TOPIC: HOLY SPIRIT
QUESTION: WHAT IS "GRIEVING THE HOLY SPIRIT"?
STUDY REFERENCE: Ephesians 4:30, Isaiah 63:10, John 14:26
In Ephesians 4:30, Paul commanded the Ephesian Christians not to "grieve the Holy Spirit of God." To grieve would mean to make the Spirit sad or do something opposite of what God's Spirit desires. The context of the passage deals with the issue of anger, sharing, "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear" (Ephesians 4:29). We are to build one another up as believers, not tear one another down. Tearing one another down grieves the Holy Spirit as it is inconsistent with God's purposes for our lives.
In addition to sinning as the result of anger, Ephesians 4 offers other ways believers can grieve the Spirit. These include living like unbelievers (vv. 17-19), lying (v. 25), stealing (v. 28), using bad language (v. 29), bitterness (v. 31), unforgiveness (v. 32), and sexual immorality (Ephesians 5:3-5).
In contrast, believers are to speak the truth (Ephesians 4:25), not sin when angry (v. 26), work hard (v. 28), encourage (v. 29), and be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving of one another (v. 32). The contrast of grieving the Spirit includes, "Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God" (Ephesians 5:1-2).
There are similarities between quenching and grieving the Spirit. Both take place as the result of a believer who sins. Both take place as the result of a self-focused lifestyle that places self above God and others. Both include practicing the former ways a person lived before knowing Christ.
God's desire for the believer in Christ is to be transformed after they've come to know Christ. Doing so builds a relationship with God and will not quench or grieve the Spirit of God who lives within the believer.