The Baptism and Filling of the Holy Spirit
- Thursday, February 27, 2014
The corollary teaching is that it is dangerous to elevate any spiritual gift and make it be a sign of the filling of the Holy Spirit—or to make the possession of any gift normative for a spiritual experience.
The Baptism of the Holy Spirit occurs at conversion (1 Corinthians 12:13; 6:19). It is not necessarily accompanied by the gift of speaking in tongues. It would be fair to say that most Christians do not speak in tongues when they receive Christ.
The word, “baptism” means to “dip in” or to “immerse” For example, in the "Odyssey", Odysseus escaped from the Cyclops by sticking (the Greek word is “baptized”) a stake into his eye. Odysseus did not sprinkle it in. He immersed it deeply. In the Bible “baptize” never means “to sprinkle” as some teach today. When we receive Christ, we are immersed (“baptized”) fully by the Holy Spirit into Christ and into the family of God (for example, read Romans 6:1-10).
The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is received by simple faith in Christ.The Baptism follows automatically, positionizing us in Christ and cementing us securely into the family of God. Paul taught these “position in Christ” concepts in Colossians 2:12.
Peter also enunciated them in 1 John 4:15. The baptism of the Spirit refers to the new Believer’s incorporation into the body of Christ by a spiritual-organic union effected by the Holy Spirit. Peter declared the same in his sermon in Acts 2:28. The new Christian is now "in Christ".
The Baptism in the Spirit is permanent and is bestowed at conversion. It is not to be repeated (Acts 2:38). There is no Scripture text urging believers today to seek for the Spirit's Baptism.
The point is that it is not possible to receive what we already have!
On the other hand, what the Bible does urge us to seek and receive is the filling of the Holy Spirit. The key verse here is Ephesians 5:18: "Do not get drunk on wine … Instead, be filled with the Spirit.” The term “be filled” is often translated in Greek as “keep on being filled” with the Spirit. It is a continual present tense.
From this we deduce that the filling of the Spirit is not permanent, but is to be repeated again and again. As a drunk is saturated and under the direct influence of alcohol, so we are to live saturated and under the direct influence of the Holy Spirit.
Unfortunately, sin and personal choices can soil and stymie the filling, the living waters, and the abundant life. However, our sins and poor choices never threaten our relationship with God. They may affect our fellowship with God but never our relationship with Him. We are born into the family of God. He is our Father and we are His children and that can never be undone.
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