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Speaking for God



And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.


Ephesians 4:30


When we speak unwholesome words, when our mouth spews anger and hatred, when our speech causes corruption in others, the impact is devastating. It hurts people more than we know. Our cutting words slice like a sharp knife, spilling the emotional blood of others. The wounds of words cut deep and are hard to heal.


But something more than hurting people is going on. Someone else is deeply hurt, God himself. Yes, when our words cause pain and corruption in others, God the Holy Spirit experiences the pain of great loss. He feels deep emotional distress, severe sorrow. His pain is like our sorrow when we lose a parent, brother, spouse. It’s the kind of pain a woman experiences in childbirth.


Yes, God is all knowing, all powerful. He owns everything[1]. He needs nothing. He does not need us, but wants a deep, personal, intimate relationship with us. It is humbling to know that what I do can please God. It’s also frightening to know that what I do can grieve him.


We are to stop grieving God the Holy Spirit. These people didn’t just accidently say something one day and grieve him for a moment. No, they were constantly, actively saying unwholesome words, causing corruption in all they connect with. They had practiced this kind of talk for some time.


Why was this so wrong? What’s the big deal about grieving God? After all, he’s big enough to take it. Isn’t he? He should put on his big boy pants and take it like a man.


God may be God. He may be able to speak, and creation appears[2]. He may be the sustainer of the universe, holding it together by the power of his word[3]. But he’s also sensitive to us and our words. When our words cut others, they cut God the Holy Spirit.


The Holy Spirit is himself the guarantee that God has placed in us[4]. He seals us in and with his Holy Spirit.


When God seals us, he’s telling us that everything is taken care of. It’s the mark that we belong to him and him alone. The Holy Spirit sealing us is also the symbol that the transaction is complete. It’s a sign that all our sin; past, present, and future have been taken care of by God on the cross. The question of sin had been dealt with once and for all. The great transaction, making us God’s children, has been approved in the court of heaven by the judge of all creation, even God the Father himself[5].


God the Holy Spirit is personally the seal. He didn’t send anyone else, he does it himself. Through his living in us, he has purchased us and has all the rights and privileges any owner has.


We don’t like to think about this. We like to think of ourselves as independent, free. We are no one’s property. We are not slaves. But we are slaves to sin[6]. That may be offensive, but true none the less.


When we accept Jesus as the payment for our sin, we transfer from a slave to sin and become a slave of God[7]. He has bought us back from the slave market, from the harsh and deadly master of death and the devil. We now belong to him, our kind and compassionate God.


Now that we have someone who loves us, the one who paid for us, how do we respond? What’s our life to be like? What should our words sound like? What kinds of things should we be doing?


I don’t know about you, but I want to do nothing but please the one I love. The one who loves me. I’m happy to go out of my way to do anything. I’m eager to go the extra mile to make them smile. I’m willing to change my plans in order to please them.


Not to earn their love. I could never do that. But in response to their love. Nothing is more important than doing anything for them. I’m willing to turn myself inside-out for them. Nothing is too good for them. Nothing is too big or small, as long as it’s for them. My schedule instantly becomes open whenever they speak.


The enemy will whisper his lies to us, telling us that we’re filthy, unloved, unworthy. He’ll bring up memories of past failures to discourage us, take our eyes off our savior.


God the Holy Spirit is the seal God puts in and on his people. He himself is our guarantee that our sins are forgiven. That we’re a new creation. That we are never alone anymore. That we’re always with the one that loves us.


He is our power, our motivation to live for him. To speak for him. To love others for him.


Noodling Questions


  • How have your words that hurt people, hurt God the Holy Spirit?

  • Since God paid for all our sins, what’s our logical response to be?

  • What’s stopping you from knowing that you’ve been sealed by God the Holy Spirit?

[1] Psalm 50:9,10 [2] Genesis 1:3-26 [3] Hebrews 1:3 [4] Ephesians 1:13 [5] Ephesians 1:3 – Rebirth Certificate [6] Romans 6:20 [7] Romans 6:22

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