Vexing (or grieving or despising):
The Bible teaches us that both the saved and unsaved can vex or grieve the Holy Spirit. Isa. 63:10 says, “But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them.” Eph. 4:30 says, “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” It is possible for people to vex or grieve the Holy Spirit. The idea of the word vex (and grieve) is to pain or to make angry by provocations. An unsaved person who refuses to give into the convicting element of the Holy Spirit is grievous to the blessed Spirit. Here the Spirit illuminates his heart and mind and with amazing power pierces an unbeliever’s heart thus pointing him to his Savior. But the unsaved refuses the Spirit’s conviction. How painful indeed to shun the Spirit of God! Heb. 10:29 classifies this rejection as “despite unto the Spirit of grace.” A Christian can also sin this way. In fact, Eph. 4:30 is written to believers. The Holy Spirit prompts believers to obey the light of Scripture, and yet, at times we wrestle against His leading or impressions. Perhaps we take the indwelling Spirit to places we ought not go or defile His temple (which is referring to our physical bodies according to 1 Cor. 6:19) with sin. It isn’t hard to see how we may vex or cause grief to the Holy Spirit. We must be reminded that we can also grieve the Holy Spirit. We must not treat Him that way; instead, we must cease from grieving Him.
The blasphemy against the Holy Ghost which is referenced in Matt. 12:31-32, Mk. 3:28-30 and Lk. 12:10 is a sin that only an unsaved person can commit. Ascribing to the Devil the source or power of Christ’s miracles rather than the Holy Spirit is the height of blasphemy. Any word spoken against the Lord Jesus is forgivable, but to speak against the source of His power, the Holy Spirit, and to claim that the Spirit is of the Devil or is Satan himself, is to poison the very well or fountain head of salvation. No one comes to Christ and receives Him as Savior if they are convinced that His power is that of the Devil. Therefore, only an unsaved person can ever commit this highly awful sin of blaspheming the Holy Ghost.
Tempting the Holy Spirit is another sin that believers can commit. The account of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5 is a case in point. Here was a couple who were motivated perhaps by jealousy and envy to give money to the church so as to appear righteous. Covetousness kicked in and they kept back part of the gift for themselves. They lied to the Holy Ghost (Acts 5:30) and were judged by God. The Holy Spirit could see right through their deceit. Do we tempt the Holy Spirit of God? We do when we mess with sin and think that no one sees us or that we can get away with sin. We lie to Him and to ourselves when we think that we can get away with sin.
Then there is the matter of resisting the Holy Spirit, according to Acts 7:51. Both unsaved and saved can commit this sin. The idea of the word resist is to “fall against or to rush against another” (Robertson’s Word Picture). It is just as if we are blocking the door that would allow the Holy Spirit to come in and have free reign in our heart. In the context of Acts 7, the unsaved Jews were resisting the prophet’s and apostles, and therefore really resisting God Himself! They kept opposing God’s convicting power. Believers can also resist the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit prompts a believer to do something and He gets brushed off, the conscience bears witness that the Holy Spirit of God has been resisted. This takes place when sermons (preached by a pastor or spiritual leader) are ignored when it has spoken directly to a believer’s life or his particular situation. Refusing to obey His Word is a form of resisting the Holy Spirit. What a terrible position to be in! To be opposed to God or to resist Him: this is a position of spiritual defeat. We must beware not to resist the Holy Spirit.
In 1 Thess. 5:19, we find a short but vital command of not quenching the Holy Spirit. The Bible says: “Quench not the Spirit.” How does this happen? The idea of this verse is like putting out a fire. The Holy Spirit may burn or impress a matter upon our hearts and we, with a damp and cold sin, extinguish God’s dealings in our hearts. Neglecting to nurture the Holy Spirit’s fire within our spirits is another way to quench the Spirit. Feeding the flame with worldliness or sin will suffocate the work of the Spirit inside the heart. Worse, if we are not careful, we may quench the Spirit in a fellow believer’s heart by pouring out sinful words and/or an attitude against them and thus doubly quench the Spirit.
Truly, the operation of the Holy Spirit in the heart of man is magnificent! Let us be careful not to vex nor grieve Him, not to blaspheme against Him, and not to resist or quench the Holy Spirit of God. Rather, let us do what He tells us to do, and be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18), which means to always be yielding more of ourselves to His control.