Is being “baptized in the Holy Spirit” the same as being “filled by the Holy Spirit”?

The Holy Spirit is one of the three Persons of the Holy Trinity. He is equal in position and power, possessing all the characteristics of deity. He is eternal, having neither a beginning nor an end (Hebrews 9:14); omnipotent, having all power (Luke 1:35); present, everywhere present at the same time (Psalm 139:7); and omniscient, all knowing (I Corinthians 2:10,11).

He possesses all the characteristics of personality. The Holy Spirit is not an “it” (see Romans 8:16 and 26). The Holy Spirit has intellect, emotions, and will. He speaks (Acts 13:2) intercedes (Romans 8:26), testifies (John 15:26), guides (john 16:13), commands (Acts 16:6,7), appoints (Acts 20:28), leads (Romans 8:14), and reproves and convicts of sin (John 16:8). He can be lied to and tested (Acts 5:3,4,9), resisted (Acts 7:51), grieved (Ephesians 4:30) and Blasphemed (Matthew 12:31).


Each Christian must understand his own relationship to the Holy Spirit. These things ARE TRUE OF ALL Christians!:

1. We are born of the Holy Spirit (John 3:6,8).

2. God has given us the Holy Spirit (John 14:16; 16:7)

3. We are baptized by the Spirit (I Corinthians 12:13).

4. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 6:19,20)

5. We are sealed by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13)



Now, even those all these things are already true, not everyone exhibits the Holy Spirit to the same degree. That is to say that each Christian has the Holy Spirit, but not every Christian is FILLED, empowered and controlled, with the Holy Spirit. We ought to desire this fullness because God commands it. “Be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18) The Greek term used in this verse indicates that it is a continuous happening, not a one time event.


Billy Graham explains it best: “I believe the Bible teaches that there is one baptism in the Spirit — when we come to faith in Christ. The Bible teaches that there are many fillings – in fact, we are to be continually filled by the Holy Spirit. One baptism, many filling. When we are filled with the Spirit, it is not a question of there being more of Him, as though His work in us is quantitative. It is not how much of the Spirit you have, but how much the Spirit has of us. As we come to understand more and more of Christ’s leadership, we surrender and yield more to Him. So, in seeking the fullness of the Spirit, we receive and enjoy His filling and His fullness more and more.”

The truly committed Christian will want to appropriate all that God has available for his use. We have received God’s grace through the Lord Jesus Christ. Now we should be open to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit. “But eagerly desire the greater gifts.” (I Corinthians 12:31)

We need to be careful, however, not to be presumptuous in claiming any gifts, but rather trust the sovereign Holy Spirit to give “to each man, just as He determines.” (I Corinthians 12:11). Many persons claim to be possessors of certain gifts, but their lives and ministry do not give evidence of such possessions.


Spiritual pride can nullify the effectiveness of any gift. Because some Christians possess the more obvious gifts, such as preaching, teaching, or evangelizing, does not mean that they are “super-Christians.” The Christian who exercise the quiet gift of faith is just as important to God and to the building up of the body. Nowhere in the Scripture is it indicated that we are to seek the same gifts. All gifts have the same goal: all are to work toward building and unifying the Church. (Ephesians 4:12-16).

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