Summary: Shows what the baptism of the Holy Spirit is not
Title: What the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is not
SCRIPTURE: Acts 2:1-4
Because of ignorance of the work of the Holy Spirit, many fail to realize that the Holy Spirit is a distinct and separate member of the Holy Trinity. He works in complete harmony with the Father and the Son, but He must not be confused with either of His divine associates. It is clearly stated in 1 John 5:7, "For there are three who bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit."
We are exhorted, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the
nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the
Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19). When the true distinction between the three personalities who compose the Holy Trinity is understood properly, it eliminates error. Baptism in the Holy Spirit is for believers today.
The Baptism in the Holy Spirit is not Conversion
A general held belief is that conversion, or the experience of
salvation, is identical with being baptized in the Holy Spirit. In this connection, R.A. Torrey, evangelist of the 19th century, Congregationalist minister and graduate of Yale University and Yale Divinity School, writes in What the Bible Teaches:
"Not every believer has the baptism with the Holy Spirit,
though every believer may have. A man may be regenerated by
the Holy Spirit and still not be baptized with the Holy Spirit. In regeneration there is an impartation of life and the one who
receives it is saved; in the baptism with the Holy Spirit there is an impartation of power and the one who receives it is fitted for service."
The two experiences are entirely distinct from the standpoint of source, time, and nature. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is an operation of the Holy Spirit which takes place subsequent to conversion and which imparts special power to do service for God.
The Biblical Pattern. A brief study of the biblical pattern is sufficient to establish the fact that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is not identical with conversion. No doubt the disciples of Christ were converted. They forsook families, occupations, lands, and material benefits to follow Jesus, to hear His teachings, and to assist in His ministry. Jesus told them on one occasion to "rejoice because your names are written in heaven" (Luke 10:20).
The disciples did not experience the baptism in the Holy Spirit, however, until the Day of Pentecost—a time subsequent to the Lord’s returning to heaven.
Their names had already been written in heaven when the
Master instructed them just before His ascension: "Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high" (Luke 24:49). "And being assembled together with them. He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, ’which,’ He said, ’you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now’" (Acts 1:4, 5).
Note that the promise of the Father was to be fulfilled and the people to whom the Lord was speaking were to be baptized in
the Holy Spirit at a future time. Therefore, it is clear that the original followers and disciples of Christ did not receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit at the same time they were converted.
Paul. Scripture demonstrates explicitly that those who were
not among the original followers of Christ but became believers
at a later date received the baptism in the Holy Spirit at a time distinct and subsequent to conversion. The apostle Paul is a prime example. He was miraculously converted as he journeyed
to Damascus, but it was three days later that he was filled with the Holy Spirit (see Acts 9:1-17).
Twelve Men at Ephesus. The experience of 12 men at
Ephesus also confirms the fact that the baptism in the Holy
Spirit is an entirely different spiritual blessing than being converted. "Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples he said to them, ’Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’ And they said to him, ’We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy
Spirit.’ . . . And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy
Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and
prophesied" (Acts 19:1, 6).
These men at Ephesus were converted men. They were
believers and were called disciples. Yet Paul asked them, "Did
you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" Although active
believers, they were not baptized in the Holy Spirit until Paul
laid his hands upon them.
The Samaritans. When Philip went to Samaria to preach the