Source! And then we may really let a barrage of "rotten words" fly out of our mouth (because we have no controlling influence -- think of it this way = we have no "governor" on our speech....like a governor on a car that prevents the car from going over let's say 60 MPH). Notice the chain of events -- rotten words grieve the Spirit which in turn easily (usually) leads to many more rotten words flying out of our mouth in rapid fire succession and aimed directly at the person in our verbal "cross hairs!" (Often one to whom we are closely related - e.g., husband or wife, children, etc) So what is the solution? We need to trap those rotten words BEFORE they escape! Make sense? Pray Ps 141:3+ "Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips." doing so in faith that the Spirit will enable you to "set" and "keep watch!" In truth, the only One Who can tame the tongue of the Old Man is the Holy Spirit! In fact, it is interesting that in Eph 5:18-19, the first word in the Greek text, after the command to continually be filled with the Spirit, is the Greek verb laleo, which means to speak! The first fruit of the Spirit's control is a controlled tongue! 

Guzik - There are many ways to grieve the Holy Spirit. We can neglect holiness and grieve the Holy Spirit. We can think in purely materialistic terms and grieve the Holy Spirit. The Spirit exalts Jesus (John 15:26); when we fail to do the same, we grieve the Spirit.  (Ephesians 4 Commentary)

MacDonald observes as do many commentators that "The fact that He can be grieved shows that the Holy Spirit is a Person, not a mere influence. It also means He loves us, because only a person who loves can be grieved. The favorite ministry of God’s Spirit is to glorify Christ and to change the believer into His likeness (2 Cor. 3:18). When a Christian sins, He has to turn from this ministry to one of restoration. It grieves Him to see the believer’s spiritual progress interrupted by sin. He must then lead the Christian to the place of repentance and confession of sin. (See Believer's Bible Commentary)

Charles Hodge - To grieve Him is to wound Him on Whom our salvation depends. Though He will not finally withdraw from those in whom He dwells, yet when grieved, He withholds the manifestations of His presence. (Ephesians 4 Commentary)

Given that we are to be diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, clearly grieving the Spirit will greatly disturb the unity of the body. In context of Eph 4:29, we need to be very circumspect about the quality and quantity of words we speak to the fellow members of the body (or any of the sins in Eph 4:25-31), lest we grieve the Spirit and damage the unity. 

S F D Salmond - The Spirit is here regarded as capable of feeling, and so as personal. In Isa 63:10 (But they rebelled And grieved His Holy Spirit; Therefore He turned Himself to become their enemy, He fought against them.) we have a similar idea, following the statement that Jehovah was afflicted in all His people's affliction. These terms, no doubt, are anthropopathic (anthropopathy = the assignment of human feelings or passions to something not human, as a deity, in this context Jehovah), as all terms which we can use of God are anthropomorphic or anthropopathic. But they have reality behind them, and that as regards God's nature and not merely His acts. Otherwise we should have an unknown God and One who might be essentially different from what we are under the mental necessity of thinking Him to be. What love is in us points truly, though tremulously, to what love is in God. But in us love, in proportion as it is true and sovereign, has both its wrath-side and its grief-side ; and so must it be with God, however difficult for us to think it out. (Ephesians 5 Commentary)

R Kent Hughes - Do we have the frown or smile of the Holy Spirit upon us? To gain His smile, I would like to suggest a spiritual exercise which can be done alone, but may be enhanced in tandem. If you are married, ask your spouse to participate. If you are single, invite a Christian friend to go through this exercise with you. Take each of the four categories in succession — truth (Ep 4:25), anger (Ep 4:26, 27), theft (Ep 4:28), and speech (Ep 4:29) — and reflect out loud to your partner as to whether this area of your life has the smile or frown of the Holy Spirit. If you fall short, confess your sins to God and each other, and invite your partner to pray for you. Be assured that the Holy Spirit will attend your conversation with great joy. (See Ephesians: The Mystery of the Body of Christ)

Steven Cole - In some sense, God’s being grieved at our sin is an anthropopathism, which means, attributing human emotions to God so that we can understand. It’s similar to an anthropomorphism, such as when the Bible speaks of God’s right hand or His mighty arm. We are not to understand it literally, but the Bible is stooping to our level, so that we can get a handle on the meaning. This verse is one of many that clearly prove that the Holy Spirit is a person, not just an influence. Cults, such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, that deny the Trinity, say that the Spirit of God is simply His power or force at work in the world. But you can’t grieve a force or a power. You can only grieve a person. You especially can grieve a person that loves you. You especially can grieve a person that loves you. (Why Not Sin)

J Ligon Duncan on grieving the Holy Spirit - Those of us who talk for a living are deeply tempted in sins of talk. It is easy to excuse ourselves with gossip and wrong words towards others when we use our lips so much. You pray for me that when I speak I will edify, and I’ll pray for you that when you speak you will edify, because if we were to become a congregation who really spoke for edification, it would be patently obvious to the world around us, because we live in a world filled with gossip and slander and harmful speech. It's everywhere we turn....You will not be able to deal with this sin apart from Christ and apart from His Holy Spirit. You can't turn over another leaf on this one. It takes the grace of God to change a tongue from a harmful tongue to an edifying tongue (Talk, Edification, the Holy Spirit, and the Glory of God)

S Lewis Johnson has this comment on grieving the Holy Spirit - Now there’s some other things that we can say about this. He says, “Grieve not the Holy Spirit.” We know from the standpoint of New Testament teaching, that when we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit comes to indwell us permanently. Paul does not say, “Grieve not away the Holy Spirit,” as if it’s possible for us, having believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, to live in such a way that the Holy Spirit departs from us. No, it is simply, “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God.” We cannot grieve him away. He’s always there. In fact, he’s with us wherever we are at all times. And all of the things that we utter are uttered in the presence of the Holy Spirit. There’s another thing about this word. Grieve is a love word. You don’t grieve people who don’t love you. Sometimes people use words like that. But, to truly grieve a person, what is necessary is that the other person must have high regard for you. So that grieve is a word of love. That is the word that is used here: grieve not the Holy Spirit of God. He is grieved, because we are the objects of the love of the triune God. The God who elected. The God who redeemed us. The triune God who brought us to the knowledge of this redemption and regenerated us, came to dwell in us through the Spirit. So when we say things that are displeasing to the Lord, not edifying, things that are said about others, we grieve the Holy Spirit. A love word. If you’ve ever had a relationship to a father or a mother in which you displeased them, you know exactly what Paul is talking about. My father was grieved, my mother would be grieved with me, because they loved me. So, this is a wonderful little statement, really, “grieve not the Holy Spirit of God.” We cannot grieve him away. And he loves us. (Ephesians 4:25-5:2 The Christian's Use of the Tongue )

Wayne Barber on "Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God." - In context it means don’t become a taker or you have just grieved the Spirit of God Who is a Giver. Don’t let any unwholesome word proceed out of your mouth, or you have just grieved the Spirit of God who is the builder of the church. Don’t grieve the Spirit of God.  Do you ever grieve somebody you love? There have been times that I have said things that have pierced my wife’s heart, not really knowing how much damage it could actually do. This was true especially years ago when I was just learning how to walk and live the Christian life. It’s not as much often now, thank God, as it was then. But when you grieve somebody you love and you can’t take back what you have said and you know now how they feel, that is exactly what happens to the Holy Spirit every time we refuse to put on the new garment of Jesus Christ. It grieves Him. It distresses Him. The word means to distress someone.

The Holy Spirit is not a phantom in some divine opera—
He is a real person with real feelings.
-- Sam Gordon

Sam Gordon - Why should we think twice before we open our big mouths and put two size ten feet in? Why should we change our lifestyle to one that brings credit to the grace of God, rather than disgrace to his name? Here is the answer. Because we do not want to grieve (lypeō) the Holy Spirit. It seems to me that Paul introduces the Holy Spirit at a strategic time in his thinking. He has just warned us not to give the devil an inch, now he urges us not to grieve the Spirit of God....He is a sensitive Spirit. He hates sin, discord, and falsehood—he shrinks away from them. Therefore, if we wish to avoid hurting him, we shall shrink from them too! The fact is that every Spirit filled believer desires to bring him pleasure, not pain!

Only when we give the Holy Spirit His rightful place can we expect a revival in the body of Christ.
-- Lehman Strauss

C H Spurgeon on grieving the Holy Spirit...

I think I now see the Spirit of God grieving, when you are sitting down to read a novel and there is your Bible unread. Perhaps you take down some book of travels, and you forget that you have got a more precious book of travels in the Acts of the Apostles, and in the story of your blessed Lord and Master. You have no time for prayer, but the Spirit sees you very active about worldly things, and having many hours to spare for relaxation and amusement. And then he is grieved because he sees that you love worldly things better than you love him.

Although the word ‘grieve’ is a painful one, yet there is honey in the rock; for it is an inexpressibly delightful thought, that he who rules heaven and earth, and is the creator of all things, and the infinite and ever blessed God, condescends to enter into such infinite relationships with his people that his divine mind may be affected by their actions. What a marvel that Deity should be said to grieve over the faults of beings so utterly insignificant as we are!

Sin everywhere must be displeasing to the Spirit of holiness, but sin in his own people is grievous to him in the highest degree. He will not hate his people, but he does hate their sins, and hates them all the more because they nestle in his children’s bosoms. The Spirit would not be the Spirit of truth if he could approve of that which is false in us: he would not be pure if that which is impure in us did not grieve him.

The Holy Spirit’s grief is not of a petty, oversensitive nature. “He is grieved with us mainly for our own sakes, for he knows what misery sin will cost us; he reads our sorrows in our sins . . . He grieves over us because he sees how much chastisement we incur, and how much communion we lose."

John MacArthur gives us a good summary of the Holy Spirit noting first that grieving "the Holy Spirit indicates His personhood, which is seen in the use of personal pronouns referring to Him (cf. John 14:17; 16:13; etc.). His identity as Comforter, or Helper (John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7), indicates that He is like Christ, who is a person. The Holy Spirit has intellect (1 Cor. 2:11), feelings (Rom. 8:27; 15:30), and will (1 Cor. 12:11). He works (1 Cor. 12:11), searches (1 Cor. 2:10), speaks (Acts 13:2), testifies (John 15:26), teaches (John 14:26), convicts (John 16:8–11), regenerates (John 3:5), intercedes (Acts 8:26), guides (John 16:13), glorifies Christ (John 16:14), and directs service to God (Acts 16:6–7). Specifically in light of this text in Ephesians, the personhood of the Holy Spirit is seen in the fact that He can be treated as a person. He can be tested (Acts 5:9), lied to (Acts 5:3), resisted (Acts 7:51), insulted (Heb. 10:29), and blasphemed (Matt. 12:31–32). (Ephesians MacArthur New Testament Commentary)

Related Resource:

Grieve (3076) (lupeo from lupe = sadness, grief) means to feel deep emotional or physical pain, distress. As used here lupeo means to afflict one with sorrow. The word grieve is a word which speaks of tender love and so it follows that we cannot grieve one who does not love us. We may irritate them or make them mad, but we cannot truly grieve them. 

Sorrow = distress of mind especially implying a sense of loss - deep distress, sadness, or regret especially for the loss of someone or something loved; resultant unhappy or unpleasant state. One dictionary says sorrow is derived from the German sorge = care, concern, uneasiness which is in turn from the same root as sore, heavy. Interesting word picture of this word! The 1828 Webster's Dictionary has this entry for sorrow - The uneasiness or pain of mind which is produced by the loss of any good, real or supposed, or by disappointment in the expectation of good; grief; regret. The loss of a friend we love occasions sorrow; the loss of property, of health or any source of happiness, causes sorrow. We feel sorrow for ourselves in misfortunes; we feel sorrow for the calamities of our friends and our country.

Grief = deep and poignant distress caused by or as if by bereavement. 1828 Webster = The pain of mind produced by loss, misfortune, injury or evils of any kind; sorrow; regret. We experience grief when we lose a friend, when we incur loss, when we consider ourselves injured, and by sympathy, we feel grief at the misfortunes of others. The pain of mind occasioned by our own misconduct; sorrow or regret that we have done wrong; pain accompanying repentance. We feel grief when we have offended or injured a friend, and the consciousness of having offended the Supreme Being, fills the penitent heart with the most poignant grief.

Anguish (Interesting etymology - from Latin angustiae, plural, straits, distress, from angustus narrow) = Extreme pain, either of body or mind. As bodily pain, it may differ from agony, which is such distress of the whole body as to cause contortion, whereas anguish may be a local pain as of an ulcer, or gout. But anguish and agony are nearly synonymous. As pain of the mind, it signifies any keen distress from sorrow, remorse, despair and the kindred passions. ANGUISH suggests torturing grief or dread, such as the anguish felt by the parents of the kidnapped child (Lindbergh's child in 1932 - the "crime of the century")

Lupeo - 26x in 21v - cause...sorrow(1), caused...sorrow(2), caused sorrow(2), distressed(1), grieve(3), grieved(7), grieving(2), hurt(1), made sorrowful(5), sorrow(1), sorrowful(1). Matt 14:9; 17:23; 18:31; 19:22; 26:22, 37; Mark 10:22; 14:19; John 16:20; 21:17; Rom 14:15; 2 Cor 2:2, 4, 5; 6:10; 7:8f, 11; Eph 4:30; 1Th 4:13; 1 Pet 1:6

Rick Renner has this note on the word group lupe/lupeo - Many years ago, when I first studied the word "grieve" in Ephesians 4:30, I ran to my bookshelf and pulled out my Greek New Testament to discover exactly what the word "grieve" meant. I found that this word was taken from the Greek word lupete. This surprised me, because the word lupete is from the word lupe, which denotes a pain or grief that can only be experienced between two people who deeply love each other. This word lupe would normally be used to picture a husband or wife who has discovered his or her mate has been unfaithful. As a result of this unfaithfulness, the betrayed spouse is shocked, devastated, hurt, wounded, and grieved because of the pain that accompanies unfaithfulness. This tells us, first of all, that the relationship that exists between us and the Holy Spirit is precious! The Holy Spirit is deeply in love with us. Just as someone in love thinks about, dreams of, and cherishes the one he loves, the Holy Spirit longs for us, thinks about us, desires to be close to us, and wants to reveal Himself to us. But when we act like the world, talk like the world, behave like the world, and respond the same way the world does, we cause the Spirit of God to feel shock, hurt, and grief. You see, when we deliberately do what is wrong, we drag Him right into the mire of sin with us, because He lives in us and goes wherever we go. The Holy Spirit convicted us of sin and brought us to Jesus; then He indwelt us, sanctified us, empowered us, and faithfully remains alongside to help us. So when we deliberately enter into sin, it grieves Him. Just as a husband or wife would feel who has just discovered that his or her spouse has committed adultery, the Holy Spirit is shocked when we dishonor His Presence in our lives. One scholar has translated Ephesians 4:30 in the following way: "Stop deeply wounding and causing such extreme emotional pain to the Spirit of God, by whom you have been sealed until the day of your redemption." We need to realize how precious the Holy Spirit is in our lives and honor Him by making sure we live holy and upright lives. If our behavior has been wrong, we should confess our sin and receive cleansing by the blood of Jesus so we can be restored to fellowship with the Spirit of God. So before you get started with your daily duties today, stop and ask, "Holy Spirit, is there anything in my life that causes You grief? If there is, please reveal it to me so I can change." (See Do Not Grieve the Holy Spirit! -)

Holy (40) (hagios) is literally holy one and refers to one set apart for a special purpose. Hagios was used throughout the NT to speak of anyone or anything that represents God’s holiness: Christ as the Holy One of God, the Holy Spirit, the Holy Father, holy Scriptures, holy angels, holy brethren, and so on. Paul could have just written "Spirit" but he appends "Holy", which serves to give an added motivation to the exhortations previously mentioned, and most immediately that our speech be holy speech.

Spirit (breath, wind)(4151)(pneuma from pneo = to breath). In Ephesians Paul mentions the Holy Spirit using that very term (Eph 1:13; Eph 4:30) or  the designation of “the Spirit” (Eph 1:17; 2:18, 22; 3:5, 16; 4:3, 4; 5:18; 6:17, 18). These passages would make a profitable review of the supernatural workings of the Holy Spirit in the life of all believers. 


  1. a movement of air (a gentle blast 1a) of the wind, hence the wind itself 1b) breath of nostrils or mouth
  2. the spirit, i.e. the vital principal by which the body is animated 2a) the rational spirit, the power by which the human being feels, thinks, decides 2b) the soul
  3. a spirit, i.e. a simple essence, devoid of all or at least all grosser matter, and possessed of the power of knowing, desiring, deciding, and acting 3a) a life giving spirit 3b) a human soul that has left the body 3c) a spirit higher than man but lower than God, i.e. an angel 3c1) used of demons, or evil spirits, who were conceived as inhabiting the bodies of men 3c2) the spiritual nature of Christ, higher than the highest angels and equal to God, the divine nature of Christ
  4. of God 4a) God's power and agency distinguishable in thought from his essence in itself considered 4a1) manifest in the course of affairs 4a2) by its influence upon the souls productive in the theocratic body (the church) of all the higher spiritual gifts and blessings 4a3) the third person of the trinity, the God the Holy Spirit
  5. the disposition or influence which fills and governs the soul of any one 5a) the efficient source of any power, affection, emotion, desire, etc. 

I love how the silver tongued orator Alexander Maclaren exposits Ephesians 4:30 (below are excerpts, consider reading the entire message Grieving the Spirit)...

THE miracle of Christianity is the Incarnation. It is not a link in a chain, but a new beginning, the entrance into the cosmic order of a Divine Power. The sequel of Bethlehem and Calvary and Olivet is the upper room and the Pentecost. There is the issue of the whole mission and work of Christ—the planting in the heart of humanity of a new and divine life. All Christendom is professing to commemorate that fact to-day! but a large portion of us forget that it was but a transient sign of a perpetual reality. The rushing mighty wind has died down into a calm; the fiery tongues have ceased to flicker on the disciples’ heads, but the miracle, which is permanent, and is being repeated from day to day, in the experience of every believing soul, is the inrush of the very breath of God into their lives, and the plunging of them into a fiery baptism which melts their coldness and refines away their dross. Now, my text brings before us some very remarkable thoughts as to the permanent working of the Divine Spirit upon Christian souls, and upon this it bases a very tender and persuasive exhortation to conduct. And I desire simply to try to bring out the fourfold aspect in these words. There is, first, a wondrous revelation; second, a plain lesson as to what that Divine Spirit chiefly does; third, a solemn warning as to man’s power and freedom to thwart it; and, lastly, a tender motive for conduct. ‘Grieve not!...

And I pray you to remember that however much your Christian thought and Christian faith may be centred upon, and may be drawing its nourishment and its joy from, the work of Jesus Christ who died on the Cross for our salvation, and lives to be our King and Defender, there is a gap—not only in your Christian Creed, but also in your Christian experiences and joys and power, unless you have risen to this thought, that the Divine Spirit is not only an influence, a wind, a fire, an oil, a dove, a dew, but a Divine Person. We have to go back to the old creed —‘I believe in God the Father Almighty and in Jesus Christ His only Son our Lord, I believe in the Holy Ghost.’...


Christianity is intensely ethical, and it sets forth, as the ultimate result of all its machinery, changing men into the likeness of God. Holiness is that for which Christ died, that for which the Divine Spirit works. Unless we Christian people recognise the true perspective of the Spirit’s gifts, and put at the base the extraordinary, and higher than these, but still subordinate, the intellectual, and on top of all the spiritual and moral, we do not understand the meaning of the central gift and possible blessing of Christianity, to make us holy, or, if you do not like the theological word, let us put it into still plainer and more modern English, to make you and me good men and women, like God. That is the mightiest work of that Divine Spirit.

Nothing here about irresistible grace; nothing here about a power that lays hold upon a man, and makes him good, he lying passive in its hands like clay in the hands of the potter! You will not be made holy without the Divine Spirit, but you will not be made holy without your working along with it. There is a possibility of resisting, and there is a possibility of co-operating. Man is left free. God does not lay hold of any one by the hair of his head, and drag him into paths of righteousness whether he will or no.

But whilst there is the necessity for co-operation, which involves the possibility of resistance, we must also remember that that new life which comes into a man, and moulds his will as well as the rest of his nature, is itself the gift of God. We do not get into a contradiction when we thus speak, we only touch the edge of a great ocean in which our plummets can find no bottom. The same unravellable knot as to the co-operation of the divine and the creatural is found in the natural world, as in the experiences of the Christian soul. You have to work, and your work largely consists in yielding yourselves to the work of God upon you.

Work out (present imperative = Make this your life long passion and pursuit beloved!) your own (Whose?) salvation (So here "salvation" speaks of "present tense" salvation - progressive sanctification, growth in holiness - Three Tenses of Salvation) with fear and trembling (Not a shaking fear as bespeaks those who do not know God as Father, but a holy reverence and awe, an abiding sense that He is holy, holy, holy and that we should seek no less of a goal in this short life journey toward eternity, cp 1Pe 1:15, 16-note, 1Pe 1:17-note), for it is God (the indwelling Holy Spirit) that worketh (present tense = continually) in you both to will (The Spirit gives us the desire) and to do (The Spirit gives us the power) of His good pleasure (The net result? Spirit initiated and energized conduct gives our Father pleasure!).’ (Php 2:12-note, Php 2:13-note)

Brethren! If you and I are Christian people, we have put into our hearts and spirits the talent. It depends on us whether we wrap it in a napkin, and stow it away underground somewhere, or whether we use it, and fructify and increase it. If you wrap it in a napkin and put it away underground, when you come to take it out, and want to say,’ Lo! there Thou hast that is Thine,’ you will find that it was not solid gold, which could not rust or diminish, but that it has been like some volatile essence, put away in an unventilated place, and perfectly secured: the napkin is there, but the talent has vanished. We have to work with God, and we can resist. Ay, and there is a deeper and a sadder word than that applied by the same Apostle in another letter to the same subject. We can ‘quench’ the light and extinguish the fire. (1Th 5:19-note)

What extinguishes it? Look at the catalogue of sins that lie side by side with this exhortation of my text! They are all small matters—bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour, evil-speaking, malice, stealing, lying, and the like; very ‘homely’ transgressions, if I may so say. Yes, and if you pile enough of them upon the spark that is in your hearts you will smother it out. Sin, the wrenching of myself away from the influences, not attending to the whispers and suggestions, being blind to the teaching of the Spirit through the Word and through Providence: these are the things that ‘grieve the Holy Spirit of God.’

Many a man has been kept from doing wrong things by thinking of a sad pale face sitting at home waiting for him. Many a boy has been kept from youthful transgressions which war against his soul here, on the streets of Manchester, full as they are of temptations, by thinking that it would grieve the poor old mother in her cottage, away down in the country somewhere.

We can bring that same motive to bear, with infinitely increased force, in regard to our conduct as Christian people. ‘Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God.’ A father feels a pang if he sees that his child makes no account of some precious gift that he has bestowed upon him, and leaves it lying about anywhere. A loving friend, standing on the margin of the stream, and calling to his friends in a boat when they are drifting to the rapids, turns away sad if they do not attend to his voice. That Divine Spirit pleads with us, and proffers His gifts to us, and turns away—I was going to use too strong a word, perhaps —sick at heart, not because of wounded authority, but because of wounded love and baffled desire to help, when we, in spite of it, will take our own way, neglect the call that warns us of our peril, and leave untouched the gifts that would have made us safe.

Dear brethren, surely such a dissuasive from evil, and such a persuasive to good, is mightier than all abstractions about duty and conscience and right, and the like. ‘Do it rightly,’ says Paul, ‘and you will please Him that hath called you’; leave the evil thing undone, ‘and my heart shall be glad, even mine.’ You and I can grieve the Christ whose Spirit is given to us. You and I can add something to ‘the joy of our Lord.’ (Excerpted from Alexander Maclaren's message Grieving the Spirit)

F B Meyer has the following thoughts on the Holy Spirit...


He is not merely an influence; He is a person, and may easily be grieved. The Dove of God is very tender and gentle; and if there are thorns in the nest, He cannot remain. The things that grieve Him are instantly recognised by the holy soul by an immediate veiling of the inner light. They are enumerated here as bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour, railing, with all kinds of malice. There is no secret of the inner life more necessary than to retain the inner presence of an ungrieved Spirit.

But let us also seek to be filled by Him. We have drunk of Him, as Jesus has placed the pitcher to our lips; but we should never rest till He has become in us a spring of water, leading up to eternal life. The Holy Spirit is in every believer; but He cannot be said to fill each. There is all the difference possible between a few drops at the bottom of a bucket and a brimming well; between a few stray flowers scattered sparsely through the glade, and the myriads that make it blue with hyacinths or yellow with primroses.

To be filled with the Spirit was the blessing of Pentecost; but it awaits us all. Indeed, we are here bidden to be Spirit-filled. It is a positive command. We have no option than to obey it. Mentioned in the same paragraph with the love of husband to wife, and the obedience of child to the parent, it is as obligatory as either. Let no reader of these lines rest without seeking and receiving by faith this blessed gift, which God is able to make abound towards us. Receive it without emotion by faith: reckon it is yours: and act as if you felt it (Ed Comment: Note that the present tense command indicates that filling is not a one time occurrence but in fact is our daily, moment by moment need! A Christian is to live a supernatural life before a natural and spiritually dead world, and the only hope ["prayer"] we have of living such an "other worldly" life is by continually yielding to the control of the Holy Spirit. And as Meyer says, we do so as an act of faith, independent of "feelings" or "manifestations", and this faith shows itself to be effective by its obedience to the Spirit's urgings and enablings). (Devotional Commentary of Ephesians, by F. B. Meyer)

Jerry Bridges - DOES HE CARE? Holiness Day by Day: Transformational Thoughts

Try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.(EPHESIANS 5:10)

The good news of the gospel is that God’s grace is available on our worst days. That’s true because Christ fully satisfied the claims of God’s justice and fully paid the penalty of a broken law when He died on the cross in our place. Because of that, Paul could write, “He forgave us all our sins” (Colossians 2:13, NIV).

Does this mean God no longer cares whether we obey or disobey? Not at all. The Scripture speaks of our grieving the Holy Spirit through our sins (Ephesians 4:30). And Paul prayed that we “may please [God] in every way” (Colossians 1:10, NIV). Clearly, He cares about our conduct and will discipline us when we refuse to repent of conscious sin. But God is no longer our Judge. Through Christ He is now our heavenly Father who disciplines us only out of love and only for our good.

If God’s blessings were dependent on our performance, they would be meager indeed. Even our best works are shot through with sin—with varying degrees of impure motives and lots of imperfect performance. We’re always, to some degree, looking out for ourselves, guarding our flanks, protecting our egos. It’s because we don’t realize the utter depravity of the principle of sin remaining in us and staining everything we do that we entertain any notion of earning God’s blessings through our obedience. And because we don’t fully grasp that Jesus paid the penalty for all our sins, we despair of God’s blessing when we’ve failed to live up to even our own desires to please God.

Your worst days are never so bad that you’re beyond the reach of God’s grace.
And your best days are never so good that you’re beyond the need of God’s grace.

Today in the Word - The Wall Street Journal reported that one of the longest civil cases in memory was settled last year by a secret agreement. The case, a libel suit involving a Philadelphia prosecutor and the city's leading newspaper, spanned more than 25 years and two separate trials. The incident that was the subject of the newspaper story happened in 1963, although the article itself was published in 1973. The first trial was held in 1983, and the second in 1990. None of the principals in the case are at the same jobs today; in fact, one of the key figures died in 1989. One has to wonder if a simple plea for, and the granting of, forgiveness would have made this ordeal unnecessary. Unfortunately, we live in a society in which lawsuits, complaints and damages are more eagerly sought (and often more easily given) than forgiveness. But when animosity and bitterness take root in our lives, the results are always destructive. Jesus' warning in Mt 6:15 is a disturbing one, and we should take it seriously. But it's important to read this in the context of the Sermon on the Mount, which we already know is addressed to believers. Jesus is not dealing with the forgiveness that leads to salvation. His concern is our fellowship with the Father, not our eternal standing before Him. Animosity and bitterness between believers stems from a failure to forgive. Such attitudes break our intimate fellowship with God because they grieve the Holy Spirit, who is sensitive to sin (see Eph. 4:30-31).

THOUGHT Is there someone you are unable to forgive? If your answer is yes, you can be sure that you are grieving the Holy Spirit and you are cutting off the supply of supernatural power necessary to live this supernatural life! If you are convicted by the Spirit (even the grieved Spirit will convict us of sin!), then take appropriate action in order to restore fellowship with the Triune God! If you would like to study more in depth about the significance of forgiveness see the articles in the topic FORGIVENESS/UNFORGIVENESS.

A friend of Vance Havner coined a word by combining the words squelch and quench. He used to say, Don't 'squench' the Spirit. (Squelch/silence & quench/extinguish)


Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. EPHESIANS 4:30

The Holy Spirit grieves (is saddened) when believers don’t exchange their old lifestyle for the new one. He is grieved when believers lie and obscure the truth, when they’re angry and unforgiving, when they steal and refuse to share, and when they speak corruptly and lack a spirit of graciousness.

When you were saved, the Spirit of God put a seal on you, declaring that you belong to God forever. Since He has been gracious enough to give you eternal salvation, seal you forever, and keep your salvation secure until the day of redemption, how could you willfully grieve Him? He has done so much for you that, as a token of gratitude, you should not grieve Him. (Truth for Today: A Daily Touch of God's Grace)

Tongue Control   Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God. EPHESIANS 4:30

One day I was talking with my father, and I heard the familiar sharp, ugly tone in my voice as I spoke with him, this most gentle of men. The Holy Spirit sliced my mind with Ephesians 4:29: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs.”

Immediately I gave up tongue control to God and asked my dad’s forgiveness for my words—something unheard of in my mouthy world. I headed home with a new awareness that in spite of my mouth, my dad loved me, just like my heavenly Father did.

REFLECT: Where have your words gotten in the way of relationships? What does it take for God to help bring your mouth under control? Jane Rubietta (My Heart Christ's Home Through the Year )

A W Tozer - Honor God’s Spirit

Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)

I think there are great numbers of Christian believers who ought to go home and go into their places of prayer and apologize to God for their demeaning attitudes toward the Holy Spirit of God.

Included in their numbers are Bible teachers who are guilty of leading us astray. They have dared to teach Christians that the Holy Spirit will never speak of His own person or position, as though the third Person of the Godhead may be ignored and His ministry downgraded!

Jesus said, “[When He comes] He shall not speak of himself, but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak” (John 16:13b).
Jesus was actually telling His disciples: The Comforter will not come to stand on His own, to speak on His own authority. He will guide you into all truth—He will speak and act on the authority of the divine Godhead: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

If you do not yield and honor the Holy Spirit, your lives will not show forth the blessed fruits of the Spirit!

J.R. Miller - Our New Edens: Chapter 8 - Grieving the Holy Spirit Ephesians 4:30

We are exhorted not to grieve the Divine Spirit. So the Spirit is a person, not a mere influence. You cannot grieve an influence. You may resist it--but it will not care, will not feel hurt. You can grieve a person, however, give him pain, and the Holy Spirit is a person with feelings, affections, and a heart that can be pained, like your mother's.

The Holy Spirit is also your friend. You cannot grieve a person who dislikes you or is indifferent to you. But when one loves you, cares for you, is deeply interested in you--you grieve him if you do not trust him, if you do not prove faithful and true, if you treat him ungratefully or unkindly, if you slight or despise his love. There are children who grieve their parents. There are people who grieve their friends. Perhaps there never is love that is not hurt sometimes, many times--we all are so heedless, so ignorant, so thoughtless; such blunderers in living and loving.

Now we may grieve the Holy Spirit of God--for He loves us. We do not think often of the love of the Spirit. We know that the Father loves us, for He gave His only begotten Son to redeem us. We know that the Son of God loves us, for His coming to this world in the Incarnation and all His wonderful life of service and sacrifice for us, proved His love. But we do not speak much of the love of the Spirit. Yet His love is no less than that of the Father or the Son. Think how He follows us patiently and unweariedly in all our wanderings, through all our unfaithfulness, never giving us up until He gets us home at last. Think how He makes us His companions, entering into closest relations of friendship with us.

We speak of the condescension of the Son of God in coming to earth and living in a human body in a world of sin and sorrow, meeting the conditions of ignorance, enmity, unbelief, rejection, and wrong. Have you ever thought of the condescension of the Holy Spirit in living with us, not three years only--but continually? We are told, too, that He lives in us. "Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit." What kind of a place is your heart for the Holy Spirit to live in? Think of all the evil there is in it. Think of the unholy thoughts, feelings, desires, affections, of the rebellions, the insubmissions, the brood of unclean things there are in your heart.

Now into that heart the Holy Spirit comes, not for a transient visit, as when some pure and gentle woman goes into a place of wretchedness and degradation for half an hour on an errand of mercy--but to make His home there--to live there until He has changed all the evil into good. Do you not think that the love of the Holy Spirit in making our hearts His home for all the years of our life--is quite as wonderful as was the love of Christ in spending His thirty-three years in this world? The Holy Spirit loves us tenderly, yearningly, infinitely. Now, we may grieve this Holy Spirit whose heart is so gentle and who loves us so.

Nathaniel Hawthorne had a little daughter called Una, who often made up stories for her younger brother. One day she was overheard telling him of a boy who was very naughty. "He grew naughtier and naughtier," said her brother, "and every day naughtier still, until at last--at last--he struck God!" That was terrible! But there are many, many people who do strike God not once only--but again and again. The Holy Spirit is God. "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God."

We must remember that this counsel is addressed to Christians, not to the impenitent. The exhortation against grieving the Spirit, is for those who have opened the door, admitting the heavenly Guest, and have then grieved Him as a guest, as a friend.

The connection of the words is very suggestive. They stand in the midst of exhortations concerning speech and concerning unlovingness. Notice this reading: "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God." So we may grieve the Spirit--by our words. Jesus laid great stress on speech as an expression of the life. "By your words," he said, "you shall be justified; and by your words--you shall be condemned." Paul's teaching here makes it very plain what kind of speech a Christian should make use of. He should not use any unwholesome talk, which scholars say means rather worthless speech--like the idle words which the Master condemned. What a mass of worthless words, good for nothing, empty, vain, inept, doing nobody any good, are spoken every day! These grieve the Spirit of God, for our wonderful gift of speech is given to us that with it we may bless the world. (Click here to read the rest of this article)

His Spirit fill my hungering soul
His power all my life control;
My deepest prayer, my highest goal,
That I may be like Jesus.

C H Spurgeon - Grieving the Holy Spirit produces a lamentable result. In the child of God it will not lead to his utter destruction, for no heir of heaven can perish; neither will the Holy Spirit be utterly taken away from him, for the Spirit of God is given to abide with us for ever. But the ill-effects are nevertheless most terrible. You will lose, my dear friends, all sense of the Holy Spirit’s presence: He will be as one hidden from you—no beams of comfort, no words of peace, no thoughts of love—there will be what Cowper calls, ‘an aching void the world can never fill.’ Grieve the Holy Spirit, and you will lose all Christian joy; the light shall be taken from you, and you shall stumble in darkness; those very means of grace which once were such a delight, shall have no music in your ear. Your soul shall be no longer as a watered garden, but as a howling wilderness. Grieve the Spirit of God, and you will lose all power; if you pray, it will be a very weak prayer—you will not prevail with God. When you read the Scriptures, you shall not be able to lift the latch and force your way into the inner mysteries of truth. When you go up to the house of God, there shall be none of that devout exhilaration, that running without weariness, that walking without fainting. You shall feel yourself like Samson when his hair was lost, weak, captive, and blinded. Let the Holy Spirit depart, and assurance is gone, doubts follow, questionings and suspicions are aroused. Grieve the Spirit of God, and usefulness will cease: the ministry shall yield no fruit; your Sunday School work shall be barren; your speaking to others and labouring for others shall be like sowing the wind.....If it is unprofitable for us to cause our church leaders to grieve, (Hebrews 13:17), how much worse it must be for us if we cause our God to grieve (Hebrews 3:7–18).

A W Tozer - The Christian who gazes too long on the carnal pleasures of this world cannot escape a certain feeling of sympathy with them, and that feeling will inevitably lead to behavior that is worldly. To expose our hearts to truth and consistently refuse or neglect to obey the impulses it arouses is to stymie the motions of life within us, and if persisted in, to grieve the Holy Spirit into silence. (Renewed Day by Day, Volume I)

Horatius Bonar - He that would be holy must feel his responsibility for being so, both as a member of Christ's body and a partaker of the Holy Spirit. The thought that perfection is not to be reached here ought not to weaken that sense of responsibility nor to lead us to give way to anything that would "grieve the Holy Spirit of God whereby we are sealed unto the day of redemption. "Let us hold to the sevenfold fullness of the risen Christ (Revelation 2:1) and the sevenfold fullness of the Holy Ghost (5:6), for these are the church's birthright.

Robertson McQuilkin in "Life in the Spirit" has a section on Making God Sad - There's another expression used of our relationship to the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a person with feelings—it's quite possible to make Him sad. "Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God," Paul says (Eph. 4:30). Then he tells us exactly the kind of thing that will make the Spirit sad: unwholesome talk, bitterness, rage and anger, brawling, slander, malice (Eph 4:29-32). The first meaning of being filled with the Spirit, then, is to yield full control to Him. Are you a Spirit-filled Christian in that sense? There's no place else to begin. Yet that's far from exhausting the meaning of this vivid word, so in the next chapter we'll consider the other meanings of being filled. But for now, let's be sure our unconditional "yes" to the Spirit is up-to-the-minute current in our relationship. Here's how I responded to this challenge: Holy Spirit of God, thank You, thank You for allowing me to have a personal relationship with You. I really do want You to be the controlling partner in that relationship and I reaffirm today that You are indeed Lord of my life. I'm truly sorry for the ways I've made You sad. Please forgive me. And give me strength to always say "yes" to You in the small things as well as the major choices I make. Let me ever be filled with Your presence and power.

P G Matthew - I am grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions. —1 Samuel 15:11

The time for God’s judgment to fall on the Amalekites had now come. In 1 Samuel 15, the Lord commanded Saul, “Go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them” (v. 3). Then he gave specific instructions so there would be no misunderstanding. God clearly reveals to us what he expects us to do. He does not mumble. He speaks with clarity and authority. So we read, “Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.”

Did Saul obey the Lord Almighty this time? No! Rebellious Saul did his own will, not God’s. He did not act as a servant of the Lord, but, instead, did what he pleased. He edited the word of God, adding to it and subtracting from it. So he killed the worthless animals and spared the best. Most significantly, he spared Agag, the king of the Amalekites, although the Lord Almighty had specifically said, “Spare them not!” Saul could not be trusted with a mission. He would not function as God’s servant. He would not submit to the will of his King, the Lord Almighty.

What did God say about Saul’s disobedience? “I am grieved.” The Lord knows when we are turning away from his word and refusing to carry out his instructions, even though we attempt to justify ourselves by insisting, “I obeyed the Lord.” Such disobedience grieves him.

Paul writes, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Eph. 4:30). Some people are depressed and miserable because they have grieved the Lord. We cannot grieve the Holy Spirit and be happy at the same time. God told Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?” (Gen. 4:6–7). We cannot do evil and expect to be full of joy. If the Holy Spirit is grieved, we will be depressed, and we will not be free of that depression until we truly repent and do what is right in God’s sight.

Because Saul rejected the word of the Lord, God rejected him. Such is the destiny of all who will not be governed by the Lord and his word.

William MacDonald - “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed until the day of redemption.” (Eph. 4:30)

Just as it is possible for us to quench the Spirit in the meetings of the church, so it is possible for us to grieve Him in our private lives.

There is a certain tenderness about the word “grieve”. We can only grieve someone who loves us. The neighborhood brats don’t grieve us, but our own naughty children do.

We hold a special place of nearness and dearness to the Holy Spirit. He loves us. He has sealed us until the day of redemption. He can be grieved by us.

But what grieves Him? Any form of sin brings sorrow to His heart. It is not by accident that Paul here calls Him the Holy Spirit. Anything that is unholy bows Him down with grief.

The exhortation “grieve not” comes in the middle of a series of sins against which we are warned. The list is not intended to be exhaustive but merely suggestive.

Lying grieves the Spirit (Eph 4:25)—white lies, black lies, fibs, exaggerations, half-truths and shaded truths. God cannot lie and He cannot give that privilege to His people.

Anger that overflows into sin grieves the Spirit (Eph 4:26). The only time that anger is ever justified is when it is in God’s cause. All other anger gives the devil a beachhead (Eph 4:27).

Stealing is grievous to the Holy Spirit (Eph 4:28), whether from mother’s purse or from our employer’s time, tools or office supplies.

Unwholesome speech grieves the Holy Spirit (Eph 4:29). This runs the gamut from dirty, suggestive jokes to idle chatter. Our conversation should be edifying, appropriate and gracious.

Bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander and malice complete the list in chapter 4.

One of the favorite ministries of the Holy Spirit is to occupy us with the Lord Jesus Christ. But when we sin, He has to turn from this ministry in order to restore us to proper fellowship with the Lord.

But even then He is never grieved away. He never leaves us. We are sealed by Him unto the day of redemption. However, this should not be used as an excuse for carelessness but should be one of the greatest motives for holiness.  (Truths to Live By)

Robert Murray M’Cheyne Remember, we may grieve the Spirit as truly by not joyfully acknowledging his wonders, as by not praying to him.

Lorriane Pintus offers some interesting insights on grieving the Spirit in the Old Testament  

The Israelites "rebelled and grieved [God's] Holy Spirit" (Isa. 63:10). Psalm 78 documents the actions that prompted God's sorrow. (1) Forgetting God. "They forgot what he had done, the wonders he had shown them" (Ps. 78:11). God freed the Israelites from captivity, parted the Red Sea, provided bread in the desert, and led His people to a prosperous land. "In spite of all this, they kept on sinning" (Ps. 78:32). God lamented, "Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you" (Isa. 49:15). But "you deserted the Rock, who fathered you; you forgot the God who gave you birth" (Dt. 32:18). (2) Grumbling. "They spoke against God" (Ps. 78:19). Daily, God provided the Israelites with the "bread of angels." But they weren't satisfied; they whined for more. Their complaints made God "exceedingly angry" (Num. 11:10). Miriam and Aaron criticized Moses, God's appointed leader. "The anger of the LORD burned against them, and he left them," and Miriam became leprous (Num. 12:9). When God allowed the Israelites to glimpse the glory of the promised land, they grumbled about the great size of the people instead of being grateful for the great size of the grapes. God sighed, "How long will this wicked community grumble against me?" (Num. 14:27). (3) Disobedience. "They did not keep God's covenant and refused to live by his law" (Ps. 78:10). "Again and again they put God to the test; they vexed the Holy One of Israel" (Ps. 78:41). The Israelites' repeated disobedience saddened God. "How long will you refuse to keep my commands and my instructions?" He asked (Ex. 16:28). (4) Disbelief. "They did not believe in God or trust in his deliverance" (Ps. 78:22). Ten times God is described in Psalm 78 as being angry, grieved, or vexed. Disturbed by their lack of faith, God cried, "How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the miraculous signs I have performed among them?" (Nu 14:11). (Ed: As an aside Disobedience and Disbelief are two sides of the same coin so to speak as shown by comparing two adjacent passages in Hebrews - Hebrews 3:18-note and Hebrews 3:19-note.) (See the full article - Discipleship Journal)

Pintus then goes on to note that in the New Testament, grieving of the Spirit has as different emphasis noting that in the OT

"grieving the Spirit was connected to the people's response to God. In the New Testament, grieving the Spirit also includes our response to one another in the Body of Christ. Paul explains this in Eph. 4:29-32 as he illustrates how we can keep from grieving the Spirit: avoid unwholesome talk; build others up rather than yourself; share; rid yourself of bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, and slander; be compassionate. The consistent goal of the Spirit in the New Testament is that we achieve unity by maintaining right relationships with one another and using our gifts to serve the Body. Ephesians 4:12-13 says to serve one another "so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith." Jesus' final plea before the crucifixion was that we would all be one and "brought to complete unity" (Jn. 17:23). Paul urges in Eph. 4:3, "Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit." But the church in Jesus' day lacked both service and unity, due in large measure to the ruling religious sect, the Pharisees. "Pharisee" is derived from the Hellenized word pharisaioi, which means "the separated ones." By Jesus' day it appeared that the Pharisees had set themselves apart because they secretly believed they were spiritually superior to others. Jesus called them "vipers," "fools," and "blind guides." Stephen included them in his description of those who "always resist the Holy Spirit" (Acts 7:51). Why was God so upset with these leaders? The reasons should be of concern to us because we grieve the Holy Spirit if we are guilty of these same sins. 

Pride. The Pharisees demanded seats of honor at public events. They loved the esteem of the people and being called "Rabbi." They expected to be served, rather than to serve. Jesus exposed their arrogance in a parable that portrayed a Pharisee as boasting, "God, I thank you that I am not like all other men" (Lk. 18:11). What a contrast to Paul's teaching in Phil. 2:1-3: "If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit... then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves." 

Self-effort. The Pharisees trusted in their good works to make them righteous, rather than in God. They erroneously believed they could achieve spiritual blessing through the effort of the flesh. But Jesus said in Jn. 3:6, "Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit." "Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength" (Jer. 17:5). "Apart from me you can do nothing" (Jn. 15:5). Scripture condemns all self-effort and warns us to beware of our tendency to act independently of God. "Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?" (Gal. 3:3). 

Resistance to the Spirit. "Do not put out the Spirit's fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt" (1 Thess. 5:19-20). Guilty on both counts, the Pharisees doused the flames of the Spirit by attributing Jesus' works to Satan (Mt. 12:25-32) and thumbing their noses at the Scriptures concerning Christ. The Pharisees' refusal to yield to the Spirit was rooted in their fear of the Spirit. The Pharisees clung to the comfort of the Law, insisting God would never work beyond the Law—at least, not without first consulting them! Jesus was surprisingly patient with their insolence and explained, "Every teacher of the law... is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old" (Mt. 13:52). And "do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets... but to fulfill them" (Mt. 5:17). Still, the Pharisees turned a deaf ear, confident God would work as He had in the past. Their failure to embrace a new work of the Spirit ultimately caused them to oppose the God they claimed to serve. 

Hypocrisy. The Pharisees were spiritual leaders with no Spirit. They professed to know God yet they failed to recognize His own Son. They put demands upon others they were unwilling to accept themselves. Jesus warned, "Do not do what [the Pharisees] do, for they do not practice what they preach" (Mt. 23:3). "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs... on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness" (Mt. 23:27-28). Jesus' final analysis was sad: "These people honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me" (Mk. 7:6).

Legalism. Intellectualism was the god of the Pharisees. Consumed with order, tradition, and doctrine, they so immersed themselves in the study of God's Law and the explanation of it that they ended up missing God Himself! When the Pharisees scolded Jesus' disciples for failing to wash their hands before eating, Jesus rebuked them, "You nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition" (Mt. 15:6). In their zeal for theological correctness, the Pharisees reduced religion to a purely intellectual exercise, effectively squelching the Spirit and eliminating responses of the heart. Emotion was unwelcome, unless, of course, it was permitted by the Law. As a result, their hearts were hardened (Mk. 3:5). Jesus said angrily, "Woe to you... you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness" (Mt. 23:23). Paul, himself a Pharisee, recognized the dangers of legalism and rightly warned, "The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life" (2 Cor. 3:6). 

Consequences of Grieving the Holy Spirit - Grieving the Spirit carries serious consequences. The actions of the Israelites grieved the Spirit, and God withdrew His protection and fought against them (Isa. 63:10, Acts 7:42-43). The attitudes of the Pharisees grieved the Spirit and they were condemned to hell (Mt. 23:13, Mt. 23:33). But the most common result of grieving the Spirit in the Old Testament was simply that He left. Prior to Pentecost, the Spirit was given to selected individuals for a temporary period of time. That is why David, who experienced the coming and going of the Spirit in his own life, pleaded in Ps. 51:11, "Do not... take your Holy Spirit from me." Today, the Spirit works differently. The moment a person accepts Christ as his Savior, he is immediately indwelt and sealed forever by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13-14, Jn. 14:16). We need never question our eternal destiny or doubt God's intentions toward us (1 Jn. 4:16). The Spirit will never leave us, but if we grieve Him, He may temporarily withdraw His fellowship and power. For the Christian who consistently abides in the Spirit, no consequence could be more devastating. We cannot expect to understand grieving the Spirit apart from that aspect of the Spirit's personality that makes Him cautiously respectful of our will. The Holy Spirit never forces Himself upon us. At times, we may even wish He was more insistent, that He'd whack us on the head and shout, "Don't do that... it makes Me REALLY mad." Instead, He quietly, gently, convicts us of sin and leaves us to choose: Will I please Him? Or grieve Him? 

To compile a list of everything that grieves the Spirit and carefully avoid each item on the list would, itself, grieve the Spirit! God doesn't want to immobilize us with a "don't do" list. (Ed: The essence of Legalism! See Paul's strong warning in Galatians 3:3) And, ultimately, we'd end up trusting in a list to achieve our goal, rather than in God. Instead, God prefers that we are continually aware of the Holy Spirit's indwelling presence and sensitive to how deeply sin affects Him, and us. It is good to understand the biblical theology of grieving the Spirit. It helps when we are able to feel God's sorrow over sin. But the surest way to avoid grieving the Spirit is to know Him and walk in a moment-by-moment, love relationship with Him. Then, grieving Him becomes unthinkable. (Ibid)

Quick Check: Are you grieving the Holy Spirit? 

  1. Do you resist God on an emotional level? 
  2. Do you restrict the Holy Spirit, insisting He operate only as He has in the past? 
  3. Are you prideful? 
  4. In the course of your day, do you forget God? 
  5. Are you critical of others? 
  6. Do you look at what God has provided and pronounce it "insufficient"? 
  7. Are you afraid of the Holy Spirit? 
  8. Do you worry? 
  9. Does work weigh you down, leaving you frustrated and exhausted? 
  10. Do you assure others that "God is in control" but fail to believe this yourself? 

If you are grieving the Spirit, CRY: 1. Confess your failure and ask for forgiveness. 2. Receive the grace God freely offers. 3. Yield yourself afresh to the joy of His fellowship. "If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" (Lk. 11:13).  (Ibid)

A W Tozer - HE CAN BE GRIEVED —Ephesians 4:30

Because He is loving and kind and friendly, the Holy Spirit may be grieved…. He can be grieved because He is loving, and there must be love present before there can be grief. 

Suppose you had a seventeen-year-old son who began to go bad. He rejected your counsel and wanted to take things into his own hands. Suppose that he joined up with a young stranger from another part of the city and they got into trouble.

You were called down to the police station. Your boy—and another boy whom you had never seen—sat there in handcuffs.

You know how you would feel about it. You would be sorry for the other boy—but you don’t love him because you don’t know him. With your own son, your grief would penetrate to your heart like a sword. Only love can grieve. If those two boys were sent off to prison, you might pity the boy you didn’t know, but you would grieve over the boy you knew and loved. A mother can grieve because she loves. If you don’t love, you can’t grieve. 

When the Scripture says, “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God” (Ephesians 4:30), it is telling us that He loves us so much that when we insult Him, He is grieved; when we ignore Him, He is grieved; when we resist Him, He is grieved; and when we doubt Him, He is grieved. 

Lord, forgive me, for I have grieved Your Holy Spirit. Bathe me in His love, I pray. Amen.  (Tozer on the Holy Spirit: A 365-Day Devotional)

David Jeremiah - SEALED BY THE SPIRIT Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. EPHESIANS 4:30

It would be nice to be told, when we leave on a long car trip, something like this: “I want you to know that you are going to reach your destination safely and on schedule. Regardless of what happens en route —you may get lost, you may encounter a fierce rainstorm, or you may have a flat tire —don’t worry. I am here to promise you that you will arrive.”

We have been given such a promise by God concerning our spiritual journey. And the promise comes in the form of a seal —the seal of the Holy Spirit. Paul uses language common to the ancient world in his letter to the Ephesians. A seal affixed to documents by kings and authorities made them official and inviolable upon pain of death or punishment. No one dared to violate the terms of a document that bore an official seal. And no one in the spiritual realm would dare violate the plan God has for those He has sealed. As Paul writes, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” (Romans 8:35). The Holy Spirit, dwelling in every Christian, is God’s seal.

Don’t let obstacles along the road to eternity shake your confidence in God’s promise. The Holy Spirit is God’s seal that you will arrive.

  I am packed, sealed, and waiting for the post.  JOHN NEWTON

Grieving the Spirit J. Wilbur Chapman

“Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God.” Ephesians 4:30

Of all the epistles that ever came from the heart of the great Apostle Paul, this letter to the 
Ephesians seems to me about the sweetest and best. It is the epistle in which we find “the 
heavenly places” mentioned so many times; it is the epistle in which we find so many different 
names applied to our Father in heaven; and I suppose it is the letter in which we find the very 
highest spiritual truth presented in all the Bible. But while we find the very highest idea of 
spiritual things, we also find the Apostle Paul turning to give us instructions concerning the 
most ordinary affairs of daily life. Some rules are here concerning Christian conversation. 
Some suggestions are made touching the relation which the husband sustains to the wife, and 
the wife to the husband. Indeed, if one should live in the spirit of this letter to the Ephesians, 
he would do nothing less than live what has been called by some “the life of surrender,” and 
others “the victorious life,” but which Paul calls “the life in the heavenly places.” Paul makes 
all these different suggestions, and then adds: “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God,” as if He 
could be grieved by a wrong atmosphere in the home, or by a wrong use of the lips; and this 
is true.

While many of us would shrink from doing things plainly inconsistent with our Christian 
profession, we would be astonished if we could be made to understand that the way we have 
used our lips has grieved the Holy Spirit.

First of all, the very fact that we may grieve Him proves by inference His personality. You 
cannot grieve an influence. It seems to me that we may grieve the Spirit by even stopping to 
prove that He has a personality equal to the Father and to the Son, for it is so self-evident. 
Yet many men and women do not seem to have grasped the truth of His personality, and thus 
must grieve Him. In the second place, the fact that we may grieve Him proves His 
sensitiveness. In John 1:32, it is said: “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove.” 
The dove stands for all that is sensitive in the family of birds. I have been told that the dove 
has been known to tremble when there was held before it one single feather of a vulture’s 
wing. The Spirit of God is so sensitive that that which has even the appearance of the evil in it 
hurts Him.

This idea of sensitiveness presents to us the thought of His love. If I do not love you, you 
cannot grieve me, but just in the proportion that I love you, you find it easy to grieve me. You 
cannot grieve an indifferent person. You may possibly hurt his feelings; you may anger him; 
but you grieve only the one whose heart is filled to overflowing with affection for you. The 
feeling that a mother must have when her offspring breaks her heart by evil-doing, is the 
feeling — but multiplied by infinity— which the Holy Ghost must have when we grieve Him.

There are several different expressions in the New Testament in line with my text. “Ye do 
always resist the Holy Ghost” (Acts 7:51). I believe that only the unregenerate resist Him. In 
his letter to the Thessalonians Paul says, “Quench not the Spirit.” That may refer especially to 
the life of the Holy Ghost in the church, so that we may quench Him by ignoring Him in the 
government of the church. If we would have a blessing sweeping over our land from sea to 
sea, from north to south, I believe that we must begin by conforming the life of our churches 
to the teachings of the Holy Ghost.

“Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God.” Only a child of God may grieve the Spirit, and that is the 
sad part of it. How many times we have heard these words referred to and read as if they 
admonished us not to grieve away the Spirit of God! It seems to me that we must at least 
grieve the Spirit when we add to or take from any part of revealed truth. It would be contrary 
to Scripture to say that we could grieve away the Spirit. If the Spirit of God comes to abide in 
us, He comes to stay, and there is no power on earth that can separate us from Him, when 
once He takes possession of us. We have been born of the Spirit, and we cannot grieve Him 
away. That would mean a change of all God’s plan for us, for we were chosen in Christ before 
the foundation of the world, and we are kept by the power of God through faith unto 
salvation. I believe that I am a part of God’s great plan for ages to come, and if I should fall 
out it would mean a change of all God’s plans for time and eternity. We cannot grieve away 
the Holy Spirit of God; no, but we may grieve Him.

1. We may grieve Him by disobedience. Disobedience of children always raises a barrier 
between them and their parents. There may be ever so much love in a father’s heart, and he 
may have ever so much desire to pour forth that love, but he cannot do it so long as there is 
this barrier of disobedience between him and his child. The father of the prodigal son never 
ceased to love him, but the barrier of disobedience was there, higher than the highest 
mountain. Never until the son crossed that mountain could the father begin to pour forth his 
love upon him.

(Click here for the rest of this message)

Are You Under A Cloud, Or Following The Cloud?

You may recall that during the Jews’ migration across the desert God guided them with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. The cloud was the visible symbol of God’s presence.

When the cloud moved, it was the Jews’ responsibility to observe the movement and to respond accordingly. When the cloud settled down over the Tent, they also were to settle down. If however, they were inattentive, preoccupied or indifferent to the cloud’s movement, they could easily miss God’s direction and protection.

“At the Lord’s command they encamped, and at the Lord’s command they set out.” (Numbers 9:23)

Responding to the movement of the cloud is a beautiful illustration of our being prompted and led by the Holy Spirit.

Today, the Holy Spirit, like the cloud that guided the Jews, quietly, gently, and unpretentiously guides us … if we are spiritually attuned to His urging.

Depending upon our spiritual sensitivity, we can either be guided by the Spirit or we can grieve the Spirit:

  • “All who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” (Romans 8:14)
  • “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30)

How easy it is for us to be under a cloud, so to speak … fogged in by spiritual dullness and insensitivity to the things of God, thereby missing His leading, convicting, and sustaining force.

So today, are you under a cloud of spiritual mediocrity, or are you following the cloud in response to God’s direction and purpose for your life? (Facts of the Matter: Daily Devotions - Dwight Hill )

F B Meyer - Numbers 19:17—For the unclean, they shall take ashes. (R.V.)

It was very easy to become unclean without realizing it. To touch a corpse, to be in the same room as the dead, to stumble over a grave, was enough to defile the Israelite, and excommunicate him from the Tabernacle with its holy rites. Could anything more graphically set forth the contagiousness of sin? We cannot be in contact with those who are dead in trespasses and sins, or breathe air defiled by their filthy speech, or read books which contain their thoughts, without suffering in some way by it.

This is the reason why, at the end of the day, we often feel unable to pray, or hold fellowship with God: we are excluded from the Most Holy Place, because of this defilement. Indeed, there is only one way of escaping it, and that is in being covered, hermetically sealed, by the Spirit of God. “In whom ye were sealed unto the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30, R.V.).

For this reason also, we should perpetually seek fresh cleansing in the precious blood of Christ. He is represented in this heifer without spot, slain in its prime, whose ashes were mingled in running water to testify their perpetual efficacy and freshness. If the ashes of an heifer availed for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ cleanse our consciences! Ask perpetually for the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ, that you may have access with confidence into the Most Holy Place. The red heifer of Numbers answers to John 13. Let us apply the ashes and the water of purification to each other. Jesus said: “If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.”

The Holy Spirit: Present or Absent?  And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
 —Ephesians 4:30

In most Christian churches the Spirit is quite entirely overlooked. Whether He is present or absent makes no real difference to anyone. Brief reference is made to Him in the doxology and the benediction. Further than that He might as well not exist.…
Our neglect of the doctrine of the blessed Third Person has had and is having serious consequences. For doctrine is dynamite. It must have emphasis sufficiently sharp to detonate it before its power is released.…
The doctrine of the Spirit is buried dynamite. Its power awaits discovery and use by the Church. The power of the Spirit will not be given to any mincing assent to pneumatological truth. The Holy Spirit cares not at all whether we write Him into our creeds in the back of our hymnals; He awaits our emphasis. 

[The Holy Spirit] loves us so much that when we insult Him, He is grieved; when we ignore Him, He is grieved; when we resist Him, He is grieved; and when we doubt Him, He is grieved.  (Tozer on the Holy Spirit: A 365-Day Devotional)

David Jeremiah -  Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

Lord God, You have given me the love of Your Holy Spirit … my Helper. In all my affliction You are afflicted, and the Angel of Your Presence saves me; in Your love and in Your pity You redeem, and You bear, and carry me. But I rebel and grieve Your Holy Spirit; so You turn Yourself against me as an enemy, and You fight against me.

I know that I abide in You, Lord God, and You in me, because You have given me of Your Spirit. Believing, I was sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, the guarantee of my inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession. So I will walk in the Spirit, and not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that I do not do the things that I wish.
Your Spirit also helps in my weaknesses.

Thank You, God, for the gift of the Holy Spirit, who is my Helper, my Strength, my Guide. May He enable me to live so that I honor You.

EPHESIANS 4:30; ROMANS 15:30; JOHN 14:26; ISAIAH 63:9–10; 1 JOHN 4:13; EPHESIANS 1:13–14; GALATIANS 5:16–17; ROMANS 8:26  Life-Changing Moments with God 

Beware Of Warnings (Read: Ezekiel 3:16-21) As my beloved children I warn you. (1 Corinthians 4:14) Americans are getting warned to death. Manufacturers are growing increasingly wary of being sued when their products are misused, so they are attaching warning labels to hundreds of items. For example, a Batman outfit bears this caveat: “Parents, please exercise caution—For Play Only. Mask and cape are not protective; cape does not enable user to fly.” So many warnings appear on items sold in our stores, say the experts, that they’ve lost their effectiveness. While these kinds of warnings may fall on deaf ears, the Bible points out the importance of heeding God’s warnings. Ezekiel’s words in chapter 3 make it clear that a warning is vital not only for the person receiving it but also for the person giving it (Ezek 3:16-21). God’s words must be taken seriously. “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit,” we are told (Eph. 4:30). “Abstain from every form of evil,” we are reminded (1 Th. 5:22). Jesus warned against adultery and lust (Mt. 5:27-28) and against judging others self-righteously (Mt. 7:1-5). The Lord who made us knows how we should live. He longs to protect us from danger. Let’s make sure we take all of His warnings seriously. By Dave Branon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

The devil is subtle, deceptive, and sly;
He cleverly tricks us to swallow his lie,
But his cunning methods we're sure to discern
By making God's warnings our daily concern. —DJD

God's warnings are to protect us, not to punish us.
(Ed: God's warnings are to empower us, not to punish us.)

Beware Of Warnings (Read: Ezekiel 3:16-21) As my beloved children I warn you. (1 Corinthians 4:14) Americans are getting warned to death. Manufacturers are growing increasingly wary of being sued when their products are misused, so they are attaching warning labels to hundreds of items. For example, a Batman outfit bears this caveat: “Parents, please exercise caution—For Play Only. Mask and cape are not protective; cape does not enable user to fly.” So many warnings appear on items sold in our stores, say the experts, that they’ve lost their effectiveness. While these kinds of warnings may fall on deaf ears, the Bible points out the importance of heeding God’s warnings. Ezekiel’s words in chapter 3 make it clear that a warning is vital not only for the person receiving it but also for the person giving it (Ezek 3:16-21). God’s words must be taken seriously. “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit,” we are told (Eph. 4:30). “Abstain from every form of evil,” we are reminded (1 Th. 5:22). Jesus warned against adultery and lust (Mt. 5:27-28) and against judging others self-righteously (Mt. 7:1-5). The Lord who made us knows how we should live. He longs to protect us from danger. Let’s make sure we take all of His warnings seriously. By Dave Branon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

The devil is subtle, deceptive, and sly;
He cleverly tricks us to swallow his lie,
But his cunning methods we're sure to discern
By making God's warnings our daily concern.

God's warnings are to protect us, not to punish us.
(Ed: God's warnings are to empower us, not to punish us.)

Spiritual Aphasia - These things we also speak, in words which the Holy Spirit teaches (1 Corinthians 2:13). Aphasia is a loss of the ability to speak, a condition that results when the message from the brain cannot get to the tongue because of an injury or illness. A similar spiritual malady affects many Christians. They know Jesus Christ, but they never speak of Him. They are familiar with God's plan of salvation, but they never tell it to others. They do not demonstrate the impelling force of the early Christians who said, "For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard" (Acts 4:20). This faulty connection between knowledge and testimony must be cor­rected. Often fear causes the breakdown, or sometimes sin blocks our freedom to speak about Christ. Only as believers rely on the power of the Holy Spirit and forsake their sin can they consistently share Christ with others. Just before His ascension, the risen Christ assured His disciples of power to transmit His message to the world (Acts 1:8). That power is the indwelling presence of His Holy Spirit. Every believer has this source. But if we quench or grieve the Holy Spirit, our witness in words will be either ineffective or nonexistent. We must keep the message of the gospel flowing to those around us who need to hear it. We can't let spiritual aphasia silence our witness.—Paul R VanGorder (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

If we have God's Word in our minds,
He can put the right words in our mouths.

How Was I To Know? (Read: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12) - Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. —Ephesians 4:30 - It was high-school concert season, and the music students were preparing for the big Christmas extravaganza. The teacher had clearly communicated every detail to the students and to the parents—on two different occasions—and the time for mandatory rehearsal was clearly spelled out. But on rehearsal day one panicky mother called during practice to see what time her teenager was supposed to show up. Another called to say, “Oh, we’re taking Tommy to Grandma’s. It’s okay if he misses rehearsal, right?” When the teacher reminded the parents that this required practice had already started, she heard, “Why didn’t somebody tell me? How was I to know?” Just as this teacher was troubled that her clear instructions were ignored, is it possible that God is troubled by our tendency to ignore His clear instructions? In 1 Thessalonians, Paul reminds us that his God-inspired message tells us “how to live in order to please God” and that those instructions have “the authority of the Lord Jesus” (4:1-2 niv). The Lord is grieved, Paul explains, when we ignore His teaching and live our own way (Eph. 4:30–5:2). Let’s make a point to read God’s instructions and then live by them—with no excuses. By Dave Branon  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

God’s Word was given for our good
And we are to obey,
Not choose the parts that we like best,
Then live in our own way.

There is no good excuse for ignoring God.

Are You Losing Power? Ephesians 3:14-21

Little eyes were looking over my shoulder at the gas gauge. Running out of fuel on an interstate highway was no one's idea of fun. There had been plenty of places to stop and get a fillup. If we ran out of gas, it would only be because of my own foolishness. So we pulled into a gas station at the next exit. 

But getting a full tank of gas didn't solve all our problems. We became irritable and impatient with one another. Tempers flared. It didn't take long till we sensed that our lives were not being controlled by the Spirit's power. Only after apologies and a quiet prayer of submission to the Lord was our inner spiritual strength restored. It was as if we had stopped to fill our hearts and minds with renewed energy. 

Unlike my experience of running low on gas, we as Christians can't run out of the source of our strength. We have the Holy Spirit in our hearts, but it is possible for us to grieve Him and block the flow of His strength in our lives (Eph. 4:30). 

As you travel the road of life, do you sometimes face a power crisis? Don't try to see how far you can go without yielding to the Holy Spirit. Remember, He is an unlimited source of spiritual power. –M R De Haan II   (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

His Spirit fill my hungering soul
His power all my life control;
My deepest prayer, my highest goal,
That I may be like Jesus.

Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. –Is 40:31

Grieve Not The Spirit (Ephesians 4:25-32) - I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever. —John 14:16 - If money were missing mysteriously from your wallet, you would be angry. But if you discovered that your child was the one who stole it, your anger would quickly turn into grief. One use of the word grief is to describe the sorrow we feel when those we love disappoint us. “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God” (Eph. 4:30) essentially means not to hurt the One who loves us and is here to help us. For we read Jesus’ words in John 14:26 that the Holy Spirit is sent to us by the Father to be our Helper. When the Holy Spirit in us is grieved by our actions or attitudes, the result can be tremendous tension. The Spirit pulls us in one direction, but the lusts of the flesh pulls us in another. Paul describes this in Galatians 5:17, “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.” If this continues, we may begin to feel guilty and dissatisfied with life. Soon, joy and vigor may diminish within us, only to be replaced by listlessness and lethargy (Ps. 32:3-4). So do not grieve the Holy Spirit who was given in love to help you. “Put away” the bad choices of the flesh (Eph. 4:31), and live faithfully for God. - By Albert Lee   (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Holy Spirit, all divine,
Dwell within this heart of mine;
Cast down every idol throne,
Reign supreme and reign alone. —Reed 

The Christian’s heart is the Spirit’s home.

Listen To His Promptings - After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them. —Acts 16:7 On Friday, my day of rest as a pastor, the Holy Spirit prompted me to call a young single mother in our faith community to see if her car had been repaired. I had some reservations about making the call, but I obeyed. Little did I know that my obedience would help save her life. She said later: “Friday at work I was planning on taking my life; but in a time of need, I believe God was there for me. He had Pastor Williams call me, and just by listening to his voice, I knew that God loved me.” The apostle Paul must have had reservations when the Holy Spirit prompted him and his team not to go into the provinces of Asia and Bithynia. Instead, they felt the Spirit’s call to go into Macedonia to preach the good news. In each situation, they obeyed the Spirit’s promptings. As a result, Paul and his team were instrumental in giving birth to a new faith community in Philippi (Acts 16:11-15). As believers in Christ who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:22), our desire should be to please Him. May we not grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30) by ignoring His gentle promptings. When we obey Him, we might be used by God to lead someone to Christ, to disciple new believers—or even to help save somebody’s life.  Marvin Williams

Holy Spirit, we would hear
Your inner promptings, soft and clear;
And help us know Your still, small voice
So we may make God's will our choice.
—D. De Haan

Make the right choice: Obey the Spirit's voice.

Beware Of Warnings (Read: Ezekiel 3:16-21) As my beloved children I warn you. (1 Corinthians 4:14) Americans are getting warned to death. Manufacturers are growing increasingly wary of being sued when their products are misused, so they are attaching warning labels to hundreds of items. For example, a Batman outfit bears this caveat: “Parents, please exercise caution—For Play Only. Mask and cape are not protective; cape does not enable user to fly.” So many warnings appear on items sold in our stores, say the experts, that they’ve lost their effectiveness. While these kinds of warnings may fall on deaf ears, the Bible points out the importance of heeding God’s warnings. Ezekiel’s words in chapter 3 make it clear that a warning is vital not only for the person receiving it but also for the person giving it (Ezek 3:16-21). God’s words must be taken seriously. “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit,” we are told (Eph. 4:30). “Abstain from every form of evil,” we are reminded (1 Th. 5:22). Jesus warned against adultery and lust (Mt. 5:27-28) and against judging others self-righteously (Mt. 7:1-5). The Lord who made us knows how we should live. He longs to protect us from danger. Let’s make sure we take all of His warnings seriously. By Dave Branon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

The devil is subtle, deceptive, and sly;
He cleverly tricks us to swallow his lie,
But his cunning methods we're sure to discern
By making God's warnings our daily concern.

God's warnings are to protect us, not to punish us.
(Ed: God's warnings are to empower us, not to punish us.)

James Smith - Handfuls of Purpose 

Grieved by the frivolity of men. "Grieve not the Spirit" (Eph. 4:30). This solemn exhortation lies between these other two: "Let your communication be good to the use of edifying" (v. 29), and "Let bitterness and evil speaking be put away" (v. 31). How often is the Spirit grieved by the light and unprofitable conversation of Christians; grieved, because He wishes to teach us to profit. He cannot join in the unprofitable talk, much less in the evil speaking. The Holy Ghost cannot afford to trifle. Why should we? Let a watch be put at the door of our lips. Men filled with the Holy Spirit are solemn men.

James Smith - Handfuls of Purpose 

Grieve not the Holy Spirit. This is an awful possibility on the part of a Christian worker. He may be grieved by ignoring His presence, by unholy talk and temper which falsifies His character, by resisting His teaching, by depending on our own wisdom and strength. A grieved Spirit means the loss of the enjoyment of God's love, the loss of communion which is by the Holy Spirit, the loss of power for service (Isaiah 63:10). Grieve Him not, for by the Holy Spirit are you sealed and secured unto the day of Christ's final redemption (Eph 4:30).

James Smith - Handfuls of Purpose  Observe the force of John 14:16. What can be taken away?
1. The Consciousness of that Holy Presence.

a. This is our Heaven below.
b. We may live in the regular enjoyment of that presence.
c. The manifestation of the Spirit is the fruit of loving obedience and watchfulness.

2. The Power of that Almighty Presence, though not the presence.

a. When we lose that power we become "weak as other men," as in Samson's experience. (Jdg 16:20+)
b. It is the power of the Holy Spirit that makes all the difference between preachers and workers.

Ephesians 4:17-32 Clean Up The Environment

What a frustrating problem pollution is! Everybody suffers from it, yet everybody contributes to it. 

Pollution takes many forms, but one type is often overlooked. Charles Swindoll calls it "verbal pollution," passed around by grumblers, complainers, and criticizers. "The poison of pessimism," Swindoll writes, "creates an atmosphere of wholesale negativism where nothing but the bad side of everything is emphasized." 

A group of Christian friends became concerned about this form of pollution and their personal part in it. So they made a pact to avoid critical words for a whole week. They were surprised to find how little they spoke! As they continued the experiment, they actually had to relearn conversation skills. 

In Ephesians 4, Paul called believers to that sort of decisive action. He said we are to "put off" the old self and its conduct that grieves the Holy Spirit (Eph 4:22,30) and "put on" the new self that builds up others (Eph 4:24). As we rely on the help of the Spirit (Gal. 5:16), we can make those changes in our conduct, our thinking, and our speaking. 

If we want to be rid of verbal pollution, we must choose to change and ask for God's help. It's a great way to start cleaning up our spiritual environment. --J E Yoder  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

What! Never speak one evil word,
Or rash, or idle, or unkind!
O how shall I, most gracious Lord,
This mark of true perfection find? -

Help stamp out pollution--clean up your speech

Warren Wiersbe - We must obey the Holy Spirit’s impressions in our heart. My wife and I have both had the experience of being awakened at night and impressed to pray for someone, only to learn later that the person was facing a crisis at that time. When I have been praying in my daily devotional time and been impressed to intercede for someone or some ministry, I have learned to interrupt my prayer and obey the Spirit’s leading. One day in heaven I will discover what was involved. We must learn to exercise discernment when we receive these impressions lest we are detoured by the spirits instead of directed by the Spirit. If we are lying to the Spirit (Acts 5:3), grieving the Spirit (Eph. 4:30) or quenching the Spirit (1 Thess. 5:19), he will not assist us; but if we are walking in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16), he will not fail us. (New Testament Words for Today: 100 Devotional Reflections)

Warren Wiersbe - John 14:17  that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. 

The believer’s union with Christ through the Holy Spirit is a foundational truth that must be emphasized. Phrases such as “in Christ” and “in him” are used 164 times in the New Testament. Unless we abide in Christ, who dwells in us by his Spirit, we can do nothing (John 15:5). It’s good to have training, education, giftedness, and zeal, but they accomplish nothing if we are trusting them instead of yielding to the Spirit. The Holy Spirit had been with the disciples in their Master, but the Spirit would fill each of  them personally on the Day of Pentecost and baptize them into the body of Christ (Acts 1:5; 2:4; 1 Cor. 12:13).

Consider first the Spirit and Jesus Christ. He was conceived by the Spirit in Mary’s virgin womb (Luke 1:35) and grew up under the Spirit’s care (2:52). When he began his ministry at the age of thirty, the Holy Spirit empowered him for his daily life and ministry (Matt. 3:16–17; John 3:34). Daily he communed with the Father, meditated on the Word of God, spent time in prayer, and followed the Spirit’s leading in what he did and said. He did not use his divine powers for himself but for the benefit of others. The Holy Spirit helped him when he was arrested, beaten, and crucified (Heb. 9:14), and the Spirit participated in his resurrection (Rom. 1:4; 1 Pet. 3:18). If our Lord in all his perfection needed the ministry of the Spirit to accomplish the Father’s will, how much more do we disciples need him!

Now consider the Spirit and the believer. The identifying mark of a true believer is the presence of the Holy Spirit, who ministers to the believer just as Jesus did to the disciples. “Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His” (Rom. 8:9). If we have the Spirit, we will read the Scriptures with understanding and have a desire to obey them. We rejoice at the privilege of worshiping the Lord and fellowshiping with the saints. We feel “at home” in a Bible study or a prayer meeting, and we want to share Christ with others. Jesus taught his followers and the Spirit teaches us (John 16:12–15). Jesus prayed for them (and intercedes for us today) and the Spirit also intercedes for us (Rom. 8:26–27). Jesus gave power and authority to his disciples (Luke 9:1) and the Spirit enables believers today to serve the Lord (Acts 1:8). The Spirit has made each believer’s body a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19–20) and the members of the body tools with which to serve the Lord (Rom. 6:12–13). The Spirit longs to make us more and more like Jesus (2 Cor. 3:18).

Finally, consider the Spirit and the believer in the world. The world cannot grasp who the Spirit is and what he does, because the mind of the unsaved person is blind to spiritual truth (1 Cor. 2:14–16) and understands only what can be seen, weighed, and handled. At Pentecost, the Spirit both filled the believers and baptized them into the body of Christ (Acts 1:5; 2:4; 1 Cor. 12:13). It is through the ministry and witness of God’s people that the Spirit brings conviction to the lost and leads them to Christ. We must demonstrate God’s love and share God’s truth, and be salt and light in the world. Only the Spirit of truth can overcome the spirit of this world (1 Cor. 2:12) and bring sinners to the Savior, and the Spirit must use us to be witnesses.

We must stay on good terms with the Holy Spirit and not grieve him (Eph. 4:30), lie to him (Acts 5:3), resist him (7:51), or quench him (1 Thess. 5:19). If our goal in life is to glorify Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit will help us, for that is his ministry (John 16:14). (New Testament Words for Today: 100 Devotional Reflections)

He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4 

Ezekiel 3:16-17 - Beware of Warnings

Americans are getting warned to death. Manufacturers are growing increasingly wary of being sued when their products are misused, so they are attaching warning labels to hundreds of items.

For example, a Batman outfit bears this caveat: “Parents, please exercise caution—For Play Only. Mask and cape are not protective; cape does not enable user to fly.”

So many warnings appear on items sold in our stores, say the experts, that they’ve lost their effectiveness.

While these kinds of warnings may fall on deaf ears, the Bible points out the importance of heeding God’s warnings. Ezekiel’s words in chapter 3 make it clear that a warning is vital not only for the person receiving it but also for the person giving it (Ezek 3:16-21).

God’s words must be taken seriously. “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit,” we are told (Eph. 4:30). “Abstain from every form of evil,” we are reminded (1 Th. 5:22). Jesus warned against adultery and lust (Mt. 5:27-28) and against judging others self-righteously (Mt. 7:1-5).

The Lord who made us knows how we should live. He longs to protect us from danger. Let’s make sure we take all of His warnings seriously.— by Dave Branon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

The devil is subtle, deceptive, and sly;
He cleverly tricks us to swallow his lie,
But his cunning methods we're sure to discern
By making God's warnings our daily concern.

God's warnings are to protect us, not to punish us.

Acts 16:6-10 Listen To His Promptings

After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them. —Acts 16:7

On Friday, my day of rest as a pastor, the Holy Spirit prompted me to call a young single mother in our faith community to see if her car had been repaired. I had some reservations about making the call, but I obeyed.

Little did I know that my obedience would help save her life. She said later: “Friday at work I was planning on taking my life; but in a time of need, I believe God was there for me. He had Pastor Williams call me, and just by listening to his voice, I knew that God loved me.”

The apostle Paul must have had reservations when the Holy Spirit prompted him and his team not to go into the provinces of Asia and Bithynia. Instead, they felt the Spirit’s call to go into Macedonia to preach the good news. In each situation, they obeyed the Spirit’s promptings. As a result, Paul and his team were instrumental in giving birth to a new faith community in Philippi (Acts 16:11-15).

As believers in Christ who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:22), our desire should be to please Him. May we not grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30) by ignoring His gentle promptings. When we obey Him, we might be used by God to lead someone to Christ, to disciple new believers—or even to help save somebody’s life. Marvin Williams (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Holy Spirit, we would hear
  Your inner promptings, soft and clear;
  And help us know Your still, small voice
  So we may make God's will our choice.
—D. De Haan

Make the right choice:
Obey the Spirit's voice.

D. J. De Haan in his devotional on Ephesians 4:30 asks "Are You Sensitive to the Little Things?" - Sensitivity to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, even in little things that seem harmless, marks the mature Christian. While preaching in a small church in Florida, a young evangelist noticed that his gold wristwatch sparkled in the light. He wrote, "I saw people looking at it. The Lord said to me, `Take it off. It's distracting.' I said, `Lord, I can surely wear a wristwatch that my daddy gave me.' But it was sensitivity that God was teaching me—to be sensitive to the little things. I took it off and . . . never wore it in the pulpit again." It's not always easy to know when God is speaking, because inner urgings may arise from fear, selfish desire, or Satan. Yet if we learn biblical principles through reading the Word, and if we daily yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit, we will gradually come to recognize His gentle prompting. The writer of Hebrews said that mature believers have had their senses "exercised to discern both good and evil" (Heb 5:14). Whatever exalts Christ over self comes from God, and we can obey with confidence. But whatever is unkind, unloving, and self-seeking grieves the Spirit. When we do something like this, we must confess our disobedience to God at once to restore our fellowship with Him. "Lord, make me sensitive" is a prayer that should always be on our hearts.

 When we yield ourselves to the Spirit's control,
we do not lose our self-control. 

Robert Neighbor - The Holy Spirit in Ephesians
    • The Naming of the Spirit (Eph. 1:13, 17). 
    • The Sealing of the Spirit (Eph. 1:13). 
    • The Pledge of the Spirit (Eph. 1:14). 
    • Access through the Spirit (Eph. 2:18). 
    • The Indwelling Spirit (Eph. 2:22). 
    • The Strengthening Spirit (Eph. 3:16). 
    • The Unity of the Spirit (Eph. 4:3). 
    • Grieving the Spirit (Eph. 4:30). 
    • Filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18). 
    • The Sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17). 

The Book of Ephesians lifts us up above the miasma of swamp experiences, into the pure ozone of the life that is in the risen, ascended and seated Lord.

In such a Book we expect to find much about the Holy Spirit of God, because it is He Who makes possible the Higher Christian Life and enables us to scale the altitudes of victory.

With the exception of the seventh statement in the outline above (Grieving the Spirit), there is a steady progression in thought: we are climbing round upon round the ladder of the operations of the Spirit as He meets every need of our Christian experience.

The expression "Grieve not the Holy Spirit" in 4:30, is a much needed warning, and, until victory is found in that realm we are helpless to enter into the blessings of the Spirit-filled life of 5:22.

The Book of Ephesians is divided in the middle. Chapters 1, 2 and 3 are doctrinal; they tell us what we have "in" and "with" Christ Jesus. Chapters 4, 5 and 6 are duty, they tell us how we should walk. By noticing the outline it will be seen that of the eight statements concerning the Spirit in Ephesians, five occur in the first half of the Book and three in the last half.

Personal Declension and Revival of Religion in the Soul by Octavius Winslow (1841)

Chapter 6: On Grieving the Spirit "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God." (Ephesians 4:30)

This subject stands in close and solemn relation to the spiritual and personal declension of the believer: his decay in grace necessarily and painfully involves it. Of all that has been wrought in the believer in the way of conviction, repentance, faith, joy, holiness, etc., the blessed and Eternal Spirit is the sole Author. Great and glorious is his work: yes, but for it, the redemption accomplished by our Lord Jesus Christ, as to any saving effects, would have availed nothing. The "Sun of righteousness" might have risen upon the world in all his peerless splendor; but until the mental eye had been opened by the Holy Spirit, not a beam had found its way into the dark chambers of the understanding and the heart. The Gospel "supper" might have been prepared, the Lamb slain, and the invitation issued; but without a supernatural power working upon the will, the desires, and the affections of man, all would have "made light of it, and have gone their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise." "It is expedient for you that I go away," said Jesus, "for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment." Our views of the work of the Spirit cannot be too spiritual, nor can our estimate of its value be too high. The great danger to which we are exposed, is, not in overrating, but in undervaluing the office-work of the Spirit; not in thinking too high, but in thinking too low of it: and that anything tends more to wound, grieve, and chase from us his sensible presence, than a known and permitted declension of his work, we cannot imagine. This is the solemn and important point, to which the consideration of the reader is now to be directed.

The phrases, "vexing the Spirit," "grieving the Spirit," " quenching the Spirit," " resisting the Spirit," &c., though metaphorical, are nevertheless highly significant and solemn in their meaning. Grief is not a passion in the Holy Spirit, as it is in us, any more than "anger," " wrath," " revenge," are unholy emotions in God, though ascribed to him. In condescension to our weakness, these expressions are employed to set forth God's extreme hatred of sin, and the holy sensitiveness of the Eternal Spirit to any neglect, undervaluing, or declension of his most gracious work and influence in the soul. Properly, the Spirit cannot be grieved, cannot be quenched, cannot be resisted; because he is not a creature, though a person. To believe the contrary, would be to invest the Holy Spirit of God with such attributes as would be incompatible with his Divine glory and infinite perfections, - such as belong only to a weak, sinful, finite creature. But, metaphorically, to " grieve the Spirit" is to disregard his voice, oppose his influence, and slight his kind, loving, and tender nature; and thus cause a withdrawment from the soul - in some cases temporary, in others eternal - of his presence, influence, and blessing. In the case of the regenerate, the withdrawment of the Spirit on being grieved, is for a season only; in that of the finally impenitent and unbelieving, the hushing of his voice, speaking to them in conscience, in providence, and in his word, is the giving of them up for ever. But these are points that will appear in a more advanced elucidation of our subject. Let our attention now be directed to the way in which the Holy of God may be grieved, and then to the consideration of some of the certain and mournful consequences. (Click here for full message)

James Scudder - You Can't Leave Home Without It! Ephesians 4:30

Before I got saved, I foolishly thought I had to work my way to Heaven. I would try and try to be good. It seemed, though, that the harder I tried, the worse of a person I would become. It was quite a struggle.

One of my tactics was to leave "God" at home whenever I would go out and do something sinful. Then I would come back, ask God for forgiveness, and try to do good again. Finally, a college buddy of mine told me how futile my efforts to be good were. Nothing I did would get me to Heaven. All I had to do, he told me, was accept Jesus Christ as my Savior. I gladly did that and my life has never been the same.

Now that I am saved, I can no longer put "God" in the top drawer if I feel an impulse to sin, because God is always present inside of me. As soon as I became His Child, God gave me His Holy Spirit. That happens to every believer at the time of salvation.

Now as I live for God, I must remember that the Holy Spirit is inside of me wherever I go. If I watch a filthy movie, He is with me. If I listen to worldly music, He is with me. If I enter a tavern, the Holy Spirit enters that tavern with me. There is no option to leave the Holy Spirit at home. His presence motivates me to live a holy life. Believers cannot escape the presence of the Holy Spirit.

You Can't Leave Home Without It - Ephesians 4:30
Did you ever consider the fact that the Holy Spirit is a person? He is not a mysterious force, but a genuine person. Not only is He a person, but the Holy Spirit is God. He is a member of the Trinity, fully God.

We often don't like to think of the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Christ because it would make us uncomfortable. Imagine dragging Jesus to the wretched places of this world! How utterly embarrassed we would be! Yet, we actually do drag Christ into some of the devil's raunchiest environments.

In my years in ministry, I've heard many arguments against living a separated, holy life. Why does it matter? Aren't we living in an age of grace?

The fact that God himself is dwelling inside of us is enough reason to me to live right. Sure, we'll still sin. But, to continue to live in sin is to shame God himself.

Ask yourself this question: If Jesus was right here with you, would you be embarrassed if He followed you around for a day? Would there be things you'd try to hide? Would you have to alter your normal routine? Could you take Him to the places you normally frequent? Would you scramble to hide your dirty magazines and filthy movies?

What would Jesus find if He lived with you? Let me assure you that He is with you in the form of His Holy Spirit. The Scriptures say that He is with us until "the day of redemption."

       Wherever we set our eyes, plant our feet, or rest our head,
we bring the Holy Spirit.

When God Feels Pain - If you love Me, keep My commandments. —John 14:15 (Read: Hebrews 4:14-5:3) A men’s group was discussing the reasons for living a morally pure life. One man argued that it was fear that kept him in line. Another insisted it was love. But a third man suggested that it was a love-motivated fear. Yes, he did fear the shame, the disgrace, and the punishment he might endure for wrongdoing, but worst of all was the fear of making his wife suffer. “I’d rather be beaten to death,” he exclaimed, “than to see the hurt in the eyes of the woman I love.” That sheds some light on our Savior’s statement, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (Jn. 14:15). If we willfully break those commandments, we will suffer loss. But it should also matter to us how God responds to our disobedience. Hosea 11:8 tells us that God the Father feels loving anguish. Because of Israel’s sin, He said, “My heart churns within Me; My sympathy is stirred.” Jesus also experiences pain when we disobey. He wept over the city of Jerusalem when it spurned His love (Lk. 13:34). And in Ephesians 4:30-31, Paul exhorted believers not to grieve the Holy Spirit by being hard-hearted. If we consider how much pain God feels when we are disobedient, we will find ample motivation to shun what is wrong and pursue what is right.

O help me, Lord, to be afraid
Of disobeying You;
And may I bring You highest praise
In everything I do.

The highest motive for serving God is the desire to please Him.

BY WHOM YOU WERE SEALED FOR THE DAY OF REDEMPTION : en o esphragisethete (2PAPI) eis hemeran apolutroseos:

Related Passages:

Philippians 3:20, 21+ For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly (expectantly) wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ Who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory (ED: At which time our "redemption" will be complete), by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.

Ephesians 1:13-14+ In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation–having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory. 

Luke 21:28+ “But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” 

Romans 8:19+ For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God (aka FUTURE TENSE REDEMPTION).

Romans 8:23+ And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit (PAST TENSE SALVATION), even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly(PRESENT TENSE SALVATION) for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. (FUTURE TENSE SALVATION)

2 Thessalonians 1:10+ when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day (WHEN THEY ATTAIN THEIR FUTURE REDEMPTION OF GLORIFIED BODIES), and to be marveled at among all who have believed–for our testimony to you was believed.

Signet Rings with Seals to be Pressed on Wet Clay to Mark the Owner


By Whom you were sealed (sphragizofor the day of redemption (apolutrosis) -  By Whom is literally "in Whom" and Grundy astutely points out "with the Spirit” (Eph 1:13) is replaced by “in Whom” to stress the closeness to the Spirit that makes Christians’ disobedience grieve him ." Sealed signifies that God places the Holy Spirit in us permanently as His "signet" (signet = a seal used to stamp or authenticate documents) Sealed is in the aorist tense which is a past completed action. The passive voice signifies that subject, believers, are acted upon by an outside force or power, God (the divine passive). The indicative mood is the mood of certainty which states a thing as being a fact -- the point is that every believer receives the Holy Spirit the moment he or she believes (Ro 8:9+). The good news then is that the "sealed work" (Eph 1:13+) of the Spirit is final and cannot be "unsealed," even though we may "grieve" the Spirit! Amazing grace and mercy!

Notice all three "Tenses of Salvation" are depicted in this passage, for sealing speaks of past tense salvation and in this context day of redemption speaks of future tense salvation and not grieving is our present tense salvation (aka, progressive sanctification, growth in Christlikeness - cf 2Co 3:18+). 

Adam’s likeness now efface
Stamp Thine image in its place.
-- Charles Wesley

Why would Paul mention the day of redemption in this passage on grieving the Spirit? What is the day of redemption? Is it not our blessed hope? Is it not something about which we can be 100% certain? What does future hope do to our present behavior? Does it not serve to motivate us? (all rhetorical questions of course) And so in this hope serves as a Biblical truth which should motivate us to do all we can (even that being enabled by the Self-Same Spirit!) to avoid grieving the Spirit. And so as we look forward to Jesus' imminent return at which time we shall be like Him (the redeemed fully redeemed and like the redeemer! = 1Jn 3:2+), that mindset (that truth) should motivate us to purify our selves as He is pure (1Jn 3:3+, cp this future hope in Ro 8:23+).

The seal speaks of security, authenticity, and ownership.

S Lewis Johnson has an interesting discussion of sealing - This was particularly significant for the Ephesians, because in Ephesus, there was a great deal of trading going on in timber. And it was a kind of center for that. And individuals in the harbor of Ephesus in those days, which was different from the Ephesus of the present time, the harbor would be filled with logs which had been brought down from that inner part of Asia Minor. And when individuals came from the other cities, round about, or the villages, round about, to buy lumber, because there was a good bit of industry in that area, they would buy some of the logs that were floating in the harbor, and they would take a seal. And they would make their particular mark on each of the logs that belonged to them which they bought. And later on, when the time came for them to take possession of these things, someone would come back with the seal, and then the particular logs that belonged to him would be identified, and then taken to the particular place where they were to be used. Well, it’s something like that with us. Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God by whom you were sealed unto the day of redemption. So, the Holy Spirit has been implanted within us as a person who dwells within us permanently, and that is the sign, that’s the seal of our redemption. And the time is coming when the Lord Jesus shall come for our redemption, and he shall obtain his property, and each of us shall have the seal, the seal of the Holy Spirit. So, don’t grieve the Holy Spirit by whom you were sealed unto the day of redemption. I think that that expression, the day of redemption, in the light of the Apostle’s statements elsewhere, refers to the time when we receive our glorified bodies. (Ephesians 4:25-5:2 The Christian's Use of the Tongue)

‘The Holy Spirit is God’s personal mark of authenticity on us, His stamp of divine approval.’
-- John MacArthur

Gregory Brown on sealed - When Christ was buried, the guards sealed the tomb to make sure his body couldn’t be taken out (Matt 27:66). A contemporary example is that of sealing food to preserve it. When we buy food or drink and the seal is broken, we know something is wrong with it. Similarly, God seals every true believer till the day of redemption—the redemption of their bodies. Jesus says that he puts believers in his own hand and in his Father’s hand, and that “no one can snatch them out” (John 10:28-29). God seals believers till the day of redemption. Interestingly, Paul uses the eternal security of a believer as an encouragement not to sin. Those who believe one can lose their salvation often teach the very opposite. They say, “Don’t sin because you will lose your salvation!” Paul says, “Don’t sin, because God eternally saved you.” Out of thanksgiving to God for his great eternal salvation, a believer should not grieve the Holy Spirit.

Future looking should motivate present living. 

Paul emphasizes the great hope (absolute certainty of future good) of this future and final aspect of our redemption...

And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly (apekdechomai in the present tense = should be our lifestyle) for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. (Ro 8:23+)

Comment: This verse describes "future tense salvation" (see Three Tenses of Salvation) which Peter wrote was "ready to be revealed in the last time" {1Pe 1:5+, 1Pe 1:13+, Ro 8:30+} when we are finally freed even from the presence of Sin. Because believers are already new creatures possessing the divine nature, their souls are fit for heaven and eternal glory. They love God, hate sin, and have holy longings for obedience to the Word (not perfection, but definitely "direction!"). But while on earth they are kept in bondage by their mortal bodies (Gal 5:17+ describes the ongoing war), which are still corrupted by Sin and the flesh both of which are still present in our decaying bodies.

Sealed (4972) (sphragizo from sphragis = seal, engraved object used to make a mark - denoting ownership, approval, or closure of something normally done by pressing into heated wax usually attached to a document or letter) means to set a seal upon, mark with a seal. In antiquity people used seals to authenticate documents (Jer. 32:10), and archaeologists have discovered more than 1,200 seals from Old Testament times. Seals indicated not only ownership, but also were used as a guarantee of the correctness of the contents. Jars, sacks of fruit, or grain were sealed

In the secular Greek use of sphragizo, the sealing signified at least four results -

(1) Finished Transaction

(2) A Mark of Ownership -- Buyers of timber in the forests of Asia Minor would select trees which would be felled, stamped them with the buyer’s seal, and floated them downstream. At the port in Ephesus, the markings would identify the logs. God stamps us with His seal, indicating ownership.

(3) A Bond of Security -- Both Daniel’s lions’ den and Christ’s tomb were sealed by royal decree. When we come to Christ, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit, implying security.

(4) An Imprint of Authenticity or of Identity -- In ancient times, everyone’s unique seal, when pressed into wax, imprinted his identity.

Sphragizo - 15x in 14v - Mt 27:66; John 3:33; 6:27; Rom 15:28; 2 Cor 1:22; Eph 1:13; 4:30; Rev 7:3ff, 8; 10:4; 20:3; 22:10. NAS = put...seal on(1), seal(2), sealed(9), set a seal on(1), set...seal to(2).

Day (2250) (hemera) can describe a literal day, but in this context more likely is used figuratively to describe the period of time appointed for the final redemption.

Redemption (629) (apolutrosis from apo = marker of dissociation or separation + lutroo = to redeem in turn from lúo = loosen what is bound, loose any person tied or fastened) describes the payment of a price to ransom (lutron = money for a ransom = ransom or price paid for a slave who is then set free by the one who bought him), to release (of someone from the power of someone else), to buy back or to deliver one from a situation from in which one is powerless to liberate themselves from or for which the penalty was so costly that they could never hope to pay the ransom price. In other words, the idea of redemption is deliverance or release by payment of a ransom. Redemption is the recalling of captives (sinners) from captivity (sin) through the payment of a ransom for them, i.e., Christ’s death.

Related Resources: Word Studies on other words related to redemption...

Barclay writes that apolutrosis conveys "In every case the conception (of) the delivering of a man from a situation from which he was powerless to liberate himself or from a penalty which he himself could never have paid." He goes on to relate that the Roman philosopher Seneca who tutored and advised Nero was "full of this kind of feeling of helpless frustration. Men, he said, were overwhelmingly conscious of their inefficiency in necessary things. He said of himself that he was a homo non tolerabilis, a man not to be tolerated. Men, he said with a kind of despair, love their vices and hate them at the same time. What men need, he cried, is a hand let down to lift them up. The highest thinkers in the pagan world knew that they were in the grip of something from which they were helpless to deliver themselves. They needed liberation. It was just that liberation which Jesus Christ brought. It is still true that he can liberate men from helpless slavery to the things which attract and disgust them at one and the same time." (Ephesians 4 Commentary)

Apolutrosis was used was used in secular Greek as a technical term for money paid to buy back and set free prisoners of war or to emancipate (= to liberate a person from subjection or domination, to free from restraint, control, or the power of another) slaves from their masters.

Apolutrosis would have been a very meaningful term to the first century reader as there were by some accounts up to 60 million slaves in the Roman Empire! Many of these slaves became Christians and fellowshipped in the local assemblies. A slave could purchase his own freedom, if he could collect sufficient funds or his master could sell him to someone who would pay the price and set him free. Redemption was a precious thing in Paul's day.

Jesus answering the unbelieving Jews who claimed never to have been enslaved to anyone (which of course was incorrect historically) "answered them" declaring "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin." (Jn 8:34)

Believers have been ransomed, bought out of slavery to Sin (Ro 6:16), even as was foreshadowed in the OT by the redemption of a bondservant by the kinsman-redeemer (Lev 25:49). (See Kinsman-Redeemer = Goel; Goel = Kinsman Redeemer = in Ruth)

Before redemption we were held captive by Satan to do his will (1Jn 5:19, Ep 2:2) and were enslaved to our old sin nature inherited from Adam (1Co 15:22, Ro 5:12). As noted above a Roman or Grecian slave could be freed with the payment of money, but no amount of money can set an enslaved sinner free. We owed a debt we could never pay, while Christ paid a debt He did not owe.

The redemption of a sinner is only possible by payment of the ransom price, the blood of Christ. Peter writes that believers "were not redeemed (lutroo) with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile (a lifestyle that is without purpose, unfruitful, and useless) way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ." (1Pe 1:18, 19-note, cf 1Cor 6:20-note; Rev 5:9-note)

Jesus explained to His disciples that "even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom (lutron = the ransom price) for many." (Mk 10:45, cp cf Mt 20:28)

I Gave My Life for Thee
Play Hymn
Frances Ridley Havergal
(Her first hymn!)

I gave My life for thee,
My precious blood I shed;
That thou might ransomed be,
And quickened from the dead.
I gave, I gave, My life for thee,
What hast thou given for Me?

 Morning and Evening Spurgeon - All that the believer has must come from Christ, but it comes solely through the channel of the Spirit of grace (cp 2Ti 2:1+). Moreover, as all blessings thus flow to you through the Holy Spirit, so also no good thing can come out of you in holy thought, devout worship, or gracious act, apart from the sanctifying operation of the same Spirit. Even if the good seed be sown in you, yet it lies dormant except he worketh in you to will and to do of his own good pleasure. Do you desire to speak for Jesus—how can you unless the Holy Ghost touch your tongue? Do you desire to pray? Alas! what dull work it is unless the Spirit maketh intercession for you! Do you desire to subdue sin? Would you be holy? Would you imitate your Master? Do you desire to rise to superlative heights of spirituality? Are you wanting to be made like the angels of God, full of zeal and ardour for the Master’s cause? You cannot without the Spirit—“Without me ye can do nothing.” (Jn 15:5) O branch of the Vine, thou canst have no fruit without the Sap! O child of God, thou hast no life within thee apart from the life which God gives thee through His Spirit! (Jn 3:6, 6:63, 2Co 3:6, Ro 8:2+, Ro 8:6+) Then let us not grieve Him or provoke Him to anger by our sin (Ps 106:33+). Let us not quench Him in one of His faintest motions in our soul (1Th 5:19+); let us foster every suggestion, and be ready to obey every prompting (cp 1Ki 19:12KJV). If the Holy Spirit be indeed so mighty, let us attempt nothing without Him; let us begin no project, and carry on no enterprise, and conclude no transaction, without imploring His blessing. Let us do Him the due homage of feeling our entire weakness apart from Him, and then depending alone upon Him, having this for our prayer, “Open Thou my heart and my whole being to Thine incoming, and uphold me with Thy free Spirit when I shall have received that Spirit in my inward parts.” (Ps 51:12KJV)

G Campbell Morgan  - Two ideas are brought prominently before the mind in this injunction, and their interrelationship is very suggestive. The first is that of the character of the Spirit, in that Paul here, with evident intention, employed the full and solemn description, "the Holy Spirit of God," every word of which is full of meaning, while laying the supreme emphasis upon the holiness of the Spirit. The other is that of the deep love-nature of the Spirit, in that Paul speaks of Him as being capable of sorrow, for the simple meaning of the injunction is, "Cause not sorrow to the Holy Spirit of God." The interrelation of the ideas reveals to us the effect which sin produces on the Spirit of God. It causes sorrow. Perhaps no Apostolic injunction, if its force be rightly appre­hended, constitutes a more prevailing incentive to a walk which is in holiness and truth. Thus is created that new fear which is of the very essence of safety. The old slavish fear of God, which was fear of His anger, and of suffering which such anger might bring to us, is completely done away by the manifestation of His love in Christ but now a new fear takes possession of us; and that is a fear lest anything we do or say should cause sorrow to Him. The old fear produces no high spiritual or moral results. This new fear keeps the soul in living touch with the loving Lord and so ensures its growth in strength and purity and beauty. (Morgan, G. Campbell. Life Applications).

Oswald Chambers - You must not debate. The moment you obey the light of God, His Son shines through you in that very adversity; but if you debate with God, you grieve His Spirit (see Ephesians 4:30). You must keep yourself in the proper condition to allow the life of the Son of God to be manifested in you, and you cannot keep yourself fit if you give way to self-pity. Our circumstances are the means God uses to exhibit just how wonderfully perfect and extraordinarily pure His Son is. Discovering a new way of manifesting the Son of God should make our heart beat with renewed excitement. It is one thing to choose adversity, and quite another to enter into adversity through the orchestrating of our circumstances by God’s sovereignty. And if God puts you into adversity, He is adequately sufficient to “supply all your need” (Philippians 4:19). Keep your soul properly conditioned to manifest the life of the Son of God. Never live on your memories of past experiences, but let the Word of God always be living and active in you. (See full devotional The Habit of Enjoying Adversity | My Utmost For His Highest)

.....God always instructs us down to the last detail. Is my ear sensitive enough to hear even the softest whisper of the Spirit, so that I know what I should do? “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God …” (Ephesians 4:30). He does not speak with a voice like thunder—His voice is so gentle that it is easy for us to ignore. And the only thing that keeps our conscience sensitive to Him is the habit of being open to God on the inside. When you begin to debate, stop immediately. Don’t ask, “Why can’t I do this?” You are on the wrong track. There is no debating possible once your conscience speaks. Whatever it is—drop it, and see that you keep your inner vision clear. (See full devotional The Habit of Keeping a Clear Conscience)

C H Spurgeon - The Spirit of God is in your heart, and it is very, very easy indeed to grieve Him. Sin is as easy as it is wicked. You may grieve him by impure thoughts. He cannot bear sin. If you indulge in lascivious expressions, or even if you allow imagination to dote upon any lascivious act, or if your heart goes after covetousness, if you set your heart upon anything that is evil, the Spirit of God will be grieved, for thus I hear him speaking of himself. “I love this man, I want to have his heart, and yet he is entertaining these filthy lusts. His thoughts, instead of running after me, and after Christ, and after the Father, are running after the temptations that are in the world through lust.” And then his Spirit is grieved. He sorrows in his soul because he knows what sorrow these things must bring to our souls. We grieve him yet more if we indulge in outward acts of sin. Then is he sometimes so grieved that he takes his flight for a season, for the dove will not dwell in our hearts if we take loathsome carrion in there. A cleanly being is the dove, and we must not strew the place which the dove frequents with filth and mire; if we do he will fly elsewhere. If we commit sin, if we openly bring disgrace upon our religion, if we tempt others to go into iniquity by our evil example, it is not long before the Holy Spirit will be grieved. Again, if we neglect prayer; if our closet door is cobwebbed; if we forget to read the Scriptures; if the leaves of our Bible are almost stuck together by neglect; if we never seek to do any good in the world; if we live merely for ourselves and not for Christ, then the Holy Spirit will be grieved. (From sermon Grieving the Holy Spirit)

 There are some men of so hard a character, that to make another angry does not give them much pain; and indeed, there are many of us who are scarcely to be moved by the information that another is angry with us; but where is the heart so hard, that it is not moved when we know that we have caused others grief? —for grief is a sweet combination of anger and of love. It is anger, but all the gall is taken from it. Love sweetens the anger, and turns the edge of it, not against the person, but against the offense. (From sermon Grieving the Holy Spirit)

J R Miller - The new man (Ed: see discussion of New Man) will not "grieve the Holy Spirit of God." It scarcely seems possible to us at first, that we could give pain to God. Yet the apostles warned the Ephesians against this very thing. Boys know what kind of things in their life grieve their mothers. The Holy Spirit is nearer to all of us than any mother can be, and has a more tender heart. Let us watch our words, our acts, our wishes and feelings, and all the motives of our life, lest we grieve the Holy Spirit. (Devotional Hours in the Bible)

Nancy Leigh Demoss - Full-Grown Sin - The Quiet Place: Daily Devotional Readings - February 20

Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.—James 1:15

SIN IS PLEASURABLE—no doubt about it. If that weren’t the case, why would we find it so tempting? However, we need to remind ourselves that those pleasures are “fleeting” (Heb. 11:25) and that in the long run, whatever perceived benefits we may derive from sin can never outweigh its ultimate cost.

I have a friend who keeps in his billfold a list of the consequences of sin—things such as: sin steals joy (Ps. 51:12); sin removes confidence (1 John 3:19–21); sin breaks God’s heart (Eph. 4:30); sin opens the door to other sins (Isa. 30:1). He has a dozen or more of these on his list. All terrible things. Whenever he is tempted to disobey God in some matter, my friend pulls out this list and reads it, then asks himself, “Is this a price I really want to pay? Is this a price I can afford?”

Sometimes the consequences of our sin are not seen until months or years down the road; sometimes they don’t show up until the next generation. But make no mistake: sin has consequences. The day of reckoning will come. And when it does, every child of God will wish with all his heart that he had chosen the pathway of obedience.
We cannot persist in foolishly thinking that we have somehow managed to get away with our sin. Rather, we must recognize that one of God’s purposes in delaying sin’s consequences is to give us time to repent.

After years of toying with sin and enjoying its “pleasures,” King Solomon finally came to this conviction: “Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and prolongs his life, yet I know that it will be well with those who fear God…. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Eccl. 8:12; 12:14).

Think of a temptation to sin that you frequently face. Rehearse the consequences listed above, and ask yourself, “Is this a price I really want to pay?”

Remember that whatever momentary delight or relief sin may offer,
it is never worth the cost.

In his devotional Truth for Today John MacArthur writes "The Holy Spirit grieves (is saddened) when believers don’t exchange their old lifestyle (Ed: See discussion of Old Man) for the new one (New Man). He is grieved when believers lie and obscure the truth, when they’re angry and unforgiving, when they steal and refuse to share, and when they speak corruptly and lack a spirit of graciousness. When you were saved, the Spirit of God put a seal on you, declaring that you belong to God forever. Since He has been gracious enough to give you eternal salvation, seal you forever, and keep your salvation secure until the day of redemption, how could you willfully grieve Him? He has done so much for you that, as a token of gratitude, you should not grieve Him.

J I Packer - “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God,” Paul says (Eph. 4:30), and this plea is a witness both to the Spirit’s personhood and to the fact that divine holiness is his nature. As with the first and second person of the Godhead, so with the third: some ways of behaving please him and others distress and offend him. In the second category come bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour, slander, malice, and stealing (Eph. 4:28, 31), and in fact any other transgressions of moral law. For Christians to fall into these sins directly thwarts his purpose and spoils his work of making us Christ–like. Knowledge that our bodies are temples of the Spirit and that this “gracious, willing guest” is hard at work in our hearts to sanctify us should induce reverent awe and quickly shame us out of all moral laxity.

To dissuade us against grieving the Spirit, the Bible calls us to the positive counterpart—to be filled with the Spirit. The words imply a constant obligation. “Filled” conveys the thought of being wholly concerned with and wholly controlled by the realities which the Spirit makes known, and the ideal of life to which he points us. From what source should satisfaction be sought? Not from indulgence to alcohol (the worldly person’s way of raising his enjoyment level), but from being occupied entirely with the Spirit’s concerns. Then we shall have something to sing about, for the gratified Holy Spirit will sustain in us a joy which the worldly person never knows. (Life in the Spirit: A 30-Day Devotional )

Do not grieve the Holy Spirit! (Thomas Charles, "The Operations of the Holy Spirit" 1838)

"Do you not know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?" 1 Corinthians 3:16

"Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption." Ephesians 4:30

See how great is the sin of grieving the Spirit.

We grieve Him, when we take little or no notice of His amazing condescension and love—in coming freely and willingly to be our Comforter and Sanctifier.

We grieve Him, when we make no returns of love to Him—by bringing forth in a holy walk and conduct, the fruits of the Spirit.

We grieve Him, when by careless neglect and unwatchfulness, we fall into those habits and courses which He abhors.

He is grieved, because He loves us and has our happiness much at heart—for to promote our holiness and happiness is the object of His indwelling us. When we put obstructions in His way, and we promote our own misery—how is the Spirit of love grieved!

Let us therefore, above all things, attend to His motions, and beware of a barren and unfruitful profession of religion, and of defiling by secret indulgences—the temple and habitation of the Spirit.

Shall we grieve Him who dwells with us as our Comforter? How unworthy—how base a conduct! Shall we, who have tasted that the Lord is gracious—by our negligence, sin and folly, grieve Him who has come on purpose to comfort us?

Shall we grieve Him, without whom we cannot live, cannot think one good thought, nor breathe one good desire!

Shall we grieve Him, whose presence in the soul is Heaven, and whose absence is a Hell of corruption, darkness, and misery!

Is it possible that we should make such base returns for such love, and be such enemies to our own happiness!

Alas! what is man! In what dust and ashes ought even the best of us to lie down before Him!

Shall we not rather take notice of His love and His kindness, and thankfully receive all our comforts from His hands, and observe His love and grace in every refreshing thought put into our minds?

Yes, shall we not carefully watch and promote all His strivings and motions within us, and cheerfully comply with them, however self-denying and contrary to flesh and blood?

When He convinces of sin—let us set our hearts mightily against it. When He speaks comfort—let us hear Him as the Lord our Comforter, making known the riches of love and grace to our souls.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones - THE HOLY SPIRIT HAS A MIND 

And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what  is the mind of the Spirit.   ROMANS 8:27 

The Holy Spirit clearly has a mind. In Romans 8:27 we read, “the mind of the Spirit”—this is in connection with prayer. He is also the one who loves, because we read that “the fruit of the Spirit is love” (Galatians 5:22); and it is His function to shed abroad the love of God in our hearts (Romans 5:5). And, likewise, we know He is capable of grief, because in Ephesians 4:30 we are warned not to “grieve” the Holy Spirit. 

The ultimate doctrine about the Spirit, from the practical, experiential standpoint, is that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, so that whatever I do, wherever I go, the Holy Spirit is with me. I know nothing that so promotes sanctification and holiness as the realization of that. If only we realized, always, that in anything we do with our bodies, the Holy Spirit is involved! Remember also that Paul teaches that in the context of a warning against fornication. He writes, “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you . . .?” (1 Corinthians 6:19). That is why fornication should be unthinkable in a Christian. God is in us, in the Holy Spirit: not an influence, not a power, but a person whom we can grieve. 

I am going through these details not out of an academic interest, nor because I happen to have a theological type of mind. No, I am concerned about these things, as I am a man trying myself to live the Christian life, and as I am called of God to be a pastor of souls, and I feel the responsibility for the souls and conduct and behavior of others. Wherever you are, wherever you go, if you are a Christian the Holy Spirit is in you; and if you really want to enjoy the blessings of salvation, you do so by knowing that your body is His temple. 

If you are a Christian, the Holy Spirit is in you. (See Walking with God Day by Day: 365 Daily Devotional Selections)

He is tender, He is sensitive, He is holy; do not grieve Him.

Robert Hawker - The Poor Man's Evening Portion

And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.—Ephesians 4:30.

Methinks I would make this scripture the motto of my daily walk, to keep in remembrance more than the dearest friend that wears the ring of love upon his finger, and bears it about with him whithersoever he goeth. And is the Holy Spirit grieved whenever a child of God forgetteth Jesus, and by indulgence in any sin, loses sight of those sufferings which he endured for sin? Yes, God the Holy Ghost is grieved, communion with God the Father is interrupted, and all the agonies and bloody sweats of Jesus forgotten, if there be a loose and careless life. And shall I ever grieve the Holy Ghost by any one allowed transgression? Would not my soul feel shame on the consciousness of it, even if no eye but his had seen the foul act? Wouldst thou grieve for me, O Lord, at such a sight? Can it be possible that a poor worm of the earth, such as I am, should excite such regard and attention? And shall not the consideration have its constant, unceasing influence upon my soul? Shall I grieve the holy Lord by an unholy conduct? Shall I quench those sweet influences which first quickened me, and recompense the kindness which, had it not been called forth to my spiritual life, would have left me to this hour as it first found me, dead in trespasses and sins? Oh! thou holy, blessed, gracious Lord God! withdraw not, I beseech thee, thy restraining influences; leave me not for a moment to myself! Thou knowest that I shall grieve thee, if unassisted by thy grace. Self-will and confidence, sloth and forgetfulness, pride and presumption, will afford an opportunity to the great enemy of souls to betray me into sin, if thou do not keep me; but if thou, Lord, wilt keep me, I shall be well kept. Thou wilt lead me to the all-precious Jesus, thou wilt take of his, and so effectually show it to me, that I shall be prepared for, guided in, and carried through, all acts of holy obedience; and by thy sweet influences, and the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus, I shall be enabled to mortify the deeds of the body so as to live. My soul! be thou constantly viewing Jesus, seeking communion with the Holy Ghost, and crying out to God the Father, with David, “Take not thine Holy Spirit from me;” that I may not grieve that holy Lord, by whom I am sealed unto the day of redemption.

Andrew Murray - THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT - I pray that … he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 3:16)  Pray for the full manifestation of the grace and energy of the Holy Spirit to remove all that is contrary to God’s revealed will. Do this so that we do not grieve the Holy Spirit. Then He can work with mightier power in the church for the exaltation of Christ and for our blessing. All prayer unites in the one request—the power of the Holy Spirit. Make it your prayer. Pray as a child asks a father. “You fathers—if your children ask for bread, do you give them a stone? … If you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him” (Luke 11:11, 13). Ask as simply and trustfully as a child asks for food. You can do this because “God has sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, and now you can call God your dear Father” (Galatians 4:6). This Spirit is in you to give you childlike confidence. Have faith in the fact that He is praying in you. In that faith, ask for the power of the Holy Spirit everywhere. Mention places or groups where you especially desire it to be seen. (365 Daily Devotions on Prayer)

Greg Laurie in "Walking with Jesus" writes about sins against the Holy Spirit -  "How could you turn away from the Lord and build yourselves an altar in rebellion against him now?" ( Joshua 22:16) The Holy Spirit is surely the most misunderstood member of the Trinity. We can at least partially grasp the idea of God as a Father. And certainly, with the help of Gospels like John, we can grasp the idea of God as the Son. But the Holy Spirit is much harder to wrap our minds around. That may be because in Scripture he is compared to both wind and fire, among other things, so we may begin to think of him as an “it” more than a “him.” Know this: not only does the Holy Spirit God have a distinct personality, he also can be specifically sinned against! The New Testament mentions six offenses that can be committed against the Holy Spirit. Some specifically apply to unbelievers, while others apply to believers. Still others apply to both.
1. We lie to the Holy Spirit. Acts 5:1–5 tells the story of Ananias and Sapphira, two so-called Christians who tried to cheat the church out of some money. Peter caught them in the act and rebuked them, telling them in lying to the Holy Spirit, they had lied to God. Immediately, Ananias dropped dead.
2. We grieve the Holy Spirit. This offense applies to believers. Ephesians 4:30–31 tells us, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” The phrase “to grieve” means “to make sad or sorrowful.” When we allow bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, slander, and any type of malicious behavior to take place in our lives, we grieve the Holy Spirit. Are you harboring a grudge against someone? Have you been slandering (speaking lies about) anyone lately? Have you been flying into fits of rage? All of this grieves the Holy Spirit.
3. We quench the Holy Spirit. This, too, applies to believers. The apostle Paul exhorted the Thessalonians, “Do not put out the Spirit’s fire” (1 Thess. 5:19). Unbelief certainly can hinder the working and moving of God’s Holy Spirit. This happened in Jesus’s hometown as the people questioned his authority. We read that “He did not do many mighty miracles there because of their lack of faith” (Matt. 13:58). Quenching the Spirit can occur when the Holy Spirit is leading you to do a certain thing, such as sharing your faith with someone, praying more, or taking a step of faith in a certain area, and you flatly refuse to do it. Has God called you to serve him with your life? Has he led you to do something? Are you doing it? If not, then you’re quenching the Holy Spirit. The list continues with sins that involve pushing the Spirit away.
4. We resist the Holy Spirit. Stephen, as he spoke to the unbelieving Sanhedrin, said, “You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit!” (Acts 7:51). The Holy Spirit seeks to speak to the heart of the unbeliever and lead him or her to God. The Holy Spirit is incredibly patient and persistent, but it is possible to resist all the Spirit’s pleadings, as we discover from Genesis 6:3, where God said, “My Spirit will not contend with man forever.” Apparently the spiritual leaders of Israel whom Stephen was addressing had resisted the Holy Spirit. It seems they were convinced of the truth of what Stephen was telling them, yet they would not yield their hearts.
5. We insult the Holy Spirit. When someone refuses to accept Jesus Christ, he is denying the very mission of the Holy Spirit. He’s saying he doesn’t need salvation or doesn’t believe Jesus Christ can save him or that Jesus’s work on the cross was unnecessary. Hebrews warns, “How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?” (Heb.10:29). Therefore, to resist the Holy Spirit’s appeal is to insult God and cut off all hope of salvation. The Bible poses this alarming question: “How shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?” (Heb. 2:3).
6. We blaspheme the Holy Spirit. This is the unpardonable sin, which can be committed only by unbelievers. In speaking of this sin, Jesus said, "And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come." (Matthew 12:31–32) This is the most serious offense against the Holy Spirit, because there is no forgiveness for the one who commits it. So what is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? Again, the work of the Holy Spirit is to convict us of sin and bring us to Jesus Christ. To blaspheme the Spirit is similar to insulting the Spirit by resisting the Spirit’s work altogether. This sin should not be the concern of any Christian because it is not a sin a believer can or will commit. But for the person who is playing some silly religious game, there is great cause for concern, because this is a point of no return. Where and when this would occur in an individual’s life, only God could say. So instead of lying to, grieving, quenching, or insulting and resisting the Holy Spirit, we should be open to the Spirit’s work in our lives. The Spirit wants to show us our need for Jesus Christ and then fill and empower us to be the people God wants us to be.

Stan Toler in "Devotions for Pastors" refers to grieving the Spirit in his discussion entitled - "Morality"  "Learn as if you were to live forever; live as if you were to die tomorrow." (Mahatma Gandhi). (Toler writes) "He was my mentor for preaching. As a young ministerial student I followed his ministry with great enthusiasm. He could sprinkle the stardust with his oratories. Without question, he will be remembered as one of the greatest camp meeting speakers of the twentieth century. Recently, my hero sat across the breakfast table from me. Having been removed from the pulpit, he was a broken man—a life in shambles and a ministry ruined by years of illicit sexual behavior that had finally caught up with him. At his age there was little hope for restoration to ministry.   

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)

As the tears flowed freely, my fallen preacher hero asked for my forgiveness. I reminded him that I loved and forgave him. I emphasized that God in heaven had also forgiven him. He acknowledged that he was forgiven through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. As I watched him walk away, shoulders slumped, I thought of the mighty cleansing power of God’s forgiveness and grace. I then thought of the people who might never hear one of his inspirational messages because of his sin. I still think he’s the best ever to stand behind the sacred pulpit. I know my hero is forgiven by God—just as you and I are. But the consequences of his sin are a grievous thing. We must never forget this any time we are tempted to disobey God’s Word or the leading of the Holy Spirit. Faith into action - If you do not have a human spiritual confidant, begin to go through the process of identifying someone who is local and a spiritual peer with whom you could establish such a relationship. If you do have such a confidant, when you next meet, share the anecdote from this devotional and then discuss with this person what the ramifications of such sin would be in your world, to your ministry. Pray together for your protection.

Do Not Grieve the Spirit
Ray Pritchard

Ephesians 4:29-32 - “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

That’s Ephesians 4:29 in the New International Version. Whenever I read that verse, my mind goes back to a speech class I took in college. The teacher was a young man named Cecil Burhenn. I think it was his first or second year of teaching. He was friendly and wise and very earnest. On the first day of class, Mr. Burhenn said we were going to take a verse of Scripture as our theme for the semester. He picked Ephesians 4:29, which we repeated every time we met. Back then everything we learned came from the King James Version so that’s how I remember it: “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” What the NIV translates as “unwholesome talk,” the King James translates as “corrupt communication.” The underlying Greek word means “rotten.” It was used for decaying flesh, rotten fish or rotten fruit. The meaning is, “Don’t let any putrid words come out of your mouth.” Or we might say in street lingo, “No trash talk!” What qualifies as rotten speech? Here are a few examples:

  • Vulgarity, obscenity, indecent language.
  • Dirty jokes, off-color stories.
  • Pornographic language.
  • Racial or ethnic insults.
  • Humor meant to insult or to put someone down.
  • Angry outbursts, harsh words.
  • Mean-spirited comments.
  • Gossip, rumors, false accusations.
  • Imputing bad motives.
  • Public criticism of your spouse or children.
  • Yelling and screaming.
  • Threats and intimidating comments.
  • Endless criticism.
  • Quick, cutting comments.
  • Cheap shots.
  • Talking too much.
  • Talking without listening.
  • Condemning others.
  • Exaggerating the faults of others.
  • Excusing unkind words by saying, “I was only joking.”

The Greek construction of verse 29 is a bit unusual. The verse opens with a Greek word that means “all, each, every.” The word meaning “no” occurs later in the verse. That gives a particular emphasis to his words:

  • Every critical comment that comes out of your mouth … not!
  • Every filthy word that comes out of your mouth … not!
  • Every harsh word that comes out of your mouth … not!
  • Every cheap shot that comes out of your mouth … not!
  • Every bit of gossip that comes out of your mouth … not!

Set on Fire by Hell

Why is this so important? Proverbs 18:21 says, “The tongue has the power of life and death.” Every time you open your mouth either life or death comes out. The Bible speaks of the throat as an “"open grave” (Romans 3:13). When there is death on the inside, it will eventually show up in the your words. According to Proverbs 12:18, “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” And James 3:5-6 offers this penetrating warning:

Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

Ephesians 4:29 offers a Christian alternative: First, we are to speak good words that build up instead of tearing down. Second, we are to speak words that minister grace to those who hear them. And we are to do it all the time and in every circumstance. We are to speak good words that bring grace according to the need of the moment. Here is the teaching of the verse put very simply:

Every word … all good … all grace … all the time.

I asked the congregation to repeat that when I preached on Sunday. Take a moment and repeat it to yourself once or twice.

Sometimes we need a friend to remind us to watch what we say. Gordon MacDonald tells the story of a trip to Japan he took as a young man. One day, while walking the streets of Yokohama with an older pastor, he made a comment about a mutual friend. It was a quick, sarcastic comment that was unkind and unnecessary. The older pastor stopped, looked him in the face, and said, “A man who truly loves God would not talk about a friend like that.” Gordon MacDonald said it was as if a knife had been plunged between his ribs. The pain was so great that he didn’t know how to respond. Reflecting on that experience 20 years later, he remarked that the memory of those searing words had helped him 10,000 times when he was tempted to make a critical comment about a family member, a friend, a colleague or someone he knew casually. Many of us need to take that story to heart. “A man who truly loves God would not talk about a friend like that.”

We all have our excuses for what we say, don’t we? We’re tired or we’re provoked or we weren’t thinking or we didn’t mean it or it’s true so we said it. On and on we go, justifying our verbal diarrhea. We all have people in our lives that drive us nuts. Some people just seem to have the “spiritual gift” of irritation. They know how to get under our skin. It might be a friend or a spouse or our children. It certainly could be an ex-husband or an ex-wife. (When I mentioned your ex-husband or wife, someone in the congregation called out, Yes!)

What is God saying to us? No more stinking speech!

Grieving the Holy Spirit

Paul mentions the sad consequence of our unkind words in Eph 4:30: “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”

Did you know that you could grieve the Holy Spirit who lives within you? The word “grieve” comes from a Greek word that signifies deep emotion. You can only grieve a close friend or a loved one. You can’t grieve a stranger you meet on the street. You can irritate a stranger and you can offend a casual acquaintance, but you can only grieve someone very close to you. As usual, Paul’s advice is both practical and profound. We tend to talk a lot about interpersonal problems, as if the greatest issue in life is how we relate to other people. But verse 30 reminds us that our primary relationship is always with God. And it is possible to grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You can make the Spirit weep because of your thoughtless words.

Here’s the reason: The Holy Spirit not only lives in you. He also lives in the Christian brother or sister you just slandered with your lips. Evil speech destroys Christian unity. Last night I read a bit of D. L. Moody on this topic. He commented that he had never known God to bless a church where the Lord’s people were divided. This is a word we need to hear today. This is God’s Word to Calvary Memorial Church and to every church. We tolerate and sometimes even encourage a thoughtless attitude in the way we speak to each other and about each other.

Every time I speak carelessly, I hurt at least three people: The person I speak carelessly about. Myself. The Holy Spirit. Every time I open my mouth, one of two things will happen:  I build someone up, or  I tear someone down.

This does not mean that we will never say anything hard or difficult. The warning goes to motive or purpose and must be judged by the context. Proverbs 27:6 reminds us that “faithful are the wounds of a friend” (KJV). Sometimes true friends “wound” each other in order to bring healing. Just as a doctor must sometimes cut us in surgery in order to remove what is killing us, true friends sometimes say things that aren’t easy to hear. But in those cases, true friends first remove the telephone pole from their own eye before they remove the speck of sawdust from someone else’s eye.

Rotten Attitudes

We grieve the Spirit first by rotten speech (Eph 4:29) and second by rotten attitudes (Eph 4:31). But these two things are not separate. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. Whatever is in the heart must eventually come out in the words we say. Whatever is down in the well will come up in the bucket sooner or later. “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice” (v. 31). These words describe a collection of wrong attitudes that corrode the soul from the inside out. They produce a spiritual jaundice that colors all we see. None of us is immune. Taken together, they form a kind of spiritual staircase of ascending evil. First there is bitterness, a word that means “pointed” or “sharp,” referring to the pain we feel when we think we’ve been mistreated. It speaks to a deep emotional reaction that keeps us from thinking clearly. If we dwell in bitterness long enough, it produces a wounded spirit and a hard heart.

The second step is wrath, a word that originally meant to snort. It has the idea of the nostrils being flared in anger. This is hot-tempered anger that explodes under the slightest provocation. We use the same image when we speak of someone being all steamed up, with smoke coming out his ears.

That leads to anger, the third step. This word speaks of a settled condition of the heart. Did you ever know a person who was angry all the time? I noticed on Sunday that when I asked that question in one of the services, two young girls nodded their heads vigorously. I wonder whom they were thinking about. Such a person seems to be angry all the time. They get up angry, they shower angry, they eat breakfast angry, they go to work angry, they come home angry, they watch TV angry, and they go to bed angry. And when they are happy, that makes them angry. Nothing pleases a person like that. Anger leads to jealousy, harsh words, and it can even lead to murder.

Angry people usually express themselves in brawling or clamor, the fourth step. The word means to raise your voice. It includes all forms of physical and verbal intimidation. It has the idea of shouting back and forth during a quarrel. How many arguments could be avoided if we didn’t raise our voices. “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).

Slander is the final step. Paul uses a very strong word to describe this form of evil speaking. It means to make false accusations about someone or to offer vague insinuations that make another person look worse than they really are. We can slander with our words, with a lifted eyebrow, with an unfinished sentence, with a rhetorical question left dangling in the air, or by quoting someone but taking their words and twisting them into something sinister. We can slander through insults, ridicule, cruel jokes, taunts, unkind nicknames, rumors, mocking, belittling, or by passing unfair and hasty judgment. In legal terms this is called “defamation of character.”

Words give us control over others. We all feel better if we can name something. Every word we say impacts our relationships for good or for ill. Once a slanderous word escapes our lips, our relationship is changed forever. It can never be the same again.

This was the particular sin of those who crucified Jesus. They mocked him and lied about him and falsely accused him. As a result of their slander, the Son of God was crucified. When you slander someone, you join with those who crucified our Lord.

Stairway to Hell

Malice, the final word, describes an underlying attitude of ill will. It’s a general dislike of others. Malice can be described as congealed hatred. A malicious person can’t get along with anyone.

Note the progression in the first five rotten attitudes:

  • Slander
  • Clamor
  • Anger
  • Wrath
  • Bitterness

What starts in the heart ends up on the lips. What begins with bitterness ends with slander. We think, we feel, and then we speak. What starts as a grievance becomes an outburst of wrath that hardens into anger that expresses itself in clamor and ultimately as slander. Malice marks such a person through and though. And it all starts with personal hurt that becomes bitterness. Stop it at the first and you won’t have to stop it at the last. That’s why Proverbs 4:23 reminds us to “guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.”

We are doing Satan’s work when we climb that staircase. Every step is a step for him.

Note that Paul says to get rid of “all” these wrong attitudes:

  • No root of bitterness.
  • No symptoms of wrath.
  • No trace of anger.
  • No echo of clamor.
  • No slime of slander.
  • No dregs of malice.

As long we harbor these things within, the Holy Spirit weeps inside us.

From God to Us to Others

Those things must go … and be replaced with something much better. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Eph 4:32).

Kindness speaks of gentleness in the face of provocation. It reaches out to the unworthy and withholds punishment even when it is deserved. Kindness is daring and dangerous because some mistake it for weakness. It is “the oil that lubricates the machinery of life.”

Compassionate comes from a word that means “good intestines” because the ancients thought the intestines and the bowels were the seat of the emotions. We mean something similar when we speak of a belly laugh. Compassion says, “I will care for you and I will not shut you out.”

The key to forgiveness is the middle syllable—give. Forgiveness is a gift we give to those who don’t deserve it. Note that verse 32 starts with us and ends with God. We are kind, compassionate and forgiving to others because that’s how God has treated us.

From God … to us … to others.

We do for others what God has done for us. We have been forgiven; we know what it is like. Now do the same for others. We are not left to wonder what it means to forgive those who have hurt us.

You cannot understand God’s love unless you go to the cross.

You cannot understand the cross unless you see in it God’s love.

His death became a sacrifice that was a sweet aroma to the Father (Ephesians 5:1-2). Man’s murder became God’s sacrifice. A heinous crime paid an impossible debt. Through the death of an innocent man, we the guilty go free. If we had been there, the stench of death would have overwhelmed us, but the cross smelled good to the Father. The work of salvation was finally done:

See, from his hands, his feet, his head
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love or sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

This text ties the most practical spiritual duties with the loftiest spiritual truths:

  • No more trash talk.
  • No more bitterness.
  • No more wrath.
  • No more anger.
  • No more clamor.
  • No more slander.
  • No more malice.
  • No more making the Spirit weep within you.

Pastor Demitri

God asks us to do what he has already done for us. We are not to forgive in order to be forgiven. We forgive because we have been forgiven. Last weekend Marlene and I drove to Camp Forest Springs in northern Wisconsin for their Memorial Weekend Family Conference. I spoke five times on forgiveness. During each session a tall woman sat directly in front of me. After one message she introduced herself and told me a bit of her story, which included her own struggles with forgiveness. I received the following letter this week:

May 31, 2005

Dear Pastor Pritchard,

I left Camp Forest Springs with a full heart yesterday. Thank you for your ministry among us. I am the tall woman who sat pretty much front and center to you. Your last message was deeply challenging to me to go beyond just forgiving to the point of neutrality. Since Christ commanded that we be proactive in this matter, it can only be done by his power. Humanly speaking I am bankrupt. Just where he wants me.

Then she added a little smiley face in the text.

I carried the enclosed article around in my Bible for several years. I can’t tell you how many times I have read and reread it. I want you to have a copy for your illustration file.

She enclosed a photocopy of an article by Richard Wurmbrand published in the December 1998 issue of Voice of the Martyrs. Pastor Wurmbrand spent 14 years in a communist jail in Romania. This is part of what he wrote:

Let me tell you about a man who was in prison with me. Demitri was a pastor whose backbone had been beaten with a hammer. When certain vertebra was hit, he was paralyzed so that he could only move his neck.

You can imagine what a tragedy this was. If he had been in a home or hospital, he would have had a wife, mother, or nurse to take care of him. How would we take care of him? There was no running water to wash him, no linen to change him. He lay there in his human waste. He could not stretch out his hands to drink a cup of water. The others who could walk and work were taken to slave labor during the day. When they came back in the evening, he had to wait for them to help him drink a cup of water.

He lay like this in prison for a couple of years. It was hell on earth. Then in December 1989, Romania had a revolution and the dictator Ceausescu was overturned. Freedom came and Demitri was released from prison to be with his family and friends. No doctor could help him, but now he had loving hands to help him. He still could not move hand or foot.

One day someone knocked at his door. It was the Communist who had crippled him. He said, “Sir, don’t believe that I have come to ask forgiveness from you. For what I have done, there is no forgiveness, not on earth or in heaven. You are not the only one I have tortured like this. You cannot forgive me; nobody can forgive me. Not even God. My crime is much too great. I have come only to tell you that I am sorry about what I have done. From you I go to hang myself. That is all.” He turned to leave.

The paralyzed brother Demitri said to him, “Sir, in all these years I have not been so sorry as I am now, that I cannot move my arms. I would like to stretch them out to you and embrace you. For years I have prayed for you every day. I love you with all my heart. You are forgiven.”

Demitri had learned love from Jesus who called Judas “friend,” who prayed for those who crucified him, and who accepted Saul of Tarsus, the persecutor, and made him an apostle.

Our faith in Jesus means imitating him. Jesus, as often as he met a sinner, did not reproach him. He took that man’s sin upon himself and suffered on the cross for the sin.

If you want to know what love is like, go to Golgotha and fix your eyes on the man hanging from the center cross. Study what he did and you will know true love.

Then go and do for others what God has done for you.

But you say, “I can’t do that. You don’t know what they did to me.” What if God treated you as you treat others? You’d be in hell already.

What if God were as unkind and unmerciful as you are? What if he kept a record of your sins? You’d never get within a million miles of heaven.

“I’m going to trash him like he trashed me.” What if God said that about you?

“I don’t know how much I can take?” Just go as far as Jesus went for you.

Do you want to know what troubles me most about this text with its warning against rotten speech and rotten attitudes that grieve the Spirit? I see far too much of myself in it. It is so easy for us to be unkind and ungracious. Between the second and third services on Sunday, I found myself in the Portico talking with a friend. He made some quip about a third person who was not present and I made a quip back—a comment that I should not have made. As my friend walked away, I felt immediately pricked in my conscience. Even after preaching this sermon twice, I found it all too easy to violate the very thing I was trying to say to others. So I confess my own weakness and ask the Lord to baptize my mouth, sanctify my lips, and transform my heart.

Maybe you need the same thing. Perhaps you need to have a heart-to-heart talk with the Lord and then with others close to you. After the first service, a woman came up to me with tears and said, “Pastor, I’ve been so hard on my children. I’m going to go home, get them all together, and ask for their forgiveness.” That’s hard to do, but it’s also the path of true spiritual liberation.

Whatever God tells you to do, do it. Stop making the Holy Spirit weep because of your unkind words and your inner ugliness. Cry out to God for his help. Ask the Lord to open your eyes and see the uncleanness within. Pray for a fresh vision of Jesus dying for you.

Do not grieve the Holy Spirit any longer. This is the word of the Lord. Amen. Do Not Grieve the Spirit - Keep Believing Ministries

Ephesians 4:30

  • James Smith in Handfuls of Purpose

It is solemnly possible to grieve the Holy Spirit, because He is a gracious, loving, tender Personality. It is not possible to grieve or vex a mere influence. The wind bloweth where it listeth, you cannot grieve the wind; but the breath of the Holy Spirit is the breathings of the very heart of God. All the attributes of God are attributed to the Holy Spirit. He is the Spirit of truth, of wisdom, of life, and of power. To grieve Him is to hinder His loving and merciful operations in the heart, and thereby impoverish our lives, and stultify our most earnest efforts in the service of Christ.

I. By Unholy and Profitless Talk (see Eph 4:29, 31). Communications that are not "to the use of edifying," but which have a corrupting influence must be a grief to Him who is "Holy," and who has come to take the things which belong to the incorruptible Christ and show them to us. The Spirit of Truth can have no fellowship with frivolous talk and evil speaking.

II. By Ignoring His Presence. If our earthly friends dealt with us as we often deal with the Holy Spirit, we would be sorely offended. To live in the same house with one and be seldom recognised must be a great hardship. Mutual recognition is absolutely essential to the maintenance of real friendship. Don't grieve Him by the coldness of forgetfuness.

III. By Rejecting His Teaching. It was by rebelling against His leading that Israel "vexed His Holy Spirit" (Isa. 63:10). The Spirit is ever seeking to lead us into the truth as it is in Jesus, that we might be sanctified and made meet for His use. We grieve the Spirit, when through prejudice or unbelief, we refuse to accept His teaching, or to obey His leading. If we are not growing in grace, and in the knowledge of God, we may well suspect ourselves of disobedience to the Lord the Spirit. It must be a great grief to Him that His gracious work should in any way be hindered in us or through us, as Christ is dishonoured thereby, and His chief purpose is to glorify Him.

IV. By Conniving at Things which He Hates. The Holy Spirit is opposed to sin in every form. All worldliness and self-seeking are antagonistic to His nature and mission. If we found any of our personal friends winking secretly at things which they knew our souls abhorred, how deeply we would be grieved at such a discovery. Are we more sensitive than the Holy Spirit is? If we are ashamed to rebuke what He rebukes, and to exalt what He exalts, then we are not in the fellowship of the Spirit. Grieve not the Spirit by encouraging the ungodly in their sin. Remember Samson.

V. By Grieving the Children of God. Uncharitable thinking which leads to uncharitable speaking, must grieve Him who is the Spirit of love and of unity. Whatever tends to alienate the affections of God's people, one from another, is a striving against the workings of the Holy Ghost. "That they all may be one," was the prayer of Christ. "That they all may be one," is the purpose of the Spirit. To hinder this oneness is to grieve the Spirit by marring the unity of the Body, which He is so eager to maintain.

VI. By Serving the Lord in Our Own Strength. The Holy Spirit has come that we might have power to witness for Christ; to speak and labour in our own strength is a denial of His mission, and must be a great grief to His heart. How very sad it must be to the mighty Holy Spirit to see the servants of Christ, whom He has come to empower, substituting fleshly energy and worldly policy for His subduing, quickening presence. "When the Spirit is grieved by such self-assertiveness, the evidence of it is apparent in a formal, fruitless life. A grieved Spirit not only means a powerless testimony, but also a lack of the enjoyment of the love of God in the heart. If this love is to be shed abroad in our hearts, we need the communion of the Holy Spirit; this we cannot have if our manner of life and service is opposed to His mind and will. We may have our lamps, and we may have a measure of light, like the foolish virgins, but if we have not that reserve of oil which is to be found in the presence of an ungrieved Spirit, we will be ashamed before Him at His coming.

Related Article from James Smith: The Holy Spirit is, emphatically, the gracious Spirit. All that he does for us, and all that he works within us — is of grace. His grace is his glory, and he glories in his grace. We may obtain his presence, and receive his blessing in answer to prayer — but we can never deserve either, nor can we by any works we perform merit them. He graciously . . .

  • quickens the dead,
  • instructs the ignorant,
  • liberates the captives,
  • restores the wanderers,
  • comforts the dejected,
  • strengthens the weak,
  • and sanctifies the impure. 

His work is his delight, and to see us holy and happy his pleasure!

Nothing grieves him like neglect, indifference, and going back to the beggarly elements of this present world. Such conduct wounds his loving heart, grieves his kind and tender nature; hence it was said of Israel: "They vexed and grieved his Holy Spirit." And the apostle exhorts us: "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God."

Brethren, we need the Holy Spirit, as the Spirit of grace--to make us gracious and graceful Christians. Without the Spirit of grace . . .

  •   we cannot live up to our profession; 
  •   we cannot copy the example of our beloved Master; 
  •   we cannot keep His commandments;
  •   we cannot love one another as He has loved us; 
  •   we cannot sympathize with lost sinners as we should; 
  •   we cannot keep God's glory in view in all that we do; 
  •   we cannot walk in high and holy fellowship with God;
  •   we cannot meet death with peace and joy! (Full Article)

Ephesians 4:30
C. H. Spurgeon.

Read Spurgeon's full sermon - "Grieve Not the Holy Spirit" on Ephesians 4:30

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God,
whereby you are sealed to the day of redemption.

It is a very clear proof of the personality of the Holy Spirit that He can be grieved. Our text, moreover, reveals to us the close connection between the Holy Spirit and the believer; He must take a very tender and affectionate interest in us, since He is grieved by our shortcomings and our sins.

I. THE ASTOUNDING FACT that the Holy Spirit may be grieved.

1. The loving grief of the Holy Ghost may be traced to His holy character and perfect attributes. It is the nature of a holy being to be vexed with unholiness.
2. But it is mainly for our sakes that He is grieved.
3. Doubtless also for Jesus Christ's sake.
4. For the Church's sake.

II. Secondly, let us refer to DEPLORABLE CAUSES which produce the grief of the Holy Spirit. The context is some assistance to us.

1. We learn that sins of the flesh, filthiness, and evil speaking of every sort, are grievous to Him. "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth." In Noah's day, the dove found no place for the sole of its foot on all the carcasses floating in the waste; and even so the heavenly Dove finds no repose in the dead and corrupt things of the flesh.
2. It appears, from the thirty-first verse, that the Holy Ghost is grieved by any approach to bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour, evil speaking, and malice.
3. I have no doubt it greatly grieves the Spirit to see in believers any degree of love of the world. His holy jealousy is excited by such unholy love. If a mother should see her child fender of someone else than of her; if she should know that it was more happy in the company of a stranger than when in the bosom of its own parent, she would feel it a very hard trial to bear. Now, the Spirit of God gives to us believers celestial joys and abounding comforts; and if He sees us turn our back upon all these, to go into worldly company, to feed greedily upon the same empty joys which satisfy worldlings, He is a jealous God, and He takes it as a great slight put upon Himself.
4. The Spirit of God is greatly grieved by unbelief. What would grieve you more, than to have your child suspect your truthfulness?
5. The Spirit is doubtless grieved by our ingratitude.
6. And by pride we sorely grieve the blessed Spirit.
7. Another thing which grieves the Spirit is a want of prayer.
8. The indulgence of any known sin.

III. THE LAMENTABLE RESULT of the Spirit's being grieved.

1. The loss of all sense of His presence.
2. Loss of Christian joy.
3. Loss of power.
4. Loss of assurance.
5. Loss of usefulness.Let a Church grieve the Spirit of God, and oh, the blights that shall come and wither her fair garden!

IV. Lastly, there is one PERSONAL ARGUMENT which is used in the text to forbid our grieving the Spirit — "Whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." What does this mean? There are many meanings assigned by different commentators: we shall be content with the following.

1. A seal is set upon a thing to attest its authenticity and authority.
2. Once more, a seal is used for preserving, as well as for attesting.The Eastern seals up his money bags to secure the gold within, and we seal our letters to guard the enclosure. A seal is set for security. Grieve not, then, that Spirit upon whom you are so dependent: He is your credentials as a Christian; He is your life as a believer

In another message Spurgeon writes...

Anger begets anger; but grief begets pity, and pity is next akin to love; and we love those whom we have caused to grieve. Now, is not this a very sweet expression — "Grieve not the Holy Spirit"?

I. THE LOVE OF THE SPIRIT. The love of the Spirit! — how shall I tell it forth? Surely it needs a songster to sing it, for love is only to be spoken of in words of song. The love of the Spirit.

1. Let me tell you of His early love to us. He loved us without beginning.

2. Was it not He who guided you to Jesus?

3. Since then, how sweetly has He proved His love. Not only in His first strivings, or after quickenings; but in the sequel, how much have we owed to His instruction.

4. Forget not, also, how much we owe to His consolation.

5. Remember how much He loves us, when He helps our infirmities.

6. Another token of His love, is His indwelling in the saints.

II. IT IS BY THE HOLY SPIRIT WE ARE SEALED. The Spirit Himself is expressed as the seal, even as He Himself is directly said to be the pledge of our inheritance. The sealing, I think, has a three-fold meaning.

1. It is a sealing of attestation or confirmation. No faith is genuine, which does not bear the seal of the Spirit. No love, no hope can ever save us, except it be sealed with the Spirit of God, for whatever has not His seal upon it is spurious. Faith that is unsealed may be a poison, it may be presumption; but faith that is sealed by the Spirit is true, real, genuine faith.

2. It is a sealing of appropriation. When men put their mark upon an article, it is to show that it is their own. The farmer brands his tools that they may not be stolen. The shepherd marks his sheep that they may be recognized as belonging to his flock. The king himself puts his broad arrow upon everything that is his property. So the Holy Spirit puts the broad arm of God upon the hearts of all His people.

3. Again, by sealing is meant preservation. Men seal up that which they wish to have preserved, and when a document is sealed it becomes valid henceforth. Now, it is by the Spirit of God that the Christian is sealed, kept, preserved, unto the day of redemption.

III. THE GRIEVING OF THE SPIRIT. How may we grieve Him — what will be the sad result of grieving Him — if we have grieved Him, how may we bring Him back again?

1. How may we grieve the Spirit? I am now, mark you, speaking of those who love the Lord Jesus Christ. Sin is as easy as it is wicked.

(1) You may grieve Him by impure thoughts. He cannot bear sin.

(2) We grieve Him yet more if we indulge in outward acts of sin. Then is He sometimes so grieved that He takes His flight for a season, for the Dove will not dwell in our hearts if we take loathsome carrion in there.

(3) Again, if we neglect prayer, if our closet door is cobwebbed, if we forget to read the Scriptures, if the leaves of our Bible are almost stuck together by neglect, if we never seek to do any good in the world, if we live merely for ourselves and not to Christ, then the Holy Spirit will be grieved.

(4) Again, the Holy Spirit is exceedingly grieved by our unbelief.

2. Now, suppose the Holy Spirit is grieved, what is the effect produced upon us?

(1) When the Spirit is grieved first, He bears with us. He is grieved again and again, and again and again, and still He bears with it all.

(2) But at last, His grief becomes so excessive, that He says, "I will suspend My operations; I will be gone; I will leave life behind Me, but My own actual presence I will take away." Our graces are much like the flower called the Hydrangia, when it has plenty of water it blooms, but as soon as moisture fails, the leaves drop down at once. And so when the Spirit goes away, faith shuts up its flowers; no perfume is exhaled. Then the fruit of our love begins to rot and drops from the tree; then the sweet buds of our hope become frostbitten, and they die. Oh, what a sad thing it is to lose the Spirit.

3. It is a mercy to know that the Spirit of God never leaves His people finally; He leaves them for chastisement, but not for damnation.

RELATED RESOURCES: See multiple sermons/articles by older expositors on grieving the Holy Spirit

Ephesians 4:30

Grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption (Eph 4:30). 

There can be no point of greater importance to him who knows that it is the Holy Spirit that leads us into all truth and into all holiness than to consider with what temper of soul we are to entertain His divine presence so as not either to drive Him from us or to disappoint Him of the gracious ends for which His abode with us is designed, which is not the amusement of our understanding, but the conversion and entire sanctification of our hearts and lives. 

These words of the apostle contain a most serious and affectionate exhortation to this purpose. “Grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” 

The title “holy,” applied to the Spirit of God, does not only denote that He is holy in His own nature but that He makes us so. He is the great fountain of holiness to His church, the Spirit from whence flows all the grace and virtue by which the stains of guilt are cleansed and we are renewed in all holy dispositions and again bear the image of our Creator. Great reason, therefore, there was for the apostle to give this solemn charge concerning it, and the highest obligation lies upon us all to consider it with the deepest attention. That we may the more effectually do, I shall inquire: First, in what sense the Spirit of God is said to be grieved at the sins of men; second, by what kind of sin He is more especially grieved; and third, I shall endeavor to show the force of the apostle's argument against grieving the Holy Spirit—by whom we are sealed to the day of redemption. 

In What Sense Is the Spirit of God Grieved? 

In what sense may the Spirit of God be said to be grieved with the sins of men? There is not anything of what we properly call passion in God. But there is something of an infinitely higher kind: some motions of His will, which are more strong and vigorous than can be conceived by men, although they have not the nature of human passions, yet will answer the ends of them. By grief, therefore, we are to understand a disposition in God's will, flowing at once from His boundless love to the persons of men and His infinite abhorrence of their sins. And in this restrained sense it is here applied to the Spirit of God in the words of the apostle. 

And the reasons for which it is peculiarly applied to Him are, first, because He is more immediately present with us; second, because our sins are so many contempts of this highest expression of His love and disappoint the Holy Spirit in His last remedy; and, third, because, by this ungrateful dealing, we provoke Him to withdraw from us. 

We are said to grieve the Holy Spirit by our sins because of His immediate presence with us. They are more directly committed under His eye, and are, therefore, more highly offensive to Him. He is pleased to look upon professing Christians as more peculiarly separated to His honor. We are so closely united to Him that we are said to be one spirit with Him, and, therefore, every sin that we now commit, besides its own proper guilt, carries in it a fresh and infinitely high provocation. “Know ye not,” says Paul, “that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost?” (1 Co 6:19). And how are our bodies so, but by His inhabitation and intimate presence with our souls? When, therefore, we set up the idols of earthly inclinations in our hearts (which are properly His altar), and bow down ourselves to serve those vicious passions that we ought to sacrifice to His will—this must needs be, in the highest degree, offensive and grievous to Him. For what concord is there between the Holy Spirit and Belial? or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? (see 2 Co 6:15-16). 

We grieve the Holy Spirit by our sins because they are so many contempts of the highest expression of His love and disappoint Him in His last remedy whereby He is pleased to endeavor our recovery. And thus every sin we now commit is done in despite of all His powerful assistances, in defiance of His reproofs—an ungrateful return for infinite lovingkindness! 

As the Holy Spirit is the immediate minister of God's will upon earth and transacts all the great affairs of the church of Christ—if while He pours out the riches of His grace upon us, He finds them all unsuccessful, no wonder if He appeals to all the world, in the words of the prophet, against our ingratitude: “And now, O . . . men of Judah, judge . . . betwixt me and my vineyard. What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?” (Isa 5:3-4). These, and many more such, which we meet with in the Holy Scriptures, are the highest expressions of the deepest concern such as imply the utmost unwillingness to deal severely even with those whom yet, by all the wise methods of His grace, He could not reform. The Holy Spirit here represents Himself as one who would be glad to spare sinners if He could, and therefore we may be sure it is grievous to Him that by their sins they will not suffer Him. 

For men thus to disappoint the Holy Spirit of Love—for that too is His peculiar title—to make Him thus wait that He may be gracious, and pay attendance on us through our whole course of folly and vanity, and stand by and be a witness of our stubbornness, with the importunate offers of infinite kindness in His hands—is a practice of such a nature that no gracious mind can bear the thoughts of it. It is an argument of God's unbounded mercy, which He is pleased to express, that He is only grieved at it, that His indignation does not flame out against those who are thus basely ungrateful and consume them in a moment. 

It was such ingratitude as this in the Jews, after numberless experiences of His extraordinary mercies toward them, that made infinite love, at last, turn in bitterness to reward them according to their doings, as we find the account given by the Prophets, in the most affecting and lively manner. And surely, considering the much greater obligations He has laid on us who enjoy the highest privileges, we may be sure that [the reward of] our sinful and untoward behavior will, at last, be as great as the mercies we have abused. 

There is no doubt but God observes all the sons of men, and His wrath abides on every worker of iniquity. But it is the unfaithful professor who has known His pardoning love that grieves His Holy Spirit, which implies a peculiar baseness in our sins. A man may be provoked, indeed, by the wrongs of his enemy, but he is properly grieved by the offenses of his friend. And, therefore, besides our other obligations, our very near relation to God, as being His friends and children, would, if we had a spark of gratitude in our souls, be a powerful restraint upon us in preserving us from evil. 

But if arguments of this kind are not strong enough to keep us from grieving our best Friend, the Holy Spirit of God, let us consider, that, by this ungrateful conduct, we shall provoke Him to withdraw from us. 

The truth of this almost all who have ever tasted of the good gifts of the Holy Spirit must have experienced. It is to be hoped that we have had, some time or other, so lively a sense of His holy influence upon us that when we have been so unhappy as to offend Him, we could easily perceive the change in our souls, in that darkness, distress, and despondency which more especially follow the commission of willful and presumptuous sins. At those seasons, the blessed Spirit retired and concealed His presence from us, we were justly left to a sense of our own wretchedness and misery, until we humbled ourselves before the Lord and by deep repentance and active faith obtained a return of divine mercy and peace. 
And the more frequently we offend Him, the more we weaken His influences in our souls. For frequent breaches will necessarily occasion estrangement between us; it is impossible that our intercourse with Him can be cordial when it is disturbed by repeated interruptions. So a man will forgive his friend a great many imprudences and some willful transgressions, but to find him frequently affronting him, all his kindness will wear off by degrees. The warmth of his affection, even toward him who had the greatest share of it, will die away, as he cannot but think that such a one does not any longer either desire or deserve to maintain a friendship with him. 

By What Kinds of Sin Is the Holy Spirit Grieved? 

By what kinds of sin is the Holy Spirit especially grieved? These sins are, in general, such as either at first wholly disappoint His grace of its due effect upon our souls or are afterward directly contrary to His gracious and merciful assistances. Of the former sort, I shall only mention, at present, inconsiderateness; of the latter, sins of presumption. 

The first I shall mention, as being more especially grievous to the Holy Spirit, is inconsiderateness and inadvertence to His holy motions within us. There is a particular frame and temper of soul, a sobriety of mind, without which the Spirit of God will not concur in the purifying of our hearts. It is in our power, through His preventing and assisting grace, to prepare this in ourselves, and He expects we should, this being the foundation of all His after-works. Now, this consists in preserving our minds in a cool and serious disposition, in regulating and calming our affections, and calling in and checking the inordinate pursuits of our passions after the vanities and pleasures of this world. The doing of this is of such importance that the very reason why men profit so little under the most powerful means is that they do not look enough within themselves—they do not observe and watch the discords and imperfections of their own spirits, nor attend with care to the directions and remedies that the Holy Spirit is always ready to suggest. Men are generally lost in the hurry of life, in the business or pleasures of it, and seem to think that their regeneration, their new nature, will spring and grow up within them with as little care and thought of their own as their bodies were conceived and have attained their full strength and stature. Whereas, there is nothing more certain than that the Holy Spirit will not purify our natures unless we carefully attend to His motions, which are lost upon us while, in the prophet's language, we “scatter away our time”—while we squander away our thoughts upon unnecessary things and leave our spiritual improvement, the one thing needful, quite unthought of and neglected. 

There are many persons who, in the main of their lives, are regular in their conversation and observe the means of improvement and attend upon the holy sacrament with exactness, who yet, in the intervals of their duties, give too great liberty to their thoughts, affections, and discourse. They seem to adjourn the great business of salvation to the next hour of devotion. If these professors lose so much in their spiritual estate for want of adjusting and balancing their accounts, what then must we think of those who scarce ever bestow a serious thought upon their eternal welfare? Surely there is not any temper of mind less a friend to the spirit of religion than a thoughtless and inconsiderate one that, by a natural succession of strong and vain affections, shuts out everything useful from their souls, until, at length, they are overtaken by a fatal lethargy. They lose sight of all danger and become insensible of divine convictions, and, in consequence, quite disappoint all the blessed means of restoration. If, therefore, we measure the Holy Spirit's concern at the sins of men by the degrees of His disappointment, we may conclude that there is no state of mind that grieves Him more, unless that of actual wickedness. 

Presumptuous sins are, indeed, in the highest manner offensive to the Holy Spirit of God. They are instances of open enmity against Him and have all the guilt of open rebellion. The willful sinner is not ignorant or surprised, but knowingly fights against God's express commandment and the lively, full, and present conviction of his own mind and conscience, so that this is the very standard of iniquity. And all other kinds of sins are more or less heinous, as they are nearer or farther off from sins of this dreadful nature, inasmuch as these imply the greatest opposition to God's will, contempt of His mercy, and defiance of His justice. This, if anything can, doubtless must so grieve Him as to make Him wholly withdraw His gracious presence. 

The Force of the Apostle's Argument Against Grieving the Holy Spirit 

I come now to show the force of the apostle's argument against grieving the Holy Spirit: Because we “are sealed unto the day of redemption.” 

By “the day of redemption” may be meant either the time of our leaving these bodies at death or of our taking them again at the general resurrection, though here it probably means the latter, in which sense the apostle uses the word in another place: “Waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our bodies” (Ro 8:23). And to this day of redemption we are sealed by the Holy Spirit these three ways: 

  1. by receiving His real stamp upon our souls, being made the partakers of the divine nature; 
  2. by receiving Him as a mark of God's property, as a sign that we belong to Christ; 
  3. as an earnest and assurance to our own spirits that we have a title to eternal happiness. 

First, we are sealed by the Holy Spirit of God by our receiving His real stamp upon our souls, being made the partakers of the divine nature and “meet for the inheritance of the saints in light.” This is, indeed, the design of His dwelling in us: to heal our disordered souls and to restore that image of His upon our nature, which is so defaced by our original and actual corruptions. And until our spirits are, in some measure, thus renewed, we can have no communion with Him. For “if we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth” (1 Jn 1:6). But by the renewal of our minds in the image of Him that created us, we are still more capable of His influences. By means of a daily intercourse with Him, we are more and more transformed into His likeness, until we are satisfied with it. 

This likeness to God, this conformity of our will and affections to His will, is, properly speaking, holiness; to produce this in us is the proper end and design of all the influences of the Holy Spirit. By means of His presence with us, we receive from Him a great fullness of holy virtues; we take such features of resemblance in our spirits as correspond to His original perfections. And thus we are sealed by Him, in the first sense, by way of preparation for our day of redemption. 

And since we are so, and our new natures thus grow up under the same power of His hands, what do we, when we grieve Him by our sins, but undo and destroy His work? We frustrate His designs by breaking down the fences that He had been trying to raise against the overflowings of corruption, so that, at last, we entirely defeat all His gracious measures for our salvation. 

We are sealed by the Holy Spirit to the day of redemption as a sign of God's property in us and as a mark that we belong to Christ. And this is, by His appointment, the condition and security of that future happiness, into which He will admit none but those who have received the Spirit of His Son into their hearts. But in whomsoever He finds this mark and character, when He shall come to judge the world, these will He take to Himself and will not suffer the destroyer to hurt them. To this very purpose the prophet Malachi, speaking of those who feared God, says, “They shall be mine, saith the Lord, . . . in that day when I make up my jewels” (Mal 3:17)—that is to say, when I set my seal and mark upon them—“and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.” 

Now, if the Holy Spirit be the sign, the seal, and the security of our salvation, then, by grieving Him by our sins, we break up this seal with our own hands, we cancel our firmest security, and, as much as in us lies, reverse our own title to eternal life. 

Besides this, the Holy Spirit within us is the security of our salvation; He is likewise an earnest of it, and assures our spirits that we have a title to eternal happiness. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Ro 8:16). And in order that this inward testimony may be lively and permanent, it is absolutely necessary to attend carefully to the secret operation of the Holy Spirit within us, who, by infusing His holy consolations into our souls, by enlivening our drooping spirits, and by giving us a quick relish of His promises, raises bright and joyous sensations in us and gives a man, beforehand, a taste of the bliss to which he is going. In this sense God is said, by the apostle to the Corinthians, to have “sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts,” and that earnest, not only by way of confirmation of our title to happiness, but as an actual part of that reward at present, the fullness of which we expect hereafter.