Holy Spirit Baptism
A. OT references of the baptism of the Holy Spirit:
- Joel 2:28-32 (cf. Isa. 32:15; 44:3; Ezek. 39:28-29)
B. NT references of the baptism of the Holy Spirit:
- Matthew 3:11-12 – “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire”
- Mark 1:8 – “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit”
- Luke 3:16 – “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire”
- John 1:33 – “This is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit”
- Acts 1:5 – “You will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now”
- Acts 11:15-17 – “And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as He did upon us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’” [cf. Acts 15:8 – “Giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us”]
C. Various Interpretations of the baptism of the Holy Spirit:
- Classic Calvinism connects Holy Spirit baptism with salvation. Calvin himself said it was “an experience of grace” that was given to man by God completely apart from the will of man.
- Pentecostals call Holy Spirit baptism the “second work of grace,” which is the believer’s sanctification that is confirmed by speaking in tongues.
- Another view is that all Christians are baptized with the Holy Spirit when they are baptized with water; therefore, connecting the indwelling of the Spirit with Holy Spirit baptism.
- John 3:5 – born of water and of Spirit
- 1 Cor. 12:13 – By one Spirit we were all baptized into one body
- My view is that it was a 3-time event that no longer occurs today.
D. Biblical occurrences of the baptism of the Holy Spirit:
- Acts 2 –
a. “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance” (vv. 1-4).
b. The purpose of Holy Spirit baptism here was:
(1) To empower the apostles with all of the miraculous gifts.
(2) To confirm that the message of the apostles was from God and to confirm the beginning of the church age.
- Acts 10 –
a. “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, ‘Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?’ And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days” (vv. 44-48).
b. The purpose of the Holy Spirit here was:
- To confirm that the Gentiles would be a part of the church.
- Paul –
a. “I have become foolish; you yourselves compelled me. Actually I should have been commended by you, for in no respect was I inferior to the most eminent apostles, even though I am a nobody. The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by signs and wonders and miracles” (2 Cor. 12:11-12).
b. Paul received the Holy Spirit before he meet with the other apostles
(cf. Gal. 1:11-24).
E. There are 7 baptisms in Scripture:
- The baptism of Moses under the cloud (1 Cor. 10:2)
- The baptism of repentance by John (Matt. 3:2)
- The baptism of Jesus by John (Matt. 3:13-17)
- The baptism of suffering (Mark 10:39)
- The baptism of believers (Mark 16:16)
- The baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5)
- The baptism of fire (Matt. 3:11)
- Today, there is only one baptism (Eph. 4:5)
F. Some key observations regarding the baptism of the Holy Spirit:
- It was never commanded to be obeyed. In contrast, baptism in water is given as a command to be obeyed (Acts 2:38).
- It would be administered only by Jesus (Matt. 3:11).
- It was promised only to the apostle, with Cornelius’ household being the exception (Acts 1:4-5).
- It is not connected with salvation.
a. Consider the order in the 2 records of it:
(1) The apostles in Acts 2 were saved before they received it.
(2) Cornelius’ household received it before they were saved. This is evident because Peter commanded water baptism to those who had received Holy Spirit baptism (Acts 10:48).
b. However, there is a sense in which we are born of the Spirit when we are baptized.
(1) It is true that we are born of water and of the Spirit (John 3:5).
(a) Some argue here that this is accomplished by being born according to the Spirit’s instructions in the Word of God (1 Pet. 1:23).
1) The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17).
2) This is also the explanation given for 1 Cor. 12:13.
(b) Another possibility is that we receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit when we are baptized (Acts 2:38).
1) The Holy Spirit is our pledge (i.e., down payment) [2 Cor. 5:5; Eph. 1:14].
2) Thus, the Spirit is involved in our new birth.
(2) Nevertheless, this cannot be that same as what occurred with the apostles and Cornelius’ household.
- Those who were baptized in the Holy Spirit spoke in tongues (Acts 2:4; 10:44ff.).
G. Therefore, the Biblical teaching concerning the baptism of the Holy Spirit is:
- Jesus administered it on 3 occasions for the primary purpose of confirmation.
- It was never mentioned again in Scripture.
- It is no longer occurring today since there is now only one baptism.
- Since it no longer occurs, then it is not the same as the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that all Christians enjoy today.
“All who are baptized in the Holy Spirit are filled with the Holy Spirit, but not all who are filled with the Holy Spirit are baptized in the Holy Spirit” (DeWelt 39).