Q David said, “Cast me not away from Thy presence; and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me” (Psa. 51:11). Is this a danger for us today? Can the Holy Spirit be taken from us?
by Pastor Matt Ritchey, Managing Editor
Estimated Time to Read: 4 Minutes
ANSWER: Earlier in Psalm 51, David requested, “Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquities, and cleanse me from my sin” (vs. 2). Additionally, the chapter ends with “Then shalt Thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon Thine altar” (vs. 19). I point out these two verses to remind us that David was under a different economy of God than the dispensation in which we live and minister. While we can learn much from David’s humble attitude of being pleasing to the Lord in this Psalm, we must be able to distinguish the differences.
The Prophetic Program
In the Prophetic program (Old Testament and the ministry of the Twelve), the Holy Spirit had a come-and-go relationship with certain people. The Holy Spirit was with King Saul for a time, but left Saul when David was chosen as king (I Sam. 16:14). The Holy Spirit is then said to have come “upon David from that day forward” (I Sam. 16:13). Yet, it is David who is pleading with the Lord not take His Holy Spirit from him, meaning David thought it was possible.
There were also times when people were endued with the Holy Spirit’s power and knowledge, like Bezalel as he produced items for the tabernacle (Ex. 31:2-5), but this is presented as a temporary arrangement for a specific time and purpose. Even at Pentecost, where the Holy Spirit makes Himself known in a noticeable way (Acts 2:1-4), the focus, much like in the Old Testament (see Num. 11:17, 25; 27:18; Jdg. 3:10; 15:14; Isa. 59:21; Ezek. 2:2; 3:24), is on statements of the Holy Spirit coming upon or filling them (Acts 11:15; 19:6). Therefore, we must be able to discern what the Lord says to us through Paul, and what the Lord said to them through the Apostles.
The Current Age of Grace
Turning your attention back to Psalm 51 (where David is expressing sorrow over his sin with Bathsheba), we do not need to cry out to be washed from our sins (vs. 2) if we have trusted in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ alone to save us, for we have already been forgiven of all our trespasses (Col. 2:14) and are washed by “the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:5). We do not have to offer animal sacrifices and Levitical offerings (Psa. 51:19) for the righteousness of God is “by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe” (Rom. 3:22).
We take these teachings from Paul, the Apostle of Grace; the one God chose to reveal His unique message of Grace to the world. It is to his epistles we must turn for the final say on the work of the Holy Spirit in this current of Age of Grace. There are several passages that confirm that a believer today is indwelt and sealed by the Holy Spirit through the entirety of this life.
The Believer is Sealed
Romans 8:23 – “And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”
I Corinthians 6:19 – “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”
II Corinthians 1:21 – “Now He which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God.”
II Corinthians 1:22 – “Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.”
Ephesians 1:13-14 – “In Whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in Whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory.”
Ephesians 4:30 – “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”
Indwelt, So Live for God
Simply put, no, the Holy Spirit will never leave a believer. We are sealed, the down payment has been paid, we are indwelt until we go to Heaven. Instead of us crying out, “take not your Spirit from me,” we can focus on walking in the security of the Holy Spirit in order to live lives that please our God and Savior.
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