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What is the Scriptural Baptism with the Holy Spirit and How do I Receive it? 

 

Renette Vermeulen

 

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BEFORE JESUS’ ASCENSION, HE PROMISED TO BAPTIZE HIS BELIEVERS WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT 

During the Old Testament as well as in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the Old Hebrew nation was still under the Old Testament dispensation before Jesus’ crucifixion, resurrection and ascension.  That is why the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of heaven (or the Holy-Spirit indwelling and Jesus’ salvation) only “came upon” and “came near” the Old Hebrews, as demonstrated in the accounts of Samson, David, Elijah, Elisha, etcetera, and also through Jesus’ ministry of miracles to the Hebrews, when He frequently cast out demons from them, (Judges 14:6; Sam. 16:14; 1 Kings 18:46; 2 Kings 3:13-15; Mt. 10:1-15.)  Until Jesus died on the cross, the Hebrews remained under the Old Testament Covenant of the Law and so, the “Holy Spirit was not yet given,” (Jn. 7:37-39; Mark 1:15.)  It was impossible for the Hebrews, during the Old Testament dispensation, to have the indwelling Holy Spirit.  No one under the Old Testament Covenant could be personally and spiritually born again yet, (Jn. 3:3-5.)  Therefore, they could not be the temple of the indwelling Holy Spirit.  They were subject to the old, physical temple-covenant without the complete atonement of Christ, (Gal. 2:21.)  That is why, during Jesus’ ministry on earth, He ministered mainly to the Old Hebrews, (Jn. 1:10-13; Mt. 15:24; 10:5-8.)  At that time, “The... [indwelling] Kingdom of God was [still] at hand,” [Lu. 17:20-21, because Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection was near.]  Therefore, John the Baptist called the Old Hebrew nation to “repent [from Judaism and the temple worship of the Old Covenant,] for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” (Mt. 3:1-2.) 

In Jn. 7:37-39, Jesus prophesied the inauguration of His New Testament Covenant, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in Me… out of his heart [or born again human spirit] will flow a fountain of living water springing up into everlasting life...  This Jesus spoke concerning the Spirit, Whom [all] those believing in Him [after His resurrection and ascension] would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given [until that day of Pentecost,] because Jesus was not yet glorified…”  This promise of Jesus was  the same prophecy of John the Baptist in Mt. 3:11; that Jesus would baptize [every one of His Scripturally born again believers] with the Holy Spirit and with fire,” (Mt. 3:11; Mark 1:8: Jn. 14:26; 16:7-15.)  The Spirit is Jesus’ Free “Gift” to all those who sincerely believe in Him, and personally accept and follow Him.  He is the Spirit of Grace, Who indwells every one of His sincere believers.  Since that day at Pentecost, in the life of every true believer in Christ, the Gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit Himself became the fulfilment of Jesus’ promise, “the Kingdom of God will be in you,” (Acts 1:8; 2:38; 1 Cor. 3:16-17; 6:15-20; Lu. 17:20-21.)  

Paul declared in Eph. 1:13-14, “After [the disciples] heard the word of Truth, the Gospel of your salvation, in Whom also, having believed, [and accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior,] they were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, Who is the guarantee of our [heavenly] inheritance until the [day of] redemption of the [blood] purchased possession to the praise of His glory:” Jesus’ return on the clouds.  The Holy Spirit Himself fully possesses all sincerely and personally born again disciples of Christ from the moment of their rebirth in Christ, (Rom. 8:9, 14-17; Eph. 1:13-14; 1 Cor. 3:16; Mt. 28:19-20.) 

This statement concerning salvation and the “possession,” or constant indwelling of the Holy Spirit, means we must first personally believe in, and then decidedly accept Jesus as our Savior, (Jn. 1:12-13.)  At that moment, Jesus Christ Himself implants His living, spiritual Kingdom of God in our born again spirits or ‘hearts’ though the Holy Spirit, Whom He sends to indwell us, (Jn. 3:3-5; Gal. 4:6-7.) 

This is God’s one and only Scriptural “baptism with the Holy Spirit,” and being born again does not happen in stages.  Just as natural birth, spiritual rebirth happens at a particular moment in time and never again.  One cannot truly accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and then be indwelt with the Holy Spirit ‘at a later stage.’  That would be like being born as a physical baby, but only taking the first breath of life ‘at a later stage.’  Paul declared in Rom. 8:9, “Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.”  We are “His” from the very moment we sincerely accept Jesus as our Lord, Redeemer and Savior, not when and if we manifest the Holy Spirit’s gift of tongues and/or prophecy.  To believe the false Restoration doctrine of gradual initiation into the Kingdom of God through so-called ‘mediating’ and ‘Holy-Spirit baptising’ pastors, evangelists, prophets, who supposedly “baptize people in the Holy Spirit,” is completely unscriptural and illogical.  What’s more, we cannot be baptized “in” the Holy Spirit; Jesus baptizes us “with” the Holy Spirit.  He does not place us ‘in’ the Spirit; He places the Spirit in us, His blood-cleansed temple.  Only God Himself baptizes with the Holy Spirit; placing the Holy Spirit into our born again ‘hearts’ or human spirits at the moment we accept Jesus. 

At that moment when Jesus Himself baptizes, fills, ‘seals,’ and possesses every born again child of God with the Holy Spirit, the Spirit Himself becomes our personal “Guarantee” from God the Father that ‘He will complete the good work that He had started in us.’  [Please do not think that this is the false doctrine of ‘eternal security,’ or the ‘unconditional love’ of God; where religious church members and even born again believers are led to believe they may sin without consequences!] 

The S.F. Bible explained in Gal. 4:6, “The Spirit Himself is God’s Seal, or Stamp of Personal Possession” in us, [so that no one can claim us spiritually until that day when He comes to take us home, unless we personally decide to unrepentantly turn away from God to go back into Hades or spiritual death, Heb. 6:4-8.]  His seal or guarantee is literally a deposit, down payment, or first instalment.  The Spirit invested in us is the Father’s title to possessing us entirely and forever — with our consent,” and of course, through our decided obedience to His Moral Law of Love,  (Jn. 7:21-24; 13:34; 14:15,23; 1 Jn. 4:2!] 

The Matthew Henry Commentary says more, ‘God’s Seal is the Spirit of Promise Himself, that is, believers are sealed or separated, and set apart for God, and distinguished and marked as belonging to Him.  The Spirit [in us] secures the full sum, [which Jesus had paid for us.]  So Jesus’ Gift, Who is the Holy Spirit Himself; all His influences and operation, both as the [Possessor] and Sanctifier, are heaven begun; glory in the seed and bud.  The Spirit’s illumination is an earnest of everlasting light… until the [final earthly] redemption of the purchased possession.  We may be called the “possession,” because the Spirit makes us heirs as though we already possessed all of [God’s Heavenly Kingdom,] as all of this was purchased for us by the blood of Christ.  Our redemption is mentioned because it was mortgaged and forfeited by sin; but Christ restored it all to us, and so is said to redeem us.’  ‘Therefore,’ Paul wrote in 2 Cor. 5:17, ‘if anyone is in Christ, [spiritually] he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, ALL things have become new!’

A temple of the Spirit can never be empty, thus, a believer cannot be reborn, but later, through the laying on of hands, ‘get’ the baptism of the Spirit.  “If anyone does not have the [complete and full] Spirit of Christ, he is not His,” (Rom. 8:9b.) 

We cannot have the Holy Spirit ‘in part,’ because Jesus “does not give the Spirit by measure,” (Jn. 3:34.)  As we will see from the truth of Scripture, one does not “get the baptism in the Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues.”  No such (second) ‘baptism’ exists either in Scripture or in practice.  Neither is the gift of tongues, as any of His other gifts,  ‘evidence’ of what is really going on in our hearts.  Jesus said we shall know one another by our “fruit,” not our gifts.  “Fruits” are the things we do, and this is real ‘evidence’ or proof of what goes on in our hearts and minds; but God gives the gifts of the Spirit entirely free and without merit.  Jesus warned in Mt. 7:21-24, “Not everyone who says to Me, ’Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.  Many will say to Me in that day, ’Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied, cast out demons and done many wonders in Your Name?’ The I will say to them, I never knew you: depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!”  

All the Scriptural gifts are therefore not “evidence” but “signs” (Mark 16:16-19) that people gave their lives to Jesus — even if they do not serve Him in Spirit and Truth, (Mt. 7:21-24.) These “signs” do not  ‘prove’ anything to believers, because believers should know that the Spirit indwells all His sincere disciples whether He manifests His gifts through them or not.  These “signs’ are actually to show unbelievers that God is real, (1 Cor. 14:22; 1-5.) 

Most importantly, all the different gifts of the Holy Spirit manifest “as the He Alone wills” and cannot be forced on anyone by the laying on of hands or otherwise, (1 Cor. 12:11.)  Additionally, under the New Covenant of Christ, gifts, just as the indwelling Holy Spirit Himself, do not come from the outside but from the Spirit living within the believer, (Jn. 4:14.)  In fact, this second ‘baptism in the Spirit’ is a deadly doctrine, used by Pentecostal Charismatics to take even sincerely born again believers back to the ‘mediating’ priesthood-control of the Roman Catholic Church

 

JESUS HIMSELF DECLARED, “THE [spiritual, invisible] KINGDOM OF GOD DOES NOT COME WITH OBSERVATION, FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS [already] WITHIN [all sincere believers,]” (Lu. 17:20-37.)  

During the entire duration of the New Testament Covenant, which was inaugurated at the cross and which will stand “until the end of this world,” Jesus Himself mystically, (often without an ‘experience’ for the born again believer, and not necessarily with the signs or gifts of the Hoy Spirit, Mark 16:16-18,) manifests His Spiritual Kingdom in the hearts or blood-cleansed human spirits of each and every one of His personally born again believers, (Mt. 28:19-20; 1 Cor. 3:16.) 

From that first day at Pentecost until the end of the world, (Mt. 28:19-20,) Jesus’ truly reborn children — with His accompanying authority over evil spirits and the Holy Spirit’s full ‘anointing’ or power from “within them,” (1 Jn. 2:20, 27,) will preach the Gospel of Christ to the “whole world,” (Mark 16:16-18; Acts 1:8; 5:32; Jn. 1:12-13; Gal. 4:6.) 

1 Jn. 2:20, 27, “You [already] have an [abiding] anointing from the Holy One [Who indwells you..] The anointing which you have received, [that day when you wholeheartedly accepted Jesus,] abides [or stays] in you….”  2 Cor. 1:21, “Now He Who establishes us with you in Christ has [past tense] anointed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts [or born again human spirits] as guarantee [that He will, with our obedient co-operation, possess us completely and lead, teach and use us to bring us, and through us, also other people to heaven, Acts 5:32.]”     

It was mainly to evangelize the whole world that Jesus baptizes His believers with the Holy Spirit, (Acts 1:5-8.)  At His ascension He commanded, “...You shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now…  You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come [to indwell you on that day of Pentecost,] and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, [your home,] in all Judea and Samaria, [your neighbours,] and to the end of the earth.”  It is important to note that Jesus did not say ‘you will receive power to howl like wolves, fly through the air, laugh hysterically, etc.’  These manifestations are not the ‘power’ which Jesus was referring to in Acts 1:8 or anywhere else in the Bible.  In fact, these strange manifestations are not from God, Who is not the author of confusion, but of peace and order, (1 Cor. 14:32-33.)   

There is no middle-path in our spiritual walk with Christ.  According to Scriptural truth, mere religious church membership and attendance mean absolutely nothing.  Either one belongs wholeheartedly to Christ, or one falls into the spiritually dead, religious clutches and domain of the devil, (Hades.)  Either the Holy Spirit of God or evil spirits possess a person.  ‘The whole world, [the religious church world as well,] is in the power of the evil one,’ but ‘we [truly born again followers of Jesus and His true Word] are of God,’ (1 Jn. 5:19; Jn. 12:31; 14:30; 16:111; 2 Cor. 4:4; Eph. 2:2; 6:12.) 

 

ONCE JESUS BAPTISED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT, THE SPIRIT BAPTIZES BELIEVERS INTO THE BODY OF CHRIST 

Once Jesus had baptized a new believer with the Holy Spirit, the Spirit Himself instantly baptizes that believer into the body of Christ.  1 Cor. 12:12-31, “For as the body is one and has many members.. So also [true believers] are one body… in Christ.  For by One Spirit we were all baptized into one [spiritual] body — whether Jews or Gentiles, whether slaves or free, [male or female Gal. 3:28,] all have been made to drink into One Spirit…”  In this Holy-Spirit baptism too, no human being plays any part.  The Spirit Himself supernaturally places or builds each believer as “a living stone into the spiritual building of God,” which is His Personal Holy Spirit filled temple: the blood-cleansed body of Christ. 

These are definitely two separate spiritual baptisms; one by Jesus with the Spirit, and the other by the indwelling Holy Spirit into the body of Christ.  Yet, these baptisms can never be separated from each other.  Once cannot be indwelt with the Holy Spirit without being a member of Jesus’ body or believers, and vise versa,  (Mt. 3:11; 1 Cor. 12:13; 6:19; 12:4-11; Rom. 8:15-17; Eph. 1:13-14; 1 Pet. 2:9-10.) 

Churches have derived a terrible deception from Jesus’ baptism with the Holy Spirit and with fire, as well as the baptism of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ, misinterpreting even whole portions of Scripture.  In reality, John said in Mt. 3:11-12 that Jesus’ Holy Spirit baptism saves His disciples, while obedient water baptism of His sincere disciples is the type or symbol of their salvation.  “The Scriptural water baptism places the believing disciple under and out of water, which is the symbol of Christ’s death and resurrection,’ (Rom. 6; Mt. 28:19-20.)  But Jesus’ baptism with the Holy Spirit places the Kingdom of God inside the born again believer, while the Spirit Himself baptizes or places the believer into Christ.  As Christ is the Head of His body, the Spirit therefore actually places the believer into the body of Christ, completing the rebirth and ‘binding the believer to God,’ (1 Cor. 12:13.)  In effect, Jesus’ baptism with the Spirit, (just as the Spirit’s baptism into Christ’s body,) refers to the instant salvation of the believer” — [Spirit Filled Bible.] 

 

GOD ALSO COMMANDED, “BE FILLED WITH THE WORD,” (WHICH IS OUR SPIRITUAL ‘WATER’)   

God commanded in Col. 3:16, “Let the Word of God dwell (or live) in you richly in all wisdom…”  True believers have inside their born again human spirits, just as they have the indwelling Holy spirit, the living Word of God: Jesus is the Word of God, (Jn. 1:1-13.)  True believers need to be “filled” with the truth of God’s Word on a rational level so that Jesus Himself, (through His Scriptural Gospel,) can overflow like life-giving water into the whole world! 

Therefore, we should not be amazed that God said that His people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge! (Hos. 4:6.)  “Because you have rejected [My Scriptural] knowledge, I will also reject you from being a priest for Me...” 

Since the fall in Eden, God’s Moral Law of Love has always been the Universal Guide of all humanity, not just of believers.  Even during the Old Testament Covenant dispensation, when the Holy Spirit only ‘came upon’ Hebrew believers but did not indwell believers until Pentecost after Jesus’ ascension, (Jn. 7:39,) He was “near” them; reminding them of everything that was written in the Moral Law of Love.  Deut. 30:11-20, “This commandment… is not far off…  Very near you is the Word, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may DO it.  I have set before you today life and good [versus] death and evil, and I command you to love the Lord your God, [in deed and truth,] walk in His ways, and keep His [Moral Law] commandments…”  Even complete unbelievers ‘know’ the Moral Law of Love, and have therefore no excuse to commit sin against “their neighbours.” 

Rom. 2:13-16, “Not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the [Moral] law will be justified; for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the [Moral] law, these, although not having the law, are a law unto themselves, who show the work of the [Moral] law is written in heir hearts; their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts accusing or else excusing them…”  [Obedience to the Moral Law in itself cannot save anyone without personal faith in, and acceptance of Jesus.  This proves that unbelievers also know the great difference between truth and lies, love and hate, etc.]  So, even during the New Testament Covenant dispensation, it was no wonder that “The Word is near you; in your mouth and in your [born again] heart [or human spirit...]”  Therefore, Jesus warned, “If anyone hears My words and does not believe… rejects Me, and does not receive [and obey] My words, has that which judges him: the words that I have spoken will judge him in the last day…  And this command is everlasting life…”  (Jn. 12:47-50.)   

Eph. 5:26, “That He [Jesus] might sanctify and cleanse her [the believing bride] with the washing of Water by the Word…” 

1 Pet. 1:22, “Since you have purified your souls [minds or thoughts] in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love…  having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, but through the Word of God, which lives and abides [in you] forever...”  Tit. 3:5, “[You are not saved] by works of righteousness which you have done, [because these works can glorify Jesus but earn nothing from Him,] but according to His mercy, through the washing of regeneration, [being born again through personal faith in Jesus, Who is the Word of God,] and the renewing [of your minds or souls] by the Holy Spirit,” (Rom. 12:1-2.)  Jesus promised in Jn. 7:37-38, “If anyone thirsts let him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart [or born again spirit] will flow rivers [or rather a spring of] living water, which is not the river of anointing in churches, because God is not the author of chaos and confusion, but of peace and order, (1 Cor. 14:31-33.] This He spoke concerning the Spirit, Whom those [personally] believing in Him would receive...” 

The “water” of these verses is not water baptism.  Neither do these verses say we are saved by water baptism itself!  Baptismal Regeneration is a false doctrine, which initiates new converts into that church’s system by the so-called “power” of the occult water godScriptural water baptism (by immersion, which symbolizes personal spiritual death and resurrection in Christ, Rom. 6,) must only be administered to sincerely believing disciples of Jesus, not to mere church members or to their babies, who are incapable of personal faith in God! (Mt. 28:19-20.)  

In the true context of these words, Jesus’ “water” is the symbol of life — eternal life.  Jesus Himself is Water (or the Word God;) and the Only Light, Life, Truth, and Way, (Jn. 1:1-3; 14:6.)  Thus, only Jesus’ Scriptural Truth (and not the “special anointing” or doctrines of pastors, priests, ministers and prophets,) is Life.  James explained in 1:21-22, “Lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness and receive with meekness [not weakness] the implanted Word, which is able to save your souls, [not for the purpose of saving your human spirits only, but also for the continual “renewal” of your sin-polluted minds or “souls,” so that you would be able to understand the will of God.]  But be [obedient] doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves…”  (See Rom. 12:1-2!) 

God’s Truth (the Word of God,) in the Most Capable Hands of the Teacher, the Holy Spirit, is therefore the Power of the Holy Spirit unto the salvation, blessing, and redemption of the whole world! - (Jn. 3:16-17.) 

 

GOD ALSO COMMANDED, “BE FILLED [NOT BAPTIZED] WITH THE SPIRIT” - WHAT DOES THIS REALLY MEAN? 

We must continually be “filled” with the Word to know Jesus’ will for every situation in our lives, thus being able to do His will.  In the context of the whole Bible, true believers need to be [continually] “filled” with the Holy Spirit - which is not the “baptism with the Holy Spirit” at the moment of our rebirth.  “Being filled with the Holy Spirit” is also not the manifesting of the gifts of the Holy Spirit such as tongues, prophecy, healings, a word of wisdom, a word of knowledge, supernatural faith, working of miracles, discerning of spirits, different kinds of tongues and interpretation of tongues - all of which the Spirit Himself gives solely “as He wills,” (1 Cor. 12:4-11.) 

In addition, it is not written, “Do not be drunk from wine, but be drunk from the Holy Spirit; lose your mind, etc...” 

God actually commanded in Eph. 5:18, “Do not be drunk, [never get drunk at all] from wine [or anything else,] in which is dissipation,” [depravity, wantonness, immorality, shamelessness,] but be filled with the Spirit [of Order, Self-control, Peace, and a Sound Mind…”  (1 Cor. 14:31-33.)  The context of this commandment begins in Eph. 5:11, “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.  For it is shameful even to speak of the things which they do… Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.  See then that you walk circumspectly, [cautiously, carefully, thoughtfully,] not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.  Therefore… understand what the will of the Lord is.  And do not be drunk with wine… [do not be drunk at all] but be filled with the Spirit.” 

Being drunk in any way; giving our minds to the control of substances, false preachers and spirits — and being filled with the Holy Spirit are two irreconcilable opposites!  Not even the Holy Spirit of the Bible expect us to give up control of our minds to Him, because He has commanded us to “be vigilant [against the schemes of the evil one,]” be watchful, sober minded, of a sound mind, and take captive our thoughts to obedience to Christ.  Our spirits must be subject to us and not the other way round, and we must do everything “orderly,” because God is not the author of chaos and confusion, (1 Pt. 5:8-9; 2 Tim. 1:7; 2 Cor. 10:5; 1 Cor. 14:31-32.) 

The Old Testament prophet Isaiah also warned in 29:9-13, “...Blind yourselves [by believing false dogma and giving your mind over to false spirits,] and you will be blind!  They are drunk, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with intoxicating drink.  For [because of your disobedience to ‘test the spirits, 1 Jn. 4:1-4,] the Lord has poured out on you the spirit of deep sleep... These people draw near with their mouths...  But have removed their hearts [of obedience] far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the commandments of men, [or false doctrines.]” 

Paul explained in Eph. 5:18-21, that “being filled with the Spirit “[will produce the Godly result of] speaking to one another in psalms, [Scriptural and Spirit inspired lyrics in song!] hymns, [humanly inspired lyrics in song,] and making melody in your heart to the Lord, [or spiritual songs; “rhythmic lyrics given by the Spirit in one’s own spiritual language or in known or unknown tongues,” as explained in 1 Cor. 14:15,]  giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another [in everything good, true, and Godly] in the fear of God.”  Acts 24:24 plainly states, “Now as Paul reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgement to come, Felix was afraid…”  

We will never be continually “filled” with the Holy Spirit if we do not allow the Word of God to saturate our spirits, souls, (minds,) and permeate our entire lives!  The more we die to sin and self and allow the Holy Spirit to teach and guide us into “all truth” of God’s Word, the more the Holy Spirit will “fill” us with His ‘water,’ (Word,) and make His water overflow into our lives.  As a result, God commanded that sincere believers do not need the indwelling Holy Spirit only; they need the indwelling (or filling) of the Word of God, which God also implanted inside us, (Col. 3:16.) 

(Continued)