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Catechism Class. LD20C Q53 – The WORK of the Holy Spirit – 2


Catechism Class. Lord’s Day 20C Q53 – The WORK of the Holy Spirit – 2

The catechist teaches us that the Holy Spirit abides with us eternally, as the ‘earnest of our inheritance,’ so we shall look briefly at that, then we’ll learn how we may obey the command to not grieve the Holy Spirit, and finally explore what the Scripture means by ‘the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.’ So, let’s remind ourselves of our question and answer from the Heidelberg Catechism: Q.53, What do you believe concerning the Holy Spirit? A. First, he is, together with the Father and the Son, true and eternal God.  Second, he is also given to me, to make me by true faith share in Christ and all his benefits, to comfort me, and to remain with me forever. 


1 The Holy Spirit is With Us Eternally.

READ: 2 Corinthians 1:20-22 We speak about being ‘sealed’ by the Holy Spirit.  If you are a believer, you have been sealed, marked with the sign of God!  You have been stamped with his image!  You will recognise that you are his, by the fact that the Holy Spirit is indwelling you! In this text here are two things that we are taught about the blessing of ‘God’s seal’:-

  1. It is a down-payment!  The Greek used here is αρραβοων – “money which in purchases is given as a pledge or downpayment that the full amount will subsequently be paid.”  God gives us his Holy Spirit as a guarantee that his promise will be fulfilled.  Paul explains this further in Ephesians 1:14, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.  Having the Holy Spirit within us means that we have a deposit of heaven, a downpayment that guarantees that one day we will be with the Lord Jesus for ever and ever.  And note that this ‘sealing of the Spirit’ is linked by Paul to the certainty of God’s promises.
  2. It is having the Holy Spirit in our Hearts!  In 1st Cor 12:13 Paul writes: For by one Spirit are we all baptised into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit..  Every single Christian, born-again believers in Christ, have been baptised into His body, and have the Holy Spirit dwelling within and are sealed with the stamp of God at conversion, and that is the guarantee for every single believer that God will never break His promises, but, in Christ will bring them to fulfilment in glory for us! 

2. Not Grieving the Spirit.  

When Paul talks to the Ephesians about our sealing by the spirit for all eternity, our guarantee that we will be in heaven when this life is over, he also warns us not to grieve the Holy Spirit of God. Ephesians 4:30. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  In his commentary on the catechism, the principal author, Zacharius Ursinus gives us some ideas about how we might live, so that the Holy Spirit within us will not be grieved by us. Ephesians 4:1-3  

  • By paying attention to the preaching of the word of God. Psalm 119:9-11  
  • By seriously contemplating and meditating upon the gospel of our salvation.  It is good to just think about our redemption and spiritual blessings.  Philippians 4:8  That where the sacraments help us too, as continual signposts, pointing us to Christ.
  • By constant repentance.  I cannot remember how many Christians I have met who have told me that they repented when they were saved, and they have no need to do it again!  Worse, they have been told that by their pastor!  Yet Jesus tells us, when we pray we are to say, “Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses,” A DAILY prayer for forgiveness.
  • Prayer.  And prayer itself – a daily discipline of spending time in prayer with the Lord.  Acts 2:42 

None of these things in themselves will make us worthy of our salvation, or earn us a deeper walk with God, but these simple disciplines will surely please the Lord.

3 Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit?

You’ll probably have heard someone say that every sin can be forgiven, except one – blasphemy against the  Holy Spirit. ‘Blasphemy against the Spirit’ was a phrase used by Jesus himself in Matthew 12:31 In this passage the Pharisees had blasphemed against God and against His Son, by attributing his healing power to the work of the devil.  They had said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. (V24)  A terrible blasphemy! Like every other sin, BLASPHEMY CAN BE FORGIVEN! Isaiah 1:18 In Matthew 12:31 Jesus sets the sin of blasphemy firmly in the context of his atoning work.  He says All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men…. But Jesus added, but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.  

There is this single sin that can NEVER EVER BE FORGIVEN. As we have seen, reading about the work of the Holy Spirit in John 16:7-11 it is the Holy Spirit who REVEALS CHRIST TO US. The Scribes and Pharisees in the Matthew passage rebel against the Holy Spirit’s work, saying that His work is in fact the devil’s work.  They have rejected the work of the Holy Spirit, and since it is only through the personal work of the Holy Spirit that a person can be saved, – they can NEVER EXPERIENCE FORGIVENESS! Jesus’ words are a warning to every unrepentant sinner.  Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts!   

So, we have learned in this lesson, that the indwelling Spirit never leaves us, even at death, and he is therefore our assurance of heaven. Then we learned about how to live as Christians, not grieving the Holy Spirit, and finally we learned the person to whom the Holy Ghost reveals Christ, who then turns away can never be saved.

© Bob McEvoy 2022

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