And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption.
Gravity works. It just does.
Sin holds an unfortunate gravity in our lives. It is the condition into which we are born and, without the intervention of the grace of God, it will be the condition we take to our graves. The gospel of Jesus Christ saves us from the penalty of sin, which is death. Though we are saved from the penalty of sin, without our active participation in the grace of God, we will continue to be caught in its gravity. Though sin no longer has power, we continue to grant it power by remaining in the gravitational pull of its orbit.
Though sin is an unfortunate reality in our lives, it need no longer be the defining reality. The gospel of Jesus Christ not only delivers us from the penalty of sin but from its power. For this to be realized we will need a new center of gravity. If sin is no longer the center of gravity, then what is? Thanks for asking. The new center of gravity is the grace, love, and power of God in our lives. This has been Paul’s point from the third verse onward: “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ” (Eph. 1:3).
After ten verses of describing the new gravity Paul says this: “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit” (v. 13 nrsv).
In our present text, Paul remembers this point and makes a sobering admonition: And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption.
We grieve the Holy Spirit when we allow ourselves to be held in sin’s gravity. We grieve the Holy Spirit when we continue to live as though nothing has changed. We grieve the Holy Spirit when we deny the power of God in our everyday lives.
The great obstacle in the way of the gospel today is not the unbelieving world. It is the nominal church. It is the millions of Christians who claim the name but have no game. It is hard to imagine the grief the Holy Spirit must feel almost constantly as a consequence.
What would it mean to bring joy to the Holy Spirit? It would begin with a recognition of the new possibilities that grace affords. If sin has indeed lost its power, we must no longer allow sin to frame the battle. Once we have been saved from sin we must begin to ask a new question: What have we been saved for? We have been saved for the profound love of God to flourish and bear much fruit in our lives for the glory of God and the sake of others. We have been saved for a life filled with all the fullness of God. We have been saved for the kind of life that is so powerful and good and beautiful that it would have never occurred to us to conceive of as even possible. And the truth? What was once impossible has now become gloriously possible.
Remember how Paul put it in verse 10 of chapter 2? “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
So how do we realize and actualize this shifting of the center of gravity in our lives—from the problem of sin to the possibilities of the Spirit of God? It will not happen alone. We must band together with a few other believers. I know many of you are doing this while many more struggle to find a way. It’s OK. Don’t give up. The Holy Spirit is also the author of koinonia, which means “fellowship.” Let’s welcome the Spirit to bring koinonia into our lives.
Abba Father, we thank you for your Son, Jesus, who is the new and living way. Thank you for the Holy Spirit, who has sealed us in this way and who will order our steps if we let him. Make me aware of the seal of the Spirit in my life. We pray in Jesus’ name, amen.
Have you ever asked God to attune your spirit to the seal of the Holy Spirit in your life? Today would be a good day to start.
How do you relate to the gravity illustration in today’s reflection and the idea of shifting the center of gravity in your life?
Think of a situation where you have grieved the Spirit of God in your life. Think of a situation where you have joyed the Spirit in your life.
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