Q. I have a question regarding the Holy Spirit. I believe as you do that when we became saved God sealed the Holy Spirit within us. However, this confuses me at times. My question is: If the Holy Spirit is God and God can have no part in sinning, how can the Holy Spirit stay in us while we are sinning? Does the Holy Spirit leave us while we are sinning then return when we repent? If so how can the Holy Spirit be sealed in me if it leaves me while I am sinning?
A. You’ve hit on one of the most remarkable characteristics of God’s grace, and that’s His decision to see us not as we are but as we will be when we’re perfected. 2 Cor. 5:17 says that from God’s perspective we’re already a new creation, that the old is gone and the new has come. 2 Cor. 5:21 says that because of the Son’s sacrifice the Father sees us as being as righteous as He is. In Romans 7:18-20 Paul wrote that when he sinned God knew that it wasn’t him but the sin living in him that was to blame.
I heard one teacher explain Romans 8:29 to mean that when God looks at us it’s through the image of His Son, so He sees only that part of us that conforms to the Son’s image.
In four different places Paul said that the Holy Spirit is sealed within us (2 Cor. 1:21-22, 2 Cor. 5:5, Ephes. 1:13-14, Ephes 4:30). He can’t leave no matter what. The best I can tell you is that where we’re concerned God is the ultimate expert at separating the believer from the behavior.
“Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit” (Psalm 32:1-2).