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What is the Baptism in the Spirit?

Today's Question: I accepted the Lord into my life several years ago and joined a good Baptist church. I feel like there is more to being a Christian than what I am experiencing. Recently I have heard some exuberant Christians mention that there is another experience called the baptism in the Holy Spirit. This may be what I am looking for. Can you explain it to me?

Bible Answer: Yes, there is an experience called the baptism in the Holy Spirit. And you can have it!

 The Bible talks about more than one baptism: John said, "I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Matt 3:11). John’s limit was water baptism, because the Spirit had not yet come.

 Jesus mentioned this glorious day of the coming of the Spirit, “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him. By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified" (John 7:38-39). There was no possibility of anyone receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit until Pentecost had come.

 Jesus speaks of Pentecost after He had risen from the dead, "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 1:4-5). Jesus links the coming of the Spirit with John’s declaration of the baptism in the Spirit. When the Spirit comes, it is for the purpose of the disciples being baptized with the Spirit. There is no point for the Spirit to come, and then the disciples remain un-baptized with the Spirit. This is like having a baptismal tank in church but never using it. Unfortunately this is exactly what has happened to the modern church. The Spirit has already come, but most Christians do not get baptized in the Spirit.

 This baptism is so important that the Hebrew writer calls it the Elementary doctrines of Christianity. "Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment" (Heb 6:1-3). Before the Apostle could teach the deeper things of the Spirit, he gives us the list of the six beginning teachings about Christ, and on the list is instruction about baptisms. Notice the word baptisms is plural, because there is more than one baptism. For the Christian to not be baptized in the Spirit is for him to not be able to go on to maturity in Christ. He will always be limited.

 One of the arguments that theologians use to dissuade converts from being baptized with the Spirit is to claim that salvation is the same as the baptism in the Spirit. However, it is not. Salvation is always linked with “water” baptism, not the “Spirit” baptism. Jesus said, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). No mention of the necessity of being baptized in the Spirit, but water baptism is linked to salvation. Water speaks of cleansing, and this is a great picture of the sinner being cleansed from his sins. However the Spirit is the Person who gives “power to be a witness.” His job is to empower believers; this is different than saving believers.

The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Godhead. Jesus said that the world cannot receive the Spirit. “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. (John 14:16-17)

The World cannot accept him.” The Holy Spirit is the gift for the child of God, while Jesus is the gift for the world. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).

Jesus belongs to the world. He is God's gift to the world. You received Jesus while you were still in the world, but now, since you are no longer of this world, you can receive the Holy Spirit. This is a separate experience from salvation.

Jesus said, "Your Father in heaven will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" (Luke 11:13). Notice that only those who can call God their Father have a right to ask Him for the Holy Spirit. To be saved, you did not ask God to give you the Spirit; you asked Jesus to come into your heart. Now it's time to ask for the Holy Spirit.

At Ephesus, the Apostle Paul asked some disciples this question: "Did you receive the Holy Spirit after you believed?" (Acts 19:2). We, too, must ask that question today. It is clear from the reader's letter that he has not received the Holy Spirit in the way the Bible teaches. But he can and so can you.

Sincerely ask Father God for the Holy Spirit and believe with all your heart that you will receiveand you will! How will you know that you have received?

Because you will receive power after the Holy Spirit comes upon you. You will normally be given the ability to speak in tongues, which is heaven's language. Other supernatural gifts may come instead, such as the ability to heal the sick, ability to work miracles, or the ability to prophecy. Ask now, or get a Spirit-filled Christian to pray for you. Do not be satisfied with simply a prayer without evidences. You should expect at least one of the nine gifts of the Spirit to manifest in your life. (see 1 Cor 12:1-11).


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