Have I Lost Something?
I think this is a common question and it makes people wonder whether they can lose their salvation. Sometimes when a person sins after they’ve become a Christian they panic, thinking they’ve lost their salvation. The Apostle Paul refers to salvation as "being saved" — implying that it is a process (1 Corinthians 1:18). Later in 1 John, the bible says that if we claim to be without sin the truth is not in us. In other words, a "saved" Christian cannot claim to be without sin without denying his or her need for salvation, as salvation is a continually refining work done by the transforming power of the gospel and the Holy Spirit. So, if you are saying you’re a Christian and that you don’t sin, you aren’t really a Christian at all according to this biblical passage (or the truth is not in you — if the truth is not in you, neither is the Holy Spirit).
Let’s Analyze the Passage
Here is the reference to the passage of quenching the Holy Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21 (NIV) says:
Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.
You’ll notice that in the same sentence, separated with a semicolon is the phrase "do not treat prophecies with contempt." A semicolon is a punctuation mark meant to join two sentences that are relevant in the same thought. Instead of separating the first part of the sentence from the second with a period rather than a semicolon, using a semicolon denotes that the two thoughts are conjoined and meant to be read together. The reason the Apostle Paul used a semicolon was because he was speaking about people that were prophesying in church, perhaps disturbing the service but he wanted to note that these prophesies were important and should not be quenched. In other words, Paul was saying to let the Holy Spirit’s work and speaking flow unimpeded by manmade tradition or services so that the worship would be led by God and not simply a manifestation of people’s religious practices and traditions.
How Is This Relevant Today?
We can certainly learn much from Paul’s advice today as many churches have snuffed out the Spirit in their services by adhering to a set of rules and traditions in worship service that make worship, orderly at best and at worst, boring, impotent, and dead. Unfortunately, some churches do not even acknowledge the gifts or powers of the Holy Spirit given to the members of the church. They don’t believe in modern-day prophecy or any workings of the Holy Spirit that were manifest in Paul’s (the early Church’s) day like speaking in tongues, healing or casting out of demons.
Losing the Holy Spirit
I personally do not believe that individuals who are honest believers with the Holy Spirit, have the power to lose the Holy Spirit nor do I believe that an honest believer with the Holy Spirit would want to do anything to lose it. If a person does not want to lose the Holy Spirit, they will not. Those that do, probably never had it in the first place or like reprobate-minded sinners, they preferred sin to God and have proven by this factor that they never belonged to God in the first place. Reprobate sinners are those that have been rebuked by the Holy Spirit or by God and yet do not care whether or not their lives are pleasing to God, preferring and choosing sinfulness to godliness. This kind of person doesn’t really lose the Holy Spirit, but usually they never had it to begin with. In Hebrews, the Apostle Paul says that it is impossible to be given the Holy Spirit and to continue in sin because those who sin continuously after they have tasted the gift of the Holy Spirit cannot be turned back to God because to their loss they are recrucifying Christ all over again.
Grieving the Holy Spirit
Grieving the Holy Spirit is a simple concept that can affect any Christian. When we sin, we grieve the Holy Spirit. Sin grieves God. This doesn’t mean that Christians who accidently sin are not really Christians or that they will lose their Holy Spirit. Rather, if a Christian sins the Holy Spirit will convict them of their sin until they repent, ask forgiveness from God, turn from their sin and are forgiven again. This is how a person with the Holy Spirit is being saved. The work of the Spirit — convicting, convincing, causing repentance, causing the host to stop the behavior and turn to God for forgiveness, is how the Holy Spirit refines us into images of Christ.
Isaiah 63:10 and Ephesians 4:30 are the only places where the words "grieve" and the "Holy Spirit" are used together in a sentence. Isaiah 63:10 (NIV) says, "Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned and became their enemy and he himself fought against them." So you can see that grieving the Holy Spirit involves sinning against God. Ephesians 4:30 simply tells us not to do it.
The word grief implies a long-held, long-suffering pain inflicted by a loss. So I think that when we grieve the Holy Spirit we are really committing a tragic sin although all sins are grievous to God. Ephesians explains the sins that grieve God in small detail. Here’s what it says in Ephesians 4:29-31 (NIV):
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
Helpful Bible Verses
To conclude this posting I would like to mention a couple bible verses that have always helped to keep my faith secure. They are as follows:
for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13 NIV)
Jesus answered, "I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one." (John 10:25-30 NIV)
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39 NIV)
That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9 NIV)
My Point In All This Jargon
My point is to say not to worry about losing the Holy Spirit because Jesus told us not to worry. Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). The Holy Spirit is an essential component of our salvation and if you are a true believer, God will have given it to you and you will not fall from His hands. The Holy Spirit is our seal that tells we are God’s children and future inhabitants of Christ’s kingdom. May His kingdom come and may you be blessed.