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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 

It is very important to understand that 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 Covenant, the era before Jesus’ crucifixion, resurrection and ascension.  That is why the spiritual Kingdom of God only “came upon” and “came near” the Old Hebrews, as demonstrated in the accounts of Samson, Elijah, etcetera — and also during Jesus’ ministry of miracles when He cast out demons from the Old Hebrews, (Jn. 1:1-14; Mt. 10:1-15.) 

Until Jesus died on the cross, the Hebrews remained under the Old Testament Covenant of the Law because it was still impossible for them to be completely cleansed by the blood atonement of Jesus and thus to be personally born again, (Heb. 9:11-12; Jn. 1:12-13; 3:3-5.)  They could not be the holy temple of the indwelling Holy Spirit yet.  Before the complete atonement of Christ, they were subject to the old, physical temple-structure and its many ritualistic ordinances and animal sacrifices, (Heb. 8:13; Gal. 2:21.) 

But in Jn. 7:37-39, Jesus prophesied the inauguration of His Eternal 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 1 Ths. 5:23] will flow a fountain of living water springing up into everlasting life...  This Jesus spoke concerning the Spirit, Whom [all] those believing in Him would receive [after His resurrection and ascension;] for the Holy Spirit was not yet given [until that day of Pentecost,] because Jesus was not yet glorified [by ascending into heaven…]” 

Þ This promise of Jesus was the 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 [since Pentecost.]”  If only believers would read the Bible for themselves. In this same sentence, John spoke of two very different but intricately connected “baptisms” by Jesus Himself.  Jesus’ baptism with fire is clearly explained in Jn. 3:12, “His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” How on earth can this ever sound like the so-called ‘power’ of the alleged ‘tongues baptism?’ According to Mt. 3:12 and the context of the entire New Testament, Jesus’ “fire baptism” after His “Holy-Spirit baptism in Verse 11 is persecution to test the sincerity of His disciples; not the so-called ‘power baptism of  tongues’ as the Pentecostal/Charismatic Movement teaches,  (Mt. 20:22-23; Lu. 12:49-53;1 Pt. 4:12.) 

Þ Connecting the two very relevant verses in Mt. 3:11-12 also nullifies the so-called baptism “in” the Holy Spirit — which means according to church dogma, “to place the believer in the Spirit.”  The opposite is what Jesus’ baptism “with” the Holy Spirit consists of.  Jesus actually places the Holy Spirit inside true believers with His Holy-Spirit baptism.  The Holy Spirit indwells or constantly lives inside all His sincere believers since that day at Pentecost.  This is the fulfilment of Jesus’ promise, “the Kingdom of God will be in you,” (KJV Acts 1:8; 2:38; 1 Cor. 3:16-17; 6:15-20; Lu. 17:20-21.) 

Þ 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.  And Only Jesus 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. 

Þ Paul explained this perfectly 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 [immediately] 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.”  That Day of redemption is Jesus’ return on the clouds.  The Holy Spirit Himself fully possesses or completely indwells all sincerely born again disciples of Christ from the moment of their rebirth in Jesus, (Rom. 8:9, 14-17; Eph. 1:13-14; 1 Cor. 3:16; Mt. 28:19-20.) 

Þ The statement in Eph. 1:13-14 concerning salvation and the “possession” of the Holy Spirit means we must first personally believe in, and then decidedly accept Jesus as our Savior, (Jn. 1:12-13.)  There cannot be any doubt that, at that moment, Jesus Himself implants His spiritual Kingdom inside our born again spirits or ‘hearts’ though the Holy Spirit Who fully indwells us, (Jn. 3:3-5; Gal. 4:6-7.) 

Þ Most importantly, “God does not give His Spirit by measure,” (Jn. 3:34.)  We cannot be ‘half full’ or ‘half empty’ as the Spirit Is God Himself.  We cannot have just a ‘little bit’ of God once we accepted Jesus, (Rom. 8:9-11; 1 Jn. 2:20, 27.)  Being then constantly “filled” with the Holy Spirit means to allow Him total control in us and in our lives, not to ‘continually get more’ of Him, (Eph. 5:18-33; Rom. 13:14.) 

This is God’s one and only Scriptural “baptism with the Holy Spirit,” and this baptism, just as being born again, does not happen in stages.  Similarly to natural birth, the 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 your first breath of air ‘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 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” church clergy that supposedly “baptize people in the Holy Spirit,” is completely unscriptural and illogical. 

The S.F. Bible 1991 edition 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” — 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, set apart for God, 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 well,] 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!”

 

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

Once Jesus baptized a new believer with the Holy Spirit, the Spirit Himself instantly baptizes that believer into the body of Christ or into Christ Himself.  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 also 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 two baptisms, just as the Holy-Spirit and Fire Baptisms by Jesus, (Mt. 3:11-12,) can never be separated from each other.  One cannot be indwelt with the Holy Spirit without being a member of Jesus’ body of 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.)  The water baptism of Jesus’ disciples, which is in obedience to His commission in Mt. 28:19-20, must follow these baptisms. 

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’s baptism into the body of Christ, misinterpreting whole portions of Scripture.  In reality, John said in Mt. 3:11-12 that Jesus’ Holy-Spirit baptism saves His disciples, while we know that 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 to make us part of His body of true believers.  As Christ is the Head of His body, the Spirit actually completes the rebirth in ‘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 1991.] 

 

GOD ALSO COMMANDED, “LET THE WORD DWELL IN YOU,” (THE SPIRITUAL ‘WATER’ OR JESUS’ LIFE)   

Believers must be “born again from water and the Spirit,” (Jn. 3:3-5.)  This is not the water baptism, but being born   again by the power of the Holy Spirit, Who enlightens our understanding and convinces us to believe Jesus’ true Word, (Jn. 4:13-14; 16:8-13, KJV.) Jam. 1:21, “Lay aside all filth and accept with meekness the implanted Word, which is able to save your souls [by renewing your thoughts, beliefs, and minds,]” (Rom. 12:1-3.)  Believers were “born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which lives and abides forever,” (1 Peter 1:23.)  The Truth of the Word also “sanctifies and cleanses [our thoughts or souls] by the washing of the water [or] the Word,” (Eph. 5:26-27; Rom. 12:1-2.) 

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, (Jn. 1:1-13; Rom. 10:8-10.)  True believers need to be “filled” with the truth of God’s Word on an intellectual level so that Jesus Himself, (through His Scriptural Word in Holy Spirit power,) can overflow like life-giving water into the whole world!  (Jn. 4:14.) 

Therefore, we should not be amazed that God said 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 to Me...” 

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…”  Obedience to the Moral Law in itself cannot save anyone without personal faith in, and acceptance of Jesus.  But Jesus warned, “If anyone hears My words and does not believe… he rejects Me.  And if he does not receive [and obey] My Words, he 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.)   

God’s Truth (the Word,) 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 believing world! - (Jn. 3:16-17.) 

 

BEFORE PENTECOST WHEN THE HOLY SPIRIT CAME TO INDWELL HIS DISCIPLES, JESUS BREATHED ON THEM 

John tells of an incident after Jesus’ resurrection, before He sent the Spirit to indwell them at Pentecost, when Jesus miraculously appeared in the midst of His disciples, declaring His Kingdom of inner peace; commissioning His disciples to ‘go and preach the Gospel,’ and breathing “on” them, [not “in” them,] to “receive the Holy Spirit,” (Jn. 20:19-30.)  Yet, Jesus’ disciples received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit for the first time on the Day of Pentecost, and “one can only understand this event in John 20 as symbolic and in expectation of that day.”  [Spirit Filled Bible 1991 version, Acts 1:8; Gal. 4:4-7.] 

Þ Still, many preachers from the Pentecostal Charismatic Movement use this event completely out of context, blowing on believers to ‘receive the spirit’ or to ‘baptize them ‘in’ the spirit.’  The truth is that Only Jesus Christ Himself can baptize with His Holy Spirit, or ‘breathe’ His Spirit of Life into, (before His ascension “onto” Jn. 7:39,) the hearts or born again human spirits of believers, (Mt. 3:11.)  If any of these so-called clergy spirit-baptized you or breathed on you to receive a spirit, you need to seriously run to God for real Scriptural deliverance

Catholics and Protestants turned Jesus’ first disciples like Peter and Paul into so-called godlike, apostolic ‘fathers’ - even “the foundation of the church” - but only Jesus Himself is the Foundation of His body of true believers.  So, they teach that this event in John 20:19-30 was a “special anointing” for the ‘godlike’ apostles.  These hyper-anointed clergies of the Charismatic Movement are now the so-called mediating Elijah prophets and apostles - which, of course, do not exist anywhere in the Truth of the New Testament. [Mt. 17:12-14; 11:13-14, KJV, “All the prophets prophesied until John… [and] he is Elijah who was to come.”]  This Elijah prophets and apostles dogma is the Restoration’ doctrine — which does not mean restoration to Scriptural truth, but ecumenist or one-world church restoration to the so-called ‘king and high priest’ of Roman Catholicism, the pope and his ungodly god-father priesthood. 

Concerning John 20:23, where Jesus supposedly stated that He gave “the apostles” the power to forgive sins - it is a well-known fact that the pope of Roman Catholicism and his priesthood use this verse to allegedly ‘forgive sins.’  [See  KJV Eph. 1:7; Heb. 9:12-15; Acts 10:43; Col. 2:13-14.]  The notion that the first apostles had the power to forgive sins is a Roman Catholic concoction to justify their abuse of God’sHoly Word.  The reason why such a great error can be found in the Bible, is because the Vatican, who had centuries to meddle with the Scriptures, placed it there on purpose!  If Scripture cannot fit into the full contextual truth of the Bible passage and the light of the New Testament, it was placed there.  God Himself commanded us to “test all things, [Bible verses too,] to see whether it is of God, (1 Ths. 5:21.)  The “Entire Truth” or the whole Bible interpreted in context, is God’s Ever Living Truth, (1 Jn. 4:1-4.) 

The Matthew Henry Commentary explains John 20:22-23 as follows, “Christ’s Kingdom was to be set up among men immediately upon His resurrection, and accordingly we find [that He appeared to them on] the very day He arose… [giving them] the honorable and ample commission to be His agents in the planting of His [ecclesia, or congregations of disciple-believers.]  Then He qualified them for the discharge of the trust reposed in them.  He breathed on them and said, Receive the Holy Ghost… IN PART NOW; as an earnest of what you shall further receive not many days hence.  The SIGN He used to assure them of the GIFT, [which is the Spirit of God Himself, Whom] He was about to bestow upon them at Pentecost, was His breath, [His spiritual life and power,] which they would receive from Him for all the services that lay before them… Christ [and only Jesus Himself] conferred the Holy Ghost… [here by breathing on them in Jn. 20:21-22 as well as at Pentecost,] for He is the Author of the Gift…” the indwelling Holy Spirit.

 

SCRIPTURAL EVIDENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT BAPTISM

I do believe in the reality and function of all the Holy Spirit’s Biblical gifts as described in 1 Cor. 12 & 14.  Nevertheless, I cannot emphasize it enough: Jesus did not say that we will know His disciples by their gifts such and speaking in tongues. 

Scripture declares there are several pieces of real ‘evidence’ that Jesus supernaturally baptizes all sincere believers with the Holy Spirit at the moment they sincerely accept Him, and as a result, are spiritually born again, (Jn. 1:12-13; 3:3-5.)

The first piece of evidence is the believer’s desire to continually draw closer to Jesus; to know Him in Spirit and in all Truth, to understand and obey Him better! (Jn. 4:24; 14:6.) This will manifest in a hunger for the Truth of His Word.  But people who are not really personally born again are, therefore, not sure that they are saved by grace and faith in Jesus, and as a result, they have no such burning desire for the Word of God.  Many believers struggle to passionately get “into” the Truth of the Bible, because they say they simply do not understand the Scriptures, (1 Jn. 5:11-13.) Paul addressed this problem in 1 Cor. 2:14, saying, “The natural man [who lives by his mindsets and beliefs and has not truly surrendered his life to Christ,] does not receive the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him: neither can he understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.  But he who lives spiritually [through the rebirth in Christ,] judges [seeks and asks God to understand] all things...”

So, what about the believer who confesses Jesus as Lord and Savior, prays, and live outwardly a moral [church] life — but has no pleasure in seeking God in the truth of His Word and is, therefore, satisfied by living on sermons and little snippets of the Word?  I would say this person must get on his or her knees before the throne of God and truly surrender their entire self, life, and everything that pertain to it to Jesus Christ.  Unless one ‘dies’ to this world, one cannot truly live in Christ.  

Secondly, true believers will always glorify Jesus and not themselves or other people, (Jn. 16:14.) [This is not about testifying what God has done in your life, common courtesy, and good manners but actually magnifying people above Scriptural measure.]  The Spirit Filled Bible 1991 explains, “The Spirit’s ministry is not only directed to believers and to the world, but [primarily] to Christ. The Spirit glorifies Christ in everything He does… He never exalts Himself, [or people,] but He continually glorifies Christ Who glorifies the Father.”

Without turning the speaking in tongues into a ‘lesser’ gift, we should always remember that none of the Holy Spirit’s gifts means anything if we have not true, Godly love – which is the greatest gift of all, (1 Cor. 13.)  Jesus said, ‘If you love Me, you will obey my [Moral Law] commandments,’ which means that the greatest evidence of salvation and Jesus’ subsequent Holy-Spirit baptism is our obedient love for God above all else. Our love for God always manifests itself in obedience to the Truth of His Word and the Holy Spirit. This is not outward lip service, but love that manifests itself as a sincere commitment to Jesus’ Word in its entirety, as contained in His contextual New Testament teachings.

Then Jesus took this evidence a step further, and said, "By this all will know that you are My disciples, [or you will prove beyond a shadow of doubt that I have baptized you with the Holy Spirit,] if you have love [in word and deed] for one another…"  As said, Jesus did not say we will know His disciples by their gifts, but by their fruit.  Our constant behaviour, (mistakes and stumbling excluded,) or the type of character we relentlessly display, will prove whether the Holy Spirit or an evil spirit possessed us, (1 Cor. 13, Mt. 7:15-27; Jn. 13:34-35; 14:15.)  So, if there is any real ‘evidence’ of Jesus’ Holy-Spirit baptism, it is the continual, sincere, and Godly character of Jesus, which the Holy Spirit manifests in and through His sincere disciples. Furthermore, His growing, Godly character of love will compel His believing disciples to preach the Gospel to a lost and dying world as far as possible, and serve and help people as the Holy Spirit leads and opens up opportunities. 

 

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