Saturday, 3 February 2018

The Baptism in the Spirit Never Changed

Pertaining to receiving the Spirit, there was no change of modus operandi, after the Spirit had been given to each ethnic category. Throughout the Book of Acts, and the whole period during which the Epistles were written, it was always the same: people believed first, then they either received the Spirit and then were baptised in water, or they were baptised in water and then filled with the Spirit.

Terms like "baptised with the Spirit"; "the gift of the Spirit"; "promise of the Spirit"; "promise of the Father"; "the Spirit given"; "received the Spirit"; "the Spirit fallen upon"; and "filled with the Spirit" were used, each pertaining to what was essentially the same experience with the Spirit.


Speaking of the Spirit, Jesus told His disciples "he dwelleth with you", and looking to the future added, "and shall be in you". 

So the disciples already had a relationship with the Holy Spirit, but there was more to come.

"(But this spake 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.)"

Jesus called the new experience with the Spirit being "baptised with the Holy Spirit", as John the Baptist earlier had.

When the Spirit was "given" and "received" in this new way by the disciples, "they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues". Later the apostles described the experience as the Spirit "falling upon" them. 

So notice that the terms "promise"; "baptised with"; "gift"; "given"; "fell upon"; "receive", "filled with" and "fell upon" are each used in relation to the disciples' new experience with the Spirit. 

Many terms, same experience. And you see some of the same terms being used to describe the same experience elsewhere in the Book of Acts.


The Samaritans heard the gospel and believed it, and were baptised in water in the name of Jesus, and experienced the joy of salvation. Afterwards Peter and John visited them and prayed for them, that they might "receive the Holy Ghost": for as yet he was "fallen upon" none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they their hands on them, and they "received the Holy Ghost". And Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was "given". Peter called the experience "the gift of God". 


Peter preached the gospel, and they heard it. (Saving-faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.) While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Ghost "fell on all them" which heard the word. The Jews were amazed because that on the Gentiles also was "poured out" the "gift" of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, 'Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have "received the Holy Ghost" as well as we? It was the same experience as theirs was. And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.


A disciple named Ananias entered the house where Saul (Paul) was fasting and praying, some days after his conversion; and put his hands on him said, "Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be 'filled with' the Holy Ghost".

And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. (And we know from I Corinthians that Paul spoke with tongues.) 


Paul came across some disciples, and asked them whether they'd "received the Holy Ghost" at any time yet since they believed. 

He baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the "Holy Ghost came on them"; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. There were about 12 of them. 

Similar terms are used in the Epistles. "Receive" the Spirit; "filled with the Spirit"; "promise of the Spirit"; etc. 

The Bible doesn't state that the disciples' experience with the Holy Spirit at Jerusalem, Samaria, Damascus, Caesarea, Ephesus (plus Corinth, Galatia, etc.) were different experiences. It was the same experience. The same 'gift'. It was the 'promise' of the father. It was being 'baptised with the Spirit'. It was the Spirit 'falling upon' them. They were 'receiving' the Spirit. It was being 'filled with' the Spirit.

I think the "gift of God" is like a big Christmas box which, when we open it, we find it has more gift-boxes wrapped inside of it. We do receive it 'all', in a sense, the moment we believe. But there are more components within our salvation than what we necessarily experience at the initial moment of our salvation.

Components like being born of the Spirit. Then being baptised in water. And like 'receiving' (or being 'baptised with', of 'filled with') the Spirit. Even in the Book of Acts, different believers unpacked those components in differing order and sometimes with differing time-lapses in-between their experiences. But the important thing is that we do eventually experience it all.

And then there are other components which are still-future, for all of us: like the resurrection, and our reunion with Christ (even though in a sense we have already 'received' it).

All of that was true all the way throughout the Book of Acts, during the whole period in which the Epistles were written. There was no change of modus operandi once the Spirit had already been given to each ethnic category.

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