At What Point Do Believers In Christ Get Filled With The Spirit Of Christ To Become Christians?

(Except otherwise stated, all Bible quotations are from the American King James Version).

The New Testament teaches that only those who have the Spirit of Christ dwelling in them belong to Christ. The corollary is stated unequivocally by Paul—if any man does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his! Such a man devoid of the Spirit of Christ is not a Christian, and cannot lay any claim to Christ, nor sonship to God! For, it is only those who are led by the Spirit of God (who dwells within them) that are called the sons (and daughters) of God (Note that the Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Holy Ghost or the Spirit of God are one and the same).

Romans 8:9 But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

Romans 8:10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you.

Romans 8:12 Therefore, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

Romans 8:13 For if you live after the flesh, you shall die: but if you through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, you shall live.

Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Romans 8:15 For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

Romans 8:16 The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

Romans 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

Thus, according to the Scriptures, having the Spirit of Christ resident in someone is the only evidence of being a Christian. That makes receiving the Holy Spirit the most important issue for those who have believed the gospel and placed faith in Christ as Lord and Saviour. This view was corroborated by Paul, who, on meeting certain disciples in Ephesus, asked them only one question concerning their faith—if they had received the Holy Spirit after believing in Christ. And when these sincere (but ignorant) believers confessed not to have even heard of the Holy Spirit, Paul was taken aback, and must have wondered how they were led to Christ. He finally discovered that they had known only the baptism of John! He thereafter led them to Christ properly, by preaching faith in Christ Jesus and baptism in his name, as a prerequisite for receiving the Holy Spirit. After Paul had baptised them in the name of Jesus Christ and had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them. They were then filled with the Spirit of Christ, and could now legally lay claim to belonging to Christ! They were now full sons of God, having been filled with the Spirit of God.

The Acts 19:1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,

The Acts 19:2 He said to them, Have you received the Holy Ghost since you believed? And they said to him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.

The Acts 19:3 And he said to them, To what then were you baptized? And they said, To John’s baptism.

The Acts 19:4 Then said Paul, John truly baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying to the people, that they should believe on him which should 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 his hands on them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spoke with tongues, and prophesied.

The Acts 19:7 And all the men were about twelve.

So, if being being filled with the indwelling Holy Spirit is the seal of Christianity, at what point do believers in Christ get filled with the Holy Spirit? Is every believer in Christ automatically filled with the Holy Spirit? Let’s examine the apostolic writings to answer these questions.

Jesus told his disciples that those who believed in him would have the indwelling Holy Spirit abiding in them and flowing from their hearts like rivers of living water. He said this would happen after he had been glorified (crucified, resurrected and ascended back to heaven to resume the glory he had with the Father before his incarnation). Thus, none of his followers had the Holy Spirit dwelling in them until after his ascension. Then, 10 days after his ascension (on the day of Pentecost), Jesus poured out the Holy Spirit upon his disciples, and they were baptised with the Holy Spirit who now became resident in them. The disciples now had the Spirit of Christ dwelling in them and now fully belonged to Christ. They were now full sons and daughters of God, being now sealed and led by the Spirit of God.

John 7:37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come to me, and drink.

John 7:38 He that believes on me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

John 7:39 (But this spoke he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

The Acts 1:1 The former treatise have 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 that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments to the apostles whom he had chosen:

The Acts 1:3 To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:

The Acts 1:4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, said he, you have heard of me.

The Acts 1:5 For John truly baptized with water; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

The Acts 1:6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, will you at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

The Acts 1:7 And he said to them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in his own power.

The Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come on you: and you shall be witnesses to me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth.

The Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was 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 all the house where they were sitting.

The Acts 2:3 And there appeared to them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat on each of them.

The Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

John 1:11 He came to his own, and his own received him not.

John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

John 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Ephesians 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who works all things after the counsel of his own will:

Ephesians 1:12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

Ephesians 1:13 In whom you also trusted, after that you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that you believed, you were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

Ephesians 1:14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby you are sealed to the day of redemption.

Having been baptised with the Holy Spirit, the apostles now had Christ’s full mandate to lead other people to the Lord and enable them get filled with the Spirit of Christ, in order for them to become Christians too and sons of God. Thus, on the day of Pentecost when Peter preached his first sermon after being baptised with the Holy Spirit himself, he instructed his listeners on how to get filled with the Holy Spirit. Peter’s instruction in this regard was clear and succinct: “repent and be baptised everyone, for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”. That’s the apostolic formula for receiving the Holy Spirit—repenting and getting baptised in water, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins. Only those whose sins have thus been remitted are qualified to receive the Holy Spirit, according to the original apostolic doctrine.

The Acts 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God has made the same Jesus, whom you have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

The Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brothers, what shall we do?

The Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

The Acts 2:39 For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.

The Acts 2:40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

The Acts 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added to them about three thousand souls.

Thus, we find that, when the gospel was taken to Samaria by Philip, the deacon-turned evangelist, those who believed and received the gospel were immediately baptised in water, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, in accordance with Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost. Now, having repented and been baptised in water, the people’s sins were remitted. However, the Holy Spirit did not automatically come upon them, to fill and indwell them. Peter and John had to come from Jerusalem to lay hands on these water baptised believers for them to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. It was when the apostles had laid hands on them, that they were filled with the Holy Spirit. That’s when they were baptised into Christ and sealed in him, for it is by the infilling of the Holy Spirit that we’re baptised into Christ! That’s when we put on Christ and become Christians indeed! That’s when we get the Spirit of Christ to become truly his.

The Acts 8:5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ to them.

The Acts 8:6 And the people with one accord gave heed to those things which Philip spoke, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.

The Acts 8:7 For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were 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, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one:

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 to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.

The Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

The Acts 8:13 Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.

The Acts 8:14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John:

The Acts 8:15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:

The Acts 8:16 (For as yet he was fallen on none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)

The Acts 8:17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

1 John 3:23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

1 John 3:24 And he that keeps his commandments dwells in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he stays in us, by the Spirit which he has given us.

From the apostolic writings then, we find that the Holy Spirit does not come automatically upon those who repent and believe the gospel. Even after repenting and being baptised in water in the name of Jesus Christ, some people had to wait for some time to receive the Holy Spirit. While some people received the Holy Spirit immediately after water baptism (following repentance), for others (like the Samaritans quoted above), there was a gap between water baptism and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. That’s why Paul asked the disciples he met at Ephesus if they had received the Holy Spirit since (or after) they believed. Thus, we do not receive the Holy Spirit or the Spirit of Christ (they are one and the same, for there is only one Spirit) automatically when we believe. We receive the Spirit after believing and being baptised in water. Therefore, preachers of the gospel must be deliberate and intentional in ministering the baptism of the Holy Spirit to people, after believing and being baptised with water. Like the Samaritan believers, it’s possible to believe and get water baptised and still not be filled with the Holy Spirit. And if, as we’ve shown from Scriptures, the indwelling Holy Spirit is the means of our getting into Christ and belonging to him, then every believer must seek the face of God for the infilling of the Holy Spirit, after believing and being water baptised, to complete the salvation process. That’s what Jesus and the original apostles preached and taught. According to Paul, the most important question to pose to any believer we meet is this: “have you received the Holy Spirit after (since) you believed?”. The answer to this question will define our Christianity and our standing with God.

The Acts 19:1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,

The Acts 19:2 He said to them, Have you received the Holy Ghost since you believed? And they said to him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.

In conclusion, the New Testament teaches that only those who have the Spirit of Christ dwelling within them belong to Christ and are truly Christians. We’re also taught that it’s the baptism of the Holy Spirit that puts believers into Christ (and Christ in them) and seals us in the body of Christ. Hence, the apostles of Christ made the baptism of the Holy Spirit the most important issue of the faith, on meeting new believers. Also, we saw that being filled with the Holy Spirit is not automatic after believing in Christ, for some people were known to be baptised in water without receiving the Holy Spirit immediately, with some time interval elapsing before they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Therefore, preachers of the gospel need to be deliberate and intentional in ministering the baptism of the Holy Spirit to people who have repented and have been water baptised, as the Holy Spirit does not come automatically on such people. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is too important an issue for Christians to treat with levity, for the Holy Spirit is the seal of our salvation. Without the baptism of the Holy Spirit, no one can become a Christian, for the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ, without which no one can belong to Christ.

Romans 8:9 But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

Thanks for visiting the blog. We hope you were blessed by the message. We’d love to have your feedback on this and other articles on the blog. You can also follow us to have new posts sent directly to your inbox. God bless you!

Published by Dr. Ndubuisi E. Ojo

Dr Ojo is a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, and a student of the Word of God, who believes firmly in the original apostolic faith as the only authentic version of Christianity, and the only legitimate basis for Christian conduct, order and doctrine.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: