How to avoid saddening the Holy Spirit who seals us (2023)

Scripture: Ephesians 4:30

"And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in which you are sealed for the day of redemption"


The Holy Spirit plays a key role in the life of every believer. At the moment of our conversion we are simultaneously born of the Spirit (John 3:5), baptized by the Spirit into one body, the church (1 Corinthians 13:12), watered with one Spirit (1 Corinthians 13:12), sealed with the Spirit (Ephesians 1:13; 4:30), indwelt by the Spirit (Romans 8:9), and originally sanctified by the Spirit (2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2).

After being born again, we are commanded to walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:25), demonstrate our sonship by being led by the Spirit (Rom 8:14), be filled with the Spirit and maintain that fullness (Ephesians 5:18).1

The focus of this message is twofold:

  1. the importance of the seal of the Holy Spirit and
  2. how to avoid grieving the Holy Spirit who seals us to the day of salvation.

As we seek to understand the meaning of the “seal” of the Holy Spirit, let us first examine the placing of the Spirit's seal on the believer's life.

I. The Setting of the Seal (Ephesians 1:13)

According to Paul in Ephesians 1:13, it is hearing the faith that brings salvation and the sealing with the Spirit. The Ephesian believers first heard the gospel. So they believed or put their trust in the gospel. As a result, they were sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise. Hearing, believing and sealing are the steps that Paul lists for every Christian.

The Holy Spirit himself is the seal.

The dative "with the Spirit" (to pneumati) indicates that the Holy Spirit is the means or instrument by which a believer is sealed (Ephesians 1:13). In Ephesians 4:30, Paul speaks of the Holy Spirit as "in whom" (en ho) they were sealed. Therefore, it would be a mistake to see the sealing as something other than the Spirit's own presence in our lives.

II. The person who performs the sealing (2 Corinthians 1:21,22)

The seal of the Spirit is affixed by God the Father (2 Corinthians 1:21, 22). Each of the four Greek participles in 2 Corinthians 1:21, 22 has God (in the emphasized position) as its subject. God “founds” us, “anoints” us, “seals” us, and “gives” us the Spirit as a pledge or pledge in our hearts, thus securing what is to come.

The first “founded” participle is in the present tense and “refers to God's continual strengthening of believers in their faith in Christ and His progressive enrichment of their knowledge of Christ.

The other three participles are in the aorist and indicate what happened at the time of conversion and baptism... God 'put His seal of ownership [sphragisamenos] upon us' by 'putting His Spirit in our hearts as a pledge [dous] to secure what's to come'".2

III. The purpose of the seal (Ephesians 1:14)

A seal has been used in Scripture for a variety of purposes, both literal and metaphorical. Two examples of the literal use of a seal are: A. A seal served as a mark of authority

A. A seal served as a mark of authority

When Jezebel "wrote letters in Ahab's name and sealed them with her seal" (1 Kings 21:8), the seal served as a mark of authenticity and royal authority. King Ahasuerus's written orders were "sealed with the king's ring, for the scripture that is written in the king's name and sealed with the king's ring must not be undone" (Esther 8:8–10; 3:12).

Associated with this is the formal ratification of a transaction or agreement. Jeremiah sealed up the deeds of the field which he bought from Hanamel (Jeremiah 32:10-14; compare 32:44). Nehemiah and many others set their seals on the written covenant between God and his people (Nehemiah 9:38; 10:1ff).

B. A seal served as a mark of identity or ownership

In ancient times, a seal was used as an official mark of identity or ownership. Archaeologists have found many examples of clay stoppers from wine jars on which the impressions of the seal's ownership were impressed by rolling a cylinder with the seal over the surface of still soft clay (compare Job 38:14). A seal is also used metaphorically in Scripture. For example,

C. A seal served as a means of ratification

The believer in Christ must "set his seal upon the truth that God is true" (John 3:33). In other words, the believer testifies to the truthfulness of God and metaphorically puts his personal stamp of approval and affirmation on that truth. The father saddled the son.

This means that he confirmed Jesus as the giver of life-giving bread (John 6:27). Abraham's circumcision was a "sign" and "seal," an outward confirmation of the righteousness of faith he had already received while uncircumcised (Romans 4:11).

D. A seal served as a promise of things to come

According to Ephesians 1:14, the seal of the Spirit is “the earnest of our inheritance until we redeem the goods we have purchased.” The term "commitment" means a "deposit" or "deposit" which secures our inheritance until the final redemption of those who are God's property. "Paul says that God's gift of the Holy Spirit to us here and now is an injunction, a guarantee, a foretaste of the life the Christian will someday live if he lives in the presence of God."3

Some people want to take the "sealing" metaphor too far. Usually, some want to read unconditional eternal security into it. In other words: "Once sealed, always sealed". The phrase "sealed until the day of redemption" in Ephesians 4:30 means that once a person is sealed with the Holy Spirit, he is safe until the day of final redemption.

I wish that were true. The problem with such an interpretation is that the interpreter forgets that the "seal" is not a "thing" but that the seal is the third person of the Trinity. A believer is "sealed" as long as the Holy Spirit remains in his life as the agent of regeneration. However, the Holy Spirit will not dwell in the heart of the person who willfully sins.

When a believer chooses to reject the faith and return to a life of sin, the Holy Spirit does not indwell his life and seal it "until the day of redemption". The Holy Spirit will not dwell in an unholy heart that refuses to walk in the light of God's Word. Let me explain further as we consider our next and final point.

IV. The pain we can inflict on the seal (Ephesians 4:30)

Paul warned, "Do not grieve the Holy Spirit, in whom you are sealed for the day of redemption" (Ephesians 4:30).

A. The meaning of the word "cry"

The word "fight" is a strong term. It expresses how the disciples felt when Jesus told them of his approaching death (Mt 17:23).

  • That's how the rich young man felt when he learned that to have eternal life he should sell everything he had and give to the poor (Matthew 19:22).
  • This is how the disciples felt in the Upper Room when Jesus told them that one of them would betray him (Mt 26:37).
  • That's how Jesus felt in the Garden of Gethsemane when he began to "be sad" (Matthew 26:37).
  • That's how Peter felt when Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" (John 21:17).

To "mourn" someone means to cause them great emotional pain and heartbreak. When Paul warns the believer not to grieve the Holy Spirit, he is informing us that we can cause the Holy Spirit great pain and suffering. What a terrible thought! This is not a trifle or trifle. It should sober the heart and mind of every true Christian.

B. The Ways We Grieve the Holy Spirit

What makes the Holy Spirit sad? The immediate context for the warning is Ephesians 4:29: "No harmful word shall come out of your mouth, but that which is good for edification, that it may give grace to those who hear." the warning: "And do not grieve the holy spirit of God, with which you are sealed for the day of redemption" (Ephesians 4:30).

The coordinating conjunction "and" tells us that Paul specifically warns of the danger of grieving the Holy Spirit through "corrupt communication," which refers to any words we speak that are not appropriate ("good") that are not free. to the hearer, and it does not edify. I developed the acronym "AGE" to help me remember the three elements ("A" - appropriate; "G" - graceful; "E" - uplifting).

Since Ephesians 5:18-21 also emphasizes the effect that the fullness of the Holy Spirit will have on the believer's spoken and sung words, we must guard our lips lest we grieve the Holy Spirit. Any kind of careless speech, whether it be murmuring or complaining instead of "thanking God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Eph. 5:20), or words that are not kind and tender (Eph. 4:32) ), grieves the Holy Spirit.

Harsh or unkind words and angry words that don't meet the biblical criteria of old age clearly cause the Holy Spirit to grieve. Have you ever been judged for grieving the Holy Spirit after criticizing another person behind their back or after speaking words that hurt another person?

If so, I trust that when He convicted your heart, you quickly repented and asked the Holy Spirit for forgiveness.

C. The spiritual danger we face when we grieve the spirit

As we mourn the Holy Spirit, we risk losing the intimacy of our relationship (Phil. 2:1) and the energizing work of His anointing ministry in our Christian lives. If we keep a sensitive conscience always ready to obey the promptings of the Spirit, we will feel that we grieve the Spirit. When He deals with us, we must repent or risk losing the seal of the Spirit, for grieving the Spirit can result in the extinction of the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19).

The term “quench” (sbennute) is often used in Scripture to refer to the putting out of fire. This term is particularly relevant to the Holy Spirit, who is compared to fire (Rev 4:5). In faithfulness, the afflicted Holy Spirit convicts us and strives to bring us into greater likeness to Christ. If we insist on rejecting his admonition and guidance, his activity in our lives will be stifled and he will leave.

The loss of the spirit means the removal of the seal.

Furthermore, and worse, quenching the Spirit can cause us to despise the Spirit (Hebrews 10:29) and, instead of being our guide and helper, He becomes our enemy. We must remember the words of the prophet Isaiah speaking of God's people: “But they rebelled and oppressed his Holy Spirit; therefore he became their enemy and fought against them ′′ (Isaiah 63:10).

The psalmist refers to the same fact in almost the same words: “How often did they challenge him in the wilderness, and grieve him in the wilderness! (Psalm 78:40). Each of us must be careful not to grieve the Spirit of God, lest God turn around and become our enemy and fight against us!

Let us not forget the lament of King Saul, who testified, "God is departed from me, and will answer me no more" (1 Sam. 28:15), and David's fear as he remembered God's judgment on King Saul and pray, "Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me" (Psalm 51:11).


The seal of the Spirit is the mark of God's ownership in our Christian lives. The presence of the Spirit also holds the promise of a glorious future.

However, we must be careful not to offend the Spirit by allowing "corrupt communications" to fall from our lips. Our words should be appropriate, kind, and uplifting. Let's tread carefully and ask God to put a "guard" on our lips lest we bring pain and sorrow to the Holy Spirit.

Meditate and pray on the command: "Do not grieve the holy spirit of God, with whom you are sealed for the day of redemption" (Ephesians 4:30). By the grace of God it is possible not to grieve the Holy Spirit who seals us.

— Outline of sermon by Dr. ALLAN S. BRAUN

1 The basic concept of being “filled” with the Spirit is for the believer
surrender complete control of your life to the Holy Spirit.
2 Murray J. Harris 2 Corinthians in the Expositor's Bible Commentary on the New
Will. S.325
3William Barclay. New Testament words. (London: SCM Press Ltd., 1964), p. 59

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