Grieving and Quenching the Holy Spirit

Leon Morris, the late Australian New Testament scholar, has a short, helpful book on the Holy Spirit entitled Spirit of the Living God (which sadly is not in print anymore!). In it, he helpfully outlines how we can grieve and quench the Spirit of God.

"[Grieving] directs attention to the joyous harmony that ought to exist between the believer and the Spirit of God. Hermas, a second-century Roman writer, has a striking phrase in which he speaks of the Holy Spirit as 'a cheerful Spirit' (Mand. x). But it lies within the power of man to grieve this cheerful Spirit. This may be done by engaging in the kind of activity that is alien to the professing Christian.

Quenching the Spirit probably does not differ very greatly. The imagery is taken from that of fire. The Holy Spirit is likened to fire, or symbolized by fire, in a number of places and certainly fire may illustrate very aptly some of the work of the Spirit. But conduct like that which Paul is castigating, idleness, impurity, and the like, quenches the Spirit. When a man consents to have such things in his life, then the effective power of the Spirit within him is quenched. The bright burning of the fire of the Spirit and a willingness to engage in sin are absolutely inconsistent with each other."

Concluding these two points, he then aptly says,

"It is a very solemn thought that God allows men in some degree to thwart His Spirit in this way."

Yes, it is. It is an amazing thought that my actions can grieve and quench the third Person of the Trinity who has decided to live in me. My decisions in life can hinder our relationship. My sins put out his flame. 

Quotes from Leon Morris, Spirit of the Living God (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1969), 98.