THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
In today's Christianity there are
different explanations of the baptism of the Holy Spirit which induce
tremendous confusion to those truth seekers of God, even causing them fear of
pursuing the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
Because of this, they cannot receive the precious Holy Spirit. Therefore, this article is presented in order
to disclose the truth entirely according to the Bible concerning the necessity
and benefits of the baptism of the Holy Spirit and its evidence of experience,
the avenue for seeking the fullness of the Holy Spirit, and the discernment
between the Holy Spirit and the evil spirit.
We pray the Lord will lead all those who hunger and thirst after God to
obey the instructions in the scriptures, to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
THE NECESSITY AND BENEFIT OF THE BAPTISM OF THE
The Holy Spirit of God (Jn 4:24) is the reality of God Himself. Although God is absolutely holy, lofty and
inhabits in eternity, He promises to pour down His Holy Spirit upon lowly and
sinful men who humbly seek after Him (Is 44:3; Joel 2:28-31). The Lord Jesus indicated clearly,
descriptions, that He will send the Comforter - the Spirit of Truth to dwell in
them and abide with them forever (Jn 14:16,17). Before His ascension, He commanded His
disciples not to depart from Jerusalem
but wait for the promise of the Father, the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts
The baptism of the Holy Spirit in
the Bible is also called being born again of the spirit (Jn
3:5-8), the fullness of the Holy Spirit, filling with the Holy Spirit (Acts
2:4), down-pouring of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:17,18,33), the descending of the
Holy Spirit (Acts 19:6), the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38, 8:20, 10:45,
11:17 (this gift in Greek is the word "Dorea"),
and the renewal of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5,6).
Receiving the baptism of the Holy
Spirit is an indispensable qualification of eternal life. The following scriptures can prove this
Unless one is born of the Holy Spirit, he cannot
enter the Kingdom
of God (Jn 3:5).
Only by receiving the Holy Spirit can one truly belong to Christ (Rom 8:9).
He who has the Holy Spirit is assured God dwells
in him (I Jn 3:24) and he is truly God's child (Rom
Receiving the Holy Spirit obtains the guarantee
of the inheritance of the HeavenlyKingdom (2 Cor 1:21,22; Eph 1: 13,14).
Being filled with the Holy Spirit, one may
understand the profound mystery of the truth (Jn
14:26, 16:12,13; 1 Cor 2:
Being filled with the Holy Spirit, one will gain
spiritual wisdom (Is 11:2, 1 Cor 12:8).
Being filled with the Holy Spirit, one will
possess spiritual power (Acts 1: 8) and boldness (Acts 4:3 1).
Being filled with the Holy Spirit, one may
obtain the gift of preaching (Mt 10:19,20; Acts 2:37),
or other spiritual gifts (I Cor 12:4-11).
Being filled with the Holy Spirit, one is able
to put to death the lust of the flesh (Rom 8:13; Gal 5:16-18, 24) and become
totally renewed (Titus 3:5) to live a holy life (2 Thess
Those who are filled with the Holy Spirit, will
manifest the life of God and His divine character (Eze
37:10,14) whereby they will be able to bear all kinds of spiritual fruit (Is
32:15; Gal 5:22,23).
Being filled with the Holy Spirit, one will
experience the spiritual fulfillment and joy (Jn
7:37-39; Rom 14:17).
When one is filled with the Holy Spirit, the
Holy Spirit will intercede for him (Rom 8:26,27) so. that he can commune with the Lord intimately in the Spirit
(I Cor 14:2) and become one with the Lord Spirit (2 Cor 3:18) whereby he receives edification (I Cor 14:4).
THE EVIDENCE OF RECEIVING THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Spirit of God is intangible
and invisible. Yet, one may experience
Him as we do the wind or electricity. In
the Old Testament times, when the Spirit of God descended upon Mt. Sinai, there were thundering, lightning, and
a thick cloud upon the mountain, and smoke, and a very loud trumpet blast, and
the whole mountain quaked greatly (Ex 19:16-20). In a like manner, when the Holy Spirit
descends upon man, there will naturally be audible and visible signs (Acts
As recorded in the Acts 2:1-13,
when the Holy Spirit came upon the 120 disciples on the day of Pentecost, they
heard a sound coming from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled
the house where they were sitting. They
saw visions of tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them,
and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other
tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance (in Greek, glossolalia,
see Note). The tongues they spoke were
not languages of any nation in the world.
Acts 2:5-11 tells us there were devout Jews from 15 different places of
the world who came and dwelt in Jerusalem. They were attracted by the loud noise of the
prayers and assembled outside the house.
God opened the ears of the devout among them to understand the mystery
of the spoken tongues. But to others,
God did not open their ears, and they were dumbfounded and mocking, thought
that the disciples were filled with new wine (Acts 2:13). Even if the tongues they spoke were worldly
languages, then it would be impossible for anyone who stood outside to
understand the loud noise of 120 people speaking 15 languages at the same time. Further, if they were speaking worldly
languages, why did some of the people outside mocked at them saying they were
drunk? Why did those devout Jews
Anyone who speaks in spiritual
tongues speaks to God, not to man, for no one understands but he utters
mysteries in the Spirit (I Cor 14:2). Unless God gives the gift of the
interpretation of tongues, it is impossible to understand (I Cor 14:28). Usually,
we call this kind of spiritual tongues, praying tongues or self-edifying
tongues (I Cor 14:2,4).
Unfortunately, many Christian
today are confused in the truth of speaking in tongues. Following are the corrections for some
The First Misconception - At the
moment a person believes in the Lord, he receives the Holy Spirit.
Correction - After three years of
believing and following the Lord Jesus, none of the apostles received the Holy
Spirit until they prayed earnestly on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). When Paul met some believers in Ephesus, he asked them,
"Have you received the Holy Spirit when you believed?" This statement
proves to us that believing and receiving the Holy Spirit are two different
matters and does not necessarily happen at the same time. After Paul baptized those believers in Ephesus, he laid hands
upon them and then they received the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:1-7).
The Second Misconception - When a
person is baptized he receives the Holy Spirit .
Correction - Though the believers
in Samaria had been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, none received the
Holy Spirit until Peter and John laid their hands on them in prayer (Acts
The Third Misconception - When a
person has good virtue or experiences any transformation in his life, it is the
result of being filled with the Holy Spirit.
Correction - Cornelius was a very
devout man of God. He loved God and his
fellowman, but he did not receive the Holy Spirit until the time when Peter
preached in his house when the Holy Spirit then descended upon him (Acts
The Fourth Misconception -
Speaking in tongues is one of the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit, hence not
everyone receives it.
Correction - This misconception is
due to lack of understanding of the true meaning of I Corinthians, chapters 12
and 14. The tongues in I Cor 12:10, 28,30 refers to the
tongues of edifying the church. The
purpose and function of this tongue is different from the praying tongues.
The praying tongues spoken by the Holy Spirit:
It is speaking to God. No one understanding (I Cor
It is for edifying oneself (I Cor 14:4).
It is the evidence of receiving the Holy Spirit
and the baptism of the Holy Spirit that every Christian must experience in
order to enter the Heavenly Kingdom (Acts 1:4,5,14,15; 2:1-4; Rom 8:9; Eph
Preaching tongues or tongues edifying the church
spoken by the Holy Spirit:
It is speaking to others or the entire
church. It must be interpreted by those
who receive the gift of interpreting the tongues, otherwise it is profitless (I
Cor 12:10,30; 14:27,28).
It is for edifying others or the entire church
(I Cor 14:26).
It is one of the nine special gifts of the Holy
Spirit (this gift in Greek is the word of charismata), not everyone will
receive it (I Cor 12:10,30;
The tongues spoken by the Holy
Spirit is quite different from the worldly languages. Speaking any worldly language depends greatly
upon the movement of the mouth, for example, Chinese, English, Spanish, French,
German, etc., but speaking in spiritual tongues has a great deal to do with the
movement of the tongues. That is why
Acts 2:3 records, when the disciples received the Holy Spirit there appeared to
them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. The sound of praying tongues would be likened
to the sound of many waters and mighty thunder (Rev 14:2; 19:6).
HOW TO PURSUE THE FULLNESS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT?
Besides the exceptional case of
receiving the Holy Spirit in the house of Cornelius, in general, one must pray
in order to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Lk
11:13). Following are the important
attitudes and conditions to pray for the fullness of the Holy Spirit:
in truth and spirit (Jn 4:21-23; Mt 6:5-8, 16-18).
with humbleness (Ps 10: 17; Jas 4:6).
with utter repentance (Prov 1:23; Ps 51:17; Is 59:15;
with a pure heart (Mt 5:8; Jas 4:8).
wholeheartedly (Jer 29:13,14;
with a strong faith (Heb 11:6; Mt 21:22).
out one's heart in prayer (I Sam 1: 15; Ps 62:8).
with importunity (Lk 11:8, 22:44; Jas 5:17).
with a longing heart (Mt 5:6; Jn 7:37-39).
consistently (Acts 1:4; Lk 18:1-8).
DISCERNMENT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE EVIL SPIRIT
"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but
test the spirits to see whether they are of God, for many false prophets have
gone out into the world "(1 Jn 4: 1)
There are four kinds of spirits in
the world: God's Spirit, angel's spirit, devil's spirit, and the spirit of
man. Except the spirit of man which
dwells within him, only God's Spirit or the Devil's Spirit can dwell in a
human. The work of the Devil is very
cunning and delicate. He can disguise
himself as an angel of light and a servant of righteousness. He has the form of the apostle of Christ but
is without spiritual substance. His
teachings are partially according to the Bible but do not have the perfect
truth (2 Cor II: 13-15).
The following may serve as a
general guideline to discern the Holy Spirit and the evil spirit:
The Spirit of God manifests the divine
Believes that the Lord Jesus came to the world
in flesh (I Jn 4:2).
Obeys all the teachings of the apostles in the
Bible (I Jn 4:6)
Is the spirit of truth, will preach the truth
perfectly accordance with the Bible? (Jn 16:13)
When the Holy Spirit descends upon men, besides
speaking in tongues, he may have the following experiences:
Feels like the wind is blowing (Eze 37:9,10,14; Jn 3:5-9; Acts 2:1,2).
Feels like a rain pouring down (Is 32:15; 44:3).
Feels like fire coming from above (Is 4:3,4; Mt 3:1 1; Acts 2:3).
Filled with joy in the heart (Jn 7:37-39; Rom 14:17).
Feels holy and illumined in the heart (11 Thess 2:13).
Is awake consciously (Acts 2:13,14).
Feels the spiritual power (Acts 1:8).
The evil spirit manifests the nature of the
Devil: brutality, partiality, wickedness, lying, filthiness, pride and rage (Jn 8:44; Gal 5:19-21).
Does not believe that the Lord Jesus came to the
world in flesh.
Does not obey completely the teachings of the
Is the spirit of falsehood, adding or
subtracting the truth of the scriptures (I Tim 4:1-3; Gal 1:6-8; 1 Jn 4:6).
When the evil spirit comes upon a person, he may
have the following experiences:
Being slain, falls to the ground (I Sam 28:20;
Foams in the mouth (Mk 9:18).
Loses consciousness (I Sam 28:20).
Makes strange movements and even hurts himself (Mk 5:2-5).
Feels oppressed and painful, body turns cold,
face becomes pale, and sound of tongues spoken by the evil spirit is chirping
and muttering (Is 8:19).
May the Lord guide us to the truth
of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, help us understand the necessity and
importance of being filled with the Holy Spirit, and guide us to the TrueChurch
where the Holy Spirit dwells and where we may receive the precious baptism of
NOTE: Glossolalia means "tongue
speaking" in Greek, Glossa means
"tongue" which has three different applications in the New Testament
organ - tongue (Jas 3:5,6,8,9)
languages in the world (Rev 5:9, 7:9)
Spiritual tongue or unknown tongue (I Cor 14:2) which
the "tongue" in Acts 2:4 applies.