Baptism of the Holy Spirit

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is an important but often misunderstood Bible teaching. Now the New Testament has many, many references to the Holy Spirit Himself, but very few direct references to the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

We first learn of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit from John the Baptist who was sent by God to prepare people for the coming of the Christ. It was he who told the people that the Christ, who was to come after John, would baptize with the Holy Spirit. (Matt.3:11).
The next mention is in Acts 1:5. It is here, after His resurrection, and just before He ascended to heaven, that Jesus said to the Apostles, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:4-5).

The first thing we should notice is, that this is:
A Promise, Not a Command: The first thing we need to observe here is that this is a promise to be received, not a command to be obeyed. For example: Water baptism is a command. Our Lord Jesus commanded all who believe in him to be baptized, that is immersed in water, in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. (Matt.28:18-20; Acts 2:38). But He has not commanded anyone to be baptized with the Holy Spirit. It is a special gift from God that Jesus promised to His Apostles.

The Promise Fulfilled: This came to pass on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2:1-4. “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”

Christ was building His church as promised in Matt 16:18. Here in Acts is the History of that beginning, the laying of the foundation of the Church. Foundations are done once and not to be repeated. The laying of this foundation was in two basic stages.

Pentecost: Upon Jewish believers in Christ—Acts 2:1-4.
Gentiles: The pouring of the Spirit on the Gentiles in Acts chapter 10 and 11:1-18 was to demonstrate to the Jewish Christians that the Gentiles could also be saved and be an equal part of the Body of Christ.

“As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning. 16 Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 So if God gave them the same gift as he gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could oppose God?”
18 When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.” (Acts 11:15-18).

It has now been demonstrated that the Gospel is for all, whether Jew or Gentile. Christ has begun to build His Church. Membership is not restricted to any tribe, or people, or nationality.

There are two subheads under these
Giving of the Holy Spirit to the Samaritans in Acts 8:14-17:
The coming of the Holy Spirit on the Samaritans was not a duplicate of Pentecost. To them the gift of the Holy Spirit must come through the hands of the Apostles. If you read John 4:4-26 you will see that the Samaritans believed they were the people of God independent of Israel. They claimed to be descendants of Jacob. They had the first five books of the Bible and were looking for the promised Messiah. The coming of the Spirit on the Samaritans was to demonstrate that they could not be independent from the Apostles in Jerusalem and were an integral part of the body of Christ.

Followers of John the Baptist: Acts 19:1-7.
John the Baptist was a prophet sent by God. It was necessary to prove to his followers that John’s baptism was no longer valid. This also was not a duplicate of Pentecost.
It is important to see that the giving of the Holy Spirit in these last two instances was not a repeat of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, nor a repeat of the outpouring on the Gentiles in Acts 10 and 11. There are those today who seek to duplicate Pentecost. Many are deceived into thinking that modern-day tongues speaking is a Pentecostal experi- ence. But there is no similarity whatever. If you carefully read Acts chapter two you will see that the tongues were proper human languages which were understood by different people. God did not design that what happened on Pentecost should be repeated today. The Book of Acts is primarily a book of the history of the beginning of the Church, recording the laying of the foundation.

The Church is described in Ephesians chapter 2 verse 20, as having been “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.” And 1 Corinthians 3:11 declares that “no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

The Foundation Is Now Complete
All tribes, nations, peoples may enter this new salvation: The “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” has been accomplished:

“For we were all BAPTIZED BY ONE SPIRIT into one body — whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free — and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 1Cor 12:13.
We come into that Baptism of the Holy Spirit at conversion, for that is the promise. “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

And the Church is now a holy temple in the Lord, “a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” Eph 2:21-22. The Holy Spirit lives in the Church collectively—because He lives in each individual member.

There are many other Scriptures that show that all baptized believers have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit which we will look at later. But first we want to examine the claim that

“Tongues” are THE Sign of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.”
There are those who wrongly expect that the one-time inaugural event of the Day of Pentecost is to be experienced over and over again. (That is why they often call themselves “Pentecostals”).

Salvation ? Some groups teach that tongues speaking is a sign of salvation. Every Christian, they say, should expect to speak in tongues at the moment of salvation. It is at the moment of salvation, they say, that someone receives the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, AND they claim that speaking in tongues is the main evidence that one is saved and has the Holy Spirit.

“Second Blessing”: Other groups teach that a person is saved when he first believes in Christ, but afterwards he must seek the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. This is a “Second Blessing” to be desired by all believers. Without it you would be a second-class Christian. Both these teachings are contrary to Scripture! (Both groups also believe that they can Prophesy and perform miraculous healings).

Warning, none of those things are evidence of salvation, NOT tongues, NOT prophesying, NOT miracles. Jesus Himself gave that warning!

Matt 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

A certain TV preacher told his listeners, “I do not baptize in water, I will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” and other similar words. You can be confident that that person is a false teacher who is corrupting the word of God. No man today can baptize anyone in the Holy Spirit !
Another sensational type of TV preacher was making throwing motions with his arm, claiming he was throwing the Holy Spirit to his audience and they were jumping up and down making catching motions with their hands and shouting out, “I got it, I got it,” claiming they were catching the Holy Spirit. They were very much deceived. The only thing they caught in their hands was —at best—a figment of their imagination;—and at worst—an evil spirit. Such actions by that preacher appears to me to be blasphemy.

Paul describes these false teachers as “men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.” (1Tim3:5)

And Peter says, “In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.” 2Peter 2:3.

The Apostles pointed to their miracles as evidence that the MESSAGE they preached was from God, NOT as evidence that they had the Holy Spirit. (Mark 16:20; Hebrews 2:3,4; Acts 4:10; Acts 14:3; 2Cor 12:12).

Some teach that the baptism of the H.S. and being filled with the H.S. are the same thing. They are not. There is —One baptism, but many FILLINGS. For example:
Acts 4:31 “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. ”

The Apostles had been baptized in the Holy Spirit in Acts 2. They now needed to be filled again.
Having received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit we are now INSTRUCTED to be Filled with the Holy Spirit: Eph 5:15-20 “Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. 19 . . .20. .”

That is not a exhortation to a believer to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, but is an exhortation to someone who has already received the baptism of the Holy Spirit to now be filled with the Spirit.

Below, we shall quote some more of verses from the New Testament which come after Acts 2. In none of these will you see the expression “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” in any form. But, take careful note of this. The things that are said in these verses could not be said unless the person addressed had already been baptized in the Holy Spirit.

1Cor 3:16 “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?.”

1 Cor 6:19-20. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? ”

We are a TEMPLE of the Holy Spirit. And that could not be unless we had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit cannot live in someone who had not been baptized with the Holy Spirit. “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body — whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free — and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 1Cor 12:13

The baptism of the Holy Spirit is the same as the “gift of the Holy Spirit” promised in Acts 2:38, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

We Have Been Clothed with Christ
Gal 3:27 “for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”
To be “clothed with Christ,” is the same as being baptized with the Holy Spirit. You cannot have one without the other. And that took place when we accepted Christ and were baptized into Christ. In other words, at the same time we received water baptism we received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, we were clothed with Christ.

We are then instructed and urged to:
LIVE by the Spirit – Gal 5:16; We cannot live by the Spirit unless He is with us, unless we have been so baptized. We cannot do any of these things unless we have received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit
Be LED by the Spirit, Gal 5:18,25; Rom8:13.
SOW to please the Spirit Gal 6:7-8.
PUT TO DEATH the misdeeds of the body By The Spirit. Rom 8:13.
WALK, or KEEP IN STEP with the Spirit — Gal.5:25. We must do this BECAUSE:
“YOU were WASHED, you were SANCTIFIED, you were JUSTIFIED in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the SPIRIT of our GOD.”— 1Cor 6:11.
We Were SEALED with the Holy Spirit:

Eph 1:13 “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,”
Therefore, we do not seek the “baptism of the Holy Spirit.” We received that when we first believed and were baptized into Christ. But now there must be the practical out-working of that truth. The Corinthians had received that baptism (1Corinthians 12:13), but had back-slidden into carnality, and it was necessary to remind them, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” 1Cor 3:16.

And again in 1Cor 6:19-20. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”

Romans 8:1-26 Gives the result of our being filled with the Holy Spirit. Does not mention tongues or miracles or prophesying. (Please read that chapter).
vs 9 “And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.”
vs 13 “For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”

The real evidence of having the Holy Spirit is NOT tongues and miracles but Changed Lives.
The real evidence of the Holy Spirit is the FRUIT of the SPIRIT.
Gal 5:22-26 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control . . . 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit . 26 . . .”

One cannot bear the Fruit of the Spirit who as not been baptized with the Spirit. This Baptism of the Holy Spirit is not something for the Christian to seek after he has been baptized, but is ours when we first believe and are baptized into Christ, for it is then that we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit; it is at that time “we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body — whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free — and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. (1Cor 12:13).

Tongues and miracles are never mentioned or even hinted at in all those teachings about the Holy Spirit

Rom 14:17-18 “For the kingdom of God is . . . righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.”
Rom 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit ”

What is our hope? It is the return of Christ and our being glorified with Him. — Rom.5:2; Rom.8:18-25; 1Cor.13:13; Gal.5:5; Col.1:5, 23, 27; 2Thess. 2:16-17; Titus 2:11-13; Heb. 6:18-19; 1Peter 1:3; 1John 3:2-3.

The Holy Spirit enables us to judge things rightly and to understand the Word of God.
1 Cor 2:12-14. “We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13. . 14 . . 15 .”

Eph 1:15-20 “For this reason, . . . 16 . . . 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation,—(To whom is he speaking ? See Chap 1:1–3. The saints at Ephesus who have received every spiritual blessing, and that would certainly include baptized with the Holy Spirit)— so that you may know him better. 18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe . . . 20 . . .”

Eph 3:14-19 “For this reason . . . 15 . . . 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, . . . 18 may have power, . . . . to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 . . — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

Notice, he is praying for those who have been baptized with the Holy Spirit, that they might now be filled with the Holy Spirit. The expression “that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” And being “filled with all the fullness of God,” all mean the same thing.
It Is The Will of God that we be Transformed into the image of Christ by the Spirit.

2Cor 3:18, “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
R.L. Garrett