And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby you are sealed to the day of redemption.
I. WHAT IT IS TO GRIEVE THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD. We are startled at the expression. Few of us would have thought of using it if we had not found it in the Bible. It cannot be a mere figure of speech. It must describe a strange, sad, touching fact.
1. God is a living Spirit. He can be grieved.
2. God is our Father, related to us, loving us. It is of the self-sacrificing nature of love that it lays itself out to be wounded when it is treated unworthily. We can always hurt most those who love us most.
3. God is within us. The Holy Spirit is God dwelling in our spirits. Because he is so near he is much concerned with our character and conduct.
II. HOW WE MAY GRIEVE THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD.
1. All sin is grievous to him, as holiness is hurt by unholiness and love by unworthiness. This should be one warning against our carelessness in falling into temptation. If we do not feel it, God does. A child who would not refrain from a bad thing on its own account, checks himself as he thinks how it would vex his mother. We should be warned by remembering that our sin hurts God; - did it not kill Christ?
2. St. Paul has in mind the particular sin of corrupt speech (ver. 29). This defiles the soul and dishonors the temple in which the Spirit of God dwells. Flippant conversation on sacred subjects, as well as language that is absolutely debased, is grievous in the ears of God, not only on its own account, but because it reveals a low tone of spiritual life and a want of the reverence and love that we owe to the Holy Spirit.
III. WHY WE SHOULD BE MOST CAREFUL NOT TO GRIEVE THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD.
1. Because of the obligations of gratitude for past grace. If we are spiritual Christians we are "sealed ;" i.e. we have the mark of God's recognition and owning given by the Spirit. After accepting the uniform of the Divine King, how can we heedlessly bring dishonor on his Name?
2. Because of the responsibilities of our present condition. We are sealed "in the Spirit." To be in living relation with the Spirit of God is the condition of all who are new creatures in Christ. This higher fellowship brings higher claims.
3. Because of the hope of our future redemption. Christians are sealed "unto the day of redemption." The first day of redemption is the day of Christ's death, but that marks only the beginning of deliverance. To each soul the day of God's forgiveness and welcome of the penitent is a day of redemption; but perfect redemption is deliverance from all evil. This is at present a hope, and the hope depends on the work of the Spirit of God. If we are grieving the Spirit of God how can we ask for his aid? There is danger lest one grieve the Holy Spirit so that he take his departure, and then how dark and woeful will the deserted soul be! - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.