A question that arises in many modern churches is, “Should I be seeking a Baptism of the Holy Spirit?” In this excerpt from Defining Deception, we provide a brief answer.
The biblical answer is, “No, you should not be seeking a Baptism of the Holy Spirit subsequent to salvation, nor a second experience that supposedly will enhance your spirituality.”
In the Bible, Acts 1:5 references “Baptism in the Holy Spirit.” The Greek usage of the punctiliar passive future describes one particular time. In essence Jesus said, “Very soon [ten days from now] this special and unique event, called the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, will occur.” Subsequently when we read the book of Acts, we see these very specific one-time events happened, first for the Jews in Acts 2, then Samaritans in Acts 8, the Greeks in Acts 11, and finally the followers of John in Acts 19.
Further, the passive voice on the Greek phrase means this “Baptism” isn’t something anyone was told to look for, ask for, beg for, mumble for, heal for, sing emotional music for, climb a mountain for, etc. It was 100% a divine and sovereign gift.
Next, we must note it was a completed baptism. In 1 Corinthians 12:13 Paul says, “By one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, Jews or Greeks, slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.” The passive aorist means “past fact” in the life of every believer. Therefore, ALL who have been saved by Christ Jesus have been baptized. There are no second class Christian citizens.
“There are no second class Christian citizens…”
The Spirit’s baptism is not a post-conversion experience to be craved, but a historical fact in the life of every disciple to be praised. Ultimately, this means that all believers in the church age are immediately baptized in the Spirit upon conversion. 1 Corinthians 6:17 tells us, “the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” Clearly, the moment a person comes to saving faith in Christ, they are recipients of the Holy Spirit. Dr. J.R. Miller writes:
The Promise [of Spirit Baptism] is clear, the hope is real, now let us embrace our Father’s covenant-love and live boldly in the power of his Holy Spirit granted to every believer of every age. Let us not fear being left out of God’s sovereign work of grace. Let us cease to divide the church with false tradition, and let us unite as the People of His sure Promise of power.
So if we are all baptized in the Spirit and have the full promise of God, why do certain people seem to have more of the Holy Spirit? The answer is that while there is one baptism, there are many fillings of the Holy Spirit. His filling depends upon a daily obedience to God’s Word and surrender to God’s way (Acts 5:32). If you’ve placed full dependance upon Christ, you are baptized with the Spirit. As you lay down your will and yield to God’s will, you’ll receive an ever-greater filling of the Spirit and His fruits in your life (Gal 5).
J. R. Miller, Have You Not Yet Received the Spirit?, 44.