16 For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
For as yet He had fallen upon none of them.
Luke added an explanation for Peter and John’s prayer for the Samaritan converts to receive the Holy Spirit. Although they had become believers, none had received the Holy Spirit. The entire group of believers there did not have the Spirit.
They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
The Samaritan believers received only water baptism after their salvation, not the permanent reception of the Holy Spirit.
Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
The act of the apostles (Peter and John) laying their hands on the Samaritans to receive the Holy Spirit was a recognition of the strategic new beginning for this group of people.
The reception of the Spirit is not the same as the baptism of the Spirit.
The initial baptism of the Spirit on the church occurred in Acts 2, which incorporated church-age believers into the body of Christ. This special event was when God changed His dealings with the people of God from the nation of Israel to the church, which is an organism. Thus, the event of Acts 8 is not the baptism of the Spirit but the reception of the Spirit.
The primary reason the Samaritans received the Holy Spirit after their salvation was that God’s economy of dealing with His people changed after the launch of the church in Acts 2. Acts 2, 8, and 19 show how God changed His way of dealing with people from the previous economy of a national entity to that of an organism, the body of Christ, the church. This process took place in phases in the book of Acts until God established the church on earth. The subsequent reception of the Holy Spirit after salvation for the Samaritans is a transitional issue in the book of Acts. It is part of what we call in theology progressive revelation.
Within the economy of grace, or the church age, each person who receives Christ as Savior receives the Holy Spirit with one fell swoop at the point of salvation (Ro 8:9). Each and every Christian receives the Holy Spirit when spiritually baptized into the body of Christ at salvation (1 Co 12:13). Now both Jew and Gentile are linked together; there is neither Jew nor Gentile (Ga 3:29).