Thursday, 29 September 2016
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:30
A list of negative things which we are exhorted to avoid has been given since verse 25. Along with them have been given contrasts which we should engage in. This verse is now introduced to show the effect of participating in such negative actions. And further, the negatives will continue for the next few verses. They will likewise contain positives to contrast them. In avoiding the negatives, and in acting out the positives, we will “not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.”
In these words, a much fuller description of the Holy Spirit is given than is normally introduced. It more literally reads, “The Spirit, the Holy [of] the God.” It is an expression of the Personhood of the Spirit within the Godhead. This expression is further bolstered by the term “grieve.” It is a clear indication that the Spirit is not an “active force” as is claimed by the heretical Jehovah’s Witnesses. Rather, it indicates Personhood. An “active force” cannot be grieved.
Understanding this, it is still to be noted that the Spirit of God cannot actually be grieved by our actions. Instead, the words are used to show the type of grieving that a friend would endure if they were negatively violated by our actions; the kind of behavior which would cause such grief. Paul is saying that we are not to act in a manner which would cause a close and beloved friend to be grieved by what we do.
Immediately following up these words, Paul next says of “the Spirit, the Holy [of] the God,” that it is He “by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” The Spirit is the Seal of our guarantee of redemption. This is more fully explained in Ephesians 1:13, 14 –
“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”
These words of Paul once again show us that salvation is an eternal decree of God. As noted in Ephesians 1, if God seals us with His Holy Spirit as a guarantee, and if we can lose that, then –
- It was not a very good guarantee.
- It is of our effort and not of God that we are saved.
- God made a mistake in sealing us with His “guarantee.”
As none of these are possible, then our salvation, at the moment we believe and are sealed with the Spirit, is a done deal. Though attacked often as a false doctrine, the terms “eternal salvation,” and “once saved always saved” are biblically supportable and correct. The teaching of the possibility that one can “lose” their salvation is discrediting of the work of Christ, exalting of one’s own efforts in the place of what God has done, and it calls into question the very integrity of the work of all three members of the Godhead. It is unclear thinking, contrary to the words of Scripture, and is to be ignored and refuted by those who trust that God is fully capable of saving us, and keep on saving us, despite ourselves.
Life application: If you are saved, you are saved.
Lord God, it is so very marvelous to know that our salvation through belief in the work of Christ is guaranteed, and that it is not up to us to “keep on being saved.” Christ did the work, the Father agreed to the faith exercised in the work, and the Spirit has sealed us for the day of redemption. Are we more capable of saving ourselves than You? Rather, You are fully able to save and to keep on saving Your wayward children. Help us to commit our souls to You knowing that You are able to keep what we have committed to You until that Day. Amen.