Ephesians 4:30
The apostle, as if to show the serious consequence of corrupt speech in a Christian, says, "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God." That would be a most deplorable result.

I. CONSIDER WHAT IS IMPLIED IS THIS ACT.

1. It implies the holy personality of the Third Person of the Trinity. He is a Person as much as the Father and the Son?

2. It implies that the Holy Spirit is already a Dweller in the hearts of those who are capable of this act. We grieve those we love or those who love us. A very different term than "grief" would be applied in the case of unbelievers who are said to resist him.

3. The Holy Spirit represents himself as susceptible of grief or affront. Not that there is any break in the calm of the Godhead, but to signify that "he carrieth himself toward us after the manner of a person grieved," as if he were a human being capable of grief. When we consider that it is he who applies to us the redemption procured by Christ; that it is he who, as the Spirit of holiness, works in us every pure thought, every chaste desire, every noble sentiment; that he dwells in our very bodies as his holy temple; - our unworthy conduct is manifest in its true light as a grieving of the Spirit. His love is wounded as well as his holiness offended.

4. The effect of our "grieving" him is to lead to the suspension of his influences, to the withdrawal of his comforts, to the temporary loss of our assurance. In a word, he will withhold the manifestations of his presence.

II. CONSIDER THE ARGUMENT BY WHICH THE APOSTLE ENFORCES THE EXHORTATION. "In whom ye have been sealed till the day of redemption." It is ingratitude on our part to grieve him upon whom our salvation depends. The apostle does not make an appeal to our fears as if the Spirit would leave us, but to our gratitude, as any corrupt speech or action on our part would wound the heart of our best friend. The passage implies our perfect security till the day of judgment.

1. There is no hint of apostasy in the passage, or of the Spirit's departure.

2. The term "sealing implies security. A security that may be broken at any time, or the value of which depends on man's own responsive fidelity, is no security at all."

3. The sealing is spoken of as a past act: "Ye have been sealed." Thus their perseverance in grace was secured.

4. The security lasted beyond death: "till the day of redemption." The apostle never regards the day of death as marking the day of final security, but rather fixes it for that day which completes the redemption in the rejoining of body and soul in their changeless incorruptibility. - T.C.







And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
It is a very clear proof of the personality of the Holy Spirit that He can be grieved. Our text, moreover, reveals to us the close connection between the Holy Spirit and the believer; He must take a very tender and affectionate interest in us, since He is grieved by our shortcomings and our sins.

I. THE ASTOUNDING FACT that the Holy Spirit may be grieved.

1. The loving grief of the Holy Ghost may be traced to His holy character and perfect attributes. It is the nature of a holy being to be vexed with unholiness.

2. But it is mainly for our sakes that He is grieved.

3. Doubtless also for Jesus Christ's sake.

4. For the Church's sake.

II. Secondly, let us refer to DEPLORABLE CAUSES which produce the grief of the Holy Spirit. The context is some assistance to us.

1. We learn that sins of the flesh, filthiness, and evil speaking of every sort, are grievous to Him. "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth." In Noah's day, the dove found no place for the sole of its foot on all the carcasses floating in the waste; and even so the heavenly Dove finds no repose in the dead and corrupt things of the flesh.

2. It appears, from the thirty-first verse, that the Holy Ghost is grieved by any approach to bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour, evil speaking, and malice.

3. I have no doubt it greatly grieves the Spirit to see in believers any degree of love of the world. His holy jealousy is excited by such unholy love. If a mother should see her child fender of someone else than of her; if she should know that it was more happy in the company of a stranger than when in the bosom of its own parent, she would feel it a very hard trial to bear. Now, the Spirit of God gives to us believers celestial joys and abounding comforts; and if He sees us turn our back upon all these, to go into worldly company, to feed greedily upon the same empty joys which satisfy worldlings, He is a jealous God, and He takes it as a great slight put upon Himself.

4. The Spirit of God is greatly grieved by unbelief. What would grieve you more, than to have your child suspect your truthfulness?

5. The Spirit is doubtless grieved by our ingratitude.

6. And by pride we sorely grieve the blessed Spirit.

7. Another thing which grieves the Spirit is a want of prayer.

8. The indulgence of any known sin.

III. THE LAMENTABLE RESULT of the Spirit's being grieved.

1. The loss of all sense of His presence.

2. Loss of Christian joy.

3. Loss of power.

4. Loss of assurance.

5. Loss of usefulness.Let a Church grieve the Spirit of God, and oh, the blights that shall come and wither her fair garden!

IV. Lastly, there is one PERSONAL ARGUMENT which is used in the text to forbid our grieving the Spirit — "Whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." What does this mean? There are many meanings assigned by different commentators: we shall be content with the following.

1. A seal is set upon a thing to attest its authenticity and authority.

2. Once more, a seal is used for preserving, as well as for attesting.The Eastern seals up his money bags to secure the gold within, and we seal our letters to guard the enclosure. A seal is set for security. Grieve not, then, that Spirit upon whom you are so dependent: He is your credentials as a Christian; He is your life as a believer.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Anger begets anger; but grief begets pity, and pity is next akin to love; and we love those whom we have caused to grieve. Now, is not this a very sweet expression — "Grieve not the Holy Spirit"?

I. THE LOVE OF THE SPIRIT. The love of the Spirit! — how shall I tell it forth? Surely it needs a songster to sing it, for love is only to be spoken of in words of song. The love of the Spirit.

1. Let me tell you of His early love to us. He loved us without beginning.

2. Was it not He who guided you to Jesus?

3. Since then, how sweetly has He proved His love. Not only in His first strivings, or after quickenings; but in the sequel, how much have we owed to His instruction.

4. Forget not, also, how much we owe to His consolation.

5. Remember how much He loves us, when He helps our infirmities.

6. Another token of His love, is His indwelling in the saints.

II. IT IS BY THE HOLY SPIRIT WE ARE SEALED. The Spirit Himself is expressed as the seal, even as He Himself is directly said to be the pledge of our inheritance. The sealing, I think, has a three-fold meaning.

1. It is a sealing of attestation or confirmation. No faith is genuine, which does not bear the seal of the Spirit. No love, no hope can ever save us, except it be sealed with the Spirit of God, for whatever has not His seal upon it is spurious. Faith that is unsealed may be a poison, it may be presumption; but faith that is sealed by the Spirit is true, real, genuine faith.

2. It is a sealing of appropriation. When men put their mark upon an article, it is to show that it is their own. The farmer brands his tools that they may not be stolen. The shepherd marks his sheep that they may be recognized as belonging to his flock. The king himself puts his broad arrow upon everything that is his property. So the Holy Spirit puts the broad arm of God upon the hearts of all His people.

3. Again, by sealing is meant preservation. Men seal up that which they wish to have preserved, and when a document is sealed it becomes valid henceforth. Now, it is by the Spirit of God that the Christian is sealed, kept, preserved, unto the day of redemption.

III. THE GRIEVING OF THE SPIRIT. How may we grieve Him — what will be the sad result of grieving Him — if we have grieved Him, how may we bring Him back again?

1. How may we grieve the Spirit? I am now, mark you, speaking of those who love the Lord Jesus Christ. Sin is as easy as it is wicked.(1) You may grieve Him by impure thoughts. He cannot bear sin.(2) We grieve Him yet more if we indulge in outward acts of sin. Then is He sometimes so grieved that He takes His flight for a season, for the Dove will not dwell in our hearts if we take loathsome carrion in there.(3) Again, if we neglect prayer, if our closet door is cobwebbed, if we forget to read the Scriptures, if the leaves of our Bible are almost stuck together by neglect, if we never seek to do any good in the world, if we live merely for ourselves and not to Christ, then the Holy Spirit will be grieved.(4) Again, the Holy Spirit is exceedingly grieved by our unbelief.

2. Now, suppose the Holy Spirit is grieved, what is the effect produced upon us?(1) When the Spirit is grieved first, He bears with us. He is grieved again and again, and again and again, and still He bears with it all.(2) But at last, His grief becomes so excessive, that He says, "I will suspend My operations; I will be gone; I will leave life behind Me, but My own actual presence I will take away." Our graces are much like the flower called the Hydrangia, when it has plenty of water it blooms, but as soon as moisture fails, the leaves drop down at once. And so when the Spirit goes away, faith shuts up its flowers; no perfume is exhaled. Then the fruit of our love begins to rot and drops from the tree; then the sweet buds of our hope become frostbitten, and they die. Oh, what a sad thing it is to lose the Spirit.

3. It is a mercy to know that the Spirit of God never leaves His people finally; He leaves them for chastisement, but not for damnation.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

If we may speak it reverently of One so far above, out of the reach of all human language, the Holy Ghost is a Being with the tenderest of feelings. We all know the sensitiveness of the affections, the delicacy of thought, the exquisite accuracy of the moral touch, which are required for the sweet offices of consolation. In what an infinite measure, then, must those properties be combined in Him who is characteristically and exclusively "the Comforter" of the Church! Essentially He loves us.

1. Whenever you grieve the Holy Spirit you do then, in the first instance, cause sorrow — it is God's own word — to Him to whom you are bound by every generous feeling to give only happiness.

2. But have you considered, further, that every time you grieve the Spirit, you weaken the seals of your own security?

3. For there are few of us, I trust, who have not long since learnt that the secret of all true comfort and satisfaction in the world, is to carry within us the sunshine of God's love, which is peace and joy. And what is that sunshine but the unclouded indwelling of the Holy Ghost?

4. For mark it yet once more. There are four deep downward steps in the path to death: to grieve the Spirit is the first — to resist the Spirit is the second — to quench the Spirit is the third — to blaspheme the Spirit is the fourth. No one of these is ever reached but by going through that which is previous to it. Consider, therefore, first in everything you do or say — in the pleasures you allow, the friendships you form, the thoughts you indulge — how will this affect the Holy Spirit? remembering always His exceeding sensitiveness, that if you grieve Him He will leave you, till you have not feeling enough to grieve that He is gone; but if you please Him, you will more and more forever find a satisfying pleasure in Him who so graciously condescends to please Himself in you.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

It is a very important question — "How is the Holy Spirit grieved with us?" The great instrumentality of the Holy Ghost is conscience. Only here take care; to refuse the encouraging voices of conscience is as bad as to neglect the reproving ones. To have sinned, and to doubt the forgiveness of the sin, after you have confessed the sin, "grieves the Holy Spirit" quite as much as the sin itself. He is "Spirit," — therefore material religion, — a materialistic view of spiritual things, — "grieves" Him. He is "the Holy Spirit"; therefore everything which trifles with holy things — irreverence, levity on religious subjects, undevout familiarity with sacred subjects, low views of God — these things "grieve" Him very much.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

There are different ways in which you may grieve a person. If the person hate you, and wish you ill, then you may grieve and vex him by taking the course which will make you good and happy. If the person be a bad person, then you may grieve him by doing what is right. What greater stimulus to duty, than this? — "Now, you will be industrious, and honest, and good; and make them all happy at home!" And what healthier consideration in an hour of temptation to do wrong, than that which comes first and most natural: "Oh, you will not do that, and break your mother's heart!" My Christian friends, it hath pleased God, in the words of my text, to appeal to us with just that homely consideration. "Grieve not" — the words are spoken to all of us — "the Holy Spirit of God."

I. And first, mark WHO IT IS WE ARE ASKED NOT TO GRIEVE. You have seen how completely it turns upon the character of the person grieved, what the kind of things shall be that are to grieve him. The Person we are asked not to grieve is the Holy Spirit of God: the blessed Comforter. He is the kindest and best: He is our warmest well-wisher. And what kindness and consideration there are in the way in which the text shows us our duty I It is our own good that the Holy Spirit is desiring to work out: and we are asked not to vex Him by obstructing Him in doing what?

II. And now, looking AT THIS PRECEPT —

1. We may be very sure that we grieve the Holy Spirit, by restraining prayer, or by heartless prayers.

2. A second way in which we shall especially grieve the Holy Spirit, by especially slighting His office and work, will be by refusing to allow Him to comfort us in sorrow.

3. There is a third way in which we shall specially grieve the Holy Spirit; and this is by resisting Him when He is seeking to lead us to Christ; by refusing to turn in penitence from sin to God; and then to grow in grace and holiness.

(A. K. H. Boyd, D. D.)

I. WHO, THEN, ARE THEY, WHO ARE TOLD NOT TO GRIEVE THE SPIRIT OF GOD? It must needs be those with whom He has already taken up His abode. We may anger a stranger, but we grieve a friend.

II. But let us consider is WHAT WAYS THE BELIEVING CHRISTIAN MAY GRIEVE GOD'S HOLY SPIRIT.

1. If we give way to any sin in thought, word, or deed, we are then grieving the Holy Spirit.

2. But it is not only thus that we are in danger of grieving the Spirit of God; it is not only by what we do amiss, but by what we leave undone.

3. Another way of grieving the Holy Spirit is by neglecting those means of grace by which God is pleased, to work in our souls.

III. WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES OF GRIEVING THE SPIRIT OF GOD?

1. We thereby become guilty of great ingratitude.

2. We also hinder our own advance in holiness and goodness.

3. And, in so doing, we lose the comforts of religion.

4. Once more: by grieving God's Holy Spirit, we unfit ourselves for doing good to men, and so adorning the gospel.

(E. Blencowe, M. A.)

Just what the heart is to the body; what the eyes are to the head; what the mainspring is to the watch; what the steam is to the locomotive; or what the rudder is to the ship, just this, and more, the Holy Spirit is to us, in trying to get to heaven.

I. AND IN THE FIRST PLACE, WE OUGHT TO MIND THIS WARNING, BECAUSE GRIEVING THE SPIRIT WILL INJURE OUR KNOWLEDGE. Of ourselves, we have no knowledge of the way, to heaven, and never could tell how to get there. It is the Holy Spirit alone who can give us this knowledge, but if we grieve the Spirit we shall never get this knowledge. Suppose that you and I were travelling through a strange country, like Switzerland. We should have no knowledge of the right way to travel in, so as to get safely through the country. And this would make it necessary for us to have a guide to show us the way. I remember when the Rev. Dr. Cooper of this city, and myself, were, travelling through Switzerland some years ago, an incident occurred which may come in as a good illustration of this part of our subject. We were stopping at an inn in the beautiful valley of Interlachen, and had made arrangements one evening to go on foot the next day over a high mountain, called the "Wengern Alp," to the valley of Lauterbrunnen, on the other side. We had engaged a guide to show us the way, and were to take an early start the next morning. There was an English traveller staying at the same inn with us. He was travelling alone, and wanted to take the same journey. He spoke to one of the guides about going with him. But he thought the man asked too much money. They could not agree about the price; so he refused to take the guide, and said he was sure he could find the way himself. He started all by himself the next morning, a good while before us. When we had got nearly half way over the mountain our guide stopped. He pointed to a dark looking little object, far off from the path in which we were walking, and said: "There's the gentleman who would not have a guide. He has lost his way. He never can get out of the mountains in that direction. If he doesn't come back he'll lose his life." Then the guide climbed up on a high piece of ground, and putting his hands to his mouth, he called out as loudly as he could, "Come back! come back!" We could not tell whether the lost man heard him or not, or what became of him. But in refusing to take a guide to show him the way that man was injuring his knowledge, just as we do when we grieve the Holy Spirit.

II. THE SECOND REASON WHY WE OUGHT TO MIND THIS WARNING IS BECAUSE GRIEVING THE SPIRIT WILL INJURE OUR HAPPINESS. When David was speaking of the happy effect which follows from our acquaintance with the truth of God, he said — "Blessed are the people which know the joyful sound." This blessedness refers to the happiness which God's people find from knowing Him. And here we see how the knowledge of God, and the happiness which springs from it, both go together. This knowledge is like a fountain; and this happiness is like the stream which flows from the fountain.

III. THE THIRD REASON WHY WE SHOULD MIND THIS WARNING IS BECAUSE GRIEVING THE SPIRIT WILL INJURE OUR USEFULNESS. If you are an errand boy in a store, and your duty is to carry parcels or messages, wherever you are sent, then if anything should make you lame, so that you could not walk, this would interfere with your usefulness. Suppose you have a position on one of the stations of the Pennsylvania railway. Your duty there is to watch the signals, which tell when a train is coming; and then to give notice of it by ringing a bell. And suppose that something should happen to your eyes, so that you could not see; this would at once injure your usefulness, and unfit you for the duties of your position. Or suppose that your mother is a very skilful seamstress, and is supporting her family by the diligent use of her needle. She has an attack of rheumatism, which settles on her right hand, making her fingers so stiff that she cannot use her needle. That would injure her usefulness. And it is just so with us, in trying to serve God. If we listen to the voice of the Spirit, when He speaks to us, and mind what He says, then He will show us what our duty is, and help us to do it. And that will make us useful. I have one other illustration for this part of our subject. We may call it "Sorely Tempted." It shows us how a boy was kept from injuring his usefulness, by not grieving the Spirit, but by listening to His voice. The boy's name was Tommy Wright. He was about fifteen years old, and the only son of his mother, who was very fond of him. Mrs. Wright had got a situation for him in a merchant's store. When he was about leaving home to begin work in this new place, his mother said to him, "Now, Tommy, before you go, there are two promises I want you to make me." "What are they, mother?" he asked, looking fondly into her loving face, which was always so calm and peaceful. "Promise me first, that you will always, wherever you are, no matter how busy, read one or more verses in the Bible every day; and then promise me next that you will never take a penny that is not your own." "The first is easy enough, mother dear," said Tommy; "but I don't like the second at all. It seems almost like an insult. You know very well I have not been brought up to be a thief. Surely you don't imagine for a moment that I would ever steal?" "Give me the promise, Tommy dear," said his mother, "and I will pray for you, as you must pray for yourself, that God will give you grace to keep your word. These are terrible times that we are living in. Men who stand high in honour are often known to do very mean and dishonourable things. The fairest reputations are blighted. The city is full of snares, and I don't know what temptations you may meet with. You will need God's help every day to keep you from going wrong." So Tommy made the promise, and then his mother kneeled down with him, and in her simple earnest words, asked the Lord to go with her dear boy, and help him to do his duty in the new position he was about to occupy, and to keep him from ever doing what was wrong. For some time after entering on the duties of his new position Tommy got on very well. He read every day at least one verse from the Bible. Sometimes he would read a number of verses, and occasionally a whole chapter. But after a while he began to be careless about it. Occasionally he would omit his reading in the morning, intending to do it at night, and at night deferring it till the next day. Then he would forget to pray. The next wrong step was his going with bad companions. His anxious, loving mother, up at the old farm, felt sure that he was not doing well, for his letters were few and short. But she kept on praying for him with increasing earnestness. At last he got into debt, and was at a loss to know what to do. One day he was left alone at the close of the day, in a room where there was an unlocked drawer, with a large sum of money in it, in notes and silver. Just then Satan came and tempted him. He said to him, "Why can't you take some of this money and get out of debt? Mr. Courtney, your employer, will never find it out. And when you get your wages, if you like, you can pay it back." Tommy made up his mind to do this. He went to the drawer and took a handful of silver; but just as he was about to put it into his coat pocket he was startled by what seemed like someone whispering in his ear. The quiet voice seemed to say "Tommy Wright! Tommy Wright! Take care! Remember the promise you made to your mother." In a moment he put the money back in the drawer and went home. On arriving there, he went straight up to his little room, and kneeling down in great distress and with many tears, he confessed his sin to God, and asked to be forgiven. Then he prayed that God would help him to resist every such temptation in the future, and always do what was right. Now it was the Spirit of God who whispered those warning words in Tommy's ear. He listened to the Spirit's voice, and that kept him from doing wrong.. But if he had not minded those whispered words he would have grieved the Spirit. And then he would have gone on from one sin to another, till he lost his situation, and so he would have injured his usefulness. And here we see that the third reason why we should mind this warning is, because grieving the Spirit will injure our usefulness.

IV. THE FOURTH REASON WHY WE SHOULD MIND THIS WARNING IS BECAUSE GRIEVING THE SPIRIT WILL CAUSE THE LOSS OF OUR SOULS. "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God — whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." To seal the soul unto the day of redemption is to make its salvation sure. This is what the Spirit will do for those who listen to His voice. See, there is Noah's ark just finished. God told Noah and all his family to come into the ark. They listened to His voice. They all went into the ark; and when the flood came they were saved. But suppose now they had not minded what God had said to them, and had refused to go into the ark; that would have been like grieving the Spirit; and the result would have been that when the flood came they would all have been destroyed. And so if we go on grieving the Spirit, it must certainly result in the loss of our souls.

(Dr. Newton.)

There are several ways in which more especially the Spirit may be said to be grieved. Thus, for example —

1. When His office is dishonoured. This is the case whenever the spirituality of Divine worship is called in question or practically ignored. "God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth."

2. Again, the Spirit may be said to be grieved whenever His sovereignty is limited. The Spirit is a free agent. He acts as He will, dividing unto every man severally according to His own good pleasure.

3. The Spirit may further be said to be grieved when His prerogative is infringed. If, for example, He is to any extent defrauded of His title as the supreme and only infallible interpreter of the written Word, if, in place of seeking earnestly and humbly to be guided by Him into all truth, we seek to human wisdom or guidance for the interpretation of the inspired Word, if we forsake His guidance — this is to grieve Him.

4. Again, the Holy Spirit is grieved whenever His influence is persistently withstood. This is a case, it is to be feared, of not infrequent occurrence under the ministry of the gospel.

(Bishop R. Bickersteth.)

I. WHAT IS HERE MEANT BY THE "HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD," AND NOW HE SEALS US TO THE DAY OF REDEMPTION.

II. WHAT IS IMPLIED IN GRIEVING HIM, AND HOW THIS IS GENERALLY DONE.

III. THE SIN, FOLLY, AND MISERABLE CONSEQUENCES OF GRIEVING THE HOLY SPIRIT.

1. The sin of it. It is an act of undutifulness and injustice.

2. The folly of it. It may be compared with the folly of grieving a friend, whose direction and help we continually want; a father, on whom we are dependent; a husband, without whom we cannot live happy.

3. The miserable consequences of sin. So far as we grieve Him, we remain ignorant, sinful, guilty, depraved, weak, and wretched.

(J. Benson, D. D.)

I. IT IS HERE SUPPOSED THAT THERE IS A DIVINE INFLUENCE necessary to the salvation of fallen men.

II. THE INFLUENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IS EXPRESSED IN SCRIPTURE BY A GREAT VARIETY OF PHRASES. Christians are said to be born of the Spirit; renewed, sanctified, and led by the Spirit; to be anointed and filled with the Spirit; and to be the temples in which the Spirit dwells. Here they are said to be "sealed" by the Spirit — i.e., the Divine image is impressed on the believer's heart.

III. BELIEVERS ARE SAID TO BE SEALED UNTO THE DAY OF REDEMPTION.

1. The sealing or sanctification of the Spirit is a necessary preparation for heaven.

2. An evidence of our title to heaven.

IV. THE SPIRIT IS GRIEVED WHEN WE ACT IN OPPOSITION TO HIS INFLUENCE.

V. A SOLEMN CAUTION AGAINST GRIEVING THE SPIRIT OF GOD.

1. Indifference and carelessness in religion is opposition to the grace of God.

2. Spiritual pride grieves the Divine Spirit.

3. The Spirit is grieved when we neglect the means appointed for obtaining His influence.

4. Opposition to the strivings of the Spirit is another way in which He is often grieved.

5. There are some particular kinds of sin which are, in an eminent and peculiar sense, opposite to the work of the Spirit.

(1)Among these may be reckoned impurity, intemperance, dissipation, and all the vices of sensuality.

(2)The indulgence of malignant passions grieves the Spirit.

(3)Contentions among Christians are opposite to the Spirit.

(4)Men grieve the Spirit when they ascribe to Him those motions and actions which are contrary to His nature.

(J. Lathrop, D. D.)

I. Inquire WHAT DUTIES ARE INCUMBENT UPON US, RELATING TO THE SPIRIT OF GOD. According to the general rule of interpreting negative precepts, the charge not to grieve the Spirit implies more than is expressed; it carries an obligation to a contrary duty, and that is to behave in a becoming manner toward Him.

1. He is to be owned and glorified as a Divine Person.

2. We should entertain honourable thoughts of the Spirit of God, with regard to the peculiar part He bears in the work of salvation.

3. We should be earnest in our desires and prayers for the Spirit, to all the purposes for which we need Him.

4. It is our duty to make use of all the means of grace which God has appointed and owns for vouchsafement of His Spirit.

5. We should seriously attend to all the Spirit's motions upon our souls.

6. We should live under His influence, in such a manner as is pleasing to Him, and answerable to His holy design upon us.

7. It should heartily grieve us that the Spirit of God is so much grieved.

II. Consider the SEVERAL ARGUMENTS CONTAINED IN OUR TEXT, TO ENFORCE THESE DUTIES.

1. The authority of God demands these duties to be paid to His Spirit. It is God, by the apostle, that charges us in our text not to grieve His Spirit, but to carry it well toward Him; for all Scripture is given by inspiration of God (2 Timothy 3:16).

2. He to whom these duties have a special reference is the Spirit of God. It is not a man like thyself, it is not thine equal, not any created Spirit, but one infinitely above thee, and above all angels and archangels; it is the uncreated Spirit of God, who is Himself God. And canst thou dare to offend and provoke, or to behave undutifully toward Him?

3. He is the Holy Spirit. His nature and will, ways and works are holy, all the tendencies of his operations are to holiness, and all their effects, where they prevail, are holiness; there is no iniquity in Him or them. With what reverence and caution then shouldest thou behave in the sight and presence of such a Holy One.

4. The nature and design of the Spirit's work is to seal us. Hath he hitherto preserved you and engaged to preserve you still, even to the day of complete redemption? And shalt thou not carry it well to such a kind indulging Friend as this?

5. This sealing work of the Spirit is unto the day of redemption. The Spirit in His sealing work is giving you the sweetest and surest earnests of this blessed day. And is not all this happy and delightful work for you? would you do anything to put a cheek upon it?

6. If we don't behave dutifully toward the Spirit, He will certainly be grieved.

(J. Guyse.)

I. WHAT IT IS TO GRIEVE THE SPIRIT. The Holy Ghost cannot properly be grieved in His own person, because grief implies a defect of happiness in suffering that we wish removed. It implies a defect in foresight, to prevent that which may grieve. It implies passion, which is soon raised up and soon laid down. God is not subject to change. It implies some want of power to remove that which we feel to be a grievance. And therefore it is not beseeming the majesty of the Spirit thus to be grieved. We must therefore conceive of it as befitting the majesty of God, removing in our thoughts all imperfections.

1. We are said to grieve God when we do that which is apt of itself to grieve; as we are said to destroy our weak brother when we do that which, he taking offence at, is apt to mislead him and so to destroy him.

2. We grieve the Spirit when we do that whereupon the Spirit doth that which grieved persons do; that is, retireth and showeth dislike and returns grief again.

3. Though the passion of grief be not in the Holy Ghost, yet there is in His holy nature a pure displeasance and hatred of sin, with such a degree of abomination, as though it tend not to the destruction of the offender, yet to sharp correction; so that grief is eminently in the hatred of God in such a manner as becomes Him.

4. We may conceive of the Spirit as He is in Himself in heaven, and as He dwells and works in us; as we may conceive of God the Father, as hidden in Himself and as revealed in His Son and in His Word; and as we may conceive of Christ as the Second Person and as Incarnate. So likewise of the Holy Ghost as in Himself and as in us. God, in the person of His Son, and His Son as man and as minister of circumcision, was grieved at the rebellion and destruction of His own people. The Holy Spirit as in us grieveth with us, witnesseth with us, rejoiceth in us and with us; and the Spirit in Himself and as He worketh in us hath the same name; as the gifts and graces and the comforts of the Spirit are called the Spirit; even as the beams of the sun shining on the earth are called the sun, and when we let them in or shut them out, we are said to let in or shut out the sun. We may grieve the Spirit, when we grieve Him as working grace and offering comfort to us.

II. PARTICULARS WHEREIN WE SPECIALLY GRIEVE THE SPIRIT. It is the office of the Spirit to enlighten, to soften, to quicken, and to sanctify. When we give content to Satan it puts the Holy Ghost out of office. Where the Holy Ghost hath not only set up a light, but given a taste of heavenly things, and yet we, upon false allurements, will grow to a distaste, it cannot but grieve the Spirit. Upon divers respects some sin may grieve more or less than another. As the Holy Ghost is a Spirit, so spiritual sins grieve most — as pride, envy — imprinting upon the soul, as it were, a character of the contrary ill spirit. Carnal sins, whereby the soul is drowned in delight of the body, may more grieve the Spirit in another respect; as defiling His temple, and as taking away so much of the soul. The office of the Spirit is to set out Christ, and the favour and mercy of God in Christ.

1. When we slight Christ in the gospel, the ordinance and organ of working good in us, the Holy Ghost is slighted and grieved.

2. The Holy Spirit is grieved when ye have a corrupt judgment of things, not weighing them in the right balance, nor value them according to their worth.

3. This grieves the Holy Spirit also, when men take the office of the Spirit from Him; that is, when we will do things in our own strength and by our own light, as if we were gods to ourselves.

4. Besides grieving God's Spirit in ourselves, there is a heavy guilt lies upon us for grieving the Spirit in others, which is done many ways. First, By neglecting the grace of God in them, or despising them for some infirmities which love should cover. Contempt is a thing which the nature of man is more impatient of than of any injury. We likewise grieve the spirit of others by sharp censures, and the greater our authority is, the deeper is the grief a censure inflicteth. Again, Those that are above others grieve the spirits of those under them by unjust commands; as when masters press their servants to that which their conscience cannot digest, and so make them sin, and offer violence to that tender part. Again, We grieve the spirit of others, when those that are inferior show themselves untractable to those above them in magistracy or ministry, when they make them spend their strength in vain.

IV. WHAT COURSE WE SHOULD TAKE TO PREVENT THIS GRIEVING OF THE SPIRIT.

1. Let us give up the government of our souls to the Spirit of God.

2. Study to walk perfectly in obeying the Spirit in all things.

3. If we would not grieve the Spirit, let us take heed of being wanting to the Spirit's direction.

4. When the Spirit suggests good motions, turn them presently into holy resolutions. Let us not give over till these motions be turned into purposes, and those good purposes ripened to holy actions, that they be not nipped in the blossom, but may bring forth perfect fruit.

5. Let the Spirit have full scope, both in the ordinances, and in the motions stirred up by the ordinances. This is the way to make the ordinances and the times glorious, but the liberties of the gospel are contrary to the liberties of the flesh.

6. When we find the Spirit not assisting and comforting as in former times, it is fit to search the cause, which we shall find some slighting of holy motions, or the means of breeding of them.

7. Take heed of little sins, which we count lesser sins perhaps than God doth. "The Holy Spirit by which ye are sealed." The Holy Ghost delighteth to speak in our own language.We cannot rise to Him, therefore He stoopeth to us. The persons sealed are, first, Christ, and then those that are given to Christ. I, Christ is sealed.

1. By the Father (John 6:27).

2. He was sealed by the fulness of the Godhead dwelling in flesh, abased and exalted for us; so as His flesh is the flesh of the Son of God, and His blood the "blood of God" (Acts 20:28).

3. Sealed by a testimony from heaven of all three persons: by the Father, "This is my well-beloved Son"; by the Holy Spirit descending like a dove; by Himself to His human nature dwelling in all fulness in it.

4. In being justified in the Spirit, being raised from the dead, and "declared thereby to be the Son of God mightily with power" (Romans 1:4); and then advanced to the right hand of God, that through Him our faith and trust might be in God (2 Peter 3:14).

II. As Christ was sealed and fitted for us, so we are sealed and fitted for Christ, Many are the privileges of a Christian from this his sealing, as the use of a seal in man's affairs is manifold.

1. Seals serve for confirmation and allowance. To that purpose measures are sealed. God is said to seal instruction (Job 33:16). Confirmation is either by giving strength, or by the authority of such as are able to make good what they promise, and also willing; which they show by putting to their seal, which hath as much strength to confirm him to whom the promise is made, as he hath will and power to make it good that hath engaged himself.

2. The use of it likewise is for distinction from others that carry not that mark. So the sealing of the Spirit distinguisheth a Christian from all other men.

3. The use of a seal is likewise for appropriation. Merchants use to seal their wares they would not have others have any right unto.

4. Again, we use to set our seal only upon that we have some estimation of. "Set me as a seal," saith the Church in the Canticles, "upon Thy right hand" (Song of Solomon 8:6); have me in Thy eye and mind as a special thing Thou valuest.

5. Seals likewise are used for secrecy, as in letters, etc. So this seal of the Spirit is a secret work. God knoweth who are His (Revelation 2:17). "Our life is hid with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:3).

6. Hence, likewise, the use of a seal is to show that things should be kept inviolable. Hereupon the Church is as a "sealed fountain" (Song of Solomon 4:12). Sealing shows a care of preservation from common annoyance.Hereupon likewise it is that sealing is the securing of persons or things sealed from hurt. "Whereby you are sealed." Now there are divers degrees of the Spirit's sealing.

1. Faith: "He that believes hath the witness in himself" (1 John 5:10). The seal and first discovery of election is manifested to us in our believing.

2. The work of sanctifying grace upon the heart is a seal. Whom the Spirit sanctifieth He sayeth. "The Lord knoweth who are His" (2 Timothy 2:19).But how shall we know it? By this seal: "Let everyone that nameth the name of the Lord depart from iniquity," not only in heart and affection, but in conversation; and that shall be a seal of his sonship to Him. "To the day of redemption."

1. There is a double redemption: redemption of the soul by the first coming of Christ to shed His blood for us; redemption of our bodies from corruption by His second coming.

2. Secondly, full redemption is not yet. But there is a "day" appointed for it. Consolatory thought! "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption."From the consideration of all that hath been formerly spoken of, the sealing of the Spirit to the day of redemption, there ariseth these four conclusions:

1. For the first, we may know we are in the state of grace(1) because the apostle would not have used an argument moving not to grieve the Spirit from a thing unknown or guessed at. It is an ill manner of reasoning to argue from a thing unknown.(2) Again, sealing of us by the Spirit is not in regard of God, but ourselves. God knoweth who are His, but we know not that we are His but by sealing.(3) The scope of the Scriptures indited by the Spirit is for comfort. The apostle saith so directly; and what comfort is in an uncertain condition, wherein a man knows not but he may be a reprobate?

2. The second conclusion: We may, upon the knowledge of our present estate in grace, be assured for the time to come, for this sealing is to the "day of redemption"; that is, till we be put into full possession of what we now believe.

3. The third conclusion is this, that the Spirit doth seal us. This cannot be otherwise; for who can establish us in the love of God but he that knows the mind of God towards us? and who knows the mind of God but the Spirit of God?

4. The fourth conclusion is, that the sealing of the Spirit unto salvation should be a strong prevailing argument not to grieve the Spirit; that is, not to sin, for sin only grieves the Spirit (see Titus 2:11, 12). Even the consideration of the benefits of Christ that are past, such as came with Christ's first coming; but that is not all (ver. 13, "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ") The second coming of Christ enforceth likewise the same care of holiness: "Our conversation is in heaven" (Philippians 3:20), and not as theirs, spoken of in the former verse, whose end is damnation, whose belly is their god, who mind earthly things. No. We mind heavenly things. And these heavenly desires, from whence sprung ""hey but from the certain "expectation of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile bodies"? etc. (Philippians 3:21); that is, shall redeem us fully, even our bodies as well as our souls.(1) It is an argument of force whether we be not yet sealed, or be sealed. If not sealed, then grieve not Him whose only office is to seal; entertain His motions, that He may have scope and liberty of working.(2) For those that have been sealed by the Spirit, and yet not so fully as to silence all doubts about their estate: those should, out of that beginning of comfort which they feel, study to be pliable to the Spirit for further increase. The Spirit sealeth by degrees. As our care of pleasing the Spirit increaseth, so our comfort increaseth: our light will increase as the morning light unto the perfect day.(3) For those that the Holy Spirit hath set a clearer and stronger stamp upon, that do not question their condition, they of all others should not grieve the Spirit. To conclude this discourse, let Christians therefore be careful to preserve and cherish the work of assurance and sealing in them.

(R. Sibbes, D. D.)

I. Let us first consider sOME TRUTHS WHICH APPEAR TO BE IMPLIED IN THE STATEMENT HERE MADE.

1. It is plainly implied that the Holy Spirit is a Person.

2. A second truth implied in the text is, that not only is the Holy Ghost a Person, but that He is a Divine and holy Person.

3. But the third thing implied in this text is, that the Spirit of God so dwells within us, as that the indulgence of angry tempers, or a walk of ungodliness and sin, will cause distress to this Divine inhabitant.

II. Now, having considered those truths which seem to be implied in the text, let us proceed to consider WHAT IS CONTAINED IN THE EXHORTATION ITSELF: "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption."

1. And, first, wherein are we most prone to "grieve" the Spirit? Grief, in the sense of offence taken by one person against another, arises from the offering of some supposed indignity, whether in the omission of some customary respect, or in the offer of some admitted slight, or in ungrateful requital for certain benefits received, or in some open contrariety to the mind and wish of our benefactor. Thus, look at the Spirit of God in some of those gracious offices and relations which He sustains towards us. Is He the enlightener, the guide, the counsellor of man in all the parts and duties of a godly life? What greater indignity can we offer to Him than taking counsel with flesh and blood — leaving the directions of a friend, to follow the advice of an enemy.

2. But observe, secondly, the special aggravation of this grieving — "Whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." Now, the point of all this, you will perceive, is that sin becomes more than ever sin, when it is committed against received light and knowledge-that grief against the Holy Spirit of God becomes double grief, when we have been made partaker of His gifts already.

3. And now, brethren, look at the text as it is a tender, affectionate, fatherly appeal to your gratitude. It is asked — "If God the Spirit has done this for you, if God the Spirit will continue to do these things unto your lives' end, how have you received Him?"

(D. Moore, M. A.)

I. And, first, of the AGENT HERE SPOKEN OF — the Holy Spirit of God — and THE PECULIAR OFFICE, which He is said to execute on behalf of believers. The figure used in my text — that of "grieving the Spirit" — leads us to the acknowledgment of the personality of that blessed Spirit. The use of seals to signify appropriation was a very early practice; the patriarch Judah, you know, had his seal; and ministers of state had their seals of office in very ancient times; and you read, in the Book of Esther, these words, "Write in the king's name, and seal it with the king's ring, for the writing which is written in the king's name, and sealed with the king's ring, may no man reverse." But again, under this head, I observe, that it is the office of the Holy Spirit, not merely to seal believers, by an eternal designation to God, but at times — at times, we say — as to His infinite wisdom and grace may seem fit — it is the office of the Holy Spirit, to bear witness to their spirits that they are thus called. But I proceed, furthers to observe, that wheresoever this sealing to God, known at all times to Him — this sealing of appropriation from eternity — known to believers themselves, in the degree in which God sees it to be good for them — wheresoever this sealing takes place, it is always accompanied by an outward seal, by which believers are more or less discernible to the world around them. For seals, as you know, my brethren, are not merely used to signify appropriation, but. are also used to make an impression. The seal stamps its own impression. And the Holy Spirit of God seals believers as His own, by making His own impression of holiness upon them — by diffusing His graces over their souls. Let us, then, consider some of the ways in which believers may be said to "grieve the Holy Spirit of God."

1. Among these we may rank, my brethren, the sin of ingratitude — a sin, of which all believers are more or less guilty, and apt thereby to grieve the Holy Spirit.

2. And, again, I would observe, that the Holy Spirit is grieved by resisting His operations in the soul, by turning a deaf ear to His friendly warnings and His friendly remonstranees.

3. Again, I observe, that the Spirit of the Lord trains up believers for "redemption" in the school of affliction: and we "grieve the Holy Spirit of God," when we do not endeavour, at least, to see the hand of God in those trials, and when we rebel against that rod, wherewith He chastens us for our good.

4. And, again, my brethren, I would observe, that the Holy Spirit is grieved by the indulgence of unhallowed tempers and of sinful dispositions.

5. Allow me, once more, to add" grieve not the Holy Spirit of God" by running in the way of temptation. And as to THE FEARFUL CONSEQUENCES OF GRIEVING HIM, or of causing that blessed Agent to withdraw, what, my brethren, can be said, or what need be said? In that moment when He is withdrawn, the means of grace become useless. Our salvation, be it remembered, depends entirely upon the agency of the Holy Spirit; and to forfeit that agency is to cut off ourselves at once from all hope.

(Norman Macleod, D. D.)

I. THE SEALING. They were sealed in their sonship. Moreover, as sons, they were sealed for the purpose of separation, that they should be a distinct people, and hence the prediction concerning them was put forth in a very early period in the history of the Church on earth. Moreover, they were sealed in this secret compact between the persons of Deity for sanctification, set apart for that purpose. Now, what is the first thing that you and I should do in sealing, to keep literally to the expression? Suppose we seal a letter, or seal a will or testament, or seal any document or covenant among mortals? Why, the first thing is to melt the wax, or whatever we are about to impress. There is the efficiency, and there is a need of fire for that. My hearer, when we are baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire, it is melting work. Moreover, in this sealing work there is an elevation of character — a dignity stamped upon it. You know, in olden time, when letters were written, as by Ahasuerus and others, and said to be sealed with the king's seal, there was a dignity and importance stamped on the documents; it elevated them above the scale of the subjects of the realm, for it was the monarch's own impression, the monarch's own authority, the monarch's own command and injunction. So with the Lord's family. Just go on to mark that they are sealed apparently and manifestly, so as to be known before men. Pass on to mark that, according to my text, It is a lasting seal. Ah! there are some seals that you may break or deface — they are not lasting; but here is a seal that shall last till the day of redemption.

II. THE EXHORTATION given to the sealed ones. "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God." Let everything in the shape of sin be loathed and abhorred; that, although it dwells in old Adam, and sometimes strives for the mastery, it shall be crucified, mortified, put off, denied, and kept under, that the Holy Spirit may not be grieved. Again, "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God" by opinions which are heterodox. All those things which tend to grieve one another, to separate brother from brother, and Church from Church, and create schism in the Body of Christ, grieve the Spirit of God.

(J. Irons.)

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