Most of us know what it’s like to forego wisdom, instruction, and advice. We also know the destruction that comes with that decision as well. God has high standards for several things, for example, the way we live, the way we treat others, the things we say, and so much more. The Bible is full of warnings where people disregarded, ignored, or were encouraged not to grieve the Holy Spirit in their lives. One doesn’t have to look far to see that our society is filled with people who neglect God’s wise instructions, whatever the sin and circumstance. In this regard, the apostle Paul warns in 1 Thessalonians 4:8, “Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.”
The background to Paul’s command in 1 Thessalonians 4:8 is a challenge and warning to exert self-control over temptations and lustful passions. Still, it can also be applied to a number of situations and circumstances. In this regard, Richard Phillips says, “Paul not only calls believers to sexual purity, urging self-control and warning against lustful passions but also supplies a number of reasons for believers to take this command very seriously.” This challenge can be used in the context of sexual purity and lustful passions, but it can very much be used in all types of situations. The point is this, to make sure that Christ-followers yield to the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives, thus, resisting temptation. Of course, our culture, and church for that matter, have people who confess Christ but live no different than anyone else. Essentially, the confession of Christ seemingly does not affect actions. Therefore, our world has indirectly defined what it means to be a Christ-follower who has the indwelling Holy Spirit. One can confess Jesus as Savior based on many things in our culture. For instance, some may say they are Christ-followers because they go to church, attend small groups or other reasons. However, their daily life outside of church may seem no different than anyone else. It can be assumed if a person’s actions and behavior are not changed, there remains a spiritual problem. That problem could simply be they do not really know Jesus, or they are grieving the Holy Spirit’s work in their life.
Grieving The Holy Spirit
Those who have repented of their sin turned to Christ and have accepted Him as Lord and Savior, have the Holy Spirit living inside them. Ephesians 1:13 says, “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, who is the guarantee of our inheritance.” Being that Christians are not perfect, and sin quite often, we need continual forgiveness. When a person disregards the Holy Spirit, or in a believer’s life especially, we grieve the Holy Spirit. The Bible says, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption (Eph. 4:30).” Grieving the Holy Spirit means we are, essentially, putting distance between us and God because of sin. R.C. Sproul says, “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).” Additionally, Charles Spurgeon says, “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 even allow imagination to coat upon any lascivious act, or if your heart goes after covetousness, if you set your heart upon anything evil, the Spirit of God will be grieved.” Any type of sin grieves the Holy Spirit in our lives. Moreover, it puts distance between God and us. However, God made a way for us to be forgiven so that the Holy Spirit will be able to do His work in our lives.
There Is Hope and Forgiveness
There is hope and forgiveness in Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” There is hope for any believer who has grieved or quenched the Holy Spirit in their life. In this regard, Al Baker writes, “have I grieved the Spirit, have I quenched the Spirit, am I in danger of insulting the Spirit? If so, then repent, running back to Jesus in true confession and contrition. He will meet you, fill you, and send you out renewed to do battle for his kingdom in the world.” Repenting of sin is a continual process for all Christ-followers. In doing so, a believer will live in the full power of the Holy Spirit’s work and power in their life.
In what areas of your life are you disregarding the Holy Spirit?
What areas of your life do you need to surrender to God?
1 &2 Thessalonians: Reformed Expository Commentary by Richard Phillips
Grieving the Holy Spirit – https://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/grieving-the-holy-spirit
By R.C. Sproul
Grieving the Holy Spirit – https://www.spurgeon.org/resource-library/sermons/grieving-the-holy-spirit/#flipbook/
By Charles Spurgeon
Grieving, Quenching, and Insulting the Holy Spirit- https://banneroftruth.org/us/resources/articles/2014/grieving-quenching-insulting-holy-spirit/
By Alan Baker