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Can the Holy Ghost live in an unclean vessel?

Submitted: 11/7/2008
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Question: The Bible states that you must repent, be baptized, and you shall receive the Holy Ghost. How is it that some have received the Holy Ghost in unwashed vessels or how can the Holy Ghost dwell in uncleansed vessels? If the baptism remits sins?

Answer: As you say, the general pattern is to repent and be baptized first. This is the birth of water (Acts 2:38; John 3:5). After this a person is promised the gift of the Holy Spirit, which is the birth of the Spirit. But we know from the Scriptures that God does not always follow this pattern. In Acts 10:44-48, the people were filled with the Spirit first and then baptized. Many people have been filled with the Spirit prior to water baptism. Apparently God does not have a problem dwelling in an unclean temple, at least for a while. He entered an unclean temple several times in the Gospels, but He also set about cleaning it out (see Matthew 21:12-13).