What is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?
The “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” literally means the “immersion of the Holy Spirit”. It’s the idea of being submerged in, totally covered and surrounded by, and enveloped with the Holy Spirit. The bible talks about Christians having two types of involvement with the Holy Spirit – He lives in us, and comes on us.
The Holy Spirit In You (Baptism in Jesus)
On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
We can glean from this that Jesus promised that anyone who believes in Him after He was glorified (after He rose from the dead) would receive the Holy Spirit. Every born again believer has the Holy Spirit inside of them, because they are born of the spirit (John 3:5).
Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
This is the account of the fulfillment of the promise given in John 7:37. Jesus is talking to His disciples. He gave them the commission “I am sending you”. He also gave them the ability to fulfill it – “He breathed on them and said, ‘receive the Holy Spirit’”.
The Holy Spirit On You (Baptism in the Holy Spirit)
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
Jesus is talking to His disciples (those who had already received the Holy Spirit in John 20 when Jesus breathed on them). Therefore there is a clear distinction from having the Spirit live in you, and having the Spirit come on you.
What’s the Difference?
The Spirit lives in us:
– To teach us all things and remind us of everything Jesus said (John 14:26)
– To guide us into all truth, and tell us what is yet to come (John 16:13)
– To pour out God’s love into our hearts (Romans 5:5)
– To sanctify us (Romans 15:16)
– To give us direct fellowship with God (2 Corinthians 13:14)
– To seal the promise of our salvation (Ephesians 1:13)
The Spirit comes on us:
– To empower us to be Christ’s witnesses to all the earth (Acts 1:8)
– Enable believers to speak in different languages, sons and daughters to prophesy, young men to see visions, old men to dream dreams as a sign to the world (Acts 2:17-18; Acts 19:6)
– To distribute gifts according to His will (Hebrews 2:4)
The typical evidence of the Holy Spirit living in someone is noticeable sanctification, or growing in the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). The typical evidence of the Holy Spirit coming on someone is an audible sign – usually speaking in other tongues (or languages), or prophesying (Acts 10:45-46).
Receiving the Baptism Holy Spirit
When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”
The apostles prayed that the new believers (who according to John 7:37 already had the Holy Spirit in them) would receive the Holy Spirit because He had not yet come on them. The Holy Spirit came on them at the laying on of the apostles’ hands
…how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”
The prominent way the Holy Spirit came on believers in the book of Acts was through the laying on of hands. However, Luke 11:13 tells us that God will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him. Every believer has the Holy Spirit living in them, but we must ask God and believe for the Holy Spirit to come on us.