BAPTISM IN OR WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT
The distinction between the baptism of the Spirit and the filling of the Spirit (by Dr. Charles Ryrie)
Occurs only once in a believer‘s life.
Is a repeated experience.
Never happened before Pentecost.
Happened in the Old Testament.
True of all believers.
Not necessarily experienced by all.
Cannot be undone.
Can be lost.
Results in a spiritual position.
Results in spiritual power.
Occurs when one believes in Christ.
Occurs throughout the Christian life.
No prerequisite (faith in Christ).
Depends on yieldedness.
No human involvement.
We are commanded to be filled.
Following By Grant Richison
When the Bible speaks of “one baptism,” it is the baptism of the Spirit (Eph 4:4-6).
-As there is only one true church, the body of Christ, and only one Spirit and one Lord, so there can only be one baptism.
The day of Pentecost was when believers were initially baptized into the body of Christ (Acts 1:5; 1 Co 12:12-14)
– The word “baptism” occurs with the prepositions of “in,” “with” and “by.” We find the phrase “baptized in the Spirit” in Mt 3:11; Mark 1:8; Lu 3:16; Jn 1:33; Acts 1:5, 11:16 and 1 Cor 12:13. The concept is spiritual union with Christ and all believers.
– The Greek word “baptize” [baptizw] is not translated, but transliterated (the Greek word is just dropped into English without translation). If translated, the idea is to identify.
The metaphorical meaning of “baptize” is to identify (Ro 6:3-4; Ga 3:27-38)
The baptism of the Spirit is when God identified the believer with the body of Christ, the church.
-At this event Christ does the baptizing, He places the believer into the Spirit. Thus, the believer is placed in union with Christ (Ga 3:27,28; Ro 6:3,5) and with the body of Christ (1 Co 12:13).
-All Christians are baptized with the Spirit at the moment of salvation. There is no command to seek Spirit baptism; there is no subsequent second baptism of the Spirit.
-water baptism is when an individual identifies with a local church.
Water baptism is the outward symbol of Spirit baptism.
The baptism of the Spirit took place in two phases:
1) for the Jews in Acts 2
2) for Gentiles (Acts 10:44-48; 11:15-17).
The baptism of the Spirit could not occur before Jesus died, rose from the dead, and ascended to heaven (Jn 3:37-39; 16:7ff)
The Baptism of the Spirit is not two-staged
The reason the apostles had a two-stage experience was that they spanned both the economy of Israel and the church. They became believers before the church age began. The Lord Jesus introduced them to a new epic of God’s dealings with man, the church.
There is no command to be baptized with the Spirit
The baptism of the Spirit is a permanent event, not temporary (Jn 14:16-17)
The baptism of the Spirit is when the Holy Spirit came to “abide” (remain) in the church.
The baptism of the Spirit is not an experience
The baptism of the Spirit is an act of God whereby He regenerates, indwells, seals unto the day of redemption, and places the believer in the body of Christ, the church
The baptism of the Spirit is not the filling of the Spirit. The filling of the Spirit is both commanded and an experience.
-The filling of the Spirit is a repeated experience.
-The filling of the Spirit depends on one’s yieldedness to the Spirit.
There is no baptism by the Spirit, but baptism in the Spirit.
-Jesus is the baptizer (Lu 3:16)
Misappropriation of Baptism of the Spirit
(Summarized from Merrill Unger’s The Baptizing Work of the Holy Spirit)
The baptism with the Holy Spirit occurs when God’s Spirit which places the believer “in Christ,” in His mystical Body, the Church, and which makes him one with all other believers in Christ, one in life, the very life of the Son of God Himself, sharing His common salvation, hope, and destiny.
First, people confound the baptism with the Spirit with the new birth. Regeneration and baptism with the Spirit are distinct. Both happen to the believer at the point of salvation although they are different doctrines.
Baptism with the Spirit places the believer “in Christ” (Rom. 6:3, 4; Gal. 3:27; 1 Cor. 12:13; Col. 2:12), whereas regeneration imparts eternal life (John 17:23; Col. 1:27; Rev. 3:20).
The baptism with the Holy Spirit and regeneration are two complementary, and yet distinct, works of God, simultaneously and eternally given to believer the moment he exercises saving faith in Christ.
By regeneration, God translates the soul from death into life (Eph. 2:1–4). By the baptism with the Spirit the quickened soul is united to Christ as Head (Eph. 1:22, 23) and to all other believers as members of the one Body (1 Cor. 12:12–27).
By regeneration a person becomes a child of God (John 1:12, 13), becomes a partaker of the divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4), an heir of God, and a joint-heir with Christ (Rom. 8:16, 17). By the baptism with the Holy Spirit, God takes the believer out of the old creation in Adam, and places him eternally in the new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17), the new federal Head, and all that Christ is, and has done is imputed to the believer.
Second, people confuse the indwelling of the Spirit with the baptism of the Spirit. Each Christian in the new economy of the church is indwelt continually with the Spirit 1 Cor. 6:19, 20; Rom. 8:11; 2 Cor. 5:5; 1 John 3:24; 4:13) and thus possess the Spirit Rom. 5:5; 8:9; Gal. 3:2; 4:6).
Third, some confuse the sealing with the Spirit and the baptism with the Spirit. Although sealing occurs simultaneously with regeneration, baptism of the Spirit, and the indwelling of the Spirit, they are distinct operations of the Spirit. God the Holy Spirit seals every Christian’s salvation until he reaches the glorification of his body Eph. 1:13; 4:30; 2 Cor. 1:22). The seal is the indwelling Holy Spirit Himself, which is a stamp of divine ownership.
By regeneration, God gives us His very own eternal life. By the Spirit’s baptism, He unites us indissolubly and vitally to Himself. By the indwelling, He grants us His continual presence. By the sealing, He stamps us as His very own for all eternity.
Fourth, some confuse the baptism of the Spirit with a supposed “second blessing,” making it an experience.
Fifth, some confuse baptism with the Spirit and the filling of the Spirit. These two doctrines are distinct:
The baptism with the Spirit takes place once at the point of salvation, whereas the filling of the Spirit is continuous. The baptism with the Spirit puts the believer into a new and eternal position with God forever, however, God commands the believer to repeat the filling of the Spirit (Eph 5:18; Acts 2:4; 4:8, 31; 9:17).
The Bible never says that a believer is to experience the baptism of the Spirit; that is because it is an instantaneous, and once-for-all event produced by God. Many passages describe the filling as an experience where they are bold witnesses (Acts 4:31), gain victory over the flesh (Ga 5:16), offer worship to God (Eph 5:18-20), the Spirit guides (Ro 8:14).
There is no command in Scripture for anyone to be baptized with the Spirit, but there are entreaties to be filled with the Spirit. In Ephesians 5:18, the Greek gives this meaning: allow yourselves to keep on being filled with the Spirit (present tense, passive voice, imperative mood).
The baptism of the Spirit is universal—“all” (1 Co 12:13), however, not every Christian is filled with the Spirit in Scripture.
The baptism with the Holy Spirit in the Gospels
After a long silence of four centuries between the Old and New Testaments, John the Baptist burst on the scene to announce the need to be baptized “with the Holy Spirit and fire” Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16). This baptism was never anticipated by the Old Testament prophets. Old Testament saints knew something of the temporary power of the Spirit but not the permanent indwelling of the Spirit (Judg. 6:34; 1 Chron. 12:18; 2 Chron. 24:20).
The baptism with the Holy Spirit is unique to the church economy
Spirit baptism joins all believers to the body of Christ (Ro 6:4; 1 Co 12:13). The Scripture never challenges an individual to be baptized with the Spirit.
The baptism of the Spirit occurs at the point of salvation and is never repeated.
John the Baptist announced the baptism with the Spirit to occur at some point in the future (Matt. 3:11; Mk. 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:32, 33). Jesus announced it as also in the future, but the near future (Acts 1:5). In John 7:37–39, Jesus said that the Holy Spirit was not yet given. Our Lord challenged His disciples to “tarry” in Jerusalem until they were “endued with power from on high” (Lu 24:49).
The first instance of the baptism with the Holy Spirit occurred on the day of Pentecost (Acts 1:5 and chapter 2), the day that the church began.
The Samaritan relation to the baptism of the Holy Spirit
Some teach that Acts 8:4-25 gives support for a subsequent baptism of the Holy Spirit after salvation. The reception of the Holy Spirit by the Samaritans signified their baptism into the Church, the Body of Christ. The phrases “receive the Holy Spirit” (verses 15, 19), “received the Holy Spirit” (verse 17), “gift of God” (verse 20), “fallen upon them” (verse 16), refer to the introduction of the Holy Spirit to this group.
Cornelius’ relation to the baptism of the Holy Spirit
In Acts 10:34–48, a new event took place. To this point, Jews and Samaritans believers received the Spirit, but on this occasion, Gentiles would receive the Spirit. The scene at Caesarea presents the first representative Gentiles baptized into the mystical body of Christ.
The relation of the Ephesian believers to the baptism with the Spirit
Paul encountered twelve disciples at Ephesus (Acts 19:1–7). These twelve knew nothing of the provision of the Holy Spirit and the special ministry to the church. These men were disciples of John the Baptist but had not come to know about the coming of the Holy Spirit permanently upon the church. As well, their teacher Apollos knew only the baptism of John. However, “the Holy Spirit came on them.” Paul asked this group whether the Holy Spirit came upon them when they believed (Acts 19:2). The two aorists of this verse ἐλάβετε and πιστεύσαντες point to one definite occasion, which should translate “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” The issue is not whether these men believed, but what they believed.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit in the epistles
Six passages in the epistles, in particular, teach baptism with the Spirit: Romans 6:3, 4; Galatians 3:27; Ephesians 4:5; Colossians 2:12; 1 Peter 3:21; 1 Corinthians 12:13. In 1 Corinthians 12:13, the Baptizer into the body of Christ is the Spirit. Peter teaches the baptism of the Spirit in 1 Peter 3:21.
Defined by Paul
The unsaved are “in Adam,” positionally condemned. But when a person is saved, he or she is in Christ, positionally justified (5:12–21). Should believers continue to practice sin now that they are saved? As Paul responded, “Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (6:2). Our death to sin occurred through our positional presence in Christ, accomplished by the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
Paul’s testimony in Galatians 2:20 is that of all church-age believers: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Like me, put yourself into that verse. I, Bob Gromacki (or your name), have been crucified with Christ. He now lives in me, Bob Gromacki (or your name).
This positional identification is true of all believers. Unfortunately, many Christians are not aware of this blessed truth. Many do not appropriate by faith the victory over sin that Christ won. Having won that victory, we must believe it and act appropriately.
In a related passage, Paul wrote, “Buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead” (Col. 2:12). Once dead in sins, we were “made alive together with Him” (2:13; see also Eph. 2:4–7).
It places every believer into the spiritual body of Christ, the true church. After Christ died and rose from the dead, He ascended to heaven where He began His headship over “the church which is His body” (Eph. 1:22–23). During His ministry, Christ had said, “I will build My church” (Matt. 16:18). There are several key features in this prediction. First, Christ is the Builder (“I”). Second, the building would take place in the future (“will build”). In fact, in this chapter (16:21), Christ spoke for the first time about His intention to die and to rise again. Third, the church would be His (“My”). Fourth, the church is singular. Local churches should manifest the essence of the one true, universal church. The Greek ekklēsia (“church”) means literally “called-out” ones. In this church age, the dispensation between the Day of Pentecost and the Rapture, Christ is calling out a redeemed group, formed from believing Jews and believing Gentiles.
We who are called of God to salvation are placed into the body of Christ, namely, the true church, by the baptism in the Holy Spirit. “By one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:13). The Greek preposition en, here translated as “by,” is better translated as “in,” that is, “in one Spirit.”
There are some key doctrinal points found in this verse.
First, all believers have been baptized in the Holy Spirit (“we all”). Nowhere does the Bible suggest that only some believers have been baptized in the Spirit.
Second, this baptism places every believer into one body, the true church. The goal of Spirit baptism is positional oneness within the called-out group in this church age. All church-age believers are in the church; there are no believers outside the spiritual body of Christ.
Third, normal racial, social, and sexual distinctions remain in ordinary life experiences, but they are irrelevant within the body. Jews and Greeks are positionally one in the church. So are the slaves and free citizens. And so are males and females.
Fourth, the baptism in the Holy Spirit is a work that Christ does for us. It is not an experience we should seek after conversion. It is an automatic part of spiritual regeneration.
Fifth, the baptism in the Spirit establishes our sphere of ministry within the true church. Paul explained, “But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased” (12:18). Although we believers are one in our spiritual position in the body, we have different functions to perform.
Sixth, the baptism in the Holy Spirit is not evidenced by speaking in tongues. Later Paul asked, “Do all speak with tongues?” (12:30). The expected answer was no. All were baptized in the Holy Spirit, but not all spoke in tongues. Thus speaking in tongues is not the initial evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
It enables believers to be clothed with Christ. “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:27). The baptism in the Holy Spirit places us into Christ, into total union and identification with Him. Positionally, He is around each one of us. As in 1 Corinthians 12:13, Paul wrote in Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” The baptism in the Spirit eliminates human distinctions; it does not exacerbate them. It does not create two peoples of God—one that has the baptism and one that doesn’t.
It is a spiritual reality that marks every believer in this church age. Paul challenged believers to walk worthy of their divine calling and “to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:1–3). The spiritual oneness created by the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of each believer is true whether believers live in accord with that truth or not. Yet, the daily practice of believers should display their spiritual position.
What is the unity of the Spirit? Paul explained, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (4:4–6). Here Paul used the word one seven times to point out seven realities that mark the spiritual position of every believer.
First, we believers are all in the one body, the true church.
Second, we are all indwelt by one Spirit, the Holy Spirit.
Third, we all have one hope, the hope of being like Christ when He returns to rapture the church.
Fourth, we all have one Lord, Jesus Christ, the crucified, resurrected, ascended Head of the church.
Fifth, we all have one faith, that belief in the deity and the redemptive work of Christ.
Sixth, we are all marked by one baptism, the baptism in the Holy Spirit, which placed us into Christ and His body.
Seventh, we all have one God and Father, the sovereign Ruler of our lives.
The words “one baptism” must refer to the baptism in the Holy Spirit. It cannot refer to water baptism because not all Christians have been baptized in water. Those who have, have not all been baptized in the same method. Some have been immersed backward once, whereas others have been immersed forward once or three times. Many have been sprinkled or poured on. Some were baptized when they were infants, whereas others have been baptized as adults. Water baptism is not a singular reality true of all believers.
Since all believers are marked by the six other spiritual realities, the “one baptism” must also be true of all believers. It is part of the unity of the Spirit, which is to be maintained.
Contrasts to the baptism of the Spirit
Baptism and Indwelling
Both the baptism in the Holy Spirit and the indwelling presence of the Spirit occur at the moment of salvation. Both are divine works done in our lives apart from our human efforts or requests. And both are permanent.
Old Testament believers could be indwelt by the Spirit, but they were never baptized in the Holy Spirit. They never became members of the spiritual body of Christ, the true church that Christ is building in this dispensation.
We were in the Spirit when we were baptized in the Holy Spirit. In indwelling, the Spirit is in us. We were immersed in the Spirit (baptism), but we “have all been made to drink into one Spirit” (indwelling, 1 Cor. 12:13).
This baptism is a nonrepeatable event that occurs at the point of salvation, and the indwelling of the Spirit also occurs at the point of salvation and of course, continues on.
Baptism and Filling
The baptism in the Holy Spirit and the filling of the Holy Spirit are two separate divine works. Although several groups try to equate them, the biblical evidence contrasts them.
First, the baptism in the Holy Spirit is a once-for-all operation, whereas filling is a continuous process. The command to be filled (Eph. 5:18) is in the present tense, indicating an experience that can be repeated. The disciples were repeatedly filled (Acts 2:4; 4:8, 31). The baptism, however, is a single event (Eph. 4:5), described as completed (Rom. 6:3–4; 1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:27; Col. 2:12).
Second, the baptism in the Holy Spirit is nonexperiential, whereas filling is a reality to be experienced. The baptism in the Spirit is something God does for us without our knowing about it at the time. Filling is an experience to be desired and to be achieved.
Third, there is no command for any believer to be baptized in the Holy Spirit, but there is a command to be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18).
Fourth, the baptism in the Holy Spirit is universal among all Christians (1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 4:5). The command to be filled with the Spirit implies that some believers were not filled.
Fifth, the baptism in the Holy Spirit is different from filling in its results. Baptism unites us to Christ and makes us members of the body of Christ (Rom. 6:3–4; 1 Cor. 12:13). Filling produces joy, thanksgiving, submission, service, and Christian character (Gal. 5:22; Eph. 5:19–21).
Sixth, the baptism in the Holy Spirit is different from filling in the conditions by which it is received. When a person believes in Christ for salvation, at that very moment he or she is baptized in the Holy Spirit. When a believer is separated from known personal sin and is totally yielded to the indwelling Spirit, he will be filled with the Spirit.
Implications for Us Today
First, we need to recognize the distinctiveness of the present church age. The true church, the body of Christ, which He is building, consists of saved Jews and saved Gentiles. The difference between local churches and the true church needs to be recognized. Some truths relate to church believers today that were not true of the Old Testament saints. Also some truths relate only to ethnic Israel and not to the church.
Second, we must exalt our spiritual oneness in Christ and in the body of Christ—two results produced by the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Our oneness in Christ transcends our denominational and doctrinal differences. We can fellowship with those who are genuinely saved even if they do not interpret the Scriptures in the same way we do.
Third, we must evaluate our experiences by the clear teachings of the Word of God. We must not view our experiences as more authoritative than the Bible. We must exercise spiritual discernment when people claim experiences that are not supported by Scripture.
Fourth, we need to examine carefully the various meanings and applications that are attached to the doctrine of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, including our own. Is it true that those who have not spoken in tongues in a postconversion experience are deficient in spiritual gifts and evangelistic success? What about Billy Graham? Charles Swindoll? Charles Stanley? These men, and many non-Pentecostal and noncharismatic believers like them, have not spoken in tongues nor do they believe in a postconversion baptism in the Holy Spirit. Even Pentecostalists and charismatics admire such men.
Fifth, let’s rejoice in all the spiritual blessings God has bestowed on us in Christ (Eph. 1:3). We need not seek a second or a third postconversion blessing, something beyond what the Bible teaches. Our position in Christ is complete.
Merrill Unger, The Baptizing Work of the Holy Spirit (1953)