Paul gives a fully developed view of the Holy Spirit. Including such synonymous designations as “the Spirit of God” and “the Spirit of Christ,” Paul refers to the Holy Spirit over thirty times in his epistles.
In Ephesians, Paul refers to the Holy Spirit again and again. Paul wants to remind us of the work of the Spirit.
Apart from the Holy Spirit, we cannot be saved (Romans 8:9). He both gives life and sustains life. He is the Author of every Christian virtue. By the gift of God’s Spirit, we know that we belong to Christ.
The Holy Spirit marks us as believers and is the guarantee of our future redemption. Paul says that when we believe in Christ, we are marked with a seal, that is the promised Holy Spirit. In Paul’s day, a seal was attached to an object for several purposes: 1) to guarantee the genuine character of something (such as a document), 2) to mark ownership, or 3) to protect against tampering or harm. In Ephesians 1:13-14 and 4:30, Paul used the words “seal” or “sealed” to show that we belong to God and that we have the guarantee of redemption through the blood of Christ. The promised Holy Spirit is the down payment which guarantees our future redemption. He is the first installment of our full blessings in God (Ephesians 1:13-14).
The Holy Spirit dwells with the believer. We are being build together to be a holy temple in the Lord (Ephesians 2:21; 1 Corinthians 6:19). We are the dwelling by which God dwells by His Spirit (Ephesians 2:22). He is our constant companion and the most interested person in our life and witness. In this capacity, Paul urges us not to grieve the Holy Spirit of God.
This leads us to ask the vital question: “what would make the Holy Spirit grieve?” The obvious answer involves any thoughts, attitudes, or actions which pollute our souls. Any of these would make the Holy Spirit grieve. The context of Paul’s exhortation not to grieve the Holy Spirit indicates that our spoken words and angry attitudes particularly grieve the Holy Spirit of God. Thus, his call for us to get rid of bitterness and anger and to “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).