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Grieving the Holy Spirit
“Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Eph. 4:30).
Given the biblical doctrine of the Trinity, we know that each person of the triune Godhead delights in that which the other persons are doing. There is a mutual indwelling (perichoresis) among the persons of the Godhead — the Father in the Son and the Spirit; the Son in the Father and the Spirit; and the Spirit in the Father and the Son. To put on Christ, then, is to put on the Father and the Spirit as well, and living out the new life in Christ according to the pattern He gives us pleases our triune Creator. On the other hand, violating the standards given to the disciples of Jesus not only grieves the Son of God but also the Father and the Spirit.
The apostle Paul makes this very point in Ephesians 4:30 when he warns us not to “grieve the Holy Spirit of God.” When we sin, the Holy Spirit experiences grief in a manner appropriate to His deity. He cannot stand the presence of sin and hates it when we, His dwelling place, entertain transgression (Hab. 1:13). Yet even though the reality of His grief proves the Spirit’s personhood, His grief is not exactly the same as ours. The Spirit cannot be paralyzed by grief, and His grief is always holy, undefiled by sin, ungodly jealousy, and all the other flaws that often attend our sorrow. His grief, ultimately, is a mystery. John Calvin comments, “No language can adequately express this solemn truth, that the Holy Spirit rejoices and is glad on our account, when we are obedient to him in all things, and neither think nor speak anything, but what is pure and holy; and, on the other hand, is grieved when we admit anything into our minds that is unworthy of our calling.”
God’s Spirit is especially sensitive to sin because of His close relationship with us, those who have been saved and defined as the Lord’s holy people (1 Peter 1:13–16). The Spirit seals us “for the day of redemption” (Eph. 4:30; see 1:13–14) — He dwells within us when we trust in Christ Jesus, marking us as the people of God who will be spared divine wrath on judgment day. By the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, we are increasingly conformed to our Savior’s image, and a return to a pattern of life wholly dominated by sin is impossible for all those whom the Spirit has sealed (Rom. 8:29–30). Still, even Christians may fall into significant sin, which grieves the Spirit, introducing a distance between Him and us.
Just as we experience the joy of restoration upon repentance, so we make amends for grieving the Spirit when we turn from our sin and seek to do His will. When we sense a distance in our relationship to God, it is wise to ask ourselves if we are engaged in some persistent, impenitent sin that brings the Spirit grief. He may withdraw for a time that we might recognize that our sin has grieved Him and that we need to deal with it.
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17 Bible Verses about Resisting Holy Spirit
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But they rebelled And grieved His Holy Spirit; Therefore He turned Himself to become their enemy, He fought against them.
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
“You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did.
Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”
But some men from what was called the Synagogue of the Freedmen, including both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, and some from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and argued with Stephen. But they were unable to cope with the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking.
but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”—
“Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven.
And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him.
How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?
Do not quench the Spirit;
But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land?
Then Peter said to her, “Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out as well.”
For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.
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.
Because they were rebellious against His Spirit, He spoke rashly with his lips.
They made their hearts like flint so that they could not hear the law and the words which the Lord of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets; therefore great wrath came from the Lord of hosts.
But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.
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What Does It Mean to Grieve the Holy Spirit?
His Spirit Is with Us
To grieve the Holy Spirit is something we’re told is possible and we’re commanded not to do. There are two ways of thinking about it. One is you could ask the question, Can God be grieved by humans? Can we cause God pain? Can we make God suffer? Can we ruin God’s day?
If you take the classical Christian view that God has divine impassability, that God is blessed and is not caused to suffer by things outside of him, then you’d have to add that to the fact that the Holy Spirit is fully God. And that means that, in one sense, you can’t grieve the Holy Spirit in the sense of ruining his day or causing him to suffer.
The Holy Spirit
In this addition to the Short Studies in Systematic Theology series, Fred Sanders teaches readers how to hold a proper understanding of both the person and power of the Holy Spirit, exploring his role in both the Old and New Testaments.
So what does the biblical language mean? It’s one of the Puritans—I think John Owen—who says that we can’t cause the Holy Spirit to suffer grief, but it’s not for lack of trying. We are capable of doing all the things that would cause the Spirit to grieve, if grief were a thing that were permissible to the divine being.
The other thing that I want to say that it means positively is that the Holy Spirit is the person of the Trinity who’s kind of the business end of indwelling in us. There is a closeness and an intimacy of the Spirit to our beings and to our spirits, which means that he is, in some spiritual sense, right here with us and close to us. On the positive side, when we suffer, he’s right there with us. On the dangerous side, when we sin he’s right there with us. And so to grieve the Holy Spirit is to do the things that offend the Holy Spirit within us.
Fred Sanders is the author of The Holy Spirit: An Introduction .
Fred Sanders (PhD, Graduate Theological Union) is professor of theology at the Torrey Honors College at Biola University. Sanders is the author of The Deep Things of God and blogs at fredfredfred.com .
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These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 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 have said to you.
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When you find your mind wandering or getting lost in the details of pneumatology (the doctrine of the Holy Spirit), just call back to mind the basic Christian confession that there is one God in three persons.
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Grieving the Holy Spirit
Charles Haddon Spurgeon October 9, 1859 Scripture: Ephesians 4:30 From: New Park Street Pulpit Volume 5
"And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption."—Ephesians 4:30
There is something very touching in this admonition, "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God." It does not say, "Do not make him angry." A more delicate and tender term is used—"Grieve him not." 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. We all know how we use the two terms in contra-distinction the one to the other. When I commit any offense, some friend who hath but little patience, suddenly snaps asunder his forbearance and is angry with me. The same offense is observed by a loving father, and he is grieved. There is anger in his bosom, but he is angry and he sins not, for he is angry against my sin; and yet there is love to neutralize and modify the anger towards me. Instead of wishing me ill as the punishment of my sin, he looks upon my sin itself as being the ill. He grieves to think that I am already injured, from the fact that I have sinned. I say this is a heavenly compound, more precious than all the ointment of the merchants. There may be the bitterness of myrrh, but there is all the sweetness of frankincense in this sweet term "to grieve." I am certain, my hearers, I do not flatter you when I declare, that I am sure that the most of you would grieve, if you thought you were grieving anyone else. You, perhaps, would not care much if you had made any one angry without a cause; but to grieve him, even though it were without a cause and without intention, would nevertheless cause you distress of heart, and you would not rest until this grief had subsided, till you had made some explanation or apology, and had done your best to allay the smart and take away the grief. When we see anger in another, we at once begin to feel hostility. 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?" Of course, the language is be to understood as speaking after the manner of men. The Holy Spirit of God knoweth no passion or suffering, but nevertheless, his emotion is here described in human language as being that of grief. And is it not, I say a tender and touching thing, that the Holy Spirit should direct his servant Paul to say to us "Grieve not the Holy Spirit," do not excite his loving anger, do not vex him, do not cause him to mourn? He is a dove; do not cause him to mourn, because you have treated him harshly and ungratefully. Now, the purport of my sermon, this morning, will be to exhort you not to grieve the Spirit; but I shall divide it thus: —first, I shall discourse upon the love of the Spirit; secondly, upon the seal of the Spirit; and then, thirdly, upon the grieving of the Spirit.
I. The few words I have to say UPON THE LOVE OF THE SPIRIT will all be pressing forward to my great mark, stirring you up not to grieve the Spirit; for when we are persuaded that another loves us, we find at once a very potent reason why we should not grieve him. 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! —let me tell you of his early love to us. He loved us without beginning. In the eternal covenant of grace, as I told you last Sabbath, he was one of the high contracting parties in the divine contract, whereby we are saved. All that can be said of the love of the Father, of the love of the Son, may be said of the love of the Spirit—it is eternal, it is infinite, it is sovereign, it is everlasting, it is a love which cannot be dissolved, which cannot be decreased, a love which cannot be removed from those who are the objects of it. Permit me, however, to refer you to his acts, rather than his attributes. Let me tell you of the love of the Spirit to you and to me. Oh how early was that love which he manifested towards us, even in our childhood! My brethren, we can well remember how the Spirit was wont to strive with us. We went astray from the womb speaking lies, but how early did the Spirit of God stir up our conscience, and solemnly correct us on account of our youthful sins. How frequently since then has the Spirit wooed us! How often under the ministry has he compelled our hearts to melt, and the tear has run down our cheeks, and he has sweetly whispered in our ear, "My son, give me thy heart; go to thy chamber, shut thy door about thee, confess thy sins, and seek a Saviour's love and blood." Oh, —but let us blush to tell it—how often have we done despite to him! When we were in a state of unregeneracy, how we were wont to resist him! We quenched the Spirit; he strove with us but we strove against him. But blessed be his dear name, and let him have everlasting songs for it, he would not let us go! We would not be saved, but he would save us. We sought to thrust ourselves into the fire, but he sought to pluck us from the burning. We would dash ourselves from the precipice, but he wrestled with us and held us fast; he would not let us destroy our souls. Oh, how we ill-treated him, how we did set at nought his counsel! How did we scorn and scoff him; how did we despise the ordinance which would lead us to Christ! How did we violate that holy cord which was gently drawing us to Jesus and his cross! I am sure, my brethren, at the recollections of the persevering struggles of the Spirit with you, you must be stirred up to love him. How often did he restrain you from sin, when you were about to plunge headlong into a course of vice! How often did he constrain you to good, when you would have neglected it! You, perhaps, would not have been in the way at all, and the Lord would not have met you, if it had not been for that sweet Spirit, who would not let you become a blasphemer, who would not suffer you to forsake the house of God, and would not permit you to become a regular attendant at the haunts of vice, but checked you, and held you in, as it were, with bit and bridle. Though you were like a bullock, unaccustomed to the yoke, yet he would not let you have your way. Though you struggled against him, yet he would not throw the reins upon your necks, but he said, "I will have him, I will have him against his will; I will change his heart, I will not let him go till I have made him a trophy of my mighty power to save." And then think my brethren of the love of the Spirit after that—
"Dost mind the time, the spot of land, Where Jesus did thee meet? Where he first took thee by the hand, Thy bridegroom's love—how sweet!"
Ah, then, in that blest hour, to memory dear, was it not the Holy Spirit who guided you to Jesus? Do you remember the love of the Spirit, when, after having quickened you, he took you aside, and showed you Jesus on the tree? Who was it that opened our blind eye to see a dying Saviour? Who was it that opened your deaf ear to hear the voice of pardoning love? Who opened your clasped and palsied hand to receive the tokens of a Saviour's grace Who was it that brake your hard heart and made a way for the Saviour to enter and dwell therein? Oh! it was that precious Spirit that self-same Spirit, to whom you had done so much despite, whom in the days of your flesh you had resisted! What a mercy it was that he did not say, "I will swear in my wrath that they shall not enter into my rest, for they have vexed me, and I will take my everlasting flight from them;" or thus, "Ephraim is joined unto idols, I will let him alone!" And since that time, my brethren, how sweetly has the Spirit proved his love to you and to me. It is not only in his first strivings, and then his divine quickenings; but in all the sequel, how much have we owed to his instruction. We have been dull scholars with the word before us, plain and simple, so that he that reads may read, and he that reads may understand, yet how small a portion of his Word has our memory retained, how little progress have we made in the school of God's grace! We are but learners yet, unstable, weak, and apt to slide, but what a blessed instructor we have had! Has he not led us into many a truth, and taken of the things of Christ and applied them unto us? Oh! When I think how stupid I have been, I wonder that he has not given me up. When I think what a dolt I have been, when he would have taught me the things of the kingdom of God, I marvel that he should have had such patience with me. Is it a wonder that Jesus should become a babe? Is it not an equal wonder that the Spirit of the living God, should become a teacher of babes? It is a marvel that Jesus should lie in a manger; is it not an equal marvel that the Holy Spirit should become an usher in the sacred school, to teach fools, and make them wise? It was condescension that brought the Saviour to the cross, but is it not equal condescension that brings the mighty Spirit of grace down to dwell with stubborn unruly, wild asses' colts, to teach them the mystery of the kingdom, and make them know the wonders of a Saviour's love?
Furthermore, my brethren, forget not how much we owe to the Spirit's consolation, how much has he manifested his love to you in cherishing you in all your sicknesses, assisting you in all your labors; and comforting you in all your distresses. He has been a blessed comforter to me I can testify; when every other comfort failed, when the promise itself seemed empty, when the ministry was void of power, it is then the Holy Spirit has proved a rich comfort unto my soul, and filled my poor heart with peace and joy in believing. How many times would your heart have broken if the Spirit had not bound it up! How often has he who is your teacher become also your physician, has closed the wounds of your poor bleeding spirit, and has bound up those wounds with the court plaister of the promise, and so has stanched the bleeding, and has given you back your spiritual health once more. It does seem to rise a marvel that the Holy Ghost should become a comforter, for comforting is, to many minds, but an inferior work in the church, though really it is not so. To teach, to preach, to command with authority, how many are willing to do this because this is honorable work; but to sit down and bear with the infirmities of the creature, to enter into all the stratagems of unbelief, to find the soul a way of peace in the midst of seas of trouble this is compassion like a God, that the Holy Spirit should stoop from heaven to become a comforter of disconsolate spirits. What! must he himself bring the cordial? must he wait upon his sick child and stand by his bed? must he make his bed for him in his afflictions must he carry him in his infirmity? must he breathe continually into him his very breath? Doth the Holy Spirit become a waiting servant of the church? Doth he become a lamp to enlighten? and doth he become a staff on which we may lean? This, I say, should move us to love the Holy Spirit, for we have in all this abundant proofs of his love to us.
Stay not here, beloved, there are larger fields yet beyond, now that we are speaking of the love of the Spirit. Remember how much he loves us when he helpeth our infirmities. Nay, not only doth he help our infirmities, but when we know not what to pray for as we ought he teacheth us how to pray, and when "we ourselves groan within ourselves," then the Spirit himself maketh intersession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered—groans as we should groan, but more audibly, so that our prayer, which else would have been silent, reaches the ears of Christ, and is then presented before his Father's face. To help our infirmities is a mighty instance of love. When God overcomes infirmity altogether, or removes it, there is something very noble, and grand, and sublime in the deed; when he permits the infirmity to remain and yet works with the infirmity, this is tender compassion indeed. When the Saviour heals the lame man you see his Godhead, but when he walketh with the lame man, limping though his gait may be; when he sitteth with the beggar, when he talketh with the publican, when he carryeth the babe in his bosom, then this helping of infirmities is a manifestation of love almost unequalled. Save Christ's bearing our infirmities upon the tree and our sins in his own body, I know of no greater or more tender instance of divine love than when it is written, "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities." Oh how much you owe to the Spirit when you have been on your knees in prayer! You know, my brethren, what it is to be dull and lifeless there; to groan for a word, and yet you cannot find it; to wish for a word, and yet the very wish is languid; to long to have desires, and yet all the desire you have is a desire that you may be able to desire. Oh, have you not sometimes, when your desires have been kindled longed to get a grip at the promise by the hand of faith? "Oh," you have said, "if I could but plead the promise, all my necessities would be removed, and all my sorrows would be allayed;" but, alas, the promise was beyond your reach. If you touched it with the tip of your finger, you could not grasp it as you desired, you could not plead it, and therefore you came away without the blessing. But when the Spirit has helped our infirmities how have we prayed! Why, there have been times when you and I have so grasped the knocker of the gate of mercy, and have let it fall with such tremendous force, that it seemed as if the very gate itself did shake and totter; there have been seasons when we have laid hold upon the angel, have overcome heaven by prayer, have declared we would not let Jehovah himself go except he should bless us. We have, and we say it without blasphemy, moved the arm that moves the world. We have brought down upon us the eyes that look upon the universe. All this we have done, not by our own strength, but by the might and by the power of the Spirit, and seeing he has so sweetly enabled us, though we have so often forgotten to thank him; seeing that he has so graciously assisted us though we have often taken all the glory to ourselves instead of airing it to him, must we not admire his love, and must it not be a fearful sin indeed to grieve the Holy Spirit by whom we are sealed?
Another token of the Spirit's love remains, namely, his indwelling in the saints. We sing in one of our hymns, —
"Dost thou not dwell in all the saints?"
We ask a question which can have but one answer. He does dwell in the heart of all God's redeemed and blood-washed people. And what a condescension is this, that he whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain, dwells in thy breast my brother. That breast often covered with rags, may be a breast often agitated with anxious care and thought, a breast too often defiled with sin, and yet he dwells there. The little narrow heart of man the Holy Spirit hath made his palace. Though it is but a cottage, a very hovel, and all unholy and unclean yet doth the Holy Spirit condescend to make the heart of his people his continual abode. Oh my friends, when I think how often you and I have let the devil in, I wonder the Spirit has not withdrawn from us. The final perseverance of the saints, is one of the greatest miracles on record; in fact, it is the sum total of miracles. The perseverance of a saint for a single day, is a multitude of miracles of mercy. When you consider that the Spirit is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, and yet he dwells in the heart where sin often intrudes, a heart out of which comes blasphemies, and murders, and all manner of evil thoughts and concupiscence, what if sometimes he is grieved, and retires and leaves us to ourselves for a season? It is a marvel that he is there at all, for he must be daily grieved with these evil guests, these false traitors, these base intruders who thrust themselves into that little temple which he has honored with his presence, the temple of the heart of man. I am afraid, dear friends, we are too much in the habit of talking of the love of Jesus, without thinking of the love of the Holy Spirit. Now I would not wish to exalt one person of the Trinity above another, but I do feel this, that because Jesus Christ was a man, bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh, and therefore there was something tangible in him that can be seen with the eyes, and handled with the hands, therefore we more readily think of him, and fix our love on him, than we do upon the Spirit. But why should it be? Let us love Jesus with all our hearts, and let us love the Holy Spirit too. Let us have songs for him, gratitude for him. We do not forget Christ's cross, let us not forget the Spirit's operations. We do not forget what Jesus has done for us, let us always remember what the Spirit does in us. Why you talk of the love, and grace, and tenderness, and faithfulness of Christ, why do you not say the like of the Spirit? Was ever love like his, that he should visit us? Was ever mercy like his, that he should bear with our ill manners, though constantly repeated by us? Was ever faithfulness like his, that multitudes of sins cannot drive him away? Was ever power like his, that overcometh all our iniquities, and yet leads us safely on, though hosts of foes within and without would rob us of our Christian life?
"Oh, the love of the Spirit I sing By whom is redemption applied."
And unto his name be glory for ever and ever.
II. This brings me to the second point. Here we have another reason why we should not grieve the Spirit. IT IS BY THE HOLY SPIRIT WE ARE SEALED. "BY whom we are sealed unto the day of redemption." I shall be very brief here. 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. It is a sealing of attestation or confirmation. I want to know whether I am truly a child of God. The Spirit itself also beareth witness with my spirit that I am born of God. I have the writings, the title-deeds of the inheritance that is to come—I want to know whether those are valid, whether they are true, or whether they are mere counterfeits written out by that old scribe of hell, Master Presumption and Carnal Security. How am I to know? I look for the seal. After that we have believed on the Son of God, the Father seals us as his children, by the gift of the Holy Ghost. "Now he which hath anointed us is God, who also hath sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearse." 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 hath 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. Never be content, my dear hearers, unless you are sealed, unless you are sure, by the inward witness and testimony of the Holy Ghost, that you have been begotten again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. It is possible for a man to know infallibly that he is secure of heaven. He may not only hope so, but he may know it beyond a doubt, and he may know it thus, —by being able with the eye of faith to see the seal, the broad stamp of the Holy Spirit set upon his own character and experience. It is a seal of attestation.
In the next place, 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. They are his. 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. He seals us. "Thou shalt be mine," saith the Lord, "in the day when I make up my jewels." And then the Spirit puts God's seal upon us to signify that we are God's reserved inheritance—his peculiar people, the portion in which his soul delighteth.
But, 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, that he is kept, he is preserved, sealed unto the day of redemption—sealed until Christ comes fully to redeem the bodies of his saints by raising them from the death, and fully to redeem the world by purging it from sin, and making it a kingdom unto himself in righteousness. We shall hold on our way, we shall be saved. The chosen seed cannot be lost they must be brought home at last, but how? By the sealing of the Spirit. Apart from that they perish, they are undone. When the last general fire shall blaze out, everything that has not the seal of the Spirit on it, shall be burned up. But the men upon whose forehead is the seal shall be preserved. They shall be safe "amid the wreck of matter and the crash of worlds." Their spirits, mounting above the flames shall dwell with Christ eternally, and with that same seal in their forehead upon Mount Zion, they shall sing the everlasting song of gratitude and praise. I say this is the second reason why we should love the Spirit and why we should not grieve him.
III. I come now to the third part of my discourse, namely, 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? How may we grieve the Spirit? I am now, mark you, speaking of those who love the Lord Jesus Christ. 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 if even you allow imagination to coat 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 be 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 begin to grieve. Again, if we neglect prayer, if our closet door is cob-webbed, 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, for thus he saith, "They have forsaken me, they have left the fountain of waters, they have hewn unto themselves broken cisterns." 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. His spirit is grieved within him; take care that he does not go away from you, for it will be a pitiful thing for you if he leaves you to yourself. Again, ingratitude tends to grieve him. Nothing cut a man to the heart more than after having done his utmost for another, he turns round and repays him with ingratitude or insult. If we do not want to be thanked, at least we do love to know that there is thankfulness in the heart upon which we have conferred a boon, and when the Holy Spirit looks into our soul and sees little love to Christ, no gratitude to him for all he has done for us, then is he grieved.
Again, the Holy Spirit is exceedingly grieved by our unbelief. When we distrust the promise he hath given and applied, when we doubt the power or the affection of our blessed Lord, then the Spirit saith within himself—"They doubt my fidelity, they distrust my power, they say Jesus is not able to save unto the uttermost, thus again is the Spirit grieved. Oh, I wish the Spirit had an advocate here this morning, that could speak in better terms than I can. I have a theme that overmasters me, I seem to grieve for him; but I cannot make you grieve, nor tell out the grief I feel. In my own soul I keep saying, "Oh, this is just what you have done—you have grieved him." Let me make a full and frank confession even before you all. I know that too often, I as well as you have grieved the Holy Spirit. Much within us has made that sacred dove to mourn, and my marvel is, that he has not taken his flight from us and left us utterly to ourselves.
Now suppose the Holy Spirit is grieved, what is the effect produced upon us? 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. But at last, his grief becomes so excessive, that he says, "I will suspend my operations; I will begone; I will leave life behind me, but my own actual presence I will take away. And when the Spirit of God goes away from the soul and suspends all his operations what a miserable state we are in. He suspends his instructions; we read the word, we cannot understand it; we go to our commentaries, they cannot tell us the meaning; we fall on our knees and ask to be taught, but we get no answer, we learn nothing. He suspends his comfort; we used to dance, like David before the ark, and now we sit like Job in the ash-pit, and scrape our ulcers with a potsherd. There was a time when his candle shone round about us, but now he is gone; he has left us in the blackness of darkness. Now, he takes from us all spiritual power. Once we could do all things; now we can do nothing. We could slay the Philistines, and lay them heaps upon heaps, but now Delilah can deceive us, and our eyes are put out and we are made to grind in the mill. We go preaching, and there is no pleasure in preaching, and no good follows it. We go to our tract distributing, and our Sunday-school, we might almost as well be at home. There is the machinery there, but there is no love. There is the intention to do good, or perhaps not even that, but alas! there is no power to accomplish the intention. The Lord has withdrawn himself, his light, his joy, his comfort, his spiritual power, all are gone. And then all our graces flag. 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. Have you never, my brethren, been on your knees and have been conscious that the Spirit of God was not with you, and what awful work it has been to groan, and cry, and sigh, and yet go away again, and no light to shine upon the promises, not so much as a ray of light through the chink of the dungeon. All forsaken, forgotten, and forlorn, you are almost driven to despair. You sing with Cowper: —
"What peaceful hours I once enjoyed, How sweet their memory still! But they have left an aching void, The world can never fill.
Return, thou sacred dove, return, Sweet messenger of rest, I hate the sins that made thee mourn, And drove thee from my breast.
The dearest idol I have known, Whate'er that idol be, Help me to tear it from its throne, And worship only thee."
Ah! sad enough it is to have the Spirit drawn from us. But, my brethren, I am about to say something with the utmost charity, which, perhaps, may look severe, but, nevertheless, I must say it. The churches of the present day are very much in the position of those who have grieved the Spirit of God; for the Spirit deals with churches just as it does with individuals. Of these late years how little has God wrought in the midst of his churches. Throughout England, at least some four or five years ago, an almost universal torpor had fallen upon the visible body of Christ. There was a little action, but it was spasmodic; there was no real vitality. Oh! how few sinners were brought to Christ, how empty had our places of worship become; our prayer-meetings were dwindling away to nothing, and our church meetings were mere matters of farce. You know right well that this is the case with many London churches to this day; and there be some that do not mourn about it. They go up to their accustomed place, and the minister prays, and the people either sleep with their eyes or else with their hearts, and they go out, and there is never a soul saved. The pool of baptism is seldom stirred; but the saddest part of all is this, the churches are willing to have it so. They are not earnest to get a revival of religion. We have been doing something, the church at large has been doing something. I will not just now put my finger upon what the sin is, but there has been something done which has driven the Spirit of God from us. He is grieved, and he is gone. He is present with us here, I thank his name, he is still visible in our midst. He has not left us. Though we have been as unworthy as others, yet has he given us a long outpouring of his presence. These five years or more, we have had a revival which is not to be exceeded by any revival upon the face of the earth. Without cries or shoutings, without fallings down or swooning, steadily God adds to this church numbers upon numbers, so that your minister's heart is ready to break with very joy when he thinks how manifestly the Spirit of God is with us. But brethren, we must not be content with this, we want to see the Spirit poured out on all churches. Look at the great gatherings that there were in St. Paul's, and Westminster Abbey, and Exeter Hall, and other places, how was it that no good was done, or so very little? I have watched with anxious eye, and I have never from that day forth heard but of one conversion, and that in St. James' Hall, from all these services. Strange it seems. The blessing may have come in larger measure than we know, but not in so large a measure as we might have expected, if the Spirit of God had been present with all the ministers. Oh would that we may live to see greater things than we have ever seen yet. Go home to your houses, humble yourselves before God, ye members of Christ's church, and cry aloud that he will visit his church, and that he would open the windows of heaven and pour out his grace upon his thirsty hill of Zion, that nations may be born in a day, that sinners may be saved by thousands—that Zion may travail and may bring forth children. Oh! there are signs and tokens of a coming revival. We have heard but lately of a good work among the Ragged School boys of St. Giles's, and our soul has been glad on account of that; and the news from Ireland comes to us like good tidings, not from a far country, but from a sister province of the kingdom. Let us cry aloud to the Holy Spirit, who is certainly grieved with his church, and let us purge our churches of everything that is contrary to his Word and to sound doctrine, and then the Spirit will return, and his power shall be manifest.
And now, in conclusion, there may be some of you here who have lost the visible presence of Christ with you; who have in fact so grieved the Spirit that he has gone. It is a mercy for you to know that the Spirit of God never leaves his people finally; he leaves them for chastisement, but not for damnation. He sometimes leaves them that they may get good by knowing their own weakness, but he will not leave them finally to perish. Are you in a state of backsliding, declension, and coldness? Hearken to me for a moment, and God bless the words. Brother, stay not a moment in a condition so perilous; be not easy for a single second in the absence of the Holy Ghost. I beseech you use every means by which that Spirit may be brought back to you. Once more, let me tell you distinctly what the means are. Search out for the sin that has grieved the Spirit, give it up, slay that sin upon the spot; repent with tears and sighs; continue in prayer, and never rest satisfied until the Holy Ghost comes back to you. Frequent an earnest ministry, get much with earnest saints, but above all, be much in prayer to God, and let your daily cry be, "Return, return, O Holy Spirit return, and dwell in my soul." Oh, I beseech you be not content till that prayer is heard, for you have become weak as water, and faint and empty while the Spirit has been away from you. Oh! it may be there are some here this morning with whom the Spirit has been striving during the past week. Oh yield to him, resist him not; grieve him not, but yield to him. Is he saying to you now "Turn to Christ?" Listen to him, obey him, he moves you. Oh I beseech you do not despise him. Have you resisted him many a time, then take care you do not again, for there may come a last time when the Spirit may say, "I will go unto my rest, I will not return unto him, the ground is accursed, it shall be given up to barrenness." Oh I hear the word of the gospel, ere ye separate, for the Spirit speaketh effectually to you now in this short sentence—"Repent and be converted everyone of you, that your sins may be blotted out when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord," and hear this solemn sentence, "He that believeth in the Lord Jesus and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." May the Lord grant that we may not grieve the Holy Spirit. Amen.
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6 Ways We Can Grieve the Holy Spirit
- Barbara Latta Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2021 18 Nov
When we, as parents, give instructions to our own children and they do not obey, we don’t throw them out of the family. But our hearts suffer because we see that when they rebel, they are hurting themselves and sowing seeds that will reap destructive consequences later.
How much more does our heavenly Father want what is best for us? This is why the Scripture says he is jealous over us (Nahum 1:2). He doesn’t want the enemy of our souls to get his talons into us with deception and evil works.
We know we are forgiven by the blood of Christ. All our sins have been washed away and when we accept that gift, we become part of the family of God (Romans 10:9). Our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Being born again doesn’t mean we won’t still commit sin. But because we are members of heaven’s family, it distresses the Lord when we do not follow His commands.
Paul’s instructions to the church in Ephesus told them not to grieve the Holy Spirit.
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30 NIV)
What are some ways we can cause this type of distress?
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1. Negative Speech
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. ( Ephesians 4:29 )
Constant complaining thrived in the camps of the Israelites in the wilderness. Nothing satisfied them. Instead of focusing on the Lord who rescued them from slavery and the provision He gave in a land where nothing existed, they found something wrong with everything.
They accused Moses, doubted God’s Word, and wanted to return to the land of Egypt.
This tested the Almighty to the point that those who rebelled were kept out of the promised land. Their hearts became so hardened that this group of people were never going to hear Him ( Hebrews 3:7-11 ).
The same heartbreaking attitude can be reflected in our words if we don’t keep a watch over our mouths.
2. Uncontrolled Emotions
Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. ( Ephesians 4:32 NKJV)
All these words sound like the same emotion, but they are different in subtle ways.
Bitterness is akin to hatred. It is a root that produces bitter fruit or extreme wickedness. If this root stays planted, the branches of other evil actions can grow.
Wrath is indignation that can rise gradually and then subside. These are feelings that come and go due to thoughts and exposure to the actions of others.
Anger rises when we abhor injustice. This feeling can be used righteously as in Jesus’ cleansing of the temple. But we must guard ourselves that we don’t use anger in a vengeful way when we feel that we have personally been wronged ( Ephesians 4:26 ).
Clamor is a deep crying or wail in distress, like self-pity. Malice is the destruction of a person’s character through slander or to blaspheme and give no respect to God.
The Israelites committed all of these against Moses and their leaders and especially to Jehovah . They wailed in distress at their perception of lack despite the provision given to them.
We can all be guilty of these emotions at times, and we know how destructive they can be to our lives. The Holy Spirit aches when we conduct ourselves this way because we are only hurting our own souls. A constant lifestyle of wrath can harden our hearts.
Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. ( Ephesians 4:25 NIV)
It’s hard to admit that we, as Christians, sometimes tell a fib. We may think we don’t fall under this category, but we can find ourselves not telling the whole truth at times. And a little bit of falsehood is still a lie. False flattery is one way we lie to each other. We don’t want to offend our brothers and sisters, but we also shouldn’t say something we don’t mean.
What about gossip? Words disguised as prayer requests or stories spread as attempts at aid can still be classified as lying. Repeating stories and rumors about another person can harm their character and hurt our own image. The more they are repeated, the details can grow skewed. Why would trust be granted toward someone whose false words can penetrate like a sword?
When Paul wrote this letter to the church at Ephesus, he was writing to people who had come out of a heathenistic lifestyle. What they did before they knew Christ was normal to them, and some of those bad habits transferred with them.
The mindset of the Greek scholars at that time was that it was more profitable to lie than tell the truth. This thought process didn’t die out but has also carried over into our modern society.
We are members of one another, the same family ( 1 Corinthians 12:26 ). When one hurts, we all hurt, so why would we want to damage each other with untruths?
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4. Falling for Deception
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. ( Ephesians 5:6 )
The troublemakers of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram came against Moses and tried to usurp his authority ( Numbers 16:1-3 ). In Exodus 32 the people were deceived into building a golden image. They trusted in their own assumptions that Moses wasn’t coming back from the top of Mount Sinai.
Jesus warned about wolves in sheep’s clothing coming in with false words ( Matthew 7:15 ). The Galatians swallowed the lie that they also needed to obey the Law of Moses along with belief in Christ to be saved ( Galatians 5:4 ).
We can only stay on course by knowing the truth and not listening to anything that contradicts what the Bible says. We do this by grounding ourselves in the Word ( Romans 12:1-12 ).
The Holy Spirit is grieved when we believe anything other than truth. The result of listening to false doctrine can draw us away from Him and into sinful actions.
Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. ( Ephesians 4:28 )
Robbery is not part of the lifestyle of Christians. We don’t hold up banks or stores and ride off into the sunset with the loot. But the size or value of an item is not what determines theft. Even if we didn’t intentionally take money or products, keeping incorrect change, or not returning an item a clerk mistakenly places in our bag is defrauding the store.
People can also steal by cheating on taxes or falsifying business documents. These could also fall under the category of lying.
According to Adam Clarke’s commentary, the rabbis condoned stealing if part of what was taken was given to the poor. Some members of that party committed the acts themselves. But a Robin Hood attitude about taking from another person is not acceptable and God considers it theft.
Human nature is the same now as it was in biblical days. We may think it’s no big deal. These are small indiscretions, and these behaviors may seem insignificant. But they do matter. God sees all, and He is saddened when we don’t reflect His character.
Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit ( Ephesians 5:18 )
The debate about Christians drinking alcohol will probably continue until Jesus comes back. But the Scripture is clear about drunkenness. This is another problem Paul addressed in several places due to the background the new Christians converted from.
He had to warn the Corinthians about drunkenness because they were misusing the communion table ( 2 Corinthians 11:21 ).
In Romans chapter 14, Paul addressed disputes over food. He used this as an example of the law of liberty. While all food could be sanctified by the Lord, a person weak in their faith could fall seeing one of the believers eating food they considered unclean.
The same principle can apply to alcohol. We are not to judge, but we are also told not to be a stumbling block to another person’s faith ( Romans 14:13 ). We should consider how all activities and attitudes we engage in can be interpreted by others.
How Can We Alleviate the Grief We May Cause?
Be imitators of God.
Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. ( Ephesians 5:1 )
Walk in love.
And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma . ( Ephesians 5:2 )
Be kind and forgive each other.
And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you . ( Ephesians 4:32 )
Purify your speech.
Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord . ( Ephesians 5:19 )
Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. ( Ephesians 5:20 )
Live in the Fruit of the Spirit
We are forgiven for all these soul wanderings, but that doesn’t give us a free pass for committing any fleshly act. Continuing to walk in the fruit of the Spirit will keep us sensitive to His voice and will empower us against any temptations. If His fruit is dominant, our lives won’t cause anguish to the One who lives within us.
This season of thankfulness can remind us to keep our priorities aligned. Praising the Lord will put our focus on Him instead of what our human desires demand.
Rather than grieving the Spirit, we can praise and thank Him.
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100 Bible Verses about Do Not Grieve The Holy Spirit
Ephesians 4:30 esv / 52 helpful votes helpful not helpful.
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Isaiah 63:10 ESV / 34 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
But they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit; therefore he turned to be their enemy, and himself fought against them.
Romans 15:30 ESV / 24 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf,
1 Thessalonians 5:19 ESV / 21 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
Do not quench the Spirit.
1 Timothy 4:1 ESV / 20 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons,
Ephesians 4:29-32 ESV / 19 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And 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, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
John 14:17 ESV / 19 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
Even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
John 14:26 ESV / 18 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
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 have said to you.
Acts 7:51 ESV / 17 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you.
John 20:22 ESV / 16 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
Acts 13:2 ESV / 15 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
1 Corinthians 2:11 ESV / 13 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
Romans 8:26 ESV / 13 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
Ephesians 1:13 ESV / 12 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
Acts 2:4 ESV / 12 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
John 15:26 ESV / 12 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.
Matthew 28:19 ESV / 12 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Genesis 6:3 ESV / 12 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.”
Hebrews 9:14 ESV / 11 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
Romans 8:27 ESV / 11 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
Matthew 12:32 ESV / 11 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
Psalm 139:7 ESV / 11 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?
Hebrews 10:29 ESV / 10 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?
Hebrews 3:7 ESV / 10 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear his voice,
John 14:16-17 ESV / 10 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
1 Peter 1:11 ESV / 9 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
Inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories.
1 Corinthians 3:16 ESV / 9 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?
Matthew 3:11 ESV / 9 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
“I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
Ephesians 4:32 ESV / 8 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
1 Corinthians 12:11 ESV / 8 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
Acts 8:29 ESV / 8 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.”
2 Corinthians 13:14 ESV / 7 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Acts 16:6 ESV / 7 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia.
Revelation 22:17 ESV / 6 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.
Revelation 2:11 ESV / 6 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’
Revelation 2:7 ESV / 6 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’
Ephesians 5:18 ESV / 6 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,
1 Corinthians 2:13 ESV / 6 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.
Acts 20:28 ESV / 6 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.
Genesis 1:2 ESV / 6 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
1 Peter 4:14 ESV / 5 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
2 Timothy 1:7 ESV / 5 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
1 Thessalonians 4:13 ESV / 5 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.
1 Thessalonians 1:6 ESV / 5 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit,
Acts 15:28 ESV / 5 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements:
Acts 5:3 ESV / 5 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land?
Colossians 3:12-14 ESV / 4 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
Ephesians 4:29 ESV / 4 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
Ephesians 4:25-32 ESV / 4 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. ...
Ephesians 3:5 ESV / 4 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
Which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.
Ephesians 2:18 ESV / 4 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.
Galatians 6:8 ESV / 4 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
Galatians 5:22-23 ESV / 4 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
2 Corinthians 1:22 ESV / 4 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
And who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
Acts 2:3 ESV / 4 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them.
Acts 2:1-47 ESV / 4 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. ...
Acts 1:8 ESV / 4 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
John 6:63 ESV / 4 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
Luke 11:13 ESV / 4 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Revelation 3:13 ESV / 3 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
Revelation 2:29 ESV / 3 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
2 peter 1:21 esv / 3 helpful votes helpful not helpful.
For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
1 Peter 1:12 ESV / 3 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.
Philippians 1:19 ESV / 3 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
For I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance,
Ephesians 2:22 ESV / 3 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
Galatians 4:6 ESV / 3 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”
2 Corinthians 3:6 ESV / 3 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
Who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
1 Corinthians 15:54-55 ESV / 3 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
1 Corinthians 6:19 ESV / 3 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,
1 Corinthians 2:10 ESV / 3 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
These things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.
1 Corinthians 2:10-11 ESV / 3 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
These things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
Romans 8:11 ESV / 3 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
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.
Romans 1:4 ESV / 3 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
And was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,
Acts 16:6-7 ESV / 3 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them.
Acts 13:1-4 ESV / 3 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off. So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus.
Acts 11:12 ESV / 3 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
And the Spirit told me to go with them, making no distinction. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man's house.
Acts 10:45 ESV / 3 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles.
Acts 10:19 ESV / 3 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
And while Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you.
Acts 9:31 ESV / 3 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.
Acts 8:39 ESV / 3 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing.
Acts 5:32 ESV / 3 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”
Acts 5:9 ESV / 3 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
But Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.”
Acts 5:3-4 ESV / 3 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.”
Acts 4:8 ESV / 3 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders,
Acts 2:38 ESV / 3 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 1:16 ESV / 3 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
“Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus.
Acts 1:5 ESV / 3 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
Acts 1:2 ESV / 3 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
Until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen.
John 16:13 ESV / 3 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
John 16:8 ESV / 3 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:
John 7:38 ESV / 3 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”
Revelation 14:13 ESV / 2 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”
Revelation 3:22 ESV / 2 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”
Revelation 3:6 ESV / 2 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
Acts 21:10 esv / 2 helpful votes helpful not helpful.
While we were staying for many days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea.
Acts 4:31 ESV / 2 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.
John 14:16 ESV / 2 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,
John 3:34 ESV / 2 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure.
John 3:33 ESV / 2 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true.
John 3:16-17 ESV / 2 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
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Unless otherwise indicated, all content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License . All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles , a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Contact me: openbibleinfo (at) gmail.com. Cite this page : Editor: Stephen Smith. Publication date: Oct 27, 2023. Publisher: OpenBible.info.
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Ephesians 4:30 in other translations, ephesians 4:30 meaning and commentary.
And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God Not a believer's own spirit, sanctified by the Holy Ghost, which is grieved by sin; nor the spirit of a good man, that hears our words and sees our actions, and is displeased and troubled at them; but the third person in the Trinity: and this is said of him by an anthropopathy, and supposes something done that is offensive to him; and he may be grieved, not only by unconverted persons, by their stubborn resistance and opposition to the Gospel and means of grace, and by their contempt of his person, office, and grace, but by believers themselves, and who are here spoken to; and which may be done both by their words, lying, angry, and corrupt ones, before cautioned against, ( Ephesians 4:25 Ephesians 4:26 Ephesians 4:29 ) and by their actions, their behaviour towards God, their conversation in the world, and by their carriage to one another, which is suggested in the following verse: also he may be grieved by their thoughts, their vain and sinful thoughts, and that they are no better employed; and especially when they entertain any undervaluing ones of Jesus Christ, whose glorifier he is; and by the unbelief of their hearts, and by their unmindfulness of the things of the Spirit; and when they disregard the rules, dictates, and advice of the Spirit, and make no use of him: and his being grieved appears by his departure from them; which is to be perceived by the darkness of their souls, the prevailings of corruption, the weakness of grace, and their backwardness to duty: and now there are many reasons why he should not be grieved; as because he is God, and the author of the new birth, the implanter and applier of all grace, and the finisher of it; because he is the saints' comforter, their advocate, helper, and strengthener; and their constant companion, who dwells in them, and will remain in them, until death: and it follows,
whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption ; of the sealing work of the Spirit, ( See Gill on Ephesians 1:13 ). By "the day of redemption" may be meant, either the day of death, when the saints have a deliverance from the incumbrance of the body; from their present state of exile and banishment; from the body of sin and death; from all sorrows and afflictions; from the reproaches and persecutions of men; from the temptations of Satan; from doubts, fears, and unbelief; and from all fear of death, corporeal, spiritual, and eternal: or the day of the resurrection, when the body will be redeemed from mortality, corruption, weakness, and dishonour; when it will be refined and spiritualized, so that it will not stand in need of natural sustenance; will be endowed with great agility, like that of spirits; and will be subject to the soul, or spirit, and will be suited to spiritual objects; to which may be added, the day of judgment, ( Luke 21:28 ) when Christ shall appear in glory, and his saints with him, and he will put them, soul and body, into the possession of everlasting happiness; which will consist in the vision of Christ, in conformity to him, and in that happy company and conversation that will then be enjoyed, and that delightful employment they will be taken up in: and now the saints being sealed up by the Spirit unto this time, shows the perpetual indwelling of the Spirit in them; and that it will continue even after death, who will give them confidence at the day of judgment; and that it is the Spirit which works up the saints, and makes them meet for glory; and gives them the assurance of it, and therefore they should not be grieved.
Ephesians 4:30 In-Context
Cross references 3.
Grieving the Holy Spirit
Answer: The Bible verse you are referring to regarding what it means to grieve the Spirit is in Ephesians 4. It states, "Do not let any corrupt communication come out of your mouth . . . and grieve (Greek: lupeo , Strong's Concordance #G3076) not the Holy Spirit of God by which you have been sealed for the day of redemption" (Ephesians 4:29 - 30, HBFV throughout).
The Greek lupeo means to "cause pain, distress, to be sad or to grieve." The Bauer-Arndt-Gingrich Greek-English lexicon states the word means, in relation to the Holy Spirit, to "vex, irritate, offend, insult" and agrees it is a synonym for grieve.
It should be noted here that the Bible does not support the teaching that the Holy Spirit is a person or a part of some Triune Godhead. It is, rather, the power through which God (the Father and Jesus Christ) accomplish their will in the universe. How can we then insult, grieve or offend it? If we look at the context of Ephesians 4:30 we will find our answer.
Ephesian 4:17 - 22 reminds Christians that they should not follow the foolishness, vanity and lusts of their human nature as they did before they were converted. Believers are to be renewed in their minds (verse 23) through God's power (2Timothy 1:6). Those called by the Eternal are to become a new person (Ephesians 4:24) through the indwelling of Jesus (Colossians 3:10 - 11) and not lie.
We are also not to let our anger get out of control, thereby giving the devil a chance to tempt us (Ephesians 4:25 - 27). We are to not steal but rather work as God intended so that we can not only provide for ourselves but also have something to give to others (verse 28).
We are not to use filthy language as the unconverted do but rather work toward building up others (verse 29). We grieve it, the Spirit, by engaging in the immoral actions Paul lists.
How serious is it?
How serious is it to grieve the Holy Spirit that makes him or her a true Christian? Consider what Christ taught in Matthew 12.
And whoever speaks a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this age nor in the coming age (Matthew 12:32).
Why does God regard insults against the Holy Spirit as worse than insults against Jesus? It is possibly because it is the means by which Christians are guaranteed eternal life if they remain faithful to the end of their human existence. Its continued presence in our lives is necessary for salvation (2Corinthians 5:5). Paul tells us in Colossians 1:27 that the mind of Christ in us is the hope of glory or final salvation.
Whenever we sin, we grieve the Holy Spirit. God wants us to resist and avoid sin as much as possible. He will not withdraw or lessen his presence in us as long as we recognize our mistakes and weaknesses and repent. Our loving Father knows we are still human and subject to the flesh. He promises to forgive us if we ask him and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness (1John 1:7 - 9).
What Does it Mean to 'Grieve the Holy Spirit'?
What does it mean to "Grieve the Holy Spirit?"
It is important for us to better understand the person of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes people think of the Holy Spirit as more of an “It” than a “Him.” But according to Scripture, the Holy Spirit is not only God, but He has a will, a personality, and can even be offended!
There are six specific sins that can be committed against the Holy Spirit. Today, allow me to focus on one that can be committed by believers— grieving the Holy Spirit.
One of the places in Scripture where we read about grieving the Holy Spirit is in Ephesians 4:29-32 . The apostle Paul writes:
“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. And do not grieve God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live…. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”
Grieving the Holy Spirit - Meaning and Examples
To grieve means to make sad or sorrowful. It means to cause sorrow, pain, or distress.
But what makes the Holy Spirit sad or sorrowful?
1. Foul and abusive language makes the Holy Spirit sad. Verse 29 says, “Don’t use foul or abusive language.” The word used here speaks of something that has gone “rotten.” This includes obscene language, profanity, dirty stories, vulgarity, double entendres, etc.
When did it become “cool” for preachers to speak this way from a pulpit? Some people would say this is being “real” or “authentic.”
Guess what? You are not to speak this way—privately or publicly. How about being authentically godly instead?
2. Bitterness makes the Holy Spirit sad and sorrowful. The definition of bitterness is “an embittered and resentful spirit that refuses to be reconciled.”
Some people just like to be mad. They live for conflict, arguing, and fighting. This, as with all sin, only gets worse if left unchecked and unrepented of.
The sad thing is that bitter people rarely want to keep it to themselves. Instead, they spread it around. The Bible speaks of “a root of bitterness defiling many” (see Hebrews 12:15 ).
I have a better idea: forgive!
3. Fits of rage and uncontrolled anger make the Holy Spirit sad and sorrowful. “Rage” speaks of the person who is easily angered and who raises his voice—shouting and screaming. “Slander” is speaking evil of others behind their backs. “Malicious behavior” speaks of ill will and plotting evil against someone.
Look, all of us have been hurt in life, but we have a choice as to how we react. We can be like the moneylender Shylock in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, demanding our “pound of flesh.” We can say, “They did this to me; therefore, I will have my vengeance!”
Or we can believe God when He says, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.”
It is said that Augustine had a sign on his wall that read, “He who speaks evil of an absent man or woman is not welcome at this table.”
Try the acronym T.H.I.N.K. the next time you are not sure whether or not you should say something.
- T – Is it Truthful?
- H – Is it Helpful?
- I – Is it Inspiring?
- N – Is it Necessary?
- K – Is it Kind?
Instead of speaking evil of someone, we are to “be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another.”
“But they don’t deserve that!”
True, but neither do you or I—yet God still forgave us.
Paul concludes Ephesians 4:32 by saying, “…just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”
Forgiven people should be forgiving people. Otherwise, we are grieving the Spirit.
3 Surprising Ways to Grieve the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is often described as light. He shines into the dark places of the heart and convicts us of sin ( John 16:7-11 ). He is a lamp to illumine God’s word, teaching what is true and showing the truth to be precious ( 1 Cor. 2:6-16 ). And the Spirit throws a spotlight on Christ so that we can see his glory and be changed ( John 16:14 ). That’s why 2 Corinthians 3:18 speaks of becoming more like Christ by beholding the glory of Christ. Just as Moses had his face transfigured when he saw the Lord’s glory on Mount Sinai ( Ex. 34:29 ; 2 Cor. 3:7 ), so will we be transformed when, by the Spirit, we behold God’s glory in the face of Christ.
The Spirit, then, is a light to us in three ways: by exposing our guilt, by illuminating the word of God, and by showing us Christ. Or to put it another way, as Divine Light, the Holy Spirit works to reveal sin, reveal the truth, and reveal glory. When we close our eyes to this light or disparage what we are meant to see by this brightness, we are guilty of resisting the Spirit ( Acts 7:51 ), or quenching ( 1 Thess. 5:19 ) or grieving the Spirit ( Eph. 4:30 ). There may be slight nuances among the three terms, but they all speak of the same basic reality: refusing to see and to savor what the Spirit means to show us.
There are, then, at least three ways to grieve the Holy Spirit—three ways that may be surprising because they correspond to the three ways in which the Spirit acts as a light to expose our guilt, illumine the word, and show us Christ.
First, we grieve the Holy Spirit when we use him to excuse our sinfulness. The Spirit is meant to be the source of conviction in human hearts. How sad it is, therefore, when Christians try to use the Spirit to support ungodly behavior. We see it when people—whether genuinely deceived or purposeful charlatans—claim the leading of the Spirit as the reason for their unbiblical divorce, or for their financial impropriety, or for their new found sexual liberation. The Holy Spirit is always the Spirit of holiness . He means to show us our sin not to excuse it through subjective feelings, spontaneous impressions, and wish fulfillment disguised as enlightened spirituality. If the Holy Spirit is grieved when we turn from righteousness to sin, how doubly grieved he must be when we claim the Spirit’s authority for such deliberate rebellion.
Second, we grieve the Holy Spirit when we pit him against the Scriptures. The Spirit works to reveal the truth of the word of God, not to lead us away from it. There is no place in the Christian life for supposing or suggesting that careful attention to the Bible is somehow antithetical to earnest devotion to the Holy Spirit. Anyone wishing to honor the Spirit would do well to honor the Scriptures he inspired and means to illuminate.
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Sometimes Christians will cite the promise in John 16:13 that the Spirit “will guide you into all the truth” as a reason to expect that the third person of the Trinity will give us new insights not found in the Scripture. But the “truth” referred to in John 16 is the whole truth about everything bound up in Jesus Christ, the way, the truth, and the life. The Spirit will unpack the things that are to come, insofar as he will reveal to the apostles (see v. 12) the significance of Jesus’ death, resurrection, and exaltation. The Spirit, speaking for the Father and the Son, would help the apostles remember what Jesus said and understand the true meaning of who Jesus is and what he accomplished ( John 14:26 ).
This means that the Spirit is responsible for the truths the apostles preached and that in turn were written down in what we now call the New Testament. We trust the Bible—and do not need to go beyond the Bible—because the apostles, and those under the umbrella of their authority, wrote the Bible by means of the Spirit’s revelation. The Bible is the Spirit’s book. To insist on exegetical precision, theological rigor, and careful attention to the word of God should never be denigrated as stuffing our heads full of knowledge, let alone as somehow opposed to the real work of the Spirit.
Third, we grieve the Holy Spirit when we suggest he is jealous of our focus on Christ. The Holy Spirit’s work is to serve. He speaks only what he hears ( John 16:13 ). He declares what he is given; his mission is to glorify another ( John 16:14 ). All three persons of the Trinity are fully God, yet in the divine economy the Son makes known the Father and the Spirit glorifies the Son. Yes, it is a terrible thing to be ignorant about the Spirit and unwise to overlook the indispensable role he plays in our lives. But we must not think we can focus on Christ too much or that when we exalt Christ to the glory of God the Father that somehow the Spirit is sulking off in the corner. The Spirit means to shine a light on Christ; he is not envious to stand in the light himself.
Exulting in Christ, focusing on Christ, speaking much, and singing often of Christ are not evidence of the Spirit’s dismissal but of the Spirit’s work. If the symbol of the church is the cross and not the dove, that’s because the Spirit would have it that way. As J. I. Packer puts it, “The Spirit’s message to us is never, ‘Look at me; listen to me; come to me; get to know me,’ but always, ‘Look at him, and see his glory; listen to him, and hear his word; go to him, and have life; get to know him, and taste his gift of joy and peace.’”
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How Can We “Grieve the Holy Spirit”? What Ephesians 4:30 Means
Grief seems like such a human emotion. So what does it mean when Paul writes, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit” (Eph 4:30)?
How can the Holy Spirit—the Spirit of the all-powerful, all-knowing creator—possibly grieve?
And what could make the Spirit grieve?
The short answer is the Holy Spirit cares about us and it saddens him when we act outside of his will. In this article, we’ll look at what the Bible is saying in Ephesians 4:30 and why it’s important for us to understand.
- What can we learn from different translations?
Who is the Holy Spirit?
- Another passage to remember
- What do commentaries say?
- Implications for us
What can we learn about Ephesians 4:30 from different translations?
Often, when trying to understand what God is saying in a verse, it’s nice to look at several Bible translations to get a feel for how different scholars have looked at key words. You don’t need a degree in biblical languages to understand the key words of Scripture. The people who have translated and paraphrased the Bible have extensive experience in Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic. We can benefit from their experience to get an idea of what Paul was saying in Ephesians 4:30.
The key word for our purposes is “grieve,” and most Bible versions are consistent in how they translate that verse. Some of the looser translations of the Greek text choose other words and provide some interesting insights into what it means to “grieve the Holy Spirit.”
- “And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by him for the day of redemption.” (CSB)
- “Don’t make the Holy Spirit of God unhappy—you were sealed by him for the day of redemption.” (CEB)
- “Don’t make God’s Spirit sad. The Spirit makes you sure that someday you will be free from your sins.” (CEV)
- “Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted.” (MSG)
- “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].” (AMP)
There’s nothing earth-shattering about how those translations describe grieving the Holy Spirit. But notice they use words like sad or unhappy in place of grief or grieve . Also, take note of the Amplified Bible version of the verse. It is designed to give you extra insight into the key words of the verse. The AMP adds “do not offend or vex or sadden him.”
All of this shows us that Paul is urging us not to give the Holy Spirit a reason to experience a profoundly negative emotion in Ephesians 4:30.
You may think a deep dive into the Holy Spirit is a bit of an overkill for studying the phrase “grieving the Holy Spirit.” Don’t we know enough about the Holy Spirit already?
But if you’re anything like me, the Holy Spirit has been a mysterious being for much of my life. I grew up Baptist. Some faith traditions emphasize the work of the Holy Spirit better than others do. Historically, my tradition has probably erred on the side of underemphasizing the Spirit.
Frankly, I spent most of my life picturing the Holy Spirit as an impersonal force that was more like something Luke Skywalker experienced in Star Wars .
But that’s not the picture we get in the Bible.
Most of us have little trouble understanding that Jesus is personal. We read in the Gospels of Jesus interacting with people while on earth. We see Jesus weeping (John 11:35), expressing anger (Mark 3:5), showing compassion (Matt 9:36), and grieving (Matt 26:38).
The same is true for God the Father, who we see being troubled (Gen 6:6–7), acting jealously (Exod 34:14), and expressing disappointment (Deut 32:19–20), among other human emotions.
God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are the same in substance. As the Athanasian Creed, which first defined the biblical formulation of the Trinity in the early centuries of the church, says:
The catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance. … Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit. 1
Despite our frequent misunderstanding of the personhood of the Holy Spirit, God’s Word. The Holy Spirit:
- teaches us (John 14:26)
- intercedes on our behalf (Rom 8:26–27)
- loves (Rom 15:30)
- calls and leads us to specific tasks (Acts 13:2)
Those aren’t the actions of an impersonal force. Those are the actions of a caring, personal God who wants a relationship with us.
This doesn’t mean that God’s emotions are the same as ours. Saying that the Holy Spirit loves us and grieves for our sin doesn’t mean he grieves and loves in the same way we do. The Holy Spirit is eternal and transcendent , just like all the members of the Godhead. He is different from us. But the Holy Spirit is a person—a truth that the Bible makes abundantly clear.
Let’s keep this truth about the Holy Spirit in mind as we study Ephesians 2:19. It’s critical to understand what is meant by “grieving the Holy Spirit.”
Context of Ephesians 4:30
Of course, context is always the key that unlocks the great mysteries of any biblical text. That’s true with the concept of grieving the Holy Spirit as well.
Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus is one of his most influential in the New Testament, as it describes many of the basic tenets of the Christian faith. Paul was confronting some of the important religious and philosophical thoughts of his day.
By the time we get to chapter 4, the Apostle Paul had already laid out how Jesus redeems us from sin (cf. 2:4–5). In chapter 4, Paul turns from doctrinal matters to the practical implications of Jesus’ redemption on the life of a Jesus-follower. He writes,
Therefore I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (Eph 4:1–3)
In Ephesians 4:17–32, where Paul tells us not to “grieve the Holy Spirit,” he is describing a series of behaviors—what believers should do and what they shouldn’t do. First, we should avoid an immoral lifestyle illustrated by confused thoughts, hardened hearts, closed minds, and impure and greedy thoughts (4:17–19).
Then we are to adopt a Christ-honoring lifestyle by taking off the old life we had before we were believers (v. 22) to put on “the new self” (v. 24). We do this by building people up with our speech rather than tearing them done.
That’s when Paul tells us not to grieve the Holy Spirit. In context, it’s clear that we can grieve (or make sad) the Holy Spirit when we speak in destructive ways. Understanding the new life of Christ Paul describes through Ephesians means living in a way that honors the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives.
Like I mentioned earlier, the Holy Spirit isn’t an impersonal force. He is just as much of a person as the other members of the Godhead. So he grieves. The Holy Spirit cares for us. When we don’t live up to the standards God has for us, it pains the Holy Spirit. He knows that it will bring consequences to us and to others.
Then Paul goes on to remind readers who the Holy Spirit is and the importance he plays in the life of a believer—”sealing” him until the day of redemption.
Don’t forget Isaiah 63:10
There’s more than one place in the Bible where we’re told that the Holy Spirit grieves. In Isaiah 63, the prophet is reminding God’s people of his faithfulness. He describes God’s redemptive work to bring Israel—the children he had promised Abraham—out of Egypt and into the Promised Land.
But Isaiah 63:10 says that despite God’s graciousness toward Israel, the people “rebelled and grieved the Holy Spirit.”
Old Testament scholar Gary Smith doesn’t believe the language should surprise us because we also see God expressing powerful emotions elsewhere. As God acts, so does the Holy Spirit. In his commentary on the book of Isaiah, Smith writes:
This rebellion “grieved, injured” the Holy Spirit, an anthropomorphic way of explaining that God was afflicted and saddened when his people sinned and did not trust him to give them the land. Elsewhere God metaphorically “regrets” (Gen 6:6), “is grieved” (1 Sam 15:35), is “saddened, has pity” (Jonah 4:10), and “weeps” (Jer 9:10), so it should not be surprising that God is negatively impacted by the rebelliousness of his people.” 2
Isaiah 63:10 reinforces the message that the Holy Spirit responds to our behavior not as an impersonal force, but as a personal God who loves us, wants the best for us, and is saddened by actions that are not in his perfect will and in our best interests.
What do commentaries say about “do not grieve the Holy Spirit”?
Putting all of this together, it’s clear that Paul is telling us that the Holy Spirit is a personal being who has feelings about our actions—and it saddens him (or “offends the Spirit,” as the Amplified Version says) when we respond to others in bitter ways.
It’s always good to hold off looking at others’ interpretation of a text until we’ve wrestled with it for ourselves. We don’t want to let the insights of others short-circuit our own interpretive process. But checking commentaries can help us make sure our interpretation fits within the broad stream of biblical orthodoxy.
Here’s where a few scholars and expositors have landed on Ephesians 4:30.
According to The Spurgeon Study Bible Notes , Charles Spurgeon wrote that the verse shows a close connection between the Holy Spirit and the believer. We should take comfort in the Spirit’s great care for us. He continued:
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. 3
Bruce Barton writes in The Life Application New Testament Commentary :
That the Spirit can be caused sorrow points to the personality of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a person who can be saddened by the way we live. Paul has already explained that the Holy Spirit’s power within gives new life to believers. While we continue to battle with our sinful nature, we should be living for Christ each day. To refuse to do so, to constantly give in to lying, anger, stealing, and foul talk is to bring him sorrow. 4
Famed Anglican theologian John Stott writes:
Since he is the “Holy Spirit,” he is always grieved by unholiness, and since he is the “one Spirit” (2:18; 4:4), disunity will also cause him grief. In fact, anything incompatible with the purity or unity of the church is incompatible with his own nature and therefore hurts him. One might add that because he is also the “Spirit of truth,” through whom God has spoken, he is upset by all our misuse of speech, which has been Paul’s topic in the preceding verse. 5
In his application commentary, Jon Courson reminds us why the Holy Spirit is grieved in Ephesians 5:30:
My bitterness, my anger, my speaking evil of someone or losing my temper with someone grieves the Spirit. Why? It’s not that God says, “Anger and evil speaking cause My ears to burn,” or, “Bitterness and wrath are offensive to Me.” That’s not the idea. There’s not a curse word God hasn’t heard. There is nothing that shocks Him. God is not grieved by how our speech, anger, or malice affects Him, but by how it affects us. He’s grieved not because He can’t handle our sin, but because it hinders Him from doing His work in, through, and for us. 6
Broadly, the interpretation that the Holy Spirit feels saddened when we walk outside of his will seems to fit within how most others approach this passage. But the above commentators help us understand why the specific acts in Ephesians 4 caused pain for the Holy Spirit.
The implications for us of grieving the Holy Spirit
If you’ve stuck with this article up until now, you might be wondering, “So what?”
Honest question. Easy answer.
It’s really important. Really.
What grieves the Holy Spirit needs to grieve us. God wants the best for us. He sent us the Holy Spirit to help us walk with him daily. When we break that fellowship, God isn’t an emotionless bystander.
Our sin breaks God’s heart.
In fact, the Bible tells us that our sin grieved God so much that he sent his Son to face sin’s ultimate consequence—death.
We can be grateful for the Holy Spirit’s grief.
You can further explore the Holy Spirit, Ephesians 6:30, or any other part of Scripture with the free Logos Bible study app for web, mobile, or desktop. It comes with powerful tools and a free Bible study library that help you dig deeper into God’s Word from anywhere, even if you’re new to Bible study.
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- Rick Brannan, Historic Creeds and Confessions , digital ed. (Oak Harbor: Lexham Press, 1997), loc. 22132.
- Gary Smith, Isaiah 40–66 , New American Commentary 15B (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2009), 672.
- Charles Spurgeon, The Spurgeon Study Bible: Notes (Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 1590–1591.
- Bruce Barton et al., Life Application New Testament Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 2001), 823.
- John R. W. Stott, God’s New Society: The Message of Ephesians (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1979), 189.
- Jon Courson, Jon Courson’s Application Commentary (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2003), 1253.
Tobin Perry has spent over 20 years as a writer and editor for faith-based audiences. He has written for Christianity Today, Baptist Press, Saddleback Church, the North American Mission Board, and more. He has also served as a lead pastor of a small church in Southern Indiana and a church planting intern in Seattle, Washington. Tobin has a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Missouri and a Master of Divinity degree from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary (now Gateway Seminary). He lives in Evansville, Indiana with his wife and three children.
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How Can Someone Grieve the Holy Spirit?
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Ephesians 4:30 warns “do not grieve the Holy Spirit,” and is a warning directed to those who have believed, been baptized and received the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit within a person is the presence of the living Christ within that person. So to grieve the Holy Spirit is to cause sorrow, distress and emotional pain to Christ Himself. Through His presence in us, Christ is witness to our every word, thought and act. Some have the potential to grieve Him.
Does a divine being really feel grief?
God is all-powerful and immutable, yet He reveals Himself as feeling and expressing emotion. For example, in Genesis 6:5-8 God expresses regret and grief because of the evil actions and thoughts of mankind. Jesus also told us that His life in the flesh showed what the Father was like, and Jesus felt emotions: indignation, wrath, sorrow, affection, joy.
What specifically causes God grief?
God can be grieved by what we do, what we think and what goes on in our hearts. The verses surrounding Ephesians 4:30 offer insight into matters of the heart, mind and actions that might grieve the Holy Spirit. Let's take a look!
The words we speak
Ephesians 4:29 asks us to consider the words we speak. We are advised to stick to talk that builds up, helps and benefits others, bringing joy, pleasure [grace]. We should assume that corrupt communication is talk that tears people down, hurts them and is contrary to their best interests.
Scripture is filled from beginning to end with warnings about our speech. Perhaps because words provide the most tangible window into the heart.
Examples of corrupt communication
Ephesians 4:31 provides us with specific examples of corrupt communication or rotten talk:
Bitterness, meaning "pointed, sharp, cutting." When used literally it means a harsh, unpleasant taste or smell. But Scripture uses it to describe spiritual matters as well.
Anger, which is broken down into two types:
1. Passionate wrath, ( thumos in Greek) meaning sudden outbursts of indignation. 2. Slow burning anger, ( orge in Greek) meaning calculated and lasting animosity; plotting revenge, for example.
Fighting , literally “crying out” in loud voice. For example, in controversy or arguing.
Slander , saying false, hurtful things about a person’s reputation or character.
Words can make known the hidden things of the heart. You might not realize what's lurking within yourself unless you make the effort to listen to yourself. Watching your words is a tool God gives you to begin to look into your heart and detect attitudes that grieve Him. Then you should work to eliminate them.
Examining our words is a useful tool to look into the heart, but just saying the right things is not the end goal. It is possible for you to say only smooth and pleasing things to others, to be polite, never show your anger but still plot against someone, or seek ways to take advantage of them.
Here are some examples that are given in Ephesians 4:
God does not like deception. A person who says the right thing but does wrong is not pleasing to their Creator. A person whose words are smooth and agreeable but lead others into dead-end philosophies that call what’s wrong right and what right wrong are not pleasing to God. Both grieve Him (Ephesians 4:25).
God does not like unresolved disputes, holding grudges or maintaining feuds. You may be able to choke down the angry words you really want to say, but to please God rather than to grieve Him, go to the next level and forgive, seek reconciliation, make peace (Ephesians 4:26).
That’s how we deal with the slow-burning kind of anger that can draw us into further sin and the rash impulsive kind which if not resolved quickly can turn into the more dangerous slow-burning kind.
Unresolved grudges and feuds grieve the Holy Spirit of God within you. His constant exhortation is to forgive one another, as Christ has forgiven you, reconciled you with God and made peace.
God does not like greed or laziness . Paul is writing to a church congregation. It’s unlikely they were swiping one another's wallets during services or pocketing silverware when visiting one another. Paul is more likely shining light on people who are always taking from others and exhorting them to work so they too can become givers rather than takers (Ephesians 4:28).
We tend to think of greed as a sin of the rich. But isn’t someone who wants the fruits of another person’s labor without being willing to work greedy as well?
God’s Word teaches generosity and helping others in time of need. But God’s purpose is not to enable people who refuse to work. God’s purpose is that we help others get back on their own two feet. God’s blessings often come in a form that provides the opportunity to earn your own way.
The mind of God is active, involved and radiates out good things for others to enjoy. He wants you to be like Him in that way! Laziness and greed grieve the Holy Spirit of God within you.
Ephesians 4:17-19 discusses willful disregard for the values of God and should be read together with Romans 1:18-32. Even though the values of God are self-evident in the very creation we are all a part of, most of humanity willfully choose to reject what can be known about God and go their own way.
In both these sections of Scripture, the result is gross sexual immorality. Not just a momentary lapse or slip-up but the product of a hardened heart hardened through repetition and deceitful human reasoning until it becomes convinced that bad behavior is actually good behavior.
Sexual relationships outside of marriage, abortion, divorce, sexual abuse: these grieve the Holy Spirit of God within you.
Why does God grieve?
I have a son and two daughters. I have a natural desire to see my children accomplish certain goals: establish a line of work they can do well in, start their own families, even that they aspire to the resurrection of the firstfruits at Christ’s return.
If I see them making bad choices, heading down the wrong path, I am grieved.
God looks upon you the same way. He’s grieved when He sees any of His beautiful children heading down a path that leads away from eternal life and away from the everlasting joy He wants to share with them.
Ephesians 4:30-5:17 King James Version
30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
5 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;
2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;
4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them.
8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.
13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.
14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.