Over the years, I have heard story after story from person after person who have had an unforgettable, life-changing experience that they have called “the baptism of the Holy Spirit.” Sadly, I have also seen more than a little disagreement, confusion, and hurt feelings over the issue. If you think about it, things were bound to turn out like that. If Joe has had the experience, and he says Bob can’t really know the full presence and power of the Holy Spirit because Bob never has received Holy Spirit baptism, that’s probably going to be deeply troubling to Bob. And if Bob says Joe has not really experienced the baptism in the Holy Spirit, but rather experienced something else, when Joe knows he had an unforgettable, life-changing experience, then Joe is probably going to be seriously hurt. So what that means is that we need to handle this with extreme care today: strictly by the Book, and as gently as we can, so there’ll be as little trouble or pain as possible.

Let’s consider what five people in the Bible had to say about the baptism in the Holy Spirit: John the Baptist, Jesus, Peter, Luke, and Paul. And then we’ll try to come to a conclusion about how God wants us to see it.

By the way, you may notice that I phrase it as “baptism in the Holy Spirit,” rather than “baptism of the Holy Spirit.” That’s because the Bible’s literal terminology is “baptism in (ἐν) the Holy Spirit.” Whenever English translations speak of baptism “with” something, the actual word is ἐν, “in.” The Greek language uses the word “in” to carry several different meanings, including ”with” and quite a few more. However, it’s definitely NOT valid to translate the word ἐν with the word “of.” (In fact, what I’ll do in this little tome is use the ESV translation,  which is what I preach out of, but with the word “with” rendered as “in” wherever the Greek word ἐν appears.) The point, though, is that the Holy Spirit is not the one giving the baptism or doing the baptism. Nor is this any individual Christian or even several Christians receiving a baptism. This is the Lord Jesus baptizing his people in his Holy Spirit.

John’s prophecy of the baptism in the Holy Spirit

The first mention of the baptism in the Holy Spirit is in Matthew 3. Here it is:

Matthew 3  1 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said,

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord;
make his paths straight.’”

Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. 10 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

11 “I baptize you in water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and fire.  12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

Versions of this prophecy appear in all four gospel accounts. Matthew’s is the first and most complete, so it is our starting place for understanding what God is talking about when he talks about the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Matthew and Luke also mention baptism in fire alongside baptism in the Holy Spirit. Mark and John do not mention anything about fire.

 Luke was a Gentile, writing to another Gentile named Theophilus. Yet his books (Luke and Acts) are a veritable encyclopedia of Hebrew backgrounds. So whatever is meant by the baptism in the Spirit and fire, it seems to have something to do with the intersection between Jew and Gentile.

Matthew, on the other hand, was a Jew, uniquely writing to his own people. It is remarkable that he starts his book with a list of ancient Hebrew ancestors (Mat 1:1-17), and ends it with a commission to disciple the nations of the world (Mat 28:18-20). Throughout the book, there are repeated instances of Matthew giving voice to his belief that God’s plan all along was to save the Gentiles and fold them into his people, Israel. Also pervasive in Matthew is his conviction that Old Covenant Israel – especially the Temple and synagogue authorities, and particularly toward the end of the book – is about to be judged in some era-ending disaster. Matthew’s book, then, is about the fulfillment of the Old Covenant and the beginning of the new, true Israel, the multinational, multi-ethnic people of God, believers from every tribe and tongue following the Jewish Messiah as the Lord of mankind.

John the Baptist was the last prophet to Israel under the Old Covenant. In this story in Matthew 3, he is particularly addressing specific leaders of the Israel of that day. He prophesies that the Messiah is going to baptize Israel in the Holy Spirit, but does not explain what that means. Probably that is because he knows his audience of Sadducees and Pharisees are well-acquainted with the Hebrew Bible’s prophecies about the Holy Spirit. John also foretells that the Messiah is going to baptize Israel in fire – the fire of divine judgment. God’s judgment on Old Covenant Israel is what Matthew 3:7-12 are all about. These are six verses about God’s fiery judgment, with one brief mention of the baptism in the Holy Spirit tied in close parallel to that baptism in fire. In this passage, fire is very clearly a picture of God’s judgment on Old Covenant Israel, especially the Pharisees and the Sadducees.

So the Bible’s first mention of the baptism in the Holy Spirit is clearly tied to the judgment of Old Covenant Israel. Some of them, like the Pharisees Nicodemus and Saul of Tarsus, and many thousands more of those faithful Jews, would recognize and welcome Jesus of Nazareth as Messiah, Savior, and Lord, and likewise receive his New Covenant, and his baptism in the Holy Spirit. The rest would refuse him, remain under the Old Covenant, and tragically be baptized in fire – in the conflagration of A. D. 70 and eventually in the furnaces of hell.

I recognize that that explanation of the baptism in the Holy Spirit is much different, far afield from most explanations that have been given, but I can only beg the reader to delay reaction until two things have happened. First, we must ask whether this really is the clearest, most obvious face-value understanding of what Matthew tells us about John’s prophecy. Second, we need to go through the entire New Testament together and consider all that it says about the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

Jesus’ promise of the baptism in the Holy Spirit

We Christians say that our hope for the forgiveness of our sins right now, for purpose and meaning and significance and direction tomorrow, for heaven one day, is the promise of Jesus. In other words, Jesus’ promises matter. A lot. So let’s pay close attention to this one.

Acts 1  And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized in water, but you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”

Jesus says his Father’s promise (that is, the Old Testament promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit, as in Jeremiah and Ezekiel) is about to be fulfilled. He mentions his own repeated promises of the Holy Spirit, based on the same Old Testament passages, and suggests their fulfillment is just around the corner. He also says John’s prophecy of the baptism in the Holy Spirit is the same thing as what he and his Father and the prophets have been talking about, with the whole thing to begin in a matter of days. His disciples’ follow-up question lets us know that they thought he was still talking about Israel. He was – not Israel the way they understood it, necessarily, but Israel the way God understood it. The baptism in the Holy Spirit was all about proving that Old Covenant Israel was under judgment, while the new Israel was the true Israel. The followers of Jesus were the people of God, endowed with the Spirit of God in this New Covenant age.

So what does that mean for us, 2000 years later? It means we have some thinking to do. So let’s think. It doesn’t matter what our parents told us the baptism in the Holy Spirit was all about. It doesn’t matter what some famous preacher or teacher told us about it. It doesn’t even matter if I’ve had a powerful experience that someone told me was the baptism in the Spirit. It doesn’t actually even matter that that powerful experience changed my life for my good and God’s glory. What matters is, what did Jesus say about the baptism in the Spirit, and when did he say it would happen?

Jesus said the baptism in the Spirit was something that was going to happen not many days after his Ascension back to heaven. And of course, that’s exactly what did happen. We read about it in Acts 1 and 2. It happened on the day of Pentecost that year – in precise fulfillment of Jesus’ words. So let’s think about that.

Peter’s proclamation of the baptism in the Holy Spirit

Acts 2  1 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”

14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:

17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
18 even on my male servants and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
20 the sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

What Peter clearly proclaims here is that this display is the fulfillment of the prophecies that Jesus was talking about just a couple of weeks earlier, just before he ascended back to heaven. This was the baptism in the Holy Spirit that the Lord and John and the prophets of old had prophesied. Of course, Jesus’ words in Acts 1 have already made it clear that these events in Acts 2 are the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Peter is just being a good disciple and following his Master. Note also that, according to Acts 2:4, this baptism is a “filling” with the Spirit. It wasn’t a unique kind of experience; it was just a once-for-all event, an utterly unique instance of the filling.

So what did the baptism in the Holy Spirit look like and sound like when it happened? It looked like people with their heads on fire, or at least with tongues of flame hovering over them; it sounded like gale-force winds blowing through the building; and it sounded like people speaking in languages they had never learned. I am not making that up; I just showed it to you out of the Bible. That’s what the biblical baptism in the Holy Spirit looked and sounded like. Agreeing with the Lord Jesus, Peter proclaimed that this miracle was the baptism in the Holy Spirit, prophesied long before, expected through the ages by the people of Israel as they looked earnestly for the day when God would give his Holy Spirit to his people.

That proclamation may seem problematic to some people, because a lot of people in the world today think of the baptism in the Holy Spirit as something really quite different. Entire denominations have been formed based on the idea that the baptism in the Holy Spirit, with or without its characteristic New Testament sign of tongues-speaking, is a “Second Blessing” that is given to believers who earnestly seek a deeper, higher level of power from or intimacy with the Holy Spirit. The truth is, all of us need periodic fillings of the Holy Spirit to renew his power and his presence in our lives. but that’s not the same thing as the New Testament baptism in the Holy Spirit. The filling is absolutely necessary, but it’s not necessarily the baptism. The baptism in the Holy Spirit happened once for all time, on the Pentecost after the Ascension, right on schedule.

Luke’s point on the baptism in the Holy Spirit

Luke actually tells us about four similar events in the book of Acts, extending the baptism in the Holy Spirit and inclusion in the new Israel, the New Covenant people of God, to more and more classes of people.

Acts 2   In Jerusalem, on the Day of Pentecost, as we’ve just seen, the once-for-all baptism in the Holy Spirit came. Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled as Babel was reversed (see Acts 2:8-11; Genesis 10 & 11; and Deuteronomy 32:8), Israel was regathered (see Acts 2:5-11 and Ezekiel 37:1-14 & 39:25-29), and the stage was set for the “Day of the Lord” event prophesied by Joel (see Acts 2:18-21; Luke 21:5-28; and just about every “Day of the Lord” passage in the Old Testament). Israel received the Holy Spirit that day, in fulfillment of both Old Testament prophecy and John the Baptist’s prophecy. The New Covenant was inaugurated, and the terminal generation of the Old Covenant was begun. All the other events are simply extensions of this first, full, actual baptism in the Holy Spirit.

Acts 8   In Samaria, the original Holy Spirit baptism was extended to Christian believers from the Samaritans – descendants from fragments of Israel’s ten northern tribes mixed with several other ethnicities. Significantly, the Holy Spirit did not fall until Peter arrived from Jerusalem, even though many had been converted under Philip’s preaching. This was to ensure that everyone knew this was not a second baptism, nor a second gospel, nor a second people of God.

Acts 10   In Caesarea, that original Holy Spirit baptism was extended again, this time to the Gentiles. This time, because Peter was already there, the Holy Spirit filled his hearers and they began speaking in tongues while he was still preaching. The Holy-Spirit-baptized, New Covenant people of God now officially included Gentile followers of Jesus Christ.

Acts 19   In Ephesus, Paul found some men who had become followers of John the Baptist but had never even heard about any Holy Spirit. The original baptism was opened to them, too.

Luke’s points seem clear enough:

  • Jesus’ baptism of his people in his Holy Spirit was extended to and bestowed on every class, group, tribe, sort of people who became followers of Christ. Jesus welcomed every kind of person into his New Covenant, Holy-Spirit-baptized, Kingdom family. The Lord did not overlook or forget any.
  • This outrageous openness and generosity did not happen in a disconnected, autonomous way, irrespective of apostolic authority. It explicitly happened through and under apostolic authority. Peter had been promised the keys to the Kingdom in Matthew 16:19. In Acts 2, 8, and 10, we see him exercising that office. This progressive extension of the baptism accompanied the progress of the gospel across the Roman world.

In each case, the baptism in the Holy Spirit, manifested in the speaking of tongues, was all about proving that the new Israel was the true Israel. The followers of Jesus – all of them – were the people of God, endowed with the Spirit of God in this New Covenant age. The reason the gift of tongues was the sign of that original Holy Spirit baptism becomes clear in the next passage.

Paul’s pronouncements on the baptism in the Holy Spirit

Paul makes it clear that he and all the Corinthian Christians were baptized into one body by the one Spirit of God:

1 Corinthians 12   12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

Did you hear that? Paul and the Corinthians had all received the same baptism in the Spirit! You see, by this point (AD 50 or so) all believers had been included in the Spirit baptism. Jews, Samaritans, Gentiles, people of every sort were now folded into this new Israel, under the authority of her King and his apostles. The presence of that one Spirit of God in all of them was what made them all one, in spite of the diversity of their backgrounds, personalities, gifts, ethnicities, personal histories, and any other thing that might distinguish them or separate them from each other.

As in Samaria and Caesarea, Paul and each Christian in the Corinthian church had been included in the original baptism in the Holy Spirit that took place on the day of Pentecost twenty years earlier – even though they weren’t there when it happened! For each of them, this inclusion happened when they were born again by the Spirit of God. They received the Spirit of God when they received the Lord Jesus Christ. The baptism was extended to them at that point. For each, the place, the time, the circumstances were different. But for all, the Spirit was the same.

But notice something about the gift of tongues. It was definitely a part of the early Christian experience, and certainly something Paul was well-familiar with (14:18). Yet apparently not all the Christians had spoken in tongues, and perhaps not all were going to (12:30, 14:5). Experience varied, but the Spirit was the same, because every one of them was connected back to that original Holy Spirit baptism on that first Pentecost after the Resurrection, and now every one of them was indwelt and gifted by that same Holy Spirit. Different gifts, same Spirit.

Paul spends pages of teaching – 1 Corinthians chapters 12, 13, and 14 – to describe what spiritual gifts are like, and what they’re for. In particular, his teaching in 1 Corinthians 14:20-25 is the only place in the Bible where the purpose of the New Testament gift tongues is clearly explained. It goes like this:

  1. In 14:20, Paul admonishes the Corinthians (and us!) to be childlike when it comes to malice, yet mature when it comes to discernment and understanding about tongues.
  2. In 14:21, he looks to Isaiah 28:11, Deuteronomy 28:49, and several other Old Testament passages to back up the statement he’s about make, that tongues are for a sign to unbelievers, not believers. (Notice the “thus” that begins 14:22, showing that 14:21 is giving the reason, the ground, the explanation of what he says in 14:22.) Those passages all associate the sound of foreign, incomprehensible languages with God’s judgment on or distance from his people Israel.
  3. In 14:22, Paul’s point seems to be that tongues are for a sign particularly to unbelieving Jews, who would be uniquely familiar with those “unintelligible languages = judgment on Israel” passages. Of course, that’s precisely what John had said at the beginning: the point of the baptism in the Holy Spirit (with its characteristic gift of tongues) is to declare God’s rejection of Christ-rejecting Old Covenant Israel, and his full acceptance of the Christ-accepting remnant of Israel as his New Covenant people. And remember, the point even in Mathew was that that new people was to one day include believers of both Hebrew and Gentile ethnic backgrounds.
  4. It’s worth noting that 1 Corinthians 14:22 does not say that the gift of prophecy is also for a sign, despite the way most modern translations handle the verse (including, alas, the ESV). A quick check of the Greek text will reveal that translations like the NASB have it right: “So then, tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophecy is not for unbelievers, but for those who believe.” Tongues were a sign for unbelievers (specifically Jews who were having a hard time believing), while the gift of prophecy was (and is) for believers. But it’s not a sign for them: it’s “for” them in some other way. Only the background knowledge of a Hebrew Bible student could help someone detect that there was a sign in tongues. So 14:22 tells us how an unbelieving but biblically-taught Jew in Corinth would have reacted to tongues: “Oh. God has judged the nation of Israel!”
  5. 14:23 envisions what might happen if a standard unbeliever in Corinth (probably a Gentile) found himself in the middle of an event in which several people were publicly speaking in foreign languages: “these people are nuts!” I get it.
  6. 14:24-25, then, imagine what effect the gift of prophecy might have in Corinth: conviction, and conversion. And repeatedly over these three chapters, Paul is clear what prophecy does for believers: it edifies and fortifies them.

Once again, 1 Corinthians 14:22 is the only place in the Bible that actually comes out and declares the purpose of the gift of tongues. Tongues were for a sign to Jews who were struggling to believe that Jesus was the Messiah, that the Old Covenant was coming to an end, and that this mixed Jew/Gentile bunch were the New Covenant people of God. That’s what tongues were for.

Perhaps you’ve noticed that I keep referring to the gift of tongues in the past tense. Let me be clear: I am not a cessationist (that is, someone who believes that the sign gifts of the Apostolic age have all ceased). Well, not a normal one, anyway. I believe, based on the Greek grammar in 1 Corinthians 13:8-10, that the gifts of knowledge and prophecy (and possibly many more of the apostolic gifts) will continue until the Kingdom’s fullness arrives (when the King arrives), but the gift of tongues ceased when it had fulfilled its purpose. We just discussed what Paul says the purpose of the gift of tongues was: tongues were for a sign to Jews who were struggling to believe that Jesus was the Messiah, that the Old Covenant was coming to an end, and that this mixed Jew/Gentile bunch were the New Covenant people of God. After the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, forty years after the baptism in the Spirit at Pentecost, and twenty years after Paul wrote his first letter to the Corinthians, there was no longer any question for followers of Jesus. The Old Covenant, with its sacrifices and priesthood, was done. Now it was clear that Jesus was the only Temple, the only Sacrifice, and the only High Priest. After AD 70, there was no longer any need for tongues. And as a matter of historical fact, there is no record of widespread tongues-speaking among Christians after the first century until it once again became a common thing at the beginning of the 20th century. Only a few instances here and there across the centuries are mentioned.

Of course, that leads inevitably to the question, “If what has been happening in the world-wide tongues- speaking movement of the last century has not actually been the New Testament gift of tongues, then what has it been?” To be completely frank, I do not know. I know that it’s not the New Testament gift of tongues, because it doesn’t match the description that I read in the New Testament of what tongues were like, and were for. I do know a few facts:

  1. The New Testament gift of tongues was not a miracle of the ear (people miraculously enabled to understand what they were hearing spoken in a language unknown to them), but a miracle of the mouth (people miraculously enabled to speak in a language they had never learned). A close reading of the account in Acts 2 really makes the matter quite clear. The reason the visitors were hearing the mighty works of God (2:11) in their own native languages (2:6-8) is that the believers were actually speaking in other languages by the power of the Holy Spirit (2:4). It was clearly a miracle of the mouth. It’s also worth noting that the tongues-miracle happened while the believers were speaking the mighty works of God (2:4-11), not while Peter was preaching the gospel (2:14-36), so the tongues-miracle was not to enable people to communicate the gospel cross-culturally. Tongues were to confirm God’s abandonment of Old-Covenant, Christ-rejecting Israel, and his anointing of New-Covenant, Christ-receiving Israel.
  2. Apostolic, early, medieval, and Reformation-era Christians all agreed with Acts 2:4 that the gift of tongues involved the miraculous ability to speak in a language never humanly learned. However, nearly all modern tongues-speakers claim to be speaking in a heavenly language or something other than a recognizable human language. In point of fact, the linguistic studies have been done, and they all agree that modern tongues-speaking is not recognizable as any sort of language at all.
  3. I know of exactly one testimony from the first thousand years after Christ from someone who claimed to have actually received the miraculous ability to speak in another language. Yet that had nothing to do with the baptism in the Holy Spirit, or revealing God’s judgment on Old Covenant Israel and approval of the New Covenant movement, so it didn’t at all fit the biblical description.
  4. Holy Spirit baptism as a second work of grace, apart from the gift of tongues, became a major emphasis for some kinds of Christians beginning around 1700. Holy Spirit baptism manifested by the speaking of tongues became a big deal beginning around 1900.
  5. Over the centuries, people who have heard or seen or exercised something they called “tongues” have described things that rarely fit the New Testament descriptions of what tongues looked like, sounded like, or were for.
  6. The public “tongues” that began to be widely practiced in the early 1900’s is becoming more and more rare in churches in North America (where it started). No one seems to know why. One possibility is that the phenomenon is fizzling out for reasons somewhat like why the original, genuine, New Testament gift disappeared: when tongues no longer had any purpose, they ceased. When the Holy Spirit stopped giving the gift, the gift itself stopped; no purpose, no gift. Since the modern phenomenon never was fulfilling its original, God-given purpose, then, it could not last. To put it another way, it was bound to die out eventually, since it never was the real thing.
  7. Large groups of people who are thinking and feeling the same things at the same time are capable of really remarkable delusion – even very intelligent and very godly people. It seems clear to me that somebody is pretty misled here: either tongues-speakers or non-tongues-speakers. I need to be honest enough to face that fact, and humble enough to realize I might be on the deluded side. So I’m still watching and listening and learning.

But the gift of tongues is not what we were talking about: the baptism in the Holy Spirit is.

Paul’s pronouncement was this: the Spirit of God that every member of the Corinthian church had received was what made every member a part of the same body. Every class or kind of person was equally included in that one body by that one Holy Spirit. Every one of them was included in that same Holy Spirit baptism, which now belonged to every believer everywhere. The more “impressive” spiritual gifts were not more important or more desirable than other spiritual gifts. The spiritual gifts that were most important, most to be sought, and most appropriately considered universal among all believers were faith, hope, and love – not tongues or prophecy or any of the “flashier” gifts.

The baptism in the Holy Spirit, especially its signal gift of speaking in tongues, was all about proving that the new Israel was the true Israel. The followers of Jesus were the people of God, endowed with the Spirit of God in the New Covenant age. Now all believers, with or without the gift of tongues, were included in that one baptism in the Holy Spirit.

In our day, all true believers have tasted the baptism in the Holy Spirit. It is not a unique experience that only some believers have had. It is not a second or third blessing that believers might receive some time long after first receiving Jesus. Every born-again believer was included in the baptism in the Holy Spirit at the moment of his regeneration. Every one of them has the Holy Spirit.

Our part in the baptism in  the Holy Spirit

These are the things we ought to know and say today:

  • Like all true believers, I have received the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
  • The Holy Spirit lives in me and gives me what he gives to all true believers.
    • I have the seal of the Spirit
    • I have the leading of the Spirit
    • I have the witness of the Spirit
    • I have the gifts of the Spirit
    • I have the fruit of the Spirit
    • I can have the filling of the Spirit
  • The Holy Spirit would never lead me to look down on a brother or sister in Christ who disagrees with me about the baptism in or the gifts of the Holy Spirit… that kind of idea comes from a different kind of spirit – a dark one.
  • The Holy Spirit would never lead me to shut my ears to what I might well need to hear from my Holiness/Pentecostal brothers & sisters. They are often full of wisdom and joy and love for Jesus and people, and often full of God’s truth for me.
  • The Holy Spirit would never lead me to shut my mind to what I might well need to learn from my Holiness/Pentecostal brothers & sisters. Many of them are first-rate Bible scholars, and very few of them share the characteristic unbelief of our age. Pentecostalism and unbelief don’t go together.
  • The Holy Spirit would never lead me to shut my eyes to what God is genuinely doing among my Holiness/Pentecostal brothers & sisters. He’s using them to lead a lot of people to Jesus around the world.
  • The Holy Spirit would never lead me to shut my Bible in the places where my Holiness/Pentecostal brothers and sisters have it right. The Scripture makes it clear that the filling with the Holy Spirit is a supernatural event that only happens to those who welcome it like a drunk welcomes his liquor (Ephesians 5:18). And the simple fact is that my Pentecostal brothers and sisters are far more likely to seek it than most Baptist/Reformed folk are. We’ve got some repenting to do over here on our side of the fence.
  • The Holy Spirit would never lead me to shut my heart to my Holiness/Pentecostal brothers & sisters. He wants me to love them, and be loved by them.

© Christopher Gudmundsson, 2022

Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version, unless otherwise noted.