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A Serious Admonishment at the End of the Year

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A Serious Admonishment at the End of the Year

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“And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God” (Ephesians 4:30).

Again a year lies behind us, a year filled with blessings and sorrows, but also a year full of God’s mercy and goodness. Or is it not His goodness that we, unlike so many others who have been taken away by the cold hand of death, may still be in the day of grace? And what a labor of love the Lord has bestowed upon us! How faithful He has been in admonishing us unto true conversion! Then, for one final time, He comes with a serious, loving admonishment, “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God”.

What a wonderful, and at the same time serious, admonishment Paul sends to the congregation at Ephesus. “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” The Holy Spirit, true and eternal God, is the first to begin when a work of grace is made manifest from heaven. He then comes to those dead bones who have never asked for God, saying, “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead.” He is the last to be known in the life of those spiritual pilgrims, when they may come to know Him as the Sealer of the salvation obtained by Christ.

In the first wonderful coming, He comes to make His abode in the sinner’s heart, never to leave again. He has only one objective, and that is to make that sinner’s heart accessible for Christ. His work is to uncover the sinner, in laying bare his entire polluted life. There every garment which has been woven by the sinner’s hand is taken away. This is so the righteousness obtained by Jesus Christ upon the cross for His people may become ever more desirable as the only garment which can cover their nakedness and can clothe them in the sight of a holy and righteous God.

“And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” You understand that in these words Paul addresses God’s people. That wonderful Spirit is a teacher in their lives. That is His great office. We read in John 16:1213, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but you cannot bear them now. Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth.”

There is no greater blessing than to have a teacher who endures such slow learners. How slow we are to learn! How much we must unlearn! We always think we know so much, but what a blessing it is when we may become as one who knows nothing, as one who hungers to be instructed concerning that only way unto salvation. May there be a hunger that the Holy Spirit would show the way unto the blood of the Savior, a hunger to be brought there as a lost sinner, as an empty vessel.

The Spirit does that work, and then He points to Christ, who then becomes necessary, precious, and the One whom we cannot miss anymore. That work of the Spirit gives lively exercises in the hearts of sinners. They there bow their knees, saying, “Oh, Lord, may we come to know Him in His suffering and dying?” They there stretch forth their empty hands, saying, “One drop of that precious blood is enough to cleanse my sins away.” With David they cry, “From the end of the earth will I cry unto Thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

Paul says it is the Spirit who seals unto me that which is so often doubted as to whether it indeed is God’s work in my heart. There the Spirit comes and seals in my life that the gateway opened in the blood of Christ is now also open for me. And although it is so true that we ruin everything time and again, God is ever faithful and unchangeable. Therefore that redemption obtained by Jesus Christ now awaits the church of God. Here below, one may learn more of this than another. God is free. But they will all one day know what the day of redemption is.

And now, dear reader, do you know anything of the Spirit of God? The world cannot receive Him. If you are of the world, you cannot receive Him. Do you know anything of the Spirit making groanings within you which cannot be uttered? Nothing? Then, dear reader, you miss the one Friend who can bring you, and keep you, on the right way.

What is it to grieve the Spirit? We are told that when Christ looked on him, Peter wept. We are not told what manner of look that was. Without a doubt, it was a look full of love, saying, “Did I deserve this, Peter? Have I been an enemy to thee, Peter? Have I offended thee, Peter?” Peter went out and wept. He saw in the eyes of His Master a deep, sorrowful grief.

But how do God’s people grieve the Spirit? When they put the Spirit’s work in the place of Christ. Then they become satisfied with a change in their life, satisfied with the knowledge of their misery, satisfied with their conversion. Oh, if the Spirit were a selfish Spirit, He would then rejoice at this. But He is not a selfish Spirit, and therefore He is grieved. Notice what the office of the Spirit is: His office is to glorify the works of Christ. “He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father hath are Mine: therefore said I, that He shall take of Mine, and shall show it unto you” (John 16:14-15). This is the office of the Spirit. He delights to show not Himself, but Christ.

Is that why it is so dark in God’s church and amongst God’s people today? We grieve the Spirit so much by being so satisfied with self. Is the Spirit grieved because the people in whom He dwells are so rich outside of knowing Jesus? We are so seldom poor and needy. It is true, we have nothing of self, and all things must be taught from above. Is the reason that there is so little teaching because we grieve the Spirit by hardness of heart? “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”

The great work of the Holy Spirit is to make God’s people holy. God promised in Ezekiel, “I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments, and do them” (Ezekiel 36:27). Now as long as by God’s grace His people may lean upon the Spirit of the Lord, He will be their faithful guide. Why is it that those people always strike out on their own learning, and trust to their own understanding? What a wonder of faithfulness it is when again they may fall with their face in the dust and cry, “Show me Thy ways, O Lord.” When we step forth in our own strength, leaning upon our own understanding, we grieve the Spirit. He is grieved when we do not follow His leadings. No, I do not mean that we can always understand His leadings. When He leads us by way of that dark and barren wilderness, where at times it is so dark, then they groan, “O Lord, this is a dark way. Speak only one word that I may hear that it is God’s way.” When it is so barren that it causes groanings within, then He is leading.

When He sees you running into temptation, He warns you, He touches your heart. If we yet go on, the Spirit is then grieved. He is grieved when we despise the ordinances of the Lord. Ordinances are attendance on the preaching of His Word and the Holy Sacraments which have been given. They are the channels through which the Holy Spirit pours all blessings into the believing hearts. Do you despise the ordinances by not bowing before them and accepting them as God’s hand which feeds His church? Then you grieve the Spirit.

Consider how in grieving the Holy Spirit you have lost your peace with God. No, I do not mean that all is well with the church. We, as a people, need to be very concerned when we observe that the Lord holds His hand so still in the lives of His dear people, and when we miss so much of the growing in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. We need to be very concerned when we observe amongst and within ourselves the hardening of hearts. May we be given what David had when he prayed, “And take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.”

Have we grieved Him? May we then by His grace come upon our knees, confessing that we cannot miss Him on the journey to eternity, stretching forth those empty hands, “Lord, prepare me to meet God in righteousness.” Soon He will fill that soul and leave nothing in it but Himself. It is a blessed day that awaits the people of the Lord, the day of their redemption.

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Bekijk de hele uitgave van zondag 1 december 1996

The Banner of Truth | 30 Pagina's

A Serious Admonishment at the End of the Year

Bekijk de hele uitgave van zondag 1 december 1996

The Banner of Truth | 30 Pagina's

PDF Bekijken