Summary: What does it mean to Grieve the Holy Spirit? How does finite man grieve infinite God? Eph. 4:30 seems strange at first glance, but we will see that this verse fits in perfectly with the rest of the passage.
All verses from the Bible Gateway NIV and NASV.
The Christian Walk 101 – Grieving the Holy Spirit
The next lesson in this series on Christianity 101 may seem on the surface to be out of step with what has been discussed before. Here we have the apostle Paul telling us to speak truthfully, to not sin in our anger and to let go of our anger quickly. Then he tells us to stop stealing and to work so that we will not be takers of money but rather be able to supply for our own needs and the needs of those who are in need. Then he tells us to not let any rotten speech out of our mouths but only what is beneficial for building others up. These are all things we all need to work on within our lives as Christians. We can understand being truthful honest and upright people, but then we get to verse 30 of Ephesians chapter 4 which says, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
What in the world is Paul talking about here? Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God. I understand the need to be kind and constructive in my speech, but how do I, little me grieve the infinite Holy Spirit?
Definition of Grieve
For me to understand this better I first went to find out what the word grieve actually means in the Greek. The Greek word here is Lypeo, which means in this context to “offend, insult, to distress, to inflict emotional pain.”
This definition helps us understand a portion of this passage. We now know that this is not the grief that comes from the loss of a loved one or the grief that comes from having a loved one getting real sick or in a bad car accident.
Instead, this is grief that is inflicted upon us by someone and usually someone we love. This is the grief that comes when we raise a child and we care for them, love them, teach them about God, and when they get older they reject your instructions and take off to do what they want to do, when they want to do it. They don’t care about you or the hurt they are inflicting upon you, because it is all about them and what they want.
They get themselves into trouble and instead of turning their hearts back to your instruction they instead blame the way you raised them for all of their troubles, further inflicting grief in your life. They play the blame game, my sin is a result of others.
I believe all of us have experienced this type of grief and can relate to what Paul is teaching us here. Another aspect we need to understand as we explore this passage is exactly who is this mysterious third person of the Trinity? Let’s now look at the Spirit.
The Spirit is a Helper and Teacher
The first aspect of the Spirit I want us to look at is that the Spirit is here to help us and train us in our walk with Christ. Let’s look at:
John 14:25-26 - 25 “These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”
Here we have Jesus speaking to his disciples trying to comfort them after he told them about his upcoming death. Jesus is going to die, raise again and go back to be with his father, but he is not going to leave us alone. He is going to send his Spirit and the Holy Spirit is going to be a helper to us and teach us all the things we need to know.
The Spirit Guides us into Truth
We need the Spirits help in learning don’t we! Here we are all entangled in the lies and sins of this world. We need someone to tell us the truth. Let’s now read:
John 16:5-15 - 5 but now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things. 7 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.