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Do not grieve the Holy Spirit

Causing the Holy Spirit to grieve will have serious consequences, but most of the time, to avoid offending the congregation, no one is willing to talk about this aspect of the information. In Ephesians (4:30), Paul says, “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby you are sealed to the day of redemption. ” The entire chapter 5 is about how to avoid grieving the Holy Spirit. The definition of grieving the Holy Spirit is found in Isaiah (63:8-10), For He said, “Surely they are My people, Children who will not lie.” So He became their Savior.  In all their affliction He was afflicted, And the Angel of His Presence saved them; In His love and in His pity He redeemed them; And He bore them and carried them All the days of old.  But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; So He turned Himself against them as an enemy, And He fought against them.  Here we can see God’s great love, “he became their Savior,” and “in his love and pity he redeemed them,” but as a result, “they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit.” The main reason for causing the Holy Spirit to grieve is rebellion, and rebellion is not just any sin, it means knowingly and deliberately sinning. Due to a lack of understanding of “sin” and “evil,” as well as the distinction between “sinners” and “evildoers,” there may be quite a few people who walk in rebellion without realizing the serious consequences it may bring. Verse 10 says, ” But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; So He turned Himself against them as an enemy, And He fought against them.” Ephesians 5:6-7 warns us, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.” Sadly, almost no one wants to know how to avoid grieving the Holy Spirit.

Unintentional sin

Special attention should be paid to the distinction between unintentional sins and willful violations of the laws of the Lord, as stated in Numbers (15:24-27 NKJV): then it will be, if it is unintentionally committed, without the knowledge of the congregation, that the whole congregation shall offer one young bull as a burnt offering, as a sweet aroma to the LORD, with its grain offering and its drink offering, according to the ordinance, and one kid of the goats as a sin offering. ‘So the priest shall make atonement for the whole congregation of the children of Israel, and it shall be forgiven them, for it was unintentional; they shall bring their offering, an offering made by fire to the LORD, and their sin offering before the LORD, for their unintended sin. ‘ It shall be forgiven the whole congregation of the children of Israel and the stranger who dwells among them, because all the people did it unintentionally. ‘ And if a person sins unintentionally, then he shall bring a female goat in its first year as a sin offering. Here, the definition of sin is explained in great detail. It refers to unintentionally violating or unknowingly going against God’s regulations. This type of sin is considered unintentional on the part of the people. The word “sin” in this context comes from the Hebrew word חָטָא (2398), which appears 238 times in the Old Testament. It means to make a mistake or fall short of the intended goal. It is translated as “sin.”

Blaspheming the LORD

Verses 27-31 explain the difference between intentional and unintentional sins (NASB77)  ‘Also if one person sins unintentionally, then he shall offer a one year old female goat for a sin offering. ‘And the priest shall make atonement before the LORD for the person who goes astray when he sins unintentionally, making atonement for him that he may be forgiven. ‘You shall have one law for him who does anything unintentionally, for him who is native among the sons of Israel and for the alien who sojourns among them. ‘But the person who does anything defiantly, whether he is native or an alien, that one is blaspheming the LORD; and that person shall be cut off from among his people. ‘Because he has despised the word of the LORD and has broken His commandment, that person shall be completely cut off; his guilt shall be on him.’”  Acting defiantly means boldly acting as if God’s laws do not exist, intentionally committing wrong doing. This behavior is  “despised the Word of the Lord”, it is  “iniquity” by KJV,  “guilt” by NKJV. it is not a sin, the Hebrew word (5771)  appears 230 times in the Hebrew text, translated as “iniquity” (guilt) 220 times. It is important to note the distinction in terminology here, with unintentional mistake referred to as “sin”  and presumptuous wrongdoing referred to as “iniquity” (guilt). Verses 32-36 provide specific examples and consequences of acting defiantly.    Now while the sons of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering wood on the sabbath day.  Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation;  and they put him in custody because it had not been declared what should be done to him.  Then the LORD said to Moses, “The man shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp.”  So all the congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him to death with stones, just as the LORD had commanded Moses. (NASB)  

After reading this passage, I have pondered for a long time. It raises some questions: Do we truly know God?  The sin of unintentional mistake will be forgiven, but will the guilt of those who act defiantly, blaspheming the Lord and disregarding His words, be forgiven as well?  Why so many preach only a selected portion of the bible and avoid others?  Did we somehow believed only some of the word of God and rejected other scriptures, therefore, sinned presumptuously?

Deuteronomy  warns us do not sin presumptuously, there is no chance of being forgiven from intentional sin.  (29:18-20 AKJV):  Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turns away this day from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that bears gall and wormwood; And it come to pass, when he hears the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of my heart, to add drunkenness to thirst: The LORD will not spare him, but then the anger of the LORD and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie on him, and the LORD shall blot out his name from under heaven.    God will not forgive the sin of those who insist on following their own heart. Similarly, Jeremiah (7:23-24)   “But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’ “Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but followed the counsels and the dictates of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward.  But so many are ignorant, choosing to follow their own heart, not the voice of God.

In Isaiah (63:10), it says, “But they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit.” Rebellion means to defy, or revolt, completely different from making mistakes or committing sins. The consequence of offending the Holy Spirit is described in Acts 5:1-5; there was a man named Ananias who sold a piece of property with his wife Sapphira, and they secretly kept back some of the proceeds for themselves. His wife also knew about it and brought a portion of the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet. Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.” When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. It seems like no one learned a lesson from this. For example, in memorial services, the church leader almost always says that every deceased person has gone to be with the Lord. But is this really true? Have anyone prayed and asked the Lord? Is this different from what Ananias did? Does it deceive man or the Holy Spirit? In Luke 12:5, Jesus said, “But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!” Does anyone fear the Lord? Have we ever feared Him?

Disobedience means unbelief

Hebrews 5:7-9 tells us a simple fact: salvation comes to those who obey Him. When Christ was in the flesh, He cried out with loud cries and tears, praying to the One who could save Him from death. Because of His devotion, He was heard and answered. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience through what He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him. In Matthew 8, the story of the centurion explains that having faith (in the context of a superior) means complete obedience. Disobedience is a result of disbelief. Hebrews 3:16-19 clearly explains the relationship between rebellion, disobedience, and unbelief. Who provoked God’s anger when they heard His words? Was it not those who came out of Egypt with Moses? For forty years, God was displeased with whom? Was it not with those who sinned and whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest? Was it not to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were unable to enter because of their unbelief. From this passage, it is clear that those who “disobey” are the ones who provoke God’s anger. It is not difficult to see that “disobedient” and “unbelief” are the same, as those who believe will naturally obey, while those who do not believe will not obey.

Two kinds of Faith

There are two kinds of faith,the first is to believe the authority of God, like the centurion from Capernaum, the scripture explained quite clearly  (Mat 8:8-12): But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Instead, just say the word and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I say to this one, ‘Go’ and he goes, and to another ‘Come’ and he comes, and to my slave ‘Do this’ and he does it.”  When Jesus heard this he was amazed and said to those who followed him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found such faith in anyone in Israel!  I tell you, many will come from the east and west to share the banquet with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, but the sons of the kingdom will be thrown out into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” It’s not hard to see that true faith means absolute obedience. Jesus warned us the sons of the kingdom will be thrown out because of their lack of obedience. Another “faith” only believe God exist, but do not obey. like demons’ believe. As the scripture says in James (2:19-24): You believe that God is one; well and good. Even the demons believe that – and tremble with fear.  But would you like evidence, you empty fellow, that faith without works is useless?  Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? You see that his faith was working together with his works and his faith was perfected by works. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Now Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.  Obviously demons’ way of believe is useless, we should never follow their example.

Intentional sin is a blasphemy against the Holy Spirit

Rebellion and willful sin have serious consequences. Hebrews 10:26-29 states that: For if we deliberately keep on sinning after receiving the knowledge of the truth, no further sacrifice for sins is left for us, but only a certain fearful expectation of judgment and a fury of fire that will consume God’s enemies. Someone who rejected the law of Moses was put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much greater punishment do you think that person deserves who has contempt for the Son of God, and profanes the blood of the covenant that made him holy, and insults the Spirit of grace?   In chapter 12,  it continues to explain that those who struggle against sin are not deliberately sinning, but rather accepting the discipline of the Lord. If they do not accept discipline, they are illegitimate children and not true sons and daughters. ( Heb 12:4,8): You have not yet resisted to the point of bloodshed in your struggle against sin.  And have you forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons? “My son, do not scorn the Lord’s discipline or give up when he corrects you. “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves and chastises every son he accepts.” Endure your suffering as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline? But if you do not experience discipline, something all sons have shared in, then you are illegitimate and are not sons. When a person accepts the discipline of the Lord, they will then struggle against sin. Many times, due to weakness, they may fall into sin without reaching their goal. It usually takes a long process of continuous repentance and fighting against sin for the new life in the spirit to grow. This situation is described in Galatians 6:1, which says, “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.

On the other hand, there are some who refuse to accept discipline and do not struggle against sin, which is a completely different matter. Philippians 3:17-19 describes two different types of people. “Brothers and sisters, join in following my example and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.” Verse 17 talks about the first type of people who follow Paul, that is, they follow Christ. The second half of the verse, “observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us,” indicates that only a part of the church follows Paul’s example of following Christ. The rest do not. Verses 18 and 19 then summarize these people, saying, “For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.” Two points caught my attention: first, it says “many people” and not just a few. Second, Paul here foretells their future destiny. Although he does not directly say whether they have reached the point of no chance for repentance and forgiveness, they may be moving in that direction. Third, their problem is “their mind is set on earthly things,” clearly they refused to heed Psalm 1:2, which says, “but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.” The “you” and “they” that Paul mentions are different. “You” refers to those who obey Paul’s teachings, as mentioned in Philippians 2:12, “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” Paul knows they have weaknesses, so he instructs those who obey to fight against sin with fear and trembling, in order to overcome their weaknesses and work out their salvation. As for “they,” it refers to those who do not obey. They may have grieved the Holy Spirit. Nowadays, many children of God lack knowledge because they do not spend enough time reading the Bible. With so many false teachers and false brothers being everywhere, it is inevitable that many will be deceived and deviate from the narrow path.

Jesus said (Mat 7:21-23), “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!‘ The ones who do the will of the Father are those who follow Paul’s example as mentioned in Philippians 3:17. When Jesus speaks of evildoers, he does not refer to those who are commonly seen as doing bad things. James 4:13-16 says, “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.” This passage illustrates that in life, there are two choices: to do what the Lord wants us to do and live for Him, or to do what we want and live for ourselves, which is considered evil. Is there a third middle ground where we neither imitate Christ nor do evil? Such a path may not exist, as Jesus has said, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Today, countless people, due to their ignorance  of the scripture and true prayer to God, have been deceived by various man-made doctrines, mistaking their own desires for God’s will and falling into deception. May they wake up soon. The words of the Lord and the Scriptures are real sword in spiritual war, even if we are knocked down by the enemy, we must pick up the sword and stand up again to continue fighting against the devil for our Lord’s Kingdom, for Truth and those who are held captive by the enemy. The path of the cross is indeed difficult, but we are grateful for the sword that God has given us. Let us continue to use it again.

O Lord, rebuke me not in Your wrath, And chasten me not in Your burning anger.
For Your arrows have sunk deep into me, And Your hand has pressed down on me.
There is no soundness in my flesh because of Your indignation; There is no health in my bones because of my sin.
For my iniquities are gone over my head; As a heavy burden they weigh too much for me.
My wounds grow foul and fester Because of my folly.
I am bent over and greatly bowed down; I go mourning all day long.
For my loins are filled with burning, And there is no soundness in my flesh.
I am benumbed and badly crushed; I groan because of the agitation of my heart.
Lord, all my desire is before You; And my sighing is not hidden from You.
My heart throbs, my strength fails me; And the light of my eyes, even that has gone from me.
My loved ones and my friends stand aloof from my plague; And my kinsmen stand afar off.
Those who seek my life lay snares for me; And those who seek to injure me have threatened destruction, And they devise treachery all day long.
But I, like a deaf man, do not hear; And I am like a mute man who does not open his mouth.
Yes, I am like a man who does not hear, And in whose mouth are no arguments.
For I hope in You, O Lord; You will answer, O Lord my God.
For I said, “May they not rejoice over me, Who, when my foot slips, would magnify themselves against me.” For I am ready to fall, And my sorrow is continually before me.
For I confess my iniquity; I am full of anxiety because of my sin.
But my enemies are vigorous and strong, And many are those who hate me wrongfully.
And those who repay evil for good, They oppose me, because I follow what is good.
Do not forsake me, O Lord; O my God, do not be far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!

O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar.
You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O Lord, You know it all.
You have enclosed me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it.
Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night,”
Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You.
For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with You.
O that You would slay the wicked, O God; Depart from me, therefore, men of bloodshed.
For they speak against You wickedly, And Your enemies take Your name in vain.
Do I not hate those who hate You, O Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?
I hate them with the utmost hatred; They have become my enemies.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.