I am currently reading a study series by Charles Stanley, “Relying on the Holy Spirit.” I was to do a summer Bible study at my church with this study, but I found that I liked reading it on my own. Not something I usually am apt to do. I love women’s studies and hearing what other women are learning through their study of God’s word. But, for some reason, I wanted to savor this on my own.
The Holy Spirit has never been a mystery to me as He is to some believers. I know that He guides and directs me and is that “still small voice” that lets me know when I need to stop doing something or start doing something. When I pray, I pray “in the name of Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit.” But, this little study has taught me many things and helped me to appreciate the Holy Spirit as God.
One chapter really made me think and gave me some new perspective. It is titled “Avoiding Sin Against the Holy Spirit.” Now one thing Dr. Stanley says in the very first paragraph is that when we sin, we sin against God—not just the Father or the Son or the Holy Spirit, but against the Triune God.
However, the New Testament does lay out three ways in which our actions are specifically against the Holy Spirit. Those are: (1) quenching the Holy Spirit, (2) grieving the Holy Spirit, and (3) blaspheming against the Holy Spirit. As Dr. Stanley says “When we do these things, we short-circuit His power in our lives.”
Quenching is like throwing water on a fire. It puts the fire out. We don’t want to put out the fire of God in our hearts, according to Dr. Stanley. “We cannot banish the Holy Spirit from our lives once we have confessed Christ. But we can impede the effectiveness of the Holy Spirit working in our lives.” We can give the Holy Spirit a cold shoulder. “He will not move beyond our will or beyond our invitation to work in us. His work in our lives is only as powerful and effective as we allow it to be. God’s desire for us is that we be strong in the Holy Spirit—that we accept His full work in our lives and that we act boldly in the fullness of His power.”
How do we quench the Holy Spirit? Dr. Stanley says it is by saying no to something God directs us to do, ignoring His presence, and sinning repeatedly.
So what can we do not to quench the Holy Spirit?
“When you sin, be quick to respond to His convicting nudges in your life. Confess your sin immediately, and repent of it, turning back to the way that you know God wants you to walk. When the Holy Spirit prompts you to move in a certain direction say yes. Don’t hesitate. Respond quickly to say what He compels you to say or do what He leads you to do. Choose to stay strong in the Lord.”
Grieving the Holy Spirit is when we disobey God’s commandments and when we choose to act in unrighteous ways. “The Holy Spirit is grieved because He loves us and He deeply desires to reward us, bless us, and see good fruit produced in us. He knows that sin destroys us and causes negative consequences in our lives.”
How do we avoid grieving the Holy Spirit?
“We can choose to keep God’s commandments and to lead a disciplined life. When we sin, we must confess the sin immediately and repent of it, changing our minds and our behavior to conform to God’s statutes.”
Blaspheming against the Holy Spirit is mentioned in Matthew 12:31-32 as the unpardonable sin. I have always wondered why it was unpardonable and what would happen if I did it. Dr. Stanley sure helped me to understand and not to worry about it. He says that the unpardonable sin mentioned in these verses was “directed solely to the Pharisees who were cutting themselves off from the possibility of acknowledging Jesus as their Savior.” At no other time in the New Testament is there a mention of the unpardonable sin. “To the contrary, numerous passages of Scripture announce that God’s forgiveness is freely given and readily available for the asking.”
“We should not concern ourselves with the question of whether it is unpardonable to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit. We should focus on the more important issue: When we refuse to receive the forgiveness that God freely offers, we put ourselves into an unpardonable state. We can die in an unpardonable state, but it won’t be because we have committed an unpardonable sin.”
“No sin is unforgivable on this side of death”
“In like manner, when we willfully turn away from God and pursue the lusts of the flesh, we tie the hands of the Holy Spirit in our lives. He will not force us to experience God’s will for us. He will convict us of our sin, speak to us of Jesus and chastise us for our rebellion, but He will not override our choices.”
“Because you are a Christian, your rebellion will not put you into an unpardonable state, but it will put you into a miserable state! You cannot be happy or know the fullness of God’s joy, peace, and blessings if you are in sin and refuse God’s forgiveness. You will be cut off from the fullness of your potential and the maximum blessing that God has for you in achieving your destiny in Him. And you will remain in that miserable state until you confess your sins to God and receive His forgiveness.”
I hope this has helped you to understand the Holy Spirit a little better and will cause you to live your life in such a way as not to quench, grieve, or blaspheme the Holy Spirit. I know it has for me!
Those are my thoughts for today.