The Holy Spirit enlightens, enlivens, enriches and empowers us. With His indwelling presence in the believer, He is instrumental in our decision making. In non-believers however, their only sense of the Holy Spirit comes in the conviction of sins which leads to salvation. Believers on the other hand are baptized by the Holy Spirit at salvation. Many of us however keep asking questions concerning the Holy Spirit such as what is it this baptism of the Holy Spirit? Why should it happen and is it relevant for today’s world? How can we baptized by or filled with the Holy Spirit?
The old testament mentions the Spirit of God severally as having filled certain men such as David, Saul, Elijah or and even Samson to mention but a few. It does seem as if the Holy Spirit came at particular times to particular people for the particular purpose of empowerment for effective service. Of note are Bezalel and Oholiab who were filled with craftsmanship to enable the building of the tabernacle in the book of Exodus. However it is also in the Old Testament that we learn that Spirit of God could depart from a person as in the case of Saul.
The Psalmist pleads with God never to take His Spirit away from him. But in the New Testament, we realize that He is with us in our salvation walk and will never leave nor forsake us because we are sealed by Him. And this is one of the tasks of our Savior – to fill the believer with the Holy Spirit. Jesus Himself expounded on this in Acts 1:4-5, ‘…Do not leave Jerusalem but wait for the gift my Father promised which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water but in a few days you will baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ In the book of Acts we come across Cornelius who was a Gentile who was also filled by the Holy Spirit. An outpouring of the Spirit is experienced on the day of Pentecost by the disciples.
It does seem that when Luke talks of subsequent baptism by the Holy Spirit, he refers to this as ‘filling’. It is this continuous process that is spoken to Christians about in Ephesians 5:18,’Do not get drunk on wine which leads to debauchery. Instead be filled with the Spirit’.
We can therefore safely conclude that baptism or filling by the Holy Spirit is God’s idea which is also for us living in these New Testament times. Also that this baptism is for believers whose relationship with the Holy Spirit is not fake because we take after Jesus Christ who was also baptized by this same Spirit of God. But finally that being baptized by the Holy Spirit is a personal, spiritual occurrence that we should all desire.
The manifestation of this baptism of the Holy Spirit is seen in tongue speaking; Acts 2:4 explains, ‘All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.’ But in this case, the tongues were known and understood by the hearers. To the speakers however, these tongues were unlearned before the occurrence. Speaking with boldness and power are other manifestations of this baptism. So are prophesying of magnifying mentioned of Zechariah in Luke 1:67- who was filled with the Holy Spirit and started prophesying about Jesus Christ. Joy is also seen as an outcome of the baptism of the Spirit of God. Acts 13:52 declares, ‘And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.’
How then do we get this baptism of the Holy Spirit? The first thing is to have an attitude of the faithful by repenting and receiving Him. It is only in repentance and acceptance of Christ into our lives that the Holy Spirit then makes His entry into us to be the seal of our inheritance in Christ. We therefore need an attitude of repentance which comes with a gentleness of heart and a decision to turn away from sinning. It is also having the Spirit of prayer which comes with an attitude of expectancy; we must desire this baptism of the Holy Spirit for ourselves. Luke 11:10 encourages, ‘For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.’
Finally, is this baptism of the Holy Spirit of any relevance to us? Yes because the Lord Jesus Christ Himself asked the disciples not to go out and preach until the promised Holy Spirit had visited them in the upper room. Subsequently a further infilling as we continue in our Christian walk should be desired. The disciples changed after their infilling so we can see that it is meant for effective ministry.
There is no doubt that people who are filled with the Holy Spirit are what the world needs today, more than ever before, so that the Gospel can be carried to the ends of the earth.
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