Chapter 24 – Grieving the Spirit

Chapter 24

Grieving the Spirit

“Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” Ephesians 4:30.

It is by the Holy Spirit that the child of God is sealed, separated, stamped, and marked as the possession of God. This sealing is not a dead or external action that is finished once and for all. It is a living process, which has power in the soul, and gives a firm assurance of faith, only when it is experienced through the life of the Spirit in us. Because of this, we are to take great care not to grieve the Holy Spirit. In Him alone can you have the joyful certainty and the full blessing of your childship every day.1 It is the very same Spirit who leads us and witnesses with our spirit that we are children of God.

How can anyone 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 Himself. Sin grieves Him.2 For this reason, the Word of God names the sins which, above all, we are to guard against. Notice the four great sins which Paul mentions in connection with our text.

The first is lying. There is no single sin in the Bible that is so brought into connection with the devil as lying. Lying is from hell, and it goes back to hell. God is the God of truth. And the Holy Spirit cannot possibly carry forward His blessed working in a man or woman who lies, who is insincere, who does injury to the truth. Young Christian, review with care what the Word of God says about lying and liars. Pray God that you may never speak anything but the literal truth. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.3

Then there is anger. “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil-speaking, be put away from you” (Ephesians 4:31). Along with lying, the most common sin which keeps the Christian from increasing in grace is the sin of temper–hastiness, the proneness to anger.4 Christian, let all ill-temperedness be put away from you. This follows from 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. Yes, believe in the power of the Father, the power of Jesus, and the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome temper.5 Confess the sin. God will cleanse you from it. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.

Then there is stealing. This is all sin against the property or possession of my neighbour, and all deception and dishonesty in trade, in which I wrong my neighbour and seek my own advantage at his cost. Christ’s law is love which works to the advantage of my neighbour as well as myself. The love of money and property–inseparable from self-seeking–is incompatible with the leading of the Holy Spirit. The Christian must be a man who is known to be honest, righteous, and who loves his neighbour as himself.6

Then the apostle says, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29). Even the tongue of God’s child belongs to his Lord. He must be known by his manner of speech. By his speaking, he can grieve or please the Spirit. The sanctified tongue is a blessing not only to his neighbour, 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, to comfort, and to fill the heart with the love of God.7

Young Christian, please do not grieve 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 want to walk in the stability and joy of faith, listen to the word, “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God.”

Lord God, my Father in heaven, I pray that you would cause me to understand what marvellous grace You are manifesting to me, giving me Your Holy Spirit in my heart. Lord, let this faith be the argument and the power for cleansing me from every sin. Holy Jesus, sanctify me, that in my thinking, speaking, acting–in all things–Your image may appear. Amen.


1) Childship–a word used by the author to express the relationship of a child. Childhood expresses the state of a child rather than the relationship.

2) Isa. 53:10; Acts 7:51; Heb. 10:29

3) Ps. 5:6; Prov. 12:22; 21:28; John 8:44; Rev. 21:8,27; 22:15

4) Matt. 5:22; 1 Cor. 1:10,11; 3:3; 13:1,3; Gal. 5:5,15,21,26; Col. 3:8,12; 1 Thess. 5:l5; Jas. 3:14

5) Matt. 11:29; 1 Cor. 6:19,20; Gal. 6:1; Eph. 2:16,17; Col. 1:8; 2 Tim. 1:12

6) Luke 6:31; Rom. 13:10; 1 Thess. 4:6

7) Prov. 10:19,20,21,31; 18:20; Eccles. 5:1,2; Matt. 12:36; Eph. 5:4; Jas. 3:9,10


1. The thought of the Christian about this word, “Grieve not the Holy Spirit,” is a test of whether or not he understands the life of faith. For some it is a word of terror and fear. A father once brought his child to a 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 amiss. Take care that you do nothing to grieve her.” The poor child did not have a pleasant journey. It appeared to her very grievous to be in anxious fear of one who was so prone to take everything amiss. Many have this same view of the Holy Spirit. They think that He is 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 a train to go on a journey, and to be a time away from home, but in the company of her mother whom she loved very deeply. “You are to be a good child,” said the father, “and do everything to please your mother. Otherwise you will grieve her and me.” “Oh, certainly Papa!” was the joyful answer of the child. For she felt happy to be with her mother and was willing to do her utmost to be agreeable to her.

3. These are children of God to whom the Holy Spirit is so well-known in His tender, helpful love as the Comforter and the good Spirit–that the word, “Grieve not the Spirit of God,” has for them a gentle and encouraging power. May our fear to grieve Him always be the tender, childlike fear of trustful love.