The Baptism with the Holy Spirit is a very suspect subject within the Christian community. Although Christians of all denominations believe in a soteriology which includes a baptism with the Holy Spirit, theologically, all do not agree for the time and manner in which a believer is baptized with the Holy Spirit.
It is our belief that the Holy Spirit baptism is stated to every believer regenerated by faith in Christ. However, its not all believer is baptized with the Holy Spirit at the time of conversion.
Even as examine the new Testament record found in the book of Acts, we will discover, it is indeed possible to be transformed into Christ and regenerated by the Spirit, yet somehow not obtain the experience known as the Baptism with the Holy Spirit until some time afterward.
Why Must We Study the Book of Acts?
The book of Acts is the only history book in the New Testament. Unlike the epistles, which are letters written to places of worship or individuals to instruct believers in the holy spirit; in Acts, Lenny records with great detail the historical setting and chronology of the first century church as it unfolds, from the time prior to the day of Pentecost thirty-three AD and the years immediately following.
While the epistles are written to those who had already received the experience of the baptism with the Holy Spirit, the book of Acts alone provides historical record of how some of the places of worship and individuals to whom the epistles were written were saved and subsequently received the experience known as the baptism with the Holy Spirit.
Without studying the book of Acts, one cannot understand or appreciate the distinction between being born again of the Spirit and being baptized with the Spirit. The theological contribution of each historical account of early believers with the Holy Spirit is recorded with such detail as to provide a consistent biblical theology with respect to New Testament accounts of the Baptism with the Holy Spirit.
Although some preachers bashful away from the Holy Spirit phenomenon witnessed in Acts, or attempt to explain away the ramifications of the facts presented there, to dismiss or simply ignore this authentic historical record is to be negligent of appropriately splitting the word of truth.
It is my opinion that the failure of many somebody teachers to truthfully and accurately represent the biblical record in the book of Acts may be the sole reason why a large message of the body of Christ is lacking in the ability of God and in understanding the ins and outs of His Spirit.
Throughout the remainder of this writing we will attempt to address the following:
1) What is the baptism with the Holy Spirit?
2) Is the baptism with the Holy Spirit subsequent to answer or concurrent with answer?
3) Is there is a difference between being baptized by the Spirit and being baptized with the Spirit?
4) What is the difference between receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit speaking with other tongues and receiving the gift of tongues?
5) Is there is a difference between the intention of speaking in other tongues as a sign and the intention of the spiritual gift of divers (diverse) kinds of tongues?
There are some who support the view, to be born of the Spirit and to be baptized with the Spirit are essentially one and the selfsame experience. Others support the view, to be born again of the Spirit is definitely not the same as the baptism with the Spirit, but both always occur simultaneously. However, does the Acts’ record support these positions?
Our study reveals, the Acts record ensures that some believers did feel the Baptism with the Holy Spirit subsequent to conversion and any public confession of faith in Christ, while others received the baptism with the Spirit prior to any public confession of faith in Christ.
Even as examine the Acts record, we will soon discover that:
The Baptism with the Holy Spirit is definitely not the same as the Birth of the Spirit. When we examine both experiences closely we find the following to be true:
1) The birth of the Spirit is an act of regeneration and the re-birth of the believer into Christ in answer.
2) The baptism with the Spirit is an act of sanctification and the setting apart of the believer for service.
Why is this distinction important?
In regeneration, every believer is baptized by the Spirit into (gk. eis) Christ.
In sanctification, every believer is baptized by Christ into (eis) the Holy Spirit.
Into One Body, Into One Spirit
The following scriptural references will show that there are two distinct operations of the Godhead with regard to being born-again of the Spirit and subsequently being baptized with the Spirit.
“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all built to drink into one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12: 13) KJV.
“And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said on to me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost” (Jn. 1: 32-33) KJV.
The word by in 1 Cor. 12: 13 describes the regenerative agency of the person of the Holy Spirit, while the word with in Jn. 1: thirty-three describes the sanctifying agency of the person of Christ. Although the Greek word en is translated in the Somebody as by, with, in, and through, in the context of these scriptures there might be no mistaking the fact that:
Two separate persons of the Godhead are involved in the operation (gk. energia) of being born of the Spirit and in the operation of being baptized with the Spirit.
Notice carefully, in one operation (regeneration) the Holy Spirit is the baptizer into Jesus Christ. In the other operation (sanctification), Jesus Christ is the baptizer with and into the Holy Spirit.
1) In regeneration > the Holy Spirit > is the baptizer > into Jesus Christ
2) In sanctification > Jesus Christ > is the baptizer > into the Holy Spirit
One might naturally ask, how is the believer baptized both with and into the Holy Spirit at the same time?
The word baptize way to immerse, dip, or drop. Accordingly, when a believer is baptized with the Holy Spirit he/she is baptized both with the Spirit and immersed into the Spirit, just as a believer is baptized both with water and immersed into water.
The promise of the Father to give another comforter was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost A. D. thirty-three when He begun to put out of His Spirit upon all weed. The father works things through the finished work of His Son, Jesus Christ, by the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said that the Holy Spirit was not yet given because He was not yet glorified. This means that the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus (the finished work of Christ) had to occur before the Holy Spirit could be fond of men. Prior to the day of Pentecost the disciples got what is called the inhale of promise (Jn. 20: 22).
The Baptism of Regeneration
The baptism by the Spirit into Christ is also called the baptism of regeneration. It is the same experience voiced of by John in Titus 3: 5 as the washing of regeneration.
We must be careful here, because although the word washing is used in this saying; notice, the word what water or water baptism is not. Consequently, this saying is not inferring baptismal regeneration by water as some incorrectly teach. This saying does, however, teach baptismal regeneration by the Spirit.
The word washing (gk: loutron) in Titus 3: 5 has nothing regarding water baptism, except in a figurative sense. In as much as, baptism with water demonstrates what the Spirit has recently accomplished in regeneration. Thus, John ends that the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the believer is of the Holy Spirit.
To sum up, the new-birth by the Spirit regenerates the believer and places the believer into the Body of Christ. The Baptism with the Holy Spirit subsequently sanctifies the believer and is an endowment of power (gk. dunamis) equipping the believer for service in order to fulfill the great commission.