(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New King James Version).
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is thought by some Christians to be the means by which we are saved. Such groups of believers opine that one cannot be saved without being baptised in the Holy Spirit, making the salvation process incomplete without the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Can someone be saved without the baptism of the Holy Spirit? What’s the purpose of the baptism of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers? We shall examine relevant portions of the Scriptures to understand the purpose of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, as well as its role, if any, in the salvation process.
Before the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit did not dwell in any believer. Throughout the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit would anoint people and empower them from outside to perform God-given tasks in supernatural ways. However, prior to Pentecost, the Spirit never dwelt in anybody (other than Christ) on a resident basis. The Holy Spirit was not given to men to dwell on the inside of them until Jesus was glorified (died, resurrected and ascended back to heaven to the glory he had with God before the foundation of the world). It was 10 days after Jesus ascended to heaven that he received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and released him upon his disciples on the day of Pentecost. From that moment, the Holy Spirit has filled, indwelt and resided in Christians. From that moment, the promise of rivers of living water flowing out of believers’ hearts unto eternal life became a reality.
John 7:37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.
John 7:38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
John 7:39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
Luke 24:36 Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.”
Luke 24:37 But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit.
Luke 24:38 And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts?
Luke 24:39 Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”
Luke 24:40 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.
Luke 24:41 But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, “Have you any food here?”
Luke 24:42 So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb.
Luke 24:43 And He took it and ate in their presence.
Luke 24:44 Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.”
Luke 24:45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.
Luke 24:46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,
Luke 24:47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
Luke 24:48 And you are witnesses of these things.
Luke 24:49 Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”
Luke 24:50 And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them.
Luke 24:51 Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven.
Luke 24:52 And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy,
Luke 24:53 and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen.
The Acts 1:1 The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,
The Acts 1:2 until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen,
The Acts 1:3 to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.
The Acts 1:4 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me;
The Acts 1:5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
The Acts 1:6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”
The Acts 1:7 And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.
The Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
The Acts 1:9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.
So, we see that the promise of the Holy Spirit was made to people who had already believed in Jesus and had been saved, for salvation is obtained by placing one’s faith in Christ Jesus and confessing him as Lord and Saviour. To fulfil his promise to those who had already believed on him, Christ sent the Holy Spirit upon them ten days after his ascension, on the day of Pentecost. The coming of the Spirit was to empower and embolden the already saved believers to be better and more effective witnesses of Christ. We see that happening upon the arrival of the Holy Spirit. Hitherto afraid, shy and timid, the believers suddenly became extraordinarily bold and confident in speaking the word of God and testifying of Jesus. People who had hitherto locked themselves up for fear of the Jews suddenly became fearless and bold in a way that couldn’t be explained by those that knew them. They were able to witness for Christ in an extraordinary manner from that moment onward.
The Acts 2:1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
The Acts 2:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
The Acts 2:3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.
The Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
The Acts 2:5 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.
The Acts 2:6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.
The Acts 2:7 Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans?
The Acts 2:8 And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?
The Acts 2:9 Parthians Andrew Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,
The Acts 2:10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,
The Acts 2:11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.”
The Acts 2:12 So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?”
The Acts 2:13 Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine.”
The Acts 2:14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words.
The Acts 2:15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.
The Acts 2:16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
The Acts 2:17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.
The Acts 2:18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days;
And they shall prophesy.
The Acts 2:19 I will show wonders in heaven above
And signs in the earth beneath:
Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.
The Acts 2:20 The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.
The Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved.’
The Acts 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.
The Acts 4:23 And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them.
The Acts 4:24 So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them,
The Acts 4:25 who by the mouth of Your servant David have said:
‘Why did the nations rage,
And the people plot vain things?
The Acts 4:26 The kings of the earth took their stand,
And the rulers were gathered together
Against the Lord and against His Christ.’
The Acts 4:27 “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together
The Acts 4:28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.
The Acts 4:29 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word,
The Acts 4:30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”
The Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.
People normally receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit after they have believed and received Jesus as Lord and Saviour. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is not what saves people. What saves people is believing and confessing Jesus as Lord and Saviour. Anyone who believes in their heart that Jesus died for their sins and rose up again for their justification becomes saved immediately. That’s how people get saved. Thus, people can get saved without receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We see that on several occasions in the Scriptures, where people receive Christ and get saved, and experience a long interval before they get baptised by the Holy Spirit. The baptism of the Holy Spirit in such cases wasn’t essential to salvation, because the people thus baptised by the Holy Spirit were already saved people. The baptism of the Holy Spirit received by such people was to imbue them with the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit to be able to live and witness for Christ more boldly and more effectively.
The Acts 16:30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
The Acts 16:31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
Romans 10:8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach):
Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
Romans 10:10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Romans 10:11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”
Romans 10:12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.
Romans 10:13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
The Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”
The Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The Acts 2:39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
The Acts 8:5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them.
The Acts 8:6 And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.
The Acts 8:7 For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed.
The Acts 8:8 And there was great joy in that city.
The Acts 8:9 But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great,
The Acts 8:10 to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the great power of God.”
The Acts 8:11 And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries for a long time.
The Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.
The Acts 8:13 Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done.
The Acts 8:14 The Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them,
The Acts 8:15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.
The Acts 8:16 For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
The Acts 8:17 Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
The Acts 19:1 And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples
The Acts 19:2 he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”
The Acts 19:3 And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?”
So they said, “Into John’s baptism.”
The Acts 19:4 Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.”
The Acts 19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
The Acts 19:6 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.
The Acts 19:7 Now the men were about twelve in all.
As we have seen from the overwhelming evidence of the Scriptures cited above, salvation and the baptism of the Holy Spirit are two separate events, occurring at varying lengths of time apart. We should therefore not mix up both events. What’s the purpose of the Holy Spirit baptism upon people who are already saved? From some of the Scriptures cited above, we see that the baptism of the Holy Spirit brings the power of the Holy Spirit upon believers to live and witness more effectively for Christ. The Holy Spirit brings his gifts and fruits into the believers’ lives. The gifts of the Spirit are to confirm the gospel message, and the fruits of the Spirit are to vindicate the believer as being of Christ. The Holy Spirit thus acts as God’s seal of approval to believers for their acts of obedience in believing and having faith in Christ. The Holy Spirit also comforts and inspires believers, as well as teaches, guides and leads them.
John 14:15 If you love me, keep my commandments.
John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
John 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees him not, neither knows him: but you know him; for he dwells with you, and shall be in you.
John 14:18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatever I have said to you.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you: not as the world gives, give I to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (AKJV).
Hebrews 2:1 Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.
Hebrews 2:2 For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward,
Hebrews 2:3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him,
Hebrews 2:4 God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?
The Acts 5:32 And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.”
1 Corinthians 12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant:
1 Corinthians 12:2 You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led.
1 Corinthians 12:3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 12:4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
1 Corinthians 12:5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord.
1 Corinthians 12:6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.
1 Corinthians 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:
1 Corinthians 12:8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit,
1 Corinthians 12:9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit,
1 Corinthians 12:10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.
1 Corinthians 12:11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
Ephesians 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
In conclusion, salvation is entirely by believing and confessing Jesus as Lord and Saviour. The salvation process is complete the moment we believe in our hearts that Jesus died and rose for our justification and we confess him as Lord and Saviour. From that moment, we are saved and become children of God. The baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is God’s gift to believers, occurs at variable periods after the salvation experience, and is not part of the salvation process. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is not to make our salvation complete, but rather, the Holy Spirit comes upon saved people to indwell and empower them to be powerful and victorious Christians and more effective witnesses for Christ.
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