by Neil Anderson
Having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise
After King Saul disobeyed God (1 Samuel 15), we’re told that “the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD terrorized him” (1 Samuel 16:14). This is a difficult passage for two reasons. First, it seems to imply that a person can lose the Holy Spirit by an act of disobedience. But it must be understood that the presence of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament was selective and temporary. The Spirit involved with Saul was probably the same Spirit involved with David in verse 13: a special equipping of the Spirit for ruling as God’s anointed king. This unique equipping is not the same as the personal relationship in the Spirit that we enjoy with God as His children today.
Beginning after the cross, the church is identified by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, who forever unites the children of God with their heavenly Father (Ephesians 1:13, 14). Jesus promised that no one shall snatch us out of His hand (John 10:28), and Paul assured that nothing–not even disobedience–can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:35-39). We are secure in Christ and indwelt by His Spirit through faith in the work of Christ on the cross.
The second problem concerns the bothersome idea that an evil spirit could come from the Lord. But we must remember that God is supreme, and He can use Satan and his emissaries as a means to discipline His people as He did with Saul. It is not inconsistent with the nature or plan of God to use anything to accomplish His will. Even the church is permitted to turn a grossly immoral member over to Satan “for the destruction of his flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (1 Corinthians 5:5). Why? Allowing people to experience the natural consequences of their actions has always been an effective means of discipline.
Do you want to do the devil’s bidding? Go ahead, and maybe the painful consequences you suffer from your immorality will turn you back to God.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for sealing me in Christ by Your Spirit. Help me live obediently today as an expression of thanks for what you have done.