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Ephesians 4:30

Pleasing God

30 And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

As Paul lists the specific things that we should refrain from doing in putting on the new man, i.e. stop lying, refrain from unjustified anger, stop stealing, and control our communications, he now inserts a more generalized statement. "And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God..." This statement includes all of the above and all that is to follow.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones points out that every system of morality will tell us to do basically the same things, although there seem to be some religions such as Islam that will justify lying, hatred, theft and even the taking of innocent lives when it suits their purposes. But in the civilized world, these things are not acceptable. Lloyd-Jones points out that anyone can be on good behavior. I myself have family members who are atheists and are kinder, gentler and more loving than many people who call themselves Christian.

However, Christianity is not based on a set of moral laws, although we do have a set written in God's word. Christianity is based instead on our relationship with God. The laws only show us what displeases God and teach us that we have failed in every effort to please Him. The laws show us that our relationship with Him is broken and that we need someone to fix it for us. Jesus is our Mediator in this relationship. No man comes to the Father but by Him.

The Holy Spirit's role in our salvation is to sanctify us, to set us aside for God's service. As redeemed persons, we are expected to glorify God in all things. Initially, we cannot even understand the things of God. The Holy Spirit gives us understanding and allows us to make an informed choice whether to receive Christ as our Savior or to reject Him. The Holy Spirit then lives in all of those who have received Christ and seals each one of us. (See my lesson on 1:13 part three.)

The Spirit's job is to guide, teach, strengthen and comfort the body of Christ. The work of the Christian is to have faith in the Son of God and the One who sent Him. Without faith it is impossible to please God and to have a restored relationship with Him. So then, anything that we do that displeases God, anything that is without faith or anything that does not bring glory to Him, grieves the Holy Spirit.

Perhaps the word "grieve" is used as an anthropopathy. (This is a great new word for you to learn, meaning "the application of human passions to the Supreme Being.") God, of course, does not suffer pain or sorrows the way man does. The word simply means that we are doing things contrary to the Spirit's guidance. It implies that we are not responding to Him out of love and that we are doing things that do not glorify God.

The things that do not glorify or please God are called sins. In the Old Testament we are given a set of laws defining how we should live to please God. Old Testament Israel lived according to a very legalistic and unmerciful system set up under those laws. The New Testament Church, however, cannot suffer condemnation and therefore does not live by the law. The church now exists to serve God and to glorify His name. We keep His laws out of love for Him and not because we fear the consequences of disobedience. Therefore, we not only keep His laws by outward appearances, but we also have hidden them in our hearts so that we might not sin against Him. Every thought and every imagination must be brought into obedience to Him. That is our passion.

The admonition to grieve not the Holy Spirit should not ever have to be spoken to a Christian. It is something that we should be passionate about from the very day that we are reborn as a child of God. Nevertheless, the old man is still lurking deep within, waiting for the opportunity to resurface, and we must at times be reminded of whom it is that we serve. The devil wants to devour us and will take every opportunity he sees.

Before The Throne:

Take the time to examine your own heart. It is a difficult thing to do, but that is where sin begins. Ask the Spirit of God to help you find the things that would grieve Him. Ask Him to cleanse you of all wickedness and to help you live a righteous and holy life that pleases God, beginning with every thought and imagination. Pray that He will help you to hide God's word in your heart to displace the sin that was there before.

For Further Study:

** grieve: Gen 6:3, 6; Jdg 10:16; Psa 78:40; 95:10; Isa 7:13; 43:24; 63:10; Eze 16:43; Mar 3:5; Act 7:51; 1Th 5:19; Heb 3:10, 17; ** whereby: Eph 1:13; ** the day: Eph 1:14; Hos 13:14; Luk 21:28; Rom 8:11, 8:23; 1Co 1:30; 15:54;


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