The Baptism of the Holy Spirit

Pentecost as a Separate New Testament Experience

Hearing that certain converts in "Samaria had received the word of God", 40 Peter and John went and "prayed for them." 41 Paul also went to Ephesus and found "certain disciples." 42 These apostles wanted to make sure that the new believers received the Holy Spirit. Paul "said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?" 43 When they replied that they had "not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost", Paul asked them, "Unto what then were ye baptized?" 44

People are water baptized into the truth they receive. A disciple, then, is a follower of the truth he has learned because he has to "bear his cross" 45 in order to follow Jesus.

The new disciples replied that they had been baptized "unto John's baptism" 46 with the baptism of repentance." 47 The truth they had been baptized with was like that of Apollos' teaching. He "taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John" 48 which was "that [people] should believe on him [Jesus] which should come after him [John]." 49 But when Aquila and Priscilla took Apollos and "expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly", 50 showing that "Jesus was Christ", 51 Apollos received the complete gospel. Thus the new converts "were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus." 52

Peter and John discovered that the Samaritans, too, were "baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus" but that the Holy Ghost "was fallen upon none of them." 53 We know that we become "sons of God" when we believe "on his name." 54 But where is the Holy Spirit at salvation such that He might have "fallen upon" us? In the Scriptures we see that:

  1. "He that believeth...shall be saved." 55
  2. "Thy faith hath saved thee." 56
  3. "By grace are ye saved." 57

    Thus, we conclude that we are saved when we believe with the faith we receive by grace from God. Furthermore:

  4. "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." 58
  5. "He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost." 59

    Therefore, since Jesus had been glorified, the disciples properly received the Holy Spirit because they were recognized as believers. Finally:

  6. "In whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise." 60
  7. "Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts." 61

When you believe, you are sealed with the Holy Spirit. So it is simply by the exercise of faith (nos. 1-3) that you receive (nos. 4-5) the Holy Spirit in your heart (nos. 6-7). Therefore, we have the Holy Spirit within us when we are saved through belief in the Lord Jesus Christ.

So when Peter and John prayed for the Samaritans that "they might receive the Holy Ghost", 62 they were expecting another anointing of the Holy Spirit. When they laid hands upon the believers, "they received the Holy Ghost" 63 just as "when Paul had laid hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on" 64 the Ephesians. Scripture doesn't require that hands be laid on a person for him to be saved, but "Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given." 65 This shows that Passover and Pentecost are separate New Testament experiences.

A distinction is also seen in the feasts concerning leaven. At Passover "shall there be no leaven found in [the] houses." 66 Whereas at Pentecost "two wave loaves...shall be baken with leaven." 67 However, both feasts have in common the requirement to "be filled with the Spirit" 68 by "singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." 69 But with the baptism of the Holy Spirit there is a step of faith involved, for "how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" 70