Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Grieving the Spirit

'The mark of Jesus is love, costly love, and it does not come naturally or easily.'
- Timothy George and John Woodbridge, The Mark of Jesus, p. 92

"Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets."
-Matthew 22:36-40

'We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers.'-1 John 3:14

'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. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.'
- Ephesians 4:29-32

Dear Christ Our Redeemer Family and Friends,

It seems easy to forget the personhood of the Holy Spirit. It is much easier to remember personhood of the other members of the Trinity, but there seems to be a mysteriousness to the Holy Spirit that doesn't as easily lend itself to the definition of personality. That is why I think it is very important to pay attention when we read the biblical references to Trinitarian personality, especially the Holy Spirit. The things that grieve the Spirit are the things that grieve God and vice versa. Lately I've been thinking about those things that grieve the Holy Spirit. How can the immutable God be grieved? In itself this is mysterious. Paul's words to the Ephesians are instructive, but why is this statement in the middle of an excursus about how we treat one another? Astoundingly, according to Paul's comments, grieving the Spirit often happens in our interactions with and about others. He lists them...corrupting talk, unedifying conversation, bitterness, wrath, anger, strife, slander, and malice, and even as I type this I'm convicted. The way we talk with and about others matters. It not only reveals our own heart, it grieves the Holy Spirit. He is the One who has sealed us in Christ for redemption. When we grieve Him by our actions and conversations we are not affirming our redemption, instead, we are living like the unredeemed, like those outside of Christ. The evidences of the Spirit's work and pleasure are conversely demonstrated in kindness, being tenderhearted, and showing forgiveness, because this has been God's redeeming grace demonstrated to us. We most resemble our redeemed nature when these characterize our lives, and we grieve the Spirit when they don't. May God give us much grace to live for His glory and pleasure in our relationships with others, and may grieving the Spirit be kept far from us.

Pastor Dan

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