As a believer, you can grieve the Holy Spirit by rebelling against (or quenching) His work in your heart as He encourages and guides you to be more like Jesus. As a non-believer, you can blaspheme the Holy Spirit by continually rejecting His call to repent and accept Christ’s death and resurrection as the only way to be reconciled to God—this is unforgivable.
What does it mean to grieve the Holy Spirit? And can blaspheming the Holy Spirit really be unforgivable? What does it all mean, how does it work, and how can you grow as a Christian through the work of the Holy Spirit? Let’s take a look at what the Bible says.
Who Is the Holy Spirit?
The Holy Spirit is God, just as Jesus the Son is God, and God the Father is God. He is a distinct person of the triune God. The Holy Spirit is promised, as a gift, to any person who receives salvation—accepts and believes that Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection is the only way to be reconciled to God and receive eternal life (Acts 2:38).
What joy knowing that God the Holy Spirit is living inside us as we fulfill the good works the LORD prepared for us to do while we wait for eternity in glory (Eph 2:10)!
Ephesians 1:13-14 (ESV) In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
The Work of the Holy Spirit
By the goodness of God, He has given believers the Holy Spirit. While the Holy Spirit is fully God, He has a unique role which Jesus described perfectly before he ascended into Heaven to sit at the right hand of God the Father.
John 14:26 (ESV) But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
Romans 8:26 (ESV) Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
The Holy Spirit helps us to grow in holiness, Christ-likeness, or obedience to God (1 Pet 1:2). This is called sanctification. He does this in a few ways.
- Our Helper which includes being our comforter, counselor, and intercessor (He speaks to God the Father on our behalf)
- Our Teacher who helps us to understand the truth of God’s Word—which exposes our sin and our need for repentance and grace, which keeps us reliant and worshipful.
The Fruit of the Holy Spirit
But how do you know if the Holy Spirit is at work in your life? How do you know if you’re growing to be more like Jesus? The Bible says there’ll be fruit (positive changes) in your life, fruit that is a direct result of the work of the Holy Spirit in your heart—fruit that shows others you’re saved and belong to God.
Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Grieving the Holy Spirit
In the same way a fire can be quenched with water, the Holy Spirit can be quenched by believers (1 Thess 5:19). If we quench (suppress, turn away from, reject) the Holy Spirit, He is grieved or deeply sorrowful. This reminds us just how much He loves us and longs for us to grow in holiness.
How do we quench the Holy Spirit?
- We quench Him when we reject the truth of The Bible, twist it to suit ourselves or place other ideas or philosophies over God’s Word.
- We quench Him when we reject His help and correction as He reveals our sin and guides us in righteousness. To knowingly continue in a pattern of sin (rebellion against God’s Word) grieves the Holy Spirit.
Isaiah 63:9-10 (ESV) 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; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old. But they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit; therefore he turned to be their enemy, and himself fought against them.
From this passage, we understand that grieving the Holy Spirit has consequences. Remember, the LORD disciplines the ones He loves (Heb 12:6). Believer, embrace the Holy Spirit, repent, and respond with joy to His work in your heart—and you will grow to hate your sin and love Jesus more!
Blaspheming the Holy Spirit
If you’ve ever heard of the unforgivable sin and wondered about it, hopefully, this will help you to understand it.
To blaspheme the Holy Spirit is to harden your heart and continually reject His call to repent, and accept Jesus’ precious gift of salvation through His death on the cross as the only way to enter God’s presence. A believer cannot blaspheme or reject the Holy Spirit—grieve Him? Yes. Blaspheme Him? No.
Matthew 12:31-32 (ESV) Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 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.
To reject Christ (or blaspheme against the Holy Spirit) leaves you in a state of sin and unforgiveness and under the judgment of God. It leads to death (Rom 6:23).
Embracing the Holy Spirit
Beloved, rejoice in the precious gift of the Holy Spirit—your comforter and helper, your teacher and guide. Embrace His work in your life and you will bear fruit, bring glory to His name, and point others to the One True God.
Matthew 5:16 (ESV) In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.