As God, the Holy Spirit is omnipresent. At the same time, He is present in a special way in God’s people. According to 1 Corinthians 6:19–20, the Holy Spirit dwells within every believer in Jesus Christ. The bodies of Christians are His temple (1 Corinthians 3:16).
We know that the Holy Spirit was sent by the Father. Jesus comforted His followers before He was crucified by saying, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:26); and, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever” (John 14:16). Jesus’ promise was fulfilled in Acts 2, when the Holy Spirit indwelled and empowered the disciples in Jerusalem.
The Holy Spirit did not always indwell God’s people. The Holy Spirit appeared only sporadically in the Old Testament. Rather than dwell within the hearts of people as He would do after the ministry of Christ, the Holy Spirit temporarily came upon certain men in the Old Testament to enable them to carry out God’s plan. He came upon Moses and then upon the seventy leaders Moses chose to help him (Numbers 11:16–17, 25). He came upon King Saul (1 Samuel 10:6; 19:23). He came upon David when Samuel anointed him as the next king (1 Samuel 16:13). He came upon Balaam to give him a prophecy (Numbers 24:2).
In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit would come and go. After God’s work had been accomplished on a specific occasion, or when people began to disobey the Lord, the Spirit would depart. He departed from Saul (1 Samuel 16:14). He departed from Samson (Judges 16:20). His filling, empowering presence was not permanent in any individual at that time; rather, the Spirit “rested on” or “came upon” individuals who had a divine task to accomplish. God worked differently with humanity before the coming of His Son, Jesus (John 3:16–18). When God had an earthly temple, that was the place where His Spirit dwelt among His people (Exodus 25:8; 2 Chronicles 7:16). But when Jesus died, the veil in the temple was torn in two (Mark 15:38). God ushered in a new “temple” for His Spirit—the body and soul of every believer who receives Jesus as Lord and Savior (John 1:12; Romans 10:9–10).
Because He dwells in us, the Holy Spirit helps us pray (Romans 8:26). He comforts us (Psalm 34:18; 2 Corinthians 1:4). And He gives us words to say when we speak on His behalf (Luke 12:12). The Holy Spirit is everywhere that believers go. That’s one reason Christians must remain aware of their actions and attitudes. Because He lives in us, we are warned not to grieve or quench Him (Ephesians 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19). We take Him with us wherever we go, and He is a part of everything we are doing. We develop a healthy fear of the Lord when we live with the continual awareness that the Holy Spirit is watching and evaluating everything we think, say, and do (Job 28:28; Proverbs 9:10; 16:6).
When the word “quench” is used in Scripture, it is speaking of suppressing fire. When believers put on the shield of faith, as part of their armor of God (Ephesians 6:16), they are extinguishing the power of the fiery darts from Satan. Christ described hell as a place where the fire would not be “quenched” (Mark 9:44, 46, 48). Likewise, the Holy Spirit is a fire dwelling in each believer. He wants to express Himself in our actions and attitudes. When believers do not allow the Spirit to be seen in our actions or we do what we know is wrong, we suppress or quench the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19). We do not allow the Spirit to reveal Himself the way that He wants to.