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Doctrine of Grieving the Holy Spirit

January 28, 2011

Grieving the Holy Spirit

When discussing the sin of grieving the Holy Spirit we must of course, note the
person and work of God the Holy Spirit who is the third person of the Trinity. He
is a Person not a thing (John 15:26; 16:7; 2 Cor. 13:14; 1 Pet. 1:2). The Holy Spirit
is the unseen power of God. He reveals the Plan of God on earth and is the agent
for executing the Christian way of life.
The titles of God the Holy Spirit: (1) “Spirit of holiness” (Rom. 1:4) (2)
“Spirit of life” (Rom. 8:2) (3) “Spirit of knowledge” (Isa. 11:2) (4) “Spirit of
truth” (John 14:17).
Titles related to God the Father: (1) “Spirit of God” (2) “Spirit of our God”
(Gen. 1:2; Matt. 3:16; 1 Cor. 6:11) (3) “Spirit of your Father” (Matt. 10:20).
Titles related to God the Son: (1) “Spirit of Christ” (2) “Spirit of Jesus
Christ” (Rom. 8:9; Phil. 1:19) (3) “Spirit of His Son” (Gal. 4:6) (4) “Spirit of the
Lord” (Acts 5:9).
These titles do speak of an attribute because an attribute would not be
designated by a personal pronoun such as “He,” “Him,” and “His.”
The Greek word pneuma is often used in the New Testament to signify the third
person of the Trinity. It is a neuter gender word and would normally require a
neuter gender pronoun according to the rule of Greek grammar called concord.
However, because the Holy Spirit is a person, the New Testament writers
sometimes used a masculine pronoun in place of a neuter pronoun for the neuter
pronoun pneuma. Masculine pronouns are used of the Spirit in John 15:26; 16:7, 8,
13 and 14.
John 14:16-17, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper,
that He may be with you forever; 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.”
John 14:26, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in
My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all
that I said to you.”
John 16:5-15, “But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you
asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ But because I have said these things to you,
sorrow has filled your heart. But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage
that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if
I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world
concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they
do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father
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and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this
world has been judged. I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot
bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you
into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He
hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will
glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that
the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will
disclose it to you.’”
God the Holy Spirit is related to the apostles as a distinct and separate person
who thought about what was best and related that to the apostles who were in
accord with the Spirit (Acts 15:28). He is related to the Lord Jesus as a distinct and
separate person (John 16:14). He is related to the other persons of the Godhead so
as to indicate personality (2 Cor. 13:14). He is distinguished from His own power
as a person (Lk. 1:35; 4:14; Acts 10:38; Rom. 15:13; 1 Cor. 2:4).
God the Holy Spirit has the same divine attributes as both God the Father and
God the Son: (1) Sovereignty (1 Cor. 12:11) (2) Righteousness (Spirit: Ps. 51:11)
(3) Justice (Neh. 9:20a; John 16:8-11) (4) Love (Rom. 5:5; 15:30) (5) Eternal life
(Heb. 9:14) (6) Omnipotence (Rom. 15:13) (7) Omniscience (Isa. 11:2) (8)
Omnipresence (Ps. 139:7) (9) Immutability (John 14:16; 1 John 5:7) (10) Veracity
(John 14:17; 1 John 5:7).
His deity is demonstrated by His Works: (1) Creation (Gen. 1:2; Ps. 104:30).
(2) Inspiration of Scripture (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:21). (3) Regeneration,
illumination and sanctification (John 3:5-8; Tit. 3:5; R. 8:11; Eph. 3:16-19). (4).
God the Holy Spirit is a separate and distinct Person in the Godhead. He is
called “Lord” in 2 Corinthians 3:17 just as God the Father and God the Son are.
2 Corinthians 3:17, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the
Lord is, there is liberty.”
The Spirit performs the actions of personality: (1) Teaches (John 14:26; 16:13-
15). (2) Testifies or bears witness (John 15:26). (3) Guides and Leads (Rom. 8:14).
(4) Performs miracles (Acts 8:39). (5) Convinces (John 16:7-8). (6) Restrains
(Gen. 6:3; 2 Thess. 2:6-7). (7) Commands (Acts 8:29). (8) Intercedes in prayer
(Rom. 8:26). (9) He receives ascriptions of personality. (10) He can be obeyed
(Acts 16:6-7). (11) He can be lied to (Acts 5:3). (12) He can be resisted (Acts
7:51). (13) He can be blasphemed (Mt. 12:31). (14) He can be grieved (Eph. 4:30).
(15) He can be insulted (Heb. 10:29).
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The Work of the Spirit
God the Holy Spirit is the divine author of the Word of God (2 Pet. 1:20-21).
2 Peter 1:20-21, “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is
a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act
of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”
Forty days after His resurrection, the Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven
and was seated at the right hand of the Father, He received power and authority
and the title of kurios, “Lord” over history and creation. Ten days later on the day
of Pentecost in June of 30 A.D., the Lord Jesus Christ sent the Holy Spirit to
permanently indwell those who had exercised faith in Him for eternal salvation.
On this day, the baptism of the Spirit first took place.
Jewish believers were the first to receive it and this event is recorded in Acts 2.
It took place among Gentile believers not too long after this and is recorded in Acts
10. Therefore, when a person trusts in the Lord Jesus as his Savior, the Spirit
proceeds from the Lord Jesus Christ to permanently indwell that person.
There are several passages, which state that the Spirit proceeds from the Lord
Jesus Christ.
John 14:16-17, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper,
that He may be with you forever 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.”
John 14:26, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in
My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all
that I said to you.”
John 15:26-27, “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the
Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify
about Me and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the
beginning.”
John 16:5-7, “But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you
asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ But because I have said these things to you,
sorrow has filled your heart. But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage
that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if
I go, I will send Him to you.”
John 16:13-15, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you
into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He
hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will
glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that
the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will
disclose it to you.”
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Acts 1:8, “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon
you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and
Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
Acts 2:33, “Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and
having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has
poured forth this which you both see and hear.”
Romans 8:9-11, “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if
indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit
of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you, though the body is
dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the
Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised
Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through
His Spirit who dwells in you.”
1 John 3:23-24, “This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of
His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. The
one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know
by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.”
1 John 4:12-13, “No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another,
God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. By this we know that we
abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.”
God the Holy Spirit’s role in man’s salvation: (1) Common Grace: Makes the
gospel understandable (John 16:7-11; 2 Cor. 2:14b). (2) Regeneration: Creates a
human spirit at the moment of salvation (John 3:1-16). (3) Efficacious Grace:
Makes the believer’s faith in Christ effective for salvation (2 Cor. 6:2; Eph. 2:8-9).
Seven Salvation Ministries of God the Holy Spirit:
(1) Efficacious Grace: Makes faith in Jesus Christ effective for salvation (2
Cor. 6:1-2; Eph. 2:8-9).
2 Corinthians 6:1-2, “And working together with Him, we also urge you
not to receive the grace of God in vain — for He says, ‘AT THE
ACCEPTABLE TIME I LISTENED TO YOU, AND ON THE DAY OF
SALVATION I HELPED YOU.’ Behold, now is ‘THE ACCEPTABLE
TIME,’ behold, now is ‘THE DAY OF SALVATION.’”
(2) Regeneration: Creates a human spirit for the purpose of the imputation of
eternal life (John 3:1-16; Titus 3:5).
Titus 3:5, “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in
righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and
renewing by the Holy Spirit.”
(3) Baptism of the Spirit: Places every believer in union with Jesus Christ
(John 7:37-39; 1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 4:5; 1 Pet. 3:21).
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Galatians 3:26-28, “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ
Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves
with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free
man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
(4) Indwelling: Creates a temple for the indwelling of Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:11;
1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19-20; 2 Cor. 6:16).
1 Corinthians 6:18-20, “Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man
commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in
you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have
been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”
(5) Filling: Influences the soul of the believer in executing the plan of God for
the church age (Eph. 5:18).
Ephesians 5:18, “And do not permit yourselves to get into the habit of
being drunk with wine because that is non-sensical behavior, but rather
permit yourselves on a habitual basis to be influenced by means of the Spirit.”
(6) Sealing: Puts His stamp on the believer to guarantee their salvation (2 Cor.
1:22; Eph. 1:13; 4:30).
Ephesians 4:30, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were
sealed for the day of redemption.”
(7) Distribution of Spiritual Gifts: Gives every believer a spiritual gift (1 Cor.
12:4-11).
God the Holy Spirit’s post-salvation ministries on behalf of the believer: (1)
Empowers the believer to execute the plan of God (John 14:16, 26; Gal. 5:16, 25;
Eph. 5:18; Phlp. 2:13). (2) Reproduces Christ-like character in the believer (Gal.
4:19; 5:5, 16-23). (3) Teaches the believer the doctrines of Christ (John 14:26; 1
Cor. 2:10-16; 1 John 2:20, 27). (4) Convicts the believer of sin (John 16:7-11;
Rom. 8:4-14; Eph. 4:30; 1 Th. 5:18). (5) Leads the believer in worshipping the
Father (Jo. 4:24; Phlp. 3:3; Rm. 8:4-13). (6) Promotes spiritual maturity (Gal. 5:1-
5; Heb. 5:11-6:6). (7) Applies truth to the believer’s experience (John 14:26; Rom.
8:16; Eph. 6:18). (8) Gives power to the believer’s prayer life (John 15:7; Eph.
6:18; Jude 20). (9) Promotes worship of God (John 4:23-24; Eph. 5:18-21; Phlp.
3:3; Is. 59:1-2). (10) Gives capacity, burden and direction for witnessing (Acts 1:8;
1 Thess. 1:5). (11) Gives capacity for ministry (1 Cor. 1:12-14). (12) Provides
fellowship for the believer (2 Cor. 13:14; Phlp. 2:1).
God the Holy Spirit teaches the believer through the Word of God (John 14:26;
15:26). Several passages state that the believer is to give heed to what the Spirit is
saying to the churches because of this spiritual principle that the Spirit takes the
doctrines of Christ and makes them understandable to the believer. The Spirit
speaks to the church through the communication of the Word of God.
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Acts 21:11, “This is what the Holy Spirit says.”
Acts 28:25, “The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to
your fathers.”
1 Corinthians 12:3, “Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking
by the Spirit of God says, ‘Jesus is accursed’; and no one can say, ‘Jesus is
Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.”
Timothy 4:1, “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will
fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of
demons.”
Hebrews 3:7, “Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, ‘TODAY IF YOU
HEAR HIS VOICE.’”
Revelation 2:11, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to
the churches.”
Revelation 2:17, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to
the churches.”
Revelation 2:7a, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to
the churches.”
Revelation 3:6, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the
churches.’”
Revelation 3:13, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to
the churches.’”
Revelation 3:22, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to
the churches.”
The church age believer is totally dependent upon the Holy Spirit in order to
attain Christ-likeness and as a result execute the plan of God (Gal. 5:5, 16; Eph. 3;
16-17). He is the believer’s true teacher (John. 14:16-20, 26; 15:26; 16:7-16; 1 Cor.
2:10-16; 2 Cor. 13:14; Gal. 5:5, 16-25; Eph. 3:16-19; 5:18; 1 John 2:20-27).
The Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to produce Christ-like character in the
believer (Gal. 5:22-23; Phlp. 2:13).
Philippians 2:12-13, “Therefore, my virtuously loved ones, in the same
manner that all of you have consistently obeyed, not only when in my
presence, but now, much more in my absence, you yourselves continue
executing your own spiritual life by means of respect (for God) and with
trembling. Since God (the Holy Spirit) is the one producing in all of you not
only the determination but also the (resultant) production for the attainment
of the grace purpose (of God the Father in eternity past).”
He takes the Word and empowers, guides and directs the believer in the process
of executing the Father’s plan (Acts 8:29; Rm. 8:14, 26; Phlp. 3:3; 2 Per. 1:21; cf.
Heb. 4:12).
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Philippians 3:2-3, “Beware of those dogs, beware of those evil workers,
beware of the mutilation because we are the circumcision those who are
serving (God the Father) by means of the Spirit of God, who are priding
themselves in the nature of Christ Jesus, who have no confidence in the flesh.”
He calls attention sin in the life of the believer by taking the Word of God and
using it to convict him (2 Tim. 3:16-17; Heb. 4:12; cf. John 16:7-11; 1 Cor. 2:10-
16; Eph. 4:30; 1 Thess. 5:19).
Therefore, the Holy Spirit is the Member of the Trinity Who reveals whether
the believer is living in accordance with the doctrines of Christ or not (John 16:7-
16; Rom. 8:14).
Philippians 3:15, “Therefore, as many as are mature, let us consistently
think this. Nevertheless, if-and let us assume it is true for the sake of
argument anyone of you are thinking otherwise at the present time then God
the Holy Spirit as a rule will reveal this for your benefit.”
God the Holy Spirit produces peace in the soul of the believer who applies the
Word of God and in particular applies the doctrine of prayer.
Philippians 4:6-7, “At this very moment, all of you stop continuing to be
anxious about absolutely anything, but rather, concerning anything at all by
means of reverential prayer in the presence of the Father and by means of
petition accompanied by the giving of thanks, let your specific detailed
requests be repeatedly made known in the presence of the Father and as a
result the peace produced by God the Holy Spirit, which is always superior to
any and every human conception, will as a dogmatic statement of fact cause
your hearts to be protected and as a result your thoughts by means of the
doctrine of Christ Jesus.”
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The Sin of Grieving the Holy Spirit
When the believer commits an act of sin, whether mental, verbal or overt, they
prevent themselves from being influenced by the Holy Spirit. The Scriptures speak
of three sins committed by the believer against the Holy Spirit: (1) “Lying” to God
the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3) (2) “Grieving” the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30) (3)
“Quenching” the Holy Spirit (1 Thess. 5:19).
“Grieving” the Holy Spirit is a sin that is directed towards His Person and takes
place in the life of the believer when his thoughts, words and actions are influenced
and governed by the cosmic system of Satan and the old sin nature. It prevents the
Christian from being filled with the Spirit and from walking according to the
Spirit.
Ephesians 4:17-32, “So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that
you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind,
being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because
of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and
they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the
practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. But you did not learn
Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in
Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life,
you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the
lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on
the new self, which in {the likeness of} God has been created in righteousness
and holiness of the truth. Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH
EACH ONE OF YOU WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one
another. BE ANGRY, AND YET DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on
your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. He who steals must steal
no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is
good, so that he will have {something} to share with one who has need. Let no
unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such {a word} as is
good for edification according to the need {of the moment} so that it will give
grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you
were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger
and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind
to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ
also has forgiven you.”
It is clear from the context that the lust patterns of the old sin nature are
offensive to the Holy Spirit. The fact that Paul employs the adjective hagios,
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“Holy,” clearly indicates that sin grieves the Spirit since His holiness or integrity is
offended by sin.
Sin offends the perfect integrity of the Spirit who is our true teacher and
mentor. In both the preceding and following contexts, the apostle Paul is
encouraging believers in Ephesus to put off the old sinful patterns and to replace
them with patterns of righteousness. He wants them to put off the old pre-salvation
Adamic nature and put on the new post-salvation Christ-nature. The new Christnature
received at the moment of salvation produces the righteousness of God
whereas the old Adamic-nature can only produce human self-righteousness and
sin. So it is clear that living in our old Adamic-natures offends the perfect integrity
of the Spirit.
The phrase “do not grieve” is composed of two words in the original language:
(1) Negative particle me (2) second person plural present active imperative form of
the verb lupeo. The verb lupeo in classical and Septuagint (LXX) usage was a
general term for “sorrow,” encompassing various expressions of grief.
Lupeo means, “to cause pain, sorrow, grief, distress” to someone. It may refer
to outward mourning or simply to sad feelings. It is commonly used to designate
heaviness of heart. In the papyri its use ranges from grief over the loss of a loved
one to sadness over the loss of a cloak.
The verb lupeo appears 26 times in the Greek New Testament. In the New
Testament it is used for all its variations. It denotes deep sorrow such as in the case
of our Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mt. 26:37). It was used for the disciples
reaction to our Lord’s death in Matthew 17:23 and John 16:20. Here it denotes
sorrow over sin by the Holy Spirit.
We must note that you cannot literally grieve the Holy Spirit. This is what we
call in theology an “anthropopathism.” The negative mandate here in Ephesians
4:30 and the one issued in 1 Thessalonians 5:19 to not quench the Spirit’s power
are “anthropopathisms.” An “anthropopathism” is language of accommodation
through which infinite God reveals Himself to the finite man.
The term “anthropopathism” is derived from the Greek: (1) Anthropos, “man.”
(2) Pathos, “an inner function of the soul with overt manifestations.”
Anthropopathisms ascribe to God human characteristics, which He does not have,
in order to explain God’s policy or viewpoint to us in terms of human attitudes.
The Bible ascribes the following human emotions to God that He does not possess
in order to convey His attitude towards man in terms that man can understand.
The following is a brief list of Anthropopathisms found in the Word of God.
Examples of Anthropopathisms: (1) God hates (Rm. 9:13). (2) Harbors jealousy
(Ex. 20:5a; 34:14; Deut. 4:24; 6:15a). (3) Changes His mind (Gen. 6:6). (4) Vents
violent anger (Jer. 4:8; 12:13; 25:37; 51:45; Ezek. 5:15). These qualities are
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incompatible with God’s essence, but such statements are descriptive and gain the
attention of the reader.
In Ephesians 4:30 the apostle Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit
employs an anthropopathism, ascribing the human emotion of grieving to the Holy
Spirit, which He does not possess in order to communicate the Spirit’s attitude
towards us when we live in our old sin natures. He is using language of
accommodation to communicate the Spirit’s attitude toward us when we sin.
So here in Ephesians 4:30 Paul is issuing a prohibition to not grieve the Holy
Spirit. This prohibition is expressed by the negative particle me, and the present
imperative form of the verb lupeo, which together means “do not grieve.” The
particle me negates the verb lupeo, thus making this a prohibition. So Paul employs
the negative me here with the imperative mood of the verb lupeo in order to
prohibit or forbid the Ephesian believers from grieving the Holy Spirit.
Here the context clearly indicates that the prohibition makes no comment as to
whether the Ephesian believers were grieving the Holy Spirit or not but rather Paul
is simply expressing his desire that they do not et into the habit of grieving the
Holy Spirit, which is a result of conducting oneself according to the lust patterns of
the old sin nature. There is no indication in the entire Ephesian epistle that the
Ephesians were living in their old sin nature or committing this particular act of
sin. There is no implication whatsoever.
By issuing this prohibition, Paul is performing preventative maintenance. He is
warning them ahead of time not to conduct themselves according to their old sin
nature, which results in grieving the Holy Spirit. Paul is not telling the Ephesian
believers to cease from this act that they were in already in the process of
committing, but rather it is a prohibition designed to let the Holy Spirit perform
His function of forming Christ-like character in the Ephesian believers.
He is not implying that they were already involved in this sin of grieving the
Holy Spirit but rather he is expressing a general precept. This is a customary
present tense used to express habitual action. The customary present tense of this
prohibition expresses the idea Paul does not want the Ephesian believers to get into
the habit of grieving the Holy Spirit. It denotes a general precept in order that the
Spirit can continue building Christ-like character building in the Ephesian
believers.
The corrected translation of Ephesians 4:30 is as follows: “Do not make it a
habit to grieve the Holy Spirit by means of whom all of you have been sealed
for the day of redemption.”
Please note that I say that Paul does not want the Ephesian believers to get into
the habit of sinning. No believer can stop sinning altogether. As long as we have an
old sin nature and live in the devil’s world we will be tempted to sin and we will
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sin. The Bible states that we are deceiving ourselves if we say we can stop sinning
altogether while we still have an old sin nature and live in the devil’s world.
“Grieving” the Holy Spirit deals with the issue of known sin. All sin is rebellion
but the issue here in Ephesian 4:30 is known sin. Or sin that we harbor in our
hearts and are aware of, but don’t confess. We cannot confess to the Father a sin
we are not cognizant of or aware of. Known sin in the life of a believer in an
anthropopathic sense grieves, pains, or offends the heart of the Holy Spirit or it
offends His holiness or integrity. The Spirit is holy and thus abhors sin.
You must understand that the Holy Spirit desires to guide and empower us to do
the Father’s will. He longs to transform us into the character of Christ. When He
cannot, He is grieved because He is offended by sin, particularly by the sins of
self-reliance and rebellion, which hinder His purpose in indwelling us. We grieve
the Holy Spirit when we are not applying the Word of God to our thought process.
We grieve the Holy Spirit when our conduct…our words and actions are contrary
to the Word of God. Grieving the Spirit is when the believer does not think, speak
or act in accordance with the mandates found in the Word of God, which is the
mind of Christ.
There are several things that cause the believer to grieve the Holy Spirit. The
first of which is legalism, which is man operating in the energy of his own
resources, namely, his soul and his flesh. Legalism is seeking to do good deeds or
religious works and then thinking this somehow merits God’s favor or gains His
approbation. In legalism, man’s faith is in his own abilities. The second thing that
grieves the Spirit is license, which is the believer’s abuse of his freedom in Christ
for self-centered reasons in the pursuit of their liberty. Galatians 5:1-15, Romans
14-14 and 1 Corinthians 8 all call attention to this licentious lifestyle.
There are also three powers which are vying to control our souls: (1) Cosmic
system (Rom. 12:2). (2) Flesh (Gal. 5:16-17). (3) Devil (Eph. 6:10-18).
There are also four problems which hinder the Spirit’s work in producing
Christ-like character in the believer: (1) Ignorance of God’s Word (Rm. 6:1f). (2)
Bias: preconceived ideas from one’s background that blocks out the truth of
Scripture (Mk. 7:6-13). (3) Unbelief or an attitude of self-dependence (Jer. 17:5;
cf. Gal. 3:3, 5; with 5:1-5). (4) Rationalization: rationalizing our sins rather than
confessing them (Ps. 32:3-5; 51; 6, 10, 16).
The lust for position, approbation, possessions, wealth, power, and pleasure are
all lust patterns, which grieve the Spirit. They are products of Satan’s cosmic
system and the old sin nature. They are all lies that people believe. We cannot find
true happiness, significance and security in life by seeking pleasure, power, praise,
position and wealth. These things became an idol in our souls and hinder the
Spirit’s work in our lives, which is to produce the character of Christ in our lives.
There is a hole in each of our hearts that only God can fill.
2010 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries
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There are a number of negative results that take place when we grieve the Holy
Spirit. First of all, it results in the loss of fellowship with God. When the Spirit is
grieved our prayer life is hindered (Ps. 66:18). So also is our witnessing (Acts 1:8)
and our Bible study (1 Cor. 2:10-16; Eph. 3:16f). So in other words all the Spirit’s
dynamic ministries are hindered when we grieve the Spirit. We waste our spiritual,
mental and physical resources when we grieve the Spirit (Eph. 5:18).
Grieving the Spirit on a habitual basis affects our health, integrity, human
relationships and society as a whole. A lifestyle of always grieving the Spirit will
result in divine discipline and eventually dying discipline if we fail to confess any
known to sin to the Father (1 Jn. 1:9). It will result in the loss of testimony, which
dishonors the Lord (cf. 1 Pet. 3:15-17; 4:15-16). A lifestyle of grieving the Spirit
also results in the loss of rewards (1 Jn. 2:28-3:3; cf. 1 Co. 3:11-15; 2 Co. 5:10).