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What does it mean to "Grieve the Holy Spirit?"

Ephesians 4:30 says, "And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption."

The question of how God feels about us when Christians sin has tugged at and sometimes plagued people's heart for centuries. Does God feel angry at us? Does he feel disappointed? What does it mean for Him to be grieved? The way in which we answer this question can play a direct role in our spiritual health and maturity as believers.

Hebrews 11:6 says, "And without faith it is impossible to please God..."

If it impossible to please God without faith then it logically follows that it is impossible to displease God when we have it. For example, as a father when one of my three sons does something wrong does it cause me to be disappointed in them, or their actions? That is, should I change the way I love them as my son just because they had bad behavior? No! What does happen is this: I am grieved by their behavior because it is harmful and self-destructive to their well-being, but I still love them just as much as I did before they had bad behavior. To build up resentment and bitterness toward my children for their behavior would in and of itself be a sin (see Hebrews 12:15).

Galatians 3:6 says, "So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith..."

Through faith we are placed in a position of being considered "children of God." This faith is the "faith that pleases God (see Hebrews 11:6)." In the same way that I still love my children when they do wrong, God still loves us when we do wrong. But also in the same way that I am "grieved" by my children's behavior when they do wrong, God can also be grieved by ours as well. So I will say this to you: even when you sin, God is pleased with you because of your faith. But simultaneously God is grieved with your sin when you commit it. This is why we are called to "confess our sins" when we commit them (see 1 John 1:9). It restores the proper balance in our relationship with the Father. As a good father disciplines his children to a state of remorse and confession when they do wrong, so does our Heavenly Father in the most Holy and appropriate way (see Hebrews 12:6).

The word used for "grieve" in Ephesians 4:30 is the Greek word "lupeĆ³ (loo-peh'-o)." It means "to experience deep, emotional pain (sadness), i.e. severe sorrow (grief)." So instead of God feeling a sense of disappointment, anger, or hatred when believers sin, we are told that he feels a deep feeling of emotional pain, He is grieved. This realization helps us to see how deep God's love for us truly is. It is so deep that when we do things that are harmful and ultimately self-destructive God feels deep pain on our behalf because He wants what is supremely good for us. This realization also helps us to put God in a proper perspective when we sin and as Romans 2:4 says, let the "kindness of God lead us to repentance (paraphrased)."

As we begin to realize that God is pleased with us on the basis of faith alone (Hebrews see 11:6) and that we have been made righteous through faith in Jesus Christ (see Romans 5:1), we can have certainty that God never turns His back on us when we fall short in our lives. God is more grieved about the blessings we miss out on when we sin than He is angry at us as His children. If you feel like God is angry at you, like God wants nothing to do with you because of your sin, know this: "whoever comes to me I will never cast out (John 6:37)." Through faith we have received reconciliation with God (see Romans 5:11), and when we sin we have an advocate before the Father who intercedes on our behalf (see 1 John 2:1). Knowing that God loves us in a constant, unending way enables us to confess and forsake our sin in a healthy manner (Romans 2:4, 1 John 1:9)! Be sensitive to when you feel the Holy Spirit being grieved by your actions, understand that He still loves you, and quickly repent. God stands ready to lavish His love upon us when we come to the throne of grace with boldness (see Hebrews 4:6)! God bless.

Written by: Kyle Bailey M.Th.

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 Photo credit to: http://eternitylabradors.com/freegift.htm




Comments

  1. Great post and well said. You chose your scriptures very well, roman 2.4 being a good one. I always remember that one, just forgotten the adress lol

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