Scriptures show that the Holy Spirit will bestow or withdraw blessing according to whether he is pleased by the situation he sees. It is noteworthy that Jesus was completely without sin, and the Holy Spirit “remained on him”
And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him.
English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Jn 1:32
The Holy Spirit was given to Jesus without measure. We also receive the Holy Spirit in amounts that cannot be measured either. That is the wonder of the Holy Spirit.
For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Jn 3:34.
In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit came mightily upon Samson several times
And the woman bore a son and called his name Samson. And the young man grew, and the Lord blessed him. 25 And the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.
English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Judges 13:24–25
Here is another time the Holy Spirit landed on Samson. The Holy Spirit actually rushed on him.
Then the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him, and although he had nothing in his hand, he tore the lion in pieces as one tears a young goat.
English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Judges 14:6
The Holy Spirit left Sampson when he persisted in sin.
Then she began to torment him, and his strength left him.
English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Judges 16:19
Consider Saul. When he persisted in disobedience, the Holy Spirit departed from him.
Now the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a harmful spirit from the Lord tormented him
English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), 1 Sa 16:14.
When the people of Israel rebelled and grieved the Holy Spirit, he turned against them.
But they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit; therefore he turned to be their enemy, and himself fought against them.
English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Is 63:10.
The Holy Spirit can be grieved and cease to bring blessing in a situation. Stephen rebuked the Jewish leaders, saying,
You always resist the Holy Spirit
Paul warns us,
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption
The Greek here is λυπέω [lupĕō]: (derivative of λύπηb ‘state of sadness,’) to cause someone to be sad, sorrowful, or distressed—‘to make sad, to sadden.’ εἰ δέ τις λελύπηκεν ‘if anyone has made someone sad’ 2 Cor 2:5; μὴ λυπεῖτε τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον τοῦ θεοῦ ‘don’t make God’s Holy Spirit sad’ Eph 4:30.
Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 317.
Again, Paul exhorts us:
Do not quench the Spirit
(1 Thess. 5:19)
In a similar vein, Paul gives a stern warning to Christians not to defile their bodies by joining them to a prostitute because the Holy Spirit lives within their bodies:
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body
(1 Cor. 6:19–20)
Let this sink in! Even more serious than grieving or quenching the Holy Spirit is a deeper, more hardened disobedience to him that brings strong judgment.
When Peter rebuked Ananias, “Why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land?” (Acts 5:3), he fell down dead.
Similarly, when Peter said to Ananias’s wife Sapphira, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord?” (Acts 5:9), she at once fell down dead as well. Fell. Down. Dead. YIKES!
The book of Hebrews warns those who are in danger of falling away that severe punishment is deserved by the one “who has trampled underfoot the Son of God and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified and has outraged the Spirit of grace” (Heb. 10:29). For such a person there only stays “a fearful expectation of judgment” (Heb. 10:27).
Here it is. There is still one more level of offense against the Holy Spirit. This kind of offense is even more serious than grieving him or acting with the hardened disobedience to him that brings discipline or judgment. It is possible so to offend the Holy Spirit that his convicting work will not be brought to bear again in a person’s life.
Every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
Therefore, I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Mt 12:31–32.
What is going on here? The Pharisees willfully and maliciously attribute to Satan the powerful work of the Holy Spirit that was clear in the ministry of Jesus. Since the Holy Spirit so clearly manifested the presence of God, those who willfully and maliciously spoke against him and attributed his activity instead to the power of Satan were guilty, Jesus said,
Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness but is guilty of an eternal sin”— 30 for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.
English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Mk 3:28–30
We must be incredibly careful not to grieve or offend the Holy Spirit. He will not force himself on us against our wills
The spirits of prophets are subject to prophets.
English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), 1 Co 14:32
If we resist, quench, and oppose the Holy Spirit, then his empowering will depart and he will remove much of the blessing of God from our lives.
On the other hand, in the life of disciple of Jesus, whose conduct is pleasing to God, the Holy Spirit will be present to bring great blessing. The Holy Spirit was “poured out” in fullness at Pentecost, and he now dwells within all true believers, making them temples of the living God
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?
English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), 1 Co 3:16
We can know close fellowship and partnership with the Holy Spirit in our lives. We have freedom in our lives because we have the power of the Holy Spirit.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), 2 Co 3:17–18
He entrusts gifts to us. God does it the way He wants to. It is all up to God.
All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), 1 Co 12:11
We have sound truth via the Holy Spirit.
Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.
English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), 2 Ti 1:13–14
It is the Holy Spirit that provides our leaders with wisdom and insight.
Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.
English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Ac 20:28
So full and abundant will be his presence that Jesus could promise that he will flow out of our inmost being like “rivers of living water” (John 7:38–39).
Peter promises that his presence especially rests on those who suffer for the sake of Christ: “If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you” (1 Peter 4:14).
It is important that all our ministry be done in the Holy Spirit, that is, that we consciously dwell in the Godlike atmosphere created by the Holy Spirit—the atmosphere of power, love, joy, truth, holiness, righteousness, and peace. But greater than these characteristics of the atmosphere created by the Holy Spirit is the sense of the presence of the Holy Spirit himself—to be in the Holy Spirit is really to be in an atmosphere of God’s manifested presence.
This is why people in the New Testament can walk in the comfort of the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:31), and why it is possible just to be “in the Spirit” as John was on the Lord’s day (Rev. 1:10; cf. 4:2).
It is surprising how many activities are said in the New Testament to be done “in” the Holy Spirit: it is possible to
- Rejoice in the Holy Spirit (Luke 10:21),
- To resolve or decide something in the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:21),
- To have one’s conscience bear witness in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 9:1),
- To have access to God in the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:18), to pray in the Holy Spirit (Eph. 6:18; Jude 20), and
- To love in the Holy Spirit (Col. 1:8).
In the light of these texts, we might ask ourselves, for how many of these activities during each day are we consciously aware of the Holy Spirit’s presence and blessing?
To be filled with the Holy Spirit is to be filled with the immediate presence of God himself, and it therefore will result in
- Feeling what God feels,
- Desiring what God desires,
- Doing what God wants,
- Speaking by God’s power,
- Praying and ministering in God’s strength, and
- Knowing with the knowledge which God himself gives.
In times when the church experiences revival the Holy Spirit produces these results in people’s lives in especially powerful ways.
In our Christian lives it is important to depend on the Holy Spirit’s power, recognizing that any significant work is done “not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts” (Zech. 4:6). Paul is emphatic in telling the Galatians that the Holy Spirit was received by faith in the beginning of their Christian life and would continue to work according to their faith in their lives subsequent to conversion:
Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?… Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith?
(Gal. 3:3, 5)
We are to walk according to the guidance of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:12–16; Gal. 5:16–26) and set our minds on the things of the Spirit (Rom. 8:4–6). All our ministry, whatever form it may take, is to be done in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, Second Edition. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic, 2020), 778–796.