“Therefore, putting away lying, ‘Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,’ for we are members of one another. ‘Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. 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. Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Ephesians 4:25-30
The next step in walking like a brother is to “not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.” Can you imagine a Christian doing that? Grieving God’s Spirit? The Greek word for “grieve” is lupeite. It means “to cause pain, afflict with sorrow, to distress.” How could we tiny human beings cause pain to God’s Spirit? How could we possibly distress Him and afflict Him with sorrow? Paul answers the question with the rest of his statement: “by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
Remember what Paul taught the Ephesians at the beginning of his letter to them? “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14) The Holy Spirit is God’s seal on our life guaranteeing our inheritance until the Day He delivers us to God the Father and God the Son as Their purchased possession. God bought us with a tremendous price, the Blood Sacrifice of Jesus, and the Holy Spirit of God is our Seal and Promise that He will deliver us safe and sound to the Father and to the Son.
Where does the Holy Spirit live on earth? “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19) That’s right – He lives in us! The relationship a Christian has with God is the most intimate of all the relationships we will ever have in this life. God’s Spirit lives in us. Think about what the Spirit of God has done for us: He convicted us of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8). The Spirit gave us the faith to believe in Christ for salvation, and when we believed God poured out on us abundantly the Holy Spirit Who washed and renewed us. (Titus 3:4-7) That washing and renewing included the Holy Spirit placing us into the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13) and pouring out the love of God in our hearts (Romans 5:5). Paul went so far in his letter to the Romans to say that the Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). And what about getting to Heaven one day? The Holy Spirit is in us and will deliver us to the Father and the Son on the day appointed for us to leave our temporary home on earth and arrive at our permanent home in Heaven.
The Holy Spirit has literally done every spiritual thing for us. That’s what Paul meant at the beginning of his letter to the Ephesians – “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” We have every spiritual blessing in Christ given to us by the Holy Spirit of God. So, why would we want to grieve Him?
People have been grieving God for thousands of years. “And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.” (Genesis 6:6) The Hebrew word for “grieved” used here is atsabh and means “to suffer pain, to be distressed, to be vexed.” God felt so deeply about the sins of the human race that He considered destroying every one of them – “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” (Genesis 6:8) Fortunately for all of us, God responded with Grace instead of Judgment that day. How has the human race thanked God for saving them from destruction? By continuing the same behavior that grieved God in the first place – “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5) Even though God destroyed everyone on earth except for Noah’s family, it wasn’t long before the people born after the Flood thought only of themselves and wickedness was great in the earth again. God chose Abram to become the father of His chosen people, but it’s easy to lose count how many times Israel turned their back on God and grieved Him. After Israel rejected Jesus Christ as their Messiah, God showered His Grace on the Gentile world. How did Christians repay God for His great kindness toward them? Many grieved His Holy Spirit.
I find it interesting and insightful that Paul mentions grieving the Holy Spirit in the middle of his telling the Ephesian believers how to walk like a brother. It’s a reminder to us that walking like a brother to other believers is fully spiritual. God’s call to us is supernatural – not natural. It’s so easy to be caught up in the natural aspect of life and miss the supernatural. Look around you. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you touch? The natural world. But we are also surrounded by the spiritual, the supernatural. God has pulled back the spiritual curtain between the natural and supernatural worlds hundreds of times in the history of His people to show them the great and mighty battle that is going on around them. God often showed natural men the supernatural world to comfort or embolden them, but He also showed the supernatural as a warning.
I believe Paul’s words are a warning to Christians. We cannot walk like a brother if we are grieving the Holy Spirit of God. The two do not work together. In fact, the more we are pleasing the Holy Spirit, the more we will walk like a brother with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
We have two more steps to go in walking like a brother! Join us for step 6 in our next study.
In Christ’s Love and Grace,
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”