Baptism and Filling of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit was Christ’s birthday gift to the Church. He is still the spiritual birthday gift to every believer at the moment of salvation.
“For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body … 11 (I Corinthians 12:13).

The “body” into which believers are baptized in the body of Christ.

The gift of the Holy Spirit is, as the text says, universal and therefore it must be initial. If it were not at the moment of salvation there would be a period of time between salvation and the baptism in which some would not be baptized and the Scripture would be untrue.

Confirmation of the gift of the Holy Spirit being initial is found in Romans 8:9: “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.”

If you have salvation you have as a gift the Holy Spirit.

The expression “baptism OF the Holy Spirit” is used in certain circles. The expression does not occur in Scripture. As noted in the above text it is baptism “by” the Spirit and it is into the body of Christ.

The gift of the Holy Spirit is not subsequent to salvation but simultaneous with salvation.

“Now if any have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His” (Romans 8:9).

Every believer is in one of three states at various times in life.

1. Grieving the Holy Spirit. “Grieve not the Holy Spirit…” (Ephesians 4:30).
The believer grieves the Holy Spirit when the Spirit is leading the person not to do a wrong thing and the person disobeys and does it.

2. Quenching the Holy Spirit. “Do not quench the Spirit” (I Thessalonians 5:19). The believer quenches the Holy Spirit when the Spirit is leading the person to do a certain thing and the person does not.

3. Filled with the Holy Spirit. Every believer is commanded to be filled with the Holy Spirit. “…be filled with the Spirit…”) (Ephesians 5: 18). The verb tense means “be constantly being filled with the Spirit.” Ideally it should be the lifestyle of every believer at every moment.

To be filled with the Holy Spirit is best understood when the Holy Spirit is realized to be the Spirit of Christ. As members of the Trinity they are One. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ within the believer.

Therefore, being filled with the Holy Spirit is the same as serving Christ as Lord. It is the same as doing the will of the Father.

A Spirit filled believer evidences it by bearing the fruit of the Spirit as noted in Galatians 5: 22, 23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”

Some persons say, “I was filled with the Spirit and I just lost control and started speaking in unknown tongues. I just couldn’t help it.”

That is a revelation that what happened wasn’t of the Holy Spirit because noted as fruit of the Spirit is “self-control.”

The ministry of the Holy Spirit is to call attention to Christ not Himself. Christ said “He will testify of Me.”

If a person has “an experience with the Holy Spirit” that leaves them talking more about the experience than about Christ the experience is not of the Holy Spirit.

Those who advocate that being baptized with the Holy Spirit is an experience that happens after salvation contend that the evidence of being baptized or is speaking in unknown tongues. The disciples at Pentecost spoke in known languages they had not learned. They were not unknown tongues. The Greek New Testament word translated “tongues” is “glossa” and means languages.

The experience recorded in Acts 2: 8 uses a different Greek word, “dialektos,” meaning dialect. The language was so understood that not only was the language specific but even the dialect of the region from which the person came.

If you think you have the “gift of tongues” go to the nearest international airport and witness to the people from various countries coming in.

The gift of the ability to speak unknown languages was as a sign to unbelievers. In Acts 2 it was to Jews. In Acts 8 it was to half-Jews. In Acts 10 it was to Gentiles. In Acts 19 it was to full Jews who had only half the message.

References to speaking in tongues in I Corinthians is intended to correct the perversion of the practice for personal pleasure. The church at Corinth was so spiritually corrupt they took “pride in open incest.” Such a church surely wasn’t composed of mature Spirit filled believers. They had begun practicing ecstatic gibberish like the pagans in the temple of Diana in upper Corinth.

Some say when speaking in tongues they are doing what Paul meant when he referred to speaking in tongues of men and angels. They represent their speaking in tongues as angelic language. When angels spoke to people how did they do it? They did it in the language the people could understand. Angels talk human languages. So do Spirit filled believers.

Baptism As Essential To Salvation

There are entire denominations based on the fact that baptism is essential to salvation. Does the Bible teach that it is? Passages used to support the belief baptism is essential to salvation will be dealt with individually, but first consider some other aspects.
A pastor of a church which teaches baptismal regeneration was asked if baptism was really essential to salvation. After a momentary pause he said, “You might say it is man’s part.”

If that is true what Christ did on the cross of Calvary was incomplete. If a part is missing the result in incompleteness.

A second consideration is the concept that the act of baptism earns God’s favor. This is salvation by works not grace. Salvation is all by God’s grace not man’s work.

Ephesians 2: 8,9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

Baptism isn’t mentioned in that passage and approximately 100 others related to salvation.

The idea of a salvation based on works makes God and man both look bad.

It makes God look like He can be bought off.

It makes man look as though everything he does is in order to get something rather than gratitude for what has been received.

Romans 10: 9, 10 in telling how to be saved doesn’t mention baptism: “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. For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation.”

John 3:16 does not allude to baptism as being essential to salvation: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should have everlasting life.”

Consider one further thing before reviewing the following passages that are used to claim baptism is essential to salvation. In the study of Scripture if you come to a difficult passage you don’t readily understand read a passage on the same topic that is clear on the subject and interpret the challenging passage in light of it. That said, now interpret the following passages in light of the ones just read.

I Peter 3:21 “There is also an antitype which now saves us, namely baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

What baptism is depicted here as saving us form is not sin but a guilty conscience. Faith in the resurrect Christ who has gone on to heaven (vss. 19-22) saves us. Baptism symbolizes this. Such a step of faith saves us from a guilty conscience.

Saving faith (“saving” —- because of its object Jesus Christ) is expressed in baptism.

Acts 2:38 “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins….”

The main Greek verb METANOESATE, is translated “repent.” It is a reference to the original repentance of a sinner resulting in salvation.

The verb translated “be baptized” is in the indirect passive imperative of the Greek BAPTIZO which means it does not have the same force as the direct command to “repent.”

The Greek preposition EIS translated “for” in the phrase “for the remission of sins” is key to interpreting the passage.

It can be and is appropriately translated “for.” EIS and our word “for” have several meanings, such as, “in return for,” “in consideration of,” “in honor of,” and “because of.”
As used in the text it does not mean in order to obtain forgiveness but because of forgiveness. We do it because something has been done for us. That something is our salvation.

Thus, it literally means “for the purpose of identifying you with the remission of sins.”

Acts 22:16 “Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”

Here baptism represents a fact that has already taken place. That fact is salvation though Christ. It is picturesque language meaning , “Let a demonstration be made of the washing away of your sins.” Baptism is that demonstration. It is a symbol of the cleansing received as a result of calling on the name of the Lord.

This statement in context was made to Paul by Ananias immediately after Paul’s experience with Christ on the road to Damascus. Paul had already been saved on the road when Ananias told him to be baptized. We know this because Ananias addressed him as “Brother Saul….”

Water baptism is a public announcement which says, “I have accepted what Jesus Christ has done for me.” Paul had done so.

Galatians 3: 27 “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”
No one is saved by baptism. Baptism is an outward sign of a union with Christ that exists through faith. Paul mentioned baptism once and faith five times in this passage.
Having put on Christ, that is, having submitted to Him as Savior then one should be baptized is the teaching of this passage.

Colossians 2: 11 – 12 “In Him you were all circumcised with the circumcision made not without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.”

A comparison of circumcision with baptism is not the emphasis of this passage. Baptism is not a magical right, it is an act of obedience by which persons symbolize the essence of the spiritual experience they have at the moment of trusting Christ as Savior.

The word “forgiven” used in verse 13 is built on the root for “grace,” means literally “to grant a favor.” It is a term used for the cancellation of a debt. As used in this passage it means divine grace is the root principle in forgiveness. That brings us back to the passage mentioned above: Ephesians 2:8,9.

While on their crosses at Calvary Christ told the repentant thief he would be with Him that very day in Paradise. That thief did not have occasion to do any good work to earn God’s favor. Baptism was out of the question. Salvation was being given him by grace, God’s unmerited favor.

Mark 16:16 “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”

Belief and baptism should be closely associated. The inward reception (belief) should be followed immediately by the external witness of faith (baptism).

Baptism is a special act of obedience taught by Christ Himself. It is a divinely ordered consequence of salvation. However, it is faith in Christ that is the one essential to salvation. Baptism should not be considered a basis of salvation, but rather the natural result of it.

This passage stresses the theme of the entire section (vss. 9-20), that is, the refusal to believe results in judgment. It says one “who does not believe will be condemned.” It does not say one who is not baptized will not be saved. This text teaches condemnation rests on not believing not on not being baptized.

Inward belief in Christ should be evidenced immediate by being baptized. However, it does not add to what faith has already accomplished, rather it only demonstrates it. Belief should be translated into the action of baptism.

Baptism does not save us. A classic example supporting this reality is the Bible character Simon Magus (Acts 8:13) who was baptized but was not saved.

Upon being saved a person should seek to be baptized in water as soon as possible. It is a beautiful act of obedience indicating a desire to follow Christ in all things.

Never equate baptism as being essential to salvation for to do so is to water down the blood of Jesus Christ.

Youth: Beliefs vs. Core Values

Right is right though all men be against it and wrong is wrong though all be for it. William Penn congealed truth in that statement.

There are moral absolutes. Situational ethics based on relativism doesn’t work.

The new morality society of which our youth are a part doesn’t operate on that basis. With them that which determines right or wrong is “Does it work?” If it does to them it is right. If it doesn’t it is wrong.

What the older generation must do to reach and minister to the younger generation is to learn how to show that what is right works and what is wrong doesn’t work.

There is a reason right is right and wrong is wrong. Right works in the long run and wrong doesn’t. It is that simple. It is not simple to communicate the logic in each decision, however.

Impropriety, immorality, and unethical behavior have adverse consequences. They provide kicks with a kickback. Living it up can have results hard to live down. The act and the ultimate result must be connected logically for youth to understand.

This is further complicated in that if it feels good it is assumed to be working.

Adults often try to correct improper conduct by dealing with the symptom rather than the cause. The cause is improper core values and/or a wrong belief system. It takes time and intellectual honesty to correct either.

Acts come from core values. Core values are based on beliefs. They form a pyramid. Beliefs are the base, core values rest on them, and conduct consequences.

Many youth are taught the basic beliefs of our faith, but fail to develop a system of core values based on them. As a result they are well informed on what to believe but without core values in keeping with those beliefs engage in conduct in conflict with those beliefs.

The diet of MTV, carnal movies, and corruptive music is often the basis for the core values of many youth. Their conduct reveals it. Glitz and glamor make it appear the core values advocated are working. Hence, they are right.

The drug deaths, disease, suicide rates breakups and breakdowns in the entertainment community reveals it is a system of values that isn’t working. The reason is such conduct is wrong.

Sooner or later every person has to sit down to a banquet of consequences.

Somewhere between beliefs and conduct there is a misconnect. Many who have been reared and mentored with sound moral and spiritual beliefs engage in contrary conduct.

Brittany Spears, reared in my little home community was brought up going to and singing in church. She attended a very good private Christian school. The moral standards of the community were wholesome. Like millions of others she developed core values contrary to the belief system in which she grew up.

To help a young person live a circumspect life they must not only be taught right from wrong but taught to avoid negative brainwashing offered by certain segments of the media.

Here are some tip on talking with teams.

Speak in the present tense. “Today” is their frame of reference. It is difficult to help them understand how today will influence tomorrow. It will because sooner or later every person must sit down to a banquet of consequences. Don’t fail to note that but keep in mind they are concerned principally with “right now.”

Speak in the plural. They are group oriented. Talk about friends and their influence. Let them know you trust them but being in certain groups can overwhelm a person to engage in group activity which is often contrary to their personal values.

Speak in the active voice. They have energy and will expend it. Channel it. Help them avoid boredom by providing enjoyable activity.

Your Own Personal Bodyguard – FREE

Seldom has our society been faced with more uncertainty in public life. Public safety in general and bodyguards in specific are employed to protect people. The president, prominent athletes, rock stars, and celebrities of all types employ well trained bodyguards. The more important a person is the more protection is needed. Wouldn’t it be good in these uncertain times to have a personal bodyguard?

A twin interest in light of the present mood of uncertainty has been a heightened interest in spiritual values. Sales of Bibles and spiritual resource books have spiked. People are probing for principles affording personal peace.

There have been two times when it was thought I needed a bodyguard. Responsible persons arranged it. The first questions the professionals asked were, “What is your blood type and are you allergic to any medicine?” I knew then things were grave and they serious.

By combing our interest in spiritual values and a need for a personal body guard peace can be attained and maintained. An elemental insight into a few verses of Scripture reveals a personal bodyguard is available to every person.

“He will give His angels charge over you to keep you in all your ways” (Psalm 91:11).

When you consider that in the Old Testament era one angel wiped out an army of 185,000 there is reason for confidence.

One of my favorite assurance passages is in a little book most folks don’t even know is in the Bible. Nahum 1:7, “The Lord is good a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him.”

The word translated “stronghold” is literally a citadel. I visited a little citadel in the Arabian Desert used by Sir Lawrence of Arabia. When superior forces pursued him he would retreat there. Then the strength of the six foot thick walls became his strength. Those whose resource is the Lord find His strength to be their strength.

He does not immune us from problems or exempt us from difficulties. He does guard our hearts and minds: “The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).

He doesn’t always guard us from death. He does guide us through it. He has not promised us perpetual life on this planet He has provided for us the potential of eternal life in His presence.

Here is a formula by which to console yourself with the truth you have a bodyguard. “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trust in you” (Isaiah 26:3).

Let me share the most profound truth that has ever coursed across my mind. In doing so I will use the personal pronoun “me” which you can apply to yourself. The most erudite concept to challenge my mind is this, “God never takes His mind off me.”

His eye is not only on the sparrow it is on us also.

Why Are We There? Is It Worth The Price?

Graphic insights and puzzling questions punctuate our news as the nation evidences more and more concern about a complex situation of which our predecessors could not have conceived.

Every day there are reports of more deaths. Every night on TV there are photos of death and destruction. Why are we still there?

We still occupy this land, which we have taken by force, but it causes us nothing but trouble. Why are we still there?

Many of our finest youth go there and never return. Why are we still there?

Their government is unstable, and they have loopy leadership. Why are we still there?

The place is subject to natural disasters, which we are supposed to bail them out of. Why are we still there?

There are more than 1000 religious sects, we don’t understand. Why are we there?

Their folkways, foods and fads are unfathomable to ordinary Americans. Why are we still there?

We can’t even secure the borders. Why are we there?

They are billion of dollars in debt and it will cost billions more to rebuild, which we can’t afford. Why are we there?

Isn’t it clear by now —-

we need to pull out —- of California.

Lest I be guilty of plagiarism I must confess the concept of the above is one of those things we all get on email and never know their origin and can’t give the source credit. Yet, as a spoof it reveals not all is perfect even here at home. Reading it you probably didn’t have California in mind.

If after all these years California can be confused with Iraq perhaps we should be a bit more patient with the process of nation building.

President Bush and Vice President Cheney testified before the 911 Commission. They were criticized by certain members of the media for not doing something to prevent the 9-11 tragedy. Asserting they should have done something to prevent it is like criticizing President William McKinley (1897-1901) for not doing something to prevent auto emissions pollution before the car was invented. Like 9-11 McKinley was in a position in which current pollution could not have been conceived of.

Critics also belittle the President and Vice President for appearing together. Evidently those detractors forgot former President Clinton and two of his top staff members appeared before the commission together.

President Bush is also criticized for testifying without being under oath. What was that he did on Inauguration Day on the steps of the capitol? His entire life and every word is under that oath.

As with the California scenario we sometimes forget we live in an imperfect world or at best expect someone to instantly make it perfect for us. Let’s not pull out of California or give up on our leaders.