What Is Baptism In The Holy Spirit?

It is a Biblical term that describes a ministry of Jesus.

"I [John] have baptized you with water, but he [Jesus] will baptize you with the Holy Spirit." ~ Mark 1:8. The first 5 books of the New Testament agree with this teaching. This same phrase appears at the beginning of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Acts.

It is a distinct and memorable experience that propels Christians into God's mission.

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." ~ Acts 1:8

It is often accompanied with spiritual gifts like a special prayer language, prophecy or boldness to witness.

"And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying." ~ Acts 19:6

"And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness." ~ Acts 4:31

The power of the Holy Spirit is for building up the church and not for personal glory or attention.

"To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good." 1 Corinthians 12:7

"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal." ~ 1 Corinthians 13:1

It is distinct, either happening at the same moment as salvation or later. For New Testament believers there was often a time gap between becoming a Christian and receiving the gift of the Spirit.

The disciples, who were already saved, later received the gift in Acts 2. Philip saw many saved in Samaria and quite some time afterward they received the gift through Peter and John laying hands on them in Acts 8. The apostle Paul was a Christian for three days before he received the gift in Acts 9. The Gentiles were saved and received the gift at the same time in Acts 10. Christians in Ephesus received the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands after being baptized in water in Acts 19. There is a very clear biblical pattern for receiving the gift of the Spirit as a distinct experience.

Only Christians can receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus confirms a two stage distinction for his first disciples.

"And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you." ~ John 14:16-17.

Every Christian has the Holy Spirit when they are saved, but not every Christian automatically experiences the power gift of the Holy Spirit when they are saved.

"You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him." ~ Romans 8:9

"And he [Paul] said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" And they said, "No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." ~ Acts 19:2

It can happen before or after water baptism.

"Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?" And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days." ~ Acts 10:47-48

"On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them …" ~ Acts 19:5-6

It is for every believer who desires it. Christians should be thirsty for the gift of the Holy Spirit.

"On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'" Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified." ~ John 7:37-39.

It is a promise for all Christians, no matter gender or age.

"And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions." ~ Joel 2:28

It is continual. The same disciples who received the gift in Acts 2 receive again in Acts 4.

"And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness." ~ Acts 4:31

It is something Christians are encouraged to stir up.

"For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control." ~ 2 Timothy 1:6-7

How can I receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit?

You should ask Jesus for this empowering and have someone who is able to lay hands on you and pray for you to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit just like they did in Acts 8 and 19 and as Paul describes of Timothy. There is nothing to fear because it is a ministry of Jesus. Like Jesus said in John 7, thirstiness is important.

What if I was baptized as a baby?

Water Baptism: What should I expect?

What does it mean to be a Christian?

What is baptism in the Holy Spirit?

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