Click to Change

Return to Top

Return to Top

Printer Icon


Prior Section Back to Commentaries Author Bio & Contents Next Section
The Blue Letter Bible
Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: The Holy Spirit and Us

Don Stewart :: Can a Person Impede the Work of the Holy Spirit?

toggle collapse
Choose a new font size and typeface

Can a Person Impede the Work of the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit and Us – Question 19

Is it possible for a person to impede the work of the Holy Spirit in their life? The Bible answers yes it certainly is possible. Three important points need to be made.

We Can Resist the Work of the Holy Spirit

To begin with, Scripture makes it clear that we can indeed resist what the Spirit of God is trying to do. Paul wrote to the Ephesians about the possibility of grieving the Spirit of God. He said.

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30 ESV).

Thus, we as believers are capable of grieving God’s Spirit.

Paul also warned the Thessalonians that we can put out the “fire” of the Spirit.

Do not put out the Spirit’s fire (1 Thessalonians 5:19 NIV).

We have the possibility of impeding the work of the Spirit.

In the Old Testament, we read of the nation Israel often resisting God’s Spirit. The martyr Stephen reminded an unruly crowd that this is what had often taken place.

You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you (Acts 7:51 NKJV).

These people resisted the work of the Holy Spirit as Stephen was trying to teach them the truth of God.

Thus great work that the Holy Spirit desires to do in a person’s life can be halted when people refuse to obey God. The Bible says the Holy Spirit can be grieved, or quenched. This happens through disobedience and lack of yielding to God’s Spirit. When God’s commandments are disobeyed, the Holy Spirit’s work is thwarted. Obviously this is something which believers should not want to do.

It Is Not the Fault of the Devil

Though some people blame their shortcomings on the devil, the Bible says that he was defeated by Jesus Christ. John emphasized.

But when people keep on sinning, it shows they belong to the Devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy these works of the Devil (1 John 3:8 NLT).

Jesus came to this world to destroy the works of the devil. He has accomplished this goal. The devil has been defeated!

Consequently, since our enemy the devil has been defeated, the believer need not continue in sin. Paul wrote.

Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him (Romans 6:6-8 NKJV).

While the believer can both quench and grieve the Holy Spirit through disobedience to God, Satan cannot be blamed for this; for Jesus Christ has defeated him. It is our personal sin that quenches the work of the Holy Spirit. It is our fault alone. We cannot blame the devil or anyone else for that matter. We are to blame.

The Remedy Is Confession of Sin

It is not possible to receive the fullness of God’s blessing while the believer is in sin. That’s the bad news. The good news is that there is a remedy for this. The remedy for grieving, or quenching, the Holy Spirit is confession of sin. John declared.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9 ESV).

This verse has nothing to do with our ultimate salvation. It is directed at believers who have sinned against God. When a believer confesses their sin it removes the temporary barrier that had been placed between them and God. The Holy Spirit can then do His work in our lives.

In sum, the Bible says that it is possible to impede the progress of the Spirit of God in our lives. Our sin stops His work. However, we can remedy that by confessing our sin and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide or control us. In this way the Spirit of God can work in a proper manner.

Summary – Question 19
Can a Person Impede the Work of the Holy Spirit?

Unfortunately, believers in Jesus Christ can personally quench or grieve the Spirit of God. The Bible makes this clear. We are told that the work of the Holy Spirit can come to a halt in a believer’s life through their disobedience. Sin has consequences.

This disobedience can only be blamed upon believers themselves – no outside force can cause a believer to sin. Thus, we cannot attribute our sinful behavior to the devil or to someone else. It is our responsibility alone. Furthermore, when we do impede the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives we are cutting ourselves off from God’s blessings.

There is a remedy for this; confession of sin. Indeed, we must acknowledge our sin and ask for God’s forgiveness for what we have done. Once confession is made, the believer can then once again be filled, or controlled, by the Holy Spirit. The work of the Holy Spirit can then go forward.

How Does the Holy Spirit Help Free the Believer from Sin? ← Prior Section
How Does the Holy Spirit Guide the Believer? Next Section →
BLB Searches
Search the Bible

Advanced Options

Other Searches

Multi-Verse Retrieval

Daily Devotionals

Blue Letter Bible offers several daily devotional readings in order to help you refocus on Christ and the Gospel of His peace and righteousness.

Daily Bible Reading Plans

Recognizing the value of consistent reflection upon the Word of God in order to refocus one's mind and heart upon Christ and His Gospel of peace, we provide several reading plans designed to cover the entire Bible in a year.

One-Year Plans

Two-Year Plan


The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.