Wednesday, 31 August 2016

The Baptism with the Holy Spirit

When John the Baptist said "...He shall baptise you with the Holy Ghost..."

did he have in mind regeneration only - or another experience distinct from and subsequent to regeneration - or did he have the whole gamut of our experiences with the Holy Spirit in mind, irrespective of whether or not an individual happens to experience it for the first time all together on the same day, or some days apart.

How we label it doesn't matter as much as that we experience all that God has for us - although labelling it properly is important too.

It's the same with water baptism. Some Bible-verses seem to talk about baptism with regeneration, almost as if they were one and the same thing. But other verses show baptism didn't always immediately occur at the same moment as regeneration, or even on the same day.

A possible reason for that could have been because it was always assumed by New Testament writers that all believers were also baptised in water and filled with the Holy Spirit - therefore in later discussions by the New Testament writers, perhaps it wasn't necessary to the point in question that they always distinguish between regeneration and water baptism or being filled with the Spirit, while in other passages they did distinguish between the experiences.

That could explain the interchangeable use of some of their terms - the same term sometimes meaning this but not that, at other times meaning that but not this, and at other times seemingly meaning both! (I'm referring to terms like born again, regeneration, begotten again, baptised, receive the Spirit, filled with the Spirit, baptised with the Spirit, and having the Spirit.)

So again, what matters is not so much whether we distinguish regeneration or the baptism with the Holy Spirit from water baptism or from being filled with the Spirit - although labelling our experiences correctly is important too - but what's more important is that we experience and do all that God has for us.

Sometimes it helps to experience it first, then learn later how to better explain your experience with Scriptural detail and labels.

For others, coming to understand the Bible's distinctions and labels first, is necessary to clear their conscience and impart faith to receive the experience.

In my view, water baptism may or may not occur simultaneously with regeneration, and there is also an experience with the Holy Spirit which may or may not occur simultaneously with regeneration. That we label those experiences correctly is important, of course - but what's more important is that you actually have the experiences and do them.

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