Sin and Forgiveness

Can The Holy Spirit Dwell in a Sinner?

Christians today talk a lot about the Holy Spirit, some in ignorance while others with knowledge. However, the Holy Spirit is the third person that makes up the Trinity which consists of God and Jesus. Even though the concept of the Trinity is not expressly contained in the Bible, we can trace this concept to various verses and chapters of this Holy Book. The Trinity comprises God the Father, who is the Almighty, God the Son, that is Jesus Christ, and God the Holy Spirit. Man fell in the Garden of Eden, and centuries later, Jesus came and paid the ultimate sacrifice for our redemption. 

This sacrifice, therefore, reconciled man with God and enabled us to have the Spirit of God in us. There is, however the question of whether the Holy Spirit can dwell in everyone, sinner or believer.

The Holy Spirit cannot dwell in a sinner because He cannot coexist with sin.

In Habakkuk 1:13, the Bible says, “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?”

Here the prophet Habakkuk was stressing God’s holy nature, and since the Holy Spirit is also God, He cannot dwell in a sinful place or sinful person. 

This is because there is nothing sinful in God and even in heaven, thus explaining why Lucifer was cast down from heaven once pride was found in him. So to have the Holy Spirit, we have to be pure and without sin so He can dwell in us. 

Who is The Holy Spirit? 

The Holy Spirit is the third personality in the Trinity and is mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments. Like Jesus is described as the Son of God or God-made flesh, the Holy Spirit is the Power and Presence of God. The first mention of the Holy Spirit is in the creation story, where the Bible addressed Him as the Spirit of God.

Genesis 1: 1-2 states, “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters”.

From this verse, we can see the Holy Spirit as the active version of God who brought order to a dark and void world. 

The Holy Spirit is also responsible for empowering believers and children of God. This is expressly visible throughout the Old Testament, where God’s interaction with humanity was still through priests, judges, kings, and prophets. For example, Judges 3:10 tells the story of Othniel, one of the judges of Israel, who the Spirit of God was upon, allowing him to lead Israel to victory and judge them righteously. Also, in

Judges 13: 24-25, the Bible says: “And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the LORD blessed him. And the Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol”.

From here, we see that the Spirit of God came on Samson occasionally, leading him to do supernatural things like killing a lion with his hands, killing Philistines with the jawbone of an ass, and carrying the city’s gate up to a mountain. 

Can The Holy Spirit Dwell in a Sinner

Going further, the New Testament offers more insight into the role and identity of the Holy Spirit. Here, the Holy Spirit is called the Comforter, a Helper, and the Spirit of Truth. In John 14:16-17, Jesus speaks to His disciples and promises to give them and everyone who believes in Him the Comforter who will dwell in them and teach them all truths. One beautiful thing about the Holy Spirit is that He is more than just God’s power or presence; He has divine traits and abilities. 

Can The Holy Spirit Dwell in a Sinner? 

The Holy Spirit is God and vice versa, thus making Him a holy being incapable of coexisting with sin. For this reason, the Holy Spirit cannot stay in the life of a person who sins since He cannot tolerate sin.

Galatians 5:16-17 says, “This I say then, walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would”.

Thus, the Holy Spirit dwelling in the life of a sinner is as impossible as two parallel lines meeting. Also, a sinner who still lives in sin is spiritually dead and, therefore, far from God. 

However, the Holy Spirit can come into the life of a sinner who repents, is baptized, and becomes a new creature in Christ.

Acts 2:38 says: “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

From the above verse, we can see that the Holy Spirit is a gift to everyone who repents and is baptized in the name of Jesus, regardless of what their past lives may have seemed like. 

Finally, the Holy Spirit can also come into a sinner’s life as an indwelling to convict such a person and cause a transformation in their life.

John 16:8 declares that: ” And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and righteousness, and judgment:”

This emphasizes the role of the Holy Spirit in drawing a sinner to Christ and away from His wicked ways. 

How Can a Sinner Receive The Holy Spirit? 

First, the Holy Spirit is a gift of God and a work of grace. So the first step to receiving this gift is accepting salvation and repentance from sin, after which comes the baptism of water. This is because the Holy Spirit cannot inhabit a life filled with evil, so for Him to come into a person’s life, sin has to go away. 

In addition to becoming saved, to get the Holy Spirit, one must have faith in Christ Jesus. Gal 3:14 says that God’s promises to His children and the blessings of Abraham will be made manifest through faith. So without faith, we cannot receive or claim any of the blessings of God, including the Holy Spirit. Finally, praying for the Holy Spirit is essential to receiving it as you need to ask God the Father for the gift of the Holy Spirit. 


Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary saved us from sin and allowed us to have the Holy Spirit in us. The Holy Spirit completes the Trinity and is the active power and presence of God.  With the Holy Spirit in the life of a Christian, such a believer is empowered to achieve great things. However, the Holy Spirit cannot live in a sinner because He is holy and cannot dwell in sin. Therefore, you must first be saved to have the Holy Spirit. After salvation and repentance come baptism, faith in God, and praying for the gift. Finally, the gift of the Holy Spirit is for everyone who confesses, believes, and is baptized in the name of Jesus. 


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