There has been a lot of confusion concerning the baptism of the Holy Spirit over the years. Much of the confusion stems from people building their doctrine on experience and poor interpretation, rather than proper interpretation of the Scriptures.
Buswell defines the baptism of the Spirit as “…the work of grace whereby God’s elect are marked out as members of the true church, the body of Christ.” (Buswell, James Oliver; “A Systematic Theology Of The Christian Religion”; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1962, p 208) This definition may not give the whole picture. There seems to be an aspect of the baptism that indicates that the believer is baptized into the church body. This is not clear in Buswell’s comment.
SPIRIT BAPTISM PROMISED
John The Baptist mentions this baptism in Matthew 3:11, [John The Baptist is speaking]
“I, indeed, baptize you with water unto repentance, but he who cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear; he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit, and with fire.”
The Spirit baptism is promised by John the Baptist and the indications are that this baptism would come from Christ in some manner. (See also Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16, John 1:33. It should be significant if all four gospels record the information.)
Luke makes mention of a baptizing that was to take place yet future. This baptism was the first occurrence of the work of the Spirit in bringing people into the Church. Acts 1:5, [Christ speaking]
“For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
The initial Baptism of the Spirit was on the day of Pentecost in Acts two when the Spirit descended and began the church age. There were also special times in the book of Acts when the Spirit came upon new believers. From the end of the book of Acts we have no occurrence of this even taking place again. The baptism is something that is automatic at the point of salvation.
SPIRIT BAPTISM RECEIVED
On the day of Pentecost the disciples were in the upper room and the Spirit descended upon them. Peter in his sermon on the Day of Pentecost explains what had occurred in the upper room. Acts 2:32,33,
“This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore, being by the right hand of god exalted, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.”
This depicts the outward manifestation that occurred when the Church was established. (There are subsequent events as well: Acts 8:5-25, the Samaritans receive the baptism of the Spirit; Acts 11:15,16, tells us of the conversion of Cornelius’ house. Vs. 17 mentions that belief was the basis of this baptism; Acts 19:1-7, the Ephesian disciples that had been followers of John The Baptist, but did not receive the baptism of the Spirit, where baptized.)
The “when” of reception is of dispute at times. The above texts show quite well that it was at the moment of induction into the Church.
Since we can’t be in Christ before salvation it must of necessity be post salvation. The above texts would show that it is was upon induction into the church, while all other believers receive it at the moment of salvation. The Pentecost and Ephesian believers were believers of the Old Testament age and were a special, beginning group of people.
In answer to those that teach we must seek the baptism you may reply, “Give me a verse.” There are no verses which command, nor indicate a need to seek, the baptism of the Spirit. Indeed, the texts that we have considered show that it was automatic, and that the people did nothing to receive it.
SPIRIT BAPTISM COMMENTED ON BY PAUL
1 Corinthians 12:13,
“For by one Spirit were we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Greeks, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”
This gives the thought mentioned earlier of being baptized INTO the church. Pache mentions that this is, “…the act whereby God makes us members of Christ’s Body.” (Taken from: “The Person And Work Of The Holy Spirit”; Pache, Rene; Copyright 1954, Moody Bible Institute of Chicago; Moody Press. Used by permission. p 71)
The fact that this statement in 1 Corinthians 12:13 is directed to the Corinthian church that was made up of all shades of spiritual giants and midgets would show that the baptism of the Spirit has nothing to do with spiritual life or walk, but of position. (The apostle called some of the membership carnal and babes in 3:1-3)
The Baptism of the Spirit is one of those free things that comes with the territory. We don’t have to ask to be heirs with Christ, we don’t have to ask to be sanctified, we don’t have to ask to be regenerated, we are just — all of those things automatically. The Baptism of the Spirit is a part of all those free items of salvation.
For an interesting study sometime look up the phrase “in Christ” and find how many times it is used in the New Testament, and then search out all of the ramifications of that phrase.
1 Corinthians 12:13 mentions only one baptism. If it is at the moment of salvation, then there is nothing else that the believer is to seek after.
Paul calls the body he mentions the church in Ephesians 1:22,23.
“And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
Which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.”
We are given a place in that body, the church, at the very point of salvation. Along with this new place we are given a number of things which we need to mention, but we won’t take time to study in great detail.
1. We Are Given A New Condition:
“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin Might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” Romans 6:6
Again, we see that the old is crucified, which indicates destruction rather than moved aside to compete with as some suggest.
2. We Are Given A New Residence: “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” John 17:16 We may need to pass through this life for a time, yet our permanent residence is set and sure in eternity.
3. We Are Given A New Righteousness:
“For he hath made him, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21
We had little righteousness in our former life, if any. There may have been some good works, however this verse speaks of the complete righteousness given to us by God. This is in contrast to the complete depravity and unrighteousness of our nature before Christ.
4. We Are Given A New Citizenship:
“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,” Philippians 3:20, Ephesians 2:19
We may act like the world, we may smell like the world, we may look like the world if we are walking with the world, but even then we have a citizenship that is sure, and that citizenship is in heaven.
5. We Are Given A New Freedom: Romans 6:3-7 (from sin.) We no longer are compelled to serve sin. We can if we want, but the purpose and will of God is for us to use our freedom to NOT sin.
6. We Are Given A New Victory:
“Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Ephesians 611
In all of life’s battles, the Lord has given us the victory over the Devil.
7. We Are Given A New Inheritance: We become the children of God and will enjoy the riches of our Father. Those riches may not be evident in this life as material items, yet we are rich in emotion, love and care. In the next life we will share with all that He has. Some, in this life are given the richest blessing materially as well. This is not promised to all, as some preachers suggest, but is given as He wills.
8. We Are Given A New Death:
“Buried with him in baptism, in which also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.” Colossians 2:12
We are buried with Him. Our old nature, or sin nature was buried — indicating death occurred prior to the burial. Again, the thought that our makeup as believers is that of a new nature, not controlled by sin.
9. We Are Given A New Unity:
“For by one Spirit were we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Greeks, whether we be bond or free….”
1 Corinthians 12:3 Galatians 3:27,28 also.
That should relate somehow to church business meetings, wouldn’t you think?
SPIRIT BAPTISM, FACTS THAT RELATE
1. The baptism of the Spirit is different than the filling of the Spirit. Filling has the idea of control by the Spirit. The baptizing is the act which causes the new believer to enter into the body of Christ. You can be saved and baptized into the body with out being filled with the Spirit. Filling is something that is subsequent to our salvation and is related to our walk. Baptism is related to our position in Christ.
2. It is for all believers, no mater their spiritual condition. The Corinthians were carnal and babes and they are classed as being baptized, and are seen as the temples of the Holy Spirit.
It once crossed my mind as to why God did not make the Baptism of the Spirit optional as He did the filling. I guess He wanted to be sure that He had a church. If He had made it optional few would have come seeking baptism, as few today seek the filling of the Spirit.
3. It is not optional.
4. It is not avoidable. You can’t accept the Lord and duck, missing the Baptism of the Spirit. It is automatic, compulsory, and mandatory.
5. Of all the things that are mentioned in the activity of the Spirit in relationship to Christ it is of interest that Christ was never Baptized with the Spirit. The baptism of the Jordon was with water, the spirit came upon Him but not as a baptism of the Spirit. (Luke 3:22;4:1,14,18)
This is only logical, because He was not a part of the church age. Indeed, He made it possible for the church age to exist. He was ascended to be with the Father long before the Baptizing of the Spirit was placed into effect. Logically — He didn’t need to be baptized with the Spirit. He was already head of Body — no need to be made part of it.
6. The baptism is called by different names. “baptized with the Holy Ghost” Acts 1:5; “baptized into Jesus Christ” Galatians 3:17, Romans 6:3; “baptized into his death” Romans 6:3.
Since Ephesians 4:4-6 is very clear that there is only one baptism, then we must assume that all of these are one.
7. There is no Old Testament scripture that mentions such an occurrence, nor any that prophecy it’s coming. Again, that is obvious in that none of these people were part of the church age. The Baptism of the Spirit is strictly a church age occurrence. The thing that brought an Old Testament person into Israel was circumcision. Indeed, circumcision would be a looking forward to the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
8. Chafer in his Bible Themes mentions on pp 110,111 that the baptism into the body is separate from the baptism into Christ. This would be hard
to hold, in light of the plain declaration that there is one baptism. (Ephesians 4:4-6)
SPIRIT BAPTISM MISAPPLIED
1. The usual Charismatic thought is that it is subsequent to the salvation experience. This thought has been covered in past studies. The idea that tongues is the signification that a person has received the baptism of the Spirit has been mentioned as well. Both lines of thinking are in error.
2. A Baptist theologian of the past generation by the name of E.Y. Mullins in an article in the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, “Baptism Of The Holy Spirit” indicates that the texts relating to Spirit baptism are all related to water baptism, and that the Spirit mentioned with these references is to signify that the church is to be operating in the Spirit at those times when the believers are being added to the local church by water baptism. (Orr, James; “The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia”; Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub., 1939, pp 309-310)
He feels that the baptism of the Spirit ended before the end of Acts and that it never again took place. I think a look at the related verses will show this to be a very strained view.
3. Along with the view that the baptism of the Spirit is subsequent to the salvation experience, there are those that feel that this is a second work of grace which leads to complete sanctification and sinless perfection within this life.
In other words you might accept the Lord and go along as a good to moderate Christian for a time, be it a year or many years, and one day receive the Baptism of the Spirit and all of a sudden be totally sanctified and perfect — going out to serve God in a new manner. There seems to be no basis for this thinking in the Word.
4. Another Baptist theologian, Dale Moody in “The Word Of Truth” (Grand Rapids; Eerdmans; 1981; p 447) according to Ryrie mentions, “God imparts the Spirit in baptism” (Reprinted by permission: Ryrie, Charles C.; “Basic Theology”; Wheaton: Victor Books, 1986, p 362) Another research paper for you: Are the indwelling of the Spirit and the Baptism of the Spirit the same act or occasion. Indwelling is a living place,
while Baptism is an act of placing into the body of Christ. The two seem to differ, yet they are closely related to all that goes on in salvation. Indeed, the fact that the Spirit indwells may place us in Christ. The fact would become the act. More study might be appropriate on the possibility.
5. Some of the men we hold dear weren’t as clear as possible on the doctrine. Ryrie mentions, “men like R.A. Torrey and D.L. Moody were unclear in this area. Torrey taught that a person could or could not be baptized with the Spirit at the moment of salvation (The Baptism With The Holy Spirit [Minneapolis: Bethany House, 1972], pp. 13-4). In his biography of Moody, Torrey recounts Moody’s baptism as something that occurred subsequent to salvation (Why God Used D.L. Moody [New York: Revell, 1923], pp. 51-5).” (Reprinted by permission: Ryrie, Charles C.; “Basic Theology”; Wheaton: Victor Books, 1986, p 363)
Torrey tells us, “The baptism with the Holy Spirit is an absolutely necessary preparation for effective service for Christ along every line of service.” He goes on to say in the next paragraph. “Any man who is in Christian work who has not received the baptism with the Holy Spirit ought to stop his work right where he is and not go on with it until he has been ‘clothed with power from on high.’“ This is in the context of the baptism being secondary to conversion and an item for which you must ask, but only after you are surrendered to God totally. (Torrey, R.A.; “Baptism With The Holy Spirit”; Minneapolis: Bethany House, 1972, pp 13, 14) He goes on to equate baptism to filling. He seems to see a one time special occurrence that is subsequent to salvation.
6. Some hyper-dispensationals believe that the baptism of Acts is separate from the baptism of the epistles. Both baptisms are usually viewed as water baptism.
SPIRIT BAPTISM APPLIED
1. Probably one of the great tragedies of the church age is going to go into history as the schism between believers. I am not advocating the union of all believers, however I feel there is a wide gap that ought not be there.
I am a good Baptist by nature, education, and conviction so I can tell stories on my own breed. There was a man that died and went to heaven. At the gates he was introduced to an angel that was going to give him a tour of heaven. As the tour progressed they stepped into a huge building. Inside was a long hallway with many doors. The angel stepped to the first door. The door was marked Lutheran. The angel opened the door and introduced the new arrival to everyone. They moved back into the hall and the man commented on how nice the Lutherans had been.
They then stepped to the door marked Christian Church…. They then stepped to the door marked Brethren….
They then stepped to the door marked Presbyterian….
All of the peoples were friendly and the man seemed surprised. The angel then stepped to another door. He turned to the man and stated, “Now, we have to be very quiet when I open this door. I won’t be introducing you to these people.” The angel opened the door and the man looked in only briefly before the angel closed the door very softly. The man asked why he did not get to meet these people. The angel stated, “Well, the Baptists don’t know anyone else is here and we hate to bother them.”
Nothing Against The Baptists. All Of Our Churches Tend Toward The Idea That Only “We” Will Be There.
In the area of the teaching of the Spirit the gap is of necessity due to the great divisiveness of the Charismatic movement as well as quite often the related life styles involved.
John 13:35 mentions, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” Unless you take that statement as a very idol mumbling of our Lord it is a very startling reality that most of us can’t relate to.
To love the Charismatic is our job. We needn’t participate in their antics and doctrine, but we are to love them.
To love the Baptists is our job. To love the Brethren as in Plymouth is our job. To love the Lutherans is our job, if they are believers. I’ve listened to some Lutheran radio, and it usually puts the fundamental preachers to
shame. To love the independent Bible church people is our job if we are Baptists or Brethren.
We Are Part Of The Same Body, And We Are All Part Of The Lord Jesus Christ.
Do Not Misunderstand Me. I Am Not Saying Let’s Get Together With False Teaching. We Are, To Love One Another, However.
2. Indeed the above thinking relates to the believers within the local assemblies. To love one another would move toward a real working of the Spirit in most churches.
3. If we are baptized into the body of Christ and into Christ himself at the moment of salvation, then to fall away to a lost state would demand your removal from the Body, and from Christ. What a challenge to the doctrine of the insecurity of the believer.
4. If you are a member of the body of Christ then God has a place for you to serve. You may be a nose to smell out false doctrine, or a finger to point at the dangers of the world. You may be a foot to do the door to door work, or you may be a knee to do the praying. You, however are not the brain so I trust that you will never act like it. You are something, so get to work. God has a ministry for every last one of us. It may not be glorious or it may be glorious. Never the mind, it is our place to do as He bids for the betterment of the Entire Body.
Cambron’s “Bible Doctrines”, pp 141-142 has a chart that might be of use to you. I would like to adapt it for your further study.
CONTRASTING BAPTISM AND FILLING OF THE SPIRIT
BAPTISM OF THE SPIRIT
FILLING OF THE SPIRIT
|1. RELATES TO POSITION
|1. RELATES TO WALK
|2. EXTERNAL (POSITION)
|3. FOR EVERY BELIEVER
|3. OPTIONAL WITH THE BELIEVER
|4. NEVER COMMANDED
|5. OCCURS AT SALVATION
|5. MAY OCCUR AT BELIEVERS WILL
|6. OCCURS ONCE
|6. MAY OCCUR MANY TIMES
|7. OCCURRED POST PENTECOST
|7. SOME FILLED PRE PENTECOST
 Stanley L. Derickson Ph.D. B.A. (n.d.). DERICKSON’S NOTES ON THEOLOGY: A STUDY BOOK IN THEOLOGY.