Foundations of the Faith – Part Eight 

Another part of the foundation of the faith is the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Both Jesus and John the Baptist had promised a new baptism in the Holy Spirit. To be baptized in the Spirit means the believer is fully immersed in the Spirit. 

Matthew 3:11 (CSB) “I baptize you with water for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is more powerful than I. I am not worthy to remove his sandals. He himself will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (See also: Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33)

Acts 1:4-5, 8 “While he was with them, he commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for the Father’s promise. “Which,” he said, “you have heard me speak about; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit in a few days … But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Acts refers not only to people being baptized in the Spirit (Acts 1:5; 11:16) but also to the Holy Spirit coming upon them (Acts 1:8; 19:6), being filled with or full of the Spirit (Acts 2:4; 4:8, 31;6:3,5; 7:55; 9:17; 11:24; 13:9, 52), the Holy Spirit being poured out on them (Acts 2:17, 18, 33; 10:45), receiving the Holy Spirit (2:38; 8:15, 17; 10:47; 19:2), the Holy Spirit falling upon them (Acts 10:44; 11:15), and the Holy Spirit being given to them (Acts 15:8).

Some people suggest the baptism in the Holy Spirit is simply another reference to water baptism. Others suggest it refers to the new birth. Baptism in water and baptism in the Spirit are not the same. The word baptism refers to initiation into the covenant. The question is: What is the role of the Holy Spirit in the initiation?

In his commentary, I. Howard Marshall stated:

Just as John’s baptism had mediated the divine gift of forgiveness symbolized in the act of washing, so too Christian (water) baptism was regarded as a sign of  forgiveness … But Christian baptism conveyed an additional blessing. John had said that he baptized (only) with water but the Messiah would baptize with the Holy Spirit, and this gift accompanied water baptism performed by the church in the Name of Jesus. The two gifts are closely linked, since it is the Spirit who accomplishes the inner cleansing of which baptism in the outward symbol (The Acts of the Apostles, Eerdmans, 1980, page 81)

In other words, although connected the baptism in the Holy Spirit is a definite second encounter with the Spirit and separate from water baptism. 

The Holy Spirit takes up residence within people who come to the Lord in true repentance and faith. They become sons of God (John 1:12). Not only does the Spirit come to abide in His people, He also comes to fill, saturate, control, given, and lead their lives. The Holy Spirit changes the convert, molding him into the character of Christ and drawing others to Christ.

The Bible says the Spirit baptizes and fills believers. In baptism, the Holy Spirit surrounds and saturates the believer. Being filled with the Holy Spirit implies that the believer actually contains the Holy Spirit., The Holy Spirit saturates the exterior life and floods the interior life. He gives believers waters to swim in as well as waters flowing out of their lives.

The first Christians were initially baptized in the Spirit and repeatedly filled. Whenever the same believers needed the Holy Spirit’s power and guidance, they expected a fresh filling.

Acts 4:31 (CSB) “When they had prayed, the place where they were assembled was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God boldly.”

This was not considered a new or second baptism in the Spirit but simply a fresh filling and encounter with the Spirit. It empowered believers to overcome new obstacles. Being filled with the Spirit launches believers into the supernatural realm with manifestations of the Spirit. The first believers spoke in other tongues who they were filled with the Spirit. Some also prophesied. The supernatural had taken up residence within them. This was the pattern at Jerusalem in Acts 2:1-4; at Samaria in Acts, chapter 8; with Paul in Acts 9:17-18; with Cornelius in Acts 10:44-47 and 11:15-17; and at Ephesus in Acts 19:1-6.

Christians must have the power of the Holy Spirit. The baptism in the Holy Spirit gives believers inner power, but getting into the realm of the Spirit is not enough., Christians must continually walk under the Spirit;’s influence. People often draw attention to the initial act of receiving the Spirit without emphasizing the continuing effect on believers’ lives. By divorcing the initial experience from continual filling, people stop short.

On the Day of Pentecost, Peter declared that the promise of the Father was fulfilled. But the fulfillment of the promise extended far beyond that day, he said. The promise was for those who are “far off,” referring to the Gentiles. Peter also said the promise was for “as many as the Lord our God invites.” Whoever the Lord calls receives the promised gift of the Holy Spirit – even today!

Peter continued to address the Pentecost crowd with “many other words.” He solemnly and earnestly exhorted and encouraged them with words of comfort and hope. He persuaded, begged, beseeched, entreated, and implored them. And what was his solemn warning and heart’s cry? “Be saved from this crooked generation” (Acts 2:40). Be delivered from this perverse age. Come out of this wicked way and come into a new way of wholeness and peace. A crooked generation is like a warped board that carpenters throw out because it is useless. It is twisted and perverse, turned away from the truth. It is a generation “which has gone astray,” according to the New American Bible.

Philippians 2:14-15 “Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world…”

Repenting and turning to the Lord for salvation, being baptized in water and receiving the Holy Spirit, saves Christians from a crooked generation and leads them into a whole new way of life — the normal, overcoming, Christian life. Life and light is theirs. Full salvation was the message of the New Testament Church. 

Acts 2:12 “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Acts 15:11 “ But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.”

Acts 16:30-31 “Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Being baptized in the Holy Spirit then empowers them to fulfil the Great Commission as they go into their world and live their daily lives. With this baptism comes the nine gifts of the Spirit listed in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11. These gifts allow us to move in the supernatural and show that Jesus is truly alive – resurrected from the dead and seated at the father’s right hand. This is ‘normal’ for the true disciple of Jesus. 

What does this normal Christian life look like … Next time.