Concerns about Grieving the Holy Spirit

“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30)

As a teenager, I had a summer job that required training in how to respond to an industrial accident. The trainer’s opening comments were along these lines: 

“I hope you never, ever have to implement this training. Know this: If you do, you could save a life.” 

I never had to use the training, but never doubted its importance. I share this story because Ephesians 4:30 calls for similar training for Christians. I hope you never have to use the below instruction. If you do, God may well use these Scriptures to preserve a brother or sister in Christ. 

Ephesians 4:30 refers to “grieving” the Holy Spirit. The ultimate form of grieving the Spirit is unpacked in Matthew 12:32

“And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”

What should you say if a brother or sister comes to you, fearing they have committed the “unforgivable sin” of speaking against (blaspheming) the Holy Spirit? 

Ask the brother or sister whether they believe in Jesus. If the answer is “yes” or “I think so” or “I want to,” then share 1 Corinthians 12:3: 

“Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says ‘Jesus is accursed!’ and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except in the Holy Spirit.”

The bottom line is that we can deny Christ and walk away from the faith. Such sin is unforgiven as long as we continue in unbelief. However, God saves. God can again create faith within us. If we believe, it’s because of God the Holy Spirit’s work. We are no longer “speaking against” the Holy Spirit.

Until next week, the Lord bless and guide. 

(This devotion was written for the congregations of the Ohio District – LCMS.)

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