by Andrew Murray
`Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed unto the day of redemption.’ — Eph. 4:30
It is by the Holy Spirit that the child of God is sealed: separated and stamped and marked as the possession of God. This sealing is not a dead or external action that is finished once for all. It is a living process, which has power in the soul, and gives firm assurance of faith, only when it is experienced through the life of the Spirit in us. On this account we are to take great care not to grieve the Spirit: in Him alone can you have every day the joyful certitude and the full blessing of your childship. * It is the very same Spirit that leads us who witnesses with our spirit that we are children of God. And how can any one grieve the Spirit? Above all by yielding to sin. He is the Holy Spirit, given to sanctify us, and, for every sin from which the blood cleanses us, to fill us with the holy life of God, with God. Sin grieves Him. (Isa. 53:10; Acts. 7:51; Heb. 10:29) For this reason the word of God presently states by name the sins against which above all we are to be on our guard. Mark only the four great sins that Paul mentions in connection with our text.
There is first lying. There is no single sin that in the Bible is so brought into connection with the devil as lying. Lying is from hell, and it goes on to hell. God is the God of truth. And the Holy Spirit cannot possibly carry forward His blessed working in a man or woman that lies, that is insincere, that does injury to the truth. Young Christian, review with care what the word of God says about lying and liars, and pray God that you may never speak anything but the literal truth. Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God. (Ps. 5:7; Prov. 12:22; 21:28; John 8:44; Rev. 21:8,27; 22:15)
Then there is anger. `Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil-speaking, be put away from you.’ Hastiness, proneness to anger, sin of temper is, along with lying, the most common sin by which the Christian is kept back from increase in grace. (Matt. 5:22,26,27; 1 Cor. 1:10,11; 3:3; 13:1,3; Gal. 5:5; 15:21,26; Col. 3:8,12; 1 Thess. 5:15; Jas. 3:14) Christian, let all passionateness by put away from you: this follows on the command not to grieve the Spirit. Believe that the Holy Spirit, the great power of God, is in you. Surrender yourself every day to His indwelling, in faith that Jesus can keep you by Him: He will make and keep you gentle. Yea, believe, I pray you, in the power of God, and of Jesus and of the Holy Spirit to overcome temper. (Matt. 11:29; 1 Cor. 6:19,20; Gal. 6:1; Eph. 2:16,17; Col. 1:8; 2 Tim. 1:12) Confess the sin: God shall cleanse you from it. Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God.
Then there is stealing: all sin against the property or possession of my neighbour: all deception and dishonesty in trade, whereby I do wrong to my neighbour, and seek my own advantage at his cost. The law of Christ is love whereby I seek the advantage of my neighbour as well as my own. O the love of money and property, which is inseparable from self-seeking — it is incompatible with the leading of the Holy Spirit. The Christian must be a man who is known as honest to the back-bone, righteous, and loving his neighbour as himself. (Luke 6:31; Rom. 13:10; 1 Thess. 4:6)
Then says the apostle: `no corrupt speech — but such as is good for edifying as the case may be.’ Even the tongue of God’s child belongs to his Lord. He must be known by his mode of speech. By his speaking, he can grieve or please the Spirit. The sanctified tongue is a blessing not only to his neighbours but to the speaker himself. Foul talk, idle words, foolish jests — they grieve the Holy Spirit. They make it impossible for the Spirit to sanctify and to comfort and to fill the heart with the love of God. (Prov. 10:19, 20,21,31; 18:20; Eccles. 5:1,2; Matt. 12:36; Eph. 5:4; Jas. 3:9,10)
Young Christian, I pray you, grieve not the Holy Spirit of God by these or other sins. If you have committed such sins, confess them, and God will cleanse you from them. By the Holy Spirit you are sealed if you would walk in the stability and joy of faith, listen to the word: `Grieve not the Holy Sprit of God.’
Lord God, my Father in heaven, do, I pray thee, cause me to understand what marvelous grace Thou art manifesting to me, in that Thou hast given to me Thy Holy Spirit in my heart. Lord, let this faith by the argument and the power for cleansing me from every sin. Holy Jesus, sanctify me, that in my thinking, speaking, acting — in all things, Thine image may appear. Amen.
1. The thought of the Christian about this word, `Grieve not the Holy Spirit’ is a touchstone as to whether he understands the life of faith.
For some it is a word of terror and fear. A father once brought a child to the train to go on a journey with the new governess, with whom she was to remain. Before her departure he said: `I hear that she is very sensitive and takes things much amiss: take care that you do nothing to grieve her.’ The poor child had no pleasant journey: it appeared to her very grievous to be in anxious fear of one who was so prone to take anything wrong amiss.
This is the view of the Holy Spirit which many have: a Being whom it is difficult to satisfy, who thinks little of our weakness, and who, even though we take pains, is discontented when our work is not perfect.
2. Another father also brought his daughter to the train to go on a journey, and to be a time from home: but in company with her mother, whom she loved very dearly. `You are to be a good child,’ said the father, `and do everything to please your mamma; otherwise you shall grieve her and me.’ `Oh, certainly, papa!’ was the joyful answer of the child. For she felt so happy to be with her mother, and was willing to do her utmost to be agreeable to her.
There are children of God to whom the Holy Spirit is so well known in His tender, helpful love, and the Comforter and the Good Spirit, that the word, `Grieve not the spirit of God’ has for them a gentle, encouraging power. May our fear to grieve Him always be the tender childlike fear of trustful love.
* Kindschap is a word coined by the writer to express the relation of a child. Our childhood expresses rather the state or stage of child-life.