Jesus taught that the Holy Spirit would live within His followers forever: "And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth" (John 14:16-17, NIV). Every person who belongs to God has the Holy Spirit within them (Romans 8:9).
Does the Holy Spirit ever leave a believer?
One of the strongest teachings on this issue is found in Ephesians 1:13-14. Paul taught, "In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory." The believer is marked, sealed, and given a deposit through the indwelling Holy Spirit. This extends from salvation through eternity future when we are redeemed and with the Lord.
Before Christ's ministry on earth, the Holy Spirit functioned differently. Instead of living within or indwelling every believer, He empowered certain people at certain times for service to God. For example, in Exodus 31:2-5, Bezalel was empowered by the Spirit to build and oversee construction of the tabernacle as a place of worship to the Lord. The Holy Spirit was with King Saul, yet later left him (1 Samuel 16:14). The Spirit would later be with David, who asked God not to take this gift from him (Psalm 51:11).
In Acts 2, the Holy Spirit came upon every believer. After that time, the Spirit came in special ways upon new Christians as the gospel expanded beyond the Jews to those in Samaria and to the Gentiles. From this point forward, the Holy Spirit has continued to indwell every believer. The Spirit is not to be quenched (1 Thessalonians 5:19) or grieved (Ephesians 4:30).
Instead, believers are to walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16) and grow in the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Each believer receives one or more spiritual gifts that are to be used for the benefit of others (Romans 12:4-8; 1 Corinthians 12).
When we do sin, God does not say He will take the Holy Spirit from us. Instead, He teaches, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). We are promised forgiveness when we confess sins. God's Spirit remains with us as believers through all times to help us confess sin, resist temptation, and live in a way that pleases the Lord.
When do we receive the Holy Spirit?
How does the Holy Spirit seal us? What is the seal of the Holy Spirit?
What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit?
What is the role of the Holy Spirit? How is the Holy Spirit active in our lives today?
How does a person grieve or quench the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19; Ephesians 4:30)?
Truth about the Holy Spirit