by Mike Ratliff
8 For he said, “Surely they are my people, children who will not deal falsely.” And he became their Savior. 9 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. 10 But they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit; therefore he turned to be their enemy, and himself fought against them. (Isaiah 63:8-10 ESV)
I have been receiving some interesting emails from friends today which are forwards of Tweets by Rick Warren from the T4G conference. In one it appeared that he was attempting to make it look like those of us who are calling for more discernment in his inclusion in John Piper’s Bible conference this Fall are actually committing the sin of grieving the Holy Spirit. His exact “tweet” was, “Grumbling, Griping,Gloating & Gossiping grieve the Spirit.The GOSPEL is grace-filled.Christ died 4my sins&rose again.” Most of you probably don’t know that I spend a great deal of my time listening to the debates of Dr. James White. This “tweet” is a perfect summary example of the type of logic used by those whom he debates who attempt to skirt the truth with misdirection. A good apologist never uses tactics like this. Instead, we simply focus on the truth. We tell the truth and stand firm right in the middle of it while refusing to allow anyone to skirt around it with his or her ploys of misdirection, ad holmium, and straw men argumentum.
I have news for you Rick Warren and from whomever you were getting that little tidbit at T4G, the Holy Spirit is indeed grieved, but not in those who stand in the gap in the midst of God’s truth against the false gospel that comes from your ministry. Instead, He is grieved with the deceit with which those in your “kingdom” use in their hostile takeovers of those thousands of churches all across the world, converting them from once solid biblical churches to Purpose Driven, seeker sensitive, store fronts for your false form of Christianity. You and your minions have much to answer for at the Great White Throne Judgment, which is indeed in your future. I suggest that you either repent of this or start preparing for that.
What is this biblical teaching on grieving the Holy Spirit? What is the context? The immediate context is found in Ephesians 4:17-32 within the larger context of a unified Body of Christ and how Christians are to live and interact within that. This begins at Ephesians 4:1 and runs through 6:20. For this post, we will focus on 4:17-32.
17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!– 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:17-24 ESV)
In vv17-19 the Apostle Paul gives us four characteristics of the ungodly lifestyles which believers are to forsake. The words “you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds” are the Greek words μηκέτι ὑμᾶς περιπατεῖν, καθὼς καὶ τὰ λοιπὰ ἔθνη περιπατεῖ ἐν ματαιότητι τοῦ νοὸς αὐτῶν, which literally says, “no longer you to walk around, just as also the nations walk around in futility of the mind of them.” What does this mean? This is talking about lifestyle. Those who live with mindsets in rejection of the knowledge of God think of themselves as “enlightened” (cf. Hebrews 10:32). However, they are truly ignorant. Those who walk in the futility of their minds are unregenerate. They are all wrapped up in the ways of the world. They resemble the world. They may call themselves Christians, but their churches and everything about how they worship and serve is patterned after the ways of the world. This is not Christianity. These people are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them. Their hearts are hard because they are unregenerate. In vv19-24 the Apostle makes it clear that those who profess Christ, but who are marked as living in the futility of their minds are more than likely not truly regenerate. They are false professors.
25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:25-32 ESV)
On the other hand, there will be some in this group who will hear this admonition who are truly part of the Body of Christ because they have been washed clean by the miracle of regeneration. These will repent. These will, by the power of the Holy Spirit, turn from the focus of the flesh, to the focus of Christ. They will put away falsehood. Along with the mind of Christ will come the character of Christ. They will be angry against unrighteousness, but not sin. They will see the tragedy of the Purpose Driven paradigm and stand firm against it, but not sin in their righteous indignation. If they give in to the temptation to become petty and deceitful then they will have given opportunity for the devil and that is sinful. We must not do that. Telling the truth and giving the people of God the opportunity to repent is not grieving the Holy Spirit. What will grieve Him is when the minions of Rick Warren and the Emergents who have “cool” nicknames like “The Pastor of Disaster” attempt to launch internet attacks to bring down our blogs and websites in which we minister and tell the truth… I know that the one who calls himself that is probably reading this. To you sir, I offer forgiveness. I offer fellowship. I offer the truth. Come out of her sir while you still can.
How do we grieve the Holy Spirit? Is it by telling the truth? No! It is by deceitful things that the world does in order to bring others down in order to elevate themselves. We are not doing that. To those who are twisting God’s Word in order to “sell” a false version of the gospel, I warn you to stop it. That warning is from God, not me. If you do not take that seriously then this proves you do not know Him. If you shiver but continue anyway then I fear for you for you are indeed grieving the Holy Spirit.
Soli Deo Gloria.