by Charles R. Swindoll
Read 1 Samuel 16:14-15
I think it's important that we notice that the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul before an evil spirit came. Christians read those words about "an evil spirit from God" and they fear that could happen today. I've heard evangelists use that as a tool to shock Christians. "You continue to walk in the flesh," they say, "and God will lift His Spirit from you, and you won't have God's presence within you as you once had." Then they'll quote this verse or the one in Judges 16 where Samson is in Delilah's lap, and it says, "He did not know that the LORD had departed from him." Or the one in Psalm 51:11 that says, "Do not take Your Holy Spirit from me." That's a fearful thought, that God could lift His Spirit from us and we'd be lost, having once been saved.
So let's go on record right now with a good dose of theology. Before the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost (Acts 2), the Spirit of God never permanently rested on any believer except David and John the Baptizer. Those are the only two. It was not uncommon for the Spirit of God to come for a temporary period of strengthening or insight or whatever was the need of the moment and then to depart, only to return again for another surge of the need of the moment, then to depart once again.
However, at Pentecost and from that time on, all the way through our present era, when the Spirit of God comes into the believing sinner at salvation, He never leaves. He comes and baptizes us into the body of Christ. That happens at salvation. We remain sealed by the Spirit from that time on. We're never exhorted to be baptized by the Spirit. We are baptized into the body of Christ, placed there by the Spirit, sealed until the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30). That's the day we die. So He's there, and He never leaves. Furthermore, our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit in which the Spirit of God dwells. He permanently resides within us and will never, ever depart. So, rest easy, Christian friend. The Lord has come to stay.
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.