Ephesians 4:25-32 (NKJV) Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. 26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil. 28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. 29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

There’s so much question on what it means to “grieve the Spirit” and I pray to clarify the confusion with this study.

It was very early in the morning and I was laying in bed, awake and thinking about a subject and I turn to Ephesians where I come across the grieving the Spirit passage; which, by the way, was not the subject I was thinking of. I’d always heard about the grieving the Spirit but I did not know the real meaning behind it. I had speculation; and that speculation was, in full honesty, just tradition I was raised with. When looking at the meaning of grieving the Spirit, I found that it's something more than often speculated, something that shakes me, and should shake the church. I've still only done a marginal reading here but what I'm seeing...

In the context of this letter, there's a main theme that may be in response to newly converted Jews who often separating themselves from their Gentile brethren. There is an obvious feeling that the gentiles were feeling a bit like second class citizens. The unity of the church, especially between Jew and Gentile believers, is the keynote of the book.

Paul addresses hostility, division, and self-interest more than any other topic in the letter, which shows his primary concern was not doctrinal, but behavioral.

Looking at the surrounding text, we see behavioral instruction toward each other. We see Paul using talking points of "lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love..." (4:2). He pointing to these "bonds of peace" as a unity of the spirit (4:3). Then based upon the behavioral message, he gets into one body, one Spirit, one hope, etc.

In 4:7 he gets into grace being given in the measure of Christ's gift. That's good that it's not the measure of our abilities but His. That's important upon the theme that is present of first class and second class Christians. We are all under one, including the gift. So there are some "apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers..." (4:11). That's good because I'm not second class, or less, because I teach and not preach like others; that I teach in established venues but don't build those venues like others. Why is the different offices important? "FOR the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ...". Then he reaches back to unity in vs 13.

To answer why the church in America is like it is may be found in this portion of Scripture. Verse 14 starts with THAT, which means this is a purpose statement. Why is it important that the saints are equipped for the WORK of the ministry? "THAT we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting...". How is that accomplished? Getting off the tit of their favorite teacher because the equipping comes from not just an apostle or pastor, but from prophets and teachers, etc. This is important for the unity of the body under Christ (4:16). This statement shows that Paul has not moved to doctrinal and is still on behavioral. We are to be a tightly knitted group with "growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love."

We therefore should not walk as gentiles, or sinners, with "lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness" (4:19), putting off, "concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts..." (4:22). Paul, still on behavioral tones.

Everything in the context is talking about our behavior towards one another then we move into the section dealing with grieving the Spirit. Paul instructs to stop lying to one another (25 - behavior toward one another), don't sin in anger toward one another, giving place for the adversary (26-27 - behavior toward one another), don't steal from one another but rather give (28 -  behavior toward one another). "Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you." (4:31-32 - obvious behavioral actions toward one another).

So all this stuff on our behavior towards one another and sandwiched in the middle is corrupt words and grieving the Spirit (4:29-30).

There is no context of saying something is from God, or being done by God, that is not and little context of dying with unrepentant sin. It appears that grieving the Spirit is more affected by the means by which we treat each other.

Now this would make sense. Is not the Spirit of God the mind of God (pneuma), or the one that know the mind of God (1 Cor 2:11). In this, if the mind of God is forgiveness, grace, mercy, love, giving, etc, and we, who proclaim to be His, under one body, being the example to the world of who God is and what His Kingdom looks like, if we treat each other like the world treats each other then would this not grieve the Spirit of God? This then swings it back up to the "bonds of peace" as a unity of the spirit (4:3).

With this truth, let us not grieve the Spirit of God any longer. Let us walk in the truth of God’s character, showing the world God in how we treat each other; being conscious in the gifts given to us.