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A Christian is one who has the Holy Spirit in him
The passages below are adapted from D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ article “Do not Grieve the Holy Spirit of God.” (See my website http://www.geocities.com/lauho08 under the Section “Holy Spirit.”)
The important thing for us Christians to hold in our minds is that the Holy Spirit has been given to us and that He dwells within us. No one is a Christian unless the Holy Spirit is in him. As St Paul says, “Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.” (Romans 8:9 NKJV) and “Don't you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and who was given to you by God?” (1 Corinthians 6:19 TEV) So, if we are Christians the Holy Spirit is in us and He dwells within us. That is certain! Wherever we are, He is!
However, in life, we know that when a person grieves us, we keep away from him and we are not for him. Similarly, when we grieve the Holy Spirit, He will withdraw the manifestation of Himself. He will keep away from us. Unfortunately, He will make us feel that He is not in us or for us.
And how do we grieve the Holy Spirit? We grieve Him when we sadden Him or disappoint Him in our words and deeds. Our relationship to the Holy Spirit is a relationship of love. Our relationship is now a personal one. And it is because we forget this personal relationship that most of our troubles and problems in our Christian lives are experienced. We must realise that the Holy Spirit is a Person! He is not an influence or a power. We can only grieve a person, we cannot grieve an influence. We cannot hurt a power, we can only hurt a person. He can be disappointed in us. A principle cannot be disappointed, it is only a person who can be disappointed. Thus, when a Christian sins, he has offended against this relation of love with the Holy Spirit. The very term “grieve” establishes that. Anything that we do which is not holy is grieving to Him. `Grieve not the Spirit, the Holy Spirit of God!' Obviously the things that St Paul has been detailing grieve the Holy Spirit, such as, “. . . adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; . . . those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”(Galatians 5:19-21 NKJV)
But let us remember that we grieve the Holy Spirit in words as well. He is always with us, He hears everything we say. So, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth” (Ephesians 4:29 NKJV) “Nor is it fitting for you to use language which is obscene, profane, or vulgar.” (Ephesians 5:4 TEV) And no more immoral talks, jokes or gossips “Since you are God’s people, it is not right that any matters of sexual immorality or indecency or greed should even be mentioned among you...You may be sure that no one who is immoral, indecent, or greedy (for greed is a form of idolatry) will ever receive a share in the Kingdom of Christ and of God.”(Ephesians 5:3,5 TEV) St Paul warns us not to quarrel thus we are to “Remind our people of this, and give them a solemn warning in God’s presence not to fight with words. It does no good, but only ruins the people who listen...Keep away from profane and foolish discussions, which only drive people further away from God. Such teaching is like an open sore that eats away the flesh.”(2 Timothy 2:14,16-17 TEV)
We can also grieve the Holy Spirit in our thoughts. An unworthy thought, a thought that we harbour such as anger, bitterness, resentment, jealousy, or envy, grieves Him, hurts Him, as much as does the action. Everything is known to Him; He is in us and within us and He is as much grieved by unworthy thoughts as by unworthy words and unworthy actions.
We also grieve the Holy Spirit when we ignore His presence within us. There is nothing worse than our failure to realise His presence within us, our failure to honour Him as we ought, our failure to realise that He is always with us. Is there anything more insulting than that? Can a person insult us more or hurt us more grievously than by just going on as if you were not there? He behaves and conducts himself as if we were not in the room? Is there anything more humiliating? As Christians then, we are never to forget that the Holy Spirit of God is in us and with us. Do we honour Him? To fail to do so is to grieve Him!
And then there is another way in which we grieve the Holy Spirit, in that we fail to respond to His promptings, His direction, His guidance, His leadings and His influences, and all that He does in us and to us and upon us in order to further the work of sanctification within us. It is He who prompts us, who leads us, who creates desires within us. For example, when we suddenly find ourselves desiring to read the Word: then that shows the Spirit is at work! The Holy Spirit will stimulate us perhaps to prayer, or to meditation. He will tell us to leave something, and to do something; it is all the Spirit, it is all a part of His great work of sanctification. If we do not follow His leadings, or if we try to thwart them, or if we try to postpone them, it is to grieve Him. Not to respond, or to postpone, or to say, “Well, I cannot do that now, I am doing something else; or to fail to give ourselves and to be led by Him. These are the ways in which we grieve Him. Similarly, we feel grieve when our children refuse to listen to us or ignore our advise.
St Paul says “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30 NKJV) Thus, God has sealed us with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit himself is the seal. And He seals unto us the gift of salvation. Thus, when we grieve the Holy Spirit, He withdraws His manifestations. This does not mean that He will abandon us. He is there the whole time, He has just withdrawn His gracious manifestations, and He will convict us, He will make us feel we were never saved, that we are lost, that we are damned and reprobate; He will do it in order to bring us back again to where we ought to be. So, if we do not want to know these mighty strivings and convictions of the Spirit within us, do not grieve Him. The Holy Spirit never abandons the child of God; the seal is a seal, and a seal is no seal which can be broken at any moment and then put back again and then broken again. We do not go in and out of salvation; we are not saved today and lost tomorrow and then saved again. That is not biblical teaching. A seal is a seal, it is God's seal, and no man can break it. So that when we say the Holy Spirit withdraws Himself, it does not mean He goes out of us; He still stays there, but the gracious manifestations are withdrawn. And then because He is still in us He will convict us, He will prostrate us, He will make us feel helpless and hopeless. And then, when we feel that we are abandoned by Him, He will again reveal the Lord Jesus Christ to us as our Saviour who died for us and who still loves us, and He will wash away our sin again and He will smile upon us once more, and He will restore unto us the joy of salvation. Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God. He is in us and He will have us, and He will bring us to that glory of perfection; and if we will not be led by Him, we can expect that He will chastise us! “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6 NKJV). Do not grieve Him. If we do, we will bring upon ourselves grievous experiences and agonies of soul that we need never have had.
What are we to do? Simply remember that the Holy Spirit is always in us. Start our day by saying, I am a child of God, and therefore the Holy Spirit of God dwells within me. Wherever I may be, whatever I may have to do, whatever may happen to me, He will be with me; my every thought, word and deed will be in His sight and in His presence. Thank God for the privilege of having the Holy Spirit in us! How careful I should be in not grieving Him or disappointing Him! Remember Him, remember what He is doing in us, think of the glory for which He is preparing for us, and the things that grieve Him would become foreign to us.
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