Christianity 101,  Discipleship,  Faith Builders,  Paul Backholer

What is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?

Dear Louise,

What a thrilling testimony you shared with me! You will never forget the first time you invite the Holy Spirit to enter you and transform your life. ‘It was like the rain of peace falling upon me and then the floodgates opened.’ Wow!

I don’t know why you later felt concerned about falling to the ground when the Holy Spirit came. What’s strange about that? You should turn the question on its head. How could you meet with God and stay standing on your feet? Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Ezekiel and many others could not stand on their feet when they meet God (Genesis 17:3, Numbers 16:4, Joshua 5:14, Ezekiel 1:28).

The reason they said, “You’ve been baptised in the Holy Spirit,” is because of the teaching of Jesus. The Lord said, “John indeed baptised with water, but you shall be baptised with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 11:16).

When the disciples met with the Lord Jesus, He ‘breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit” ’ (John 20:22). At that moment they were born again (John 3:3), just as you were a few months ago. You and they were ‘sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise’ (Ephesians 1:13).

This was not the end of their experiences with God the Holy Spirit, nor will it be yours. The disciples were born again, but not baptised in the Spirit. Jesus said, “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). This baptism was a separate additional experience from their salvation.

After forty days of prayer after Jesus’ ascension, the Holy Spirit came and baptised them and gave the disciples the gift of tongues (Acts 2:1-4). Later, they meet together for prayer and the Holy Spirit came upon them again (Acts 4:31).

The Apostle Paul had a similar experience of conversion to Christ first, then baptism in the Holy Spirit. Paul was converted and sealed by the Spirit for salvation (Acts 9:1-6), and then three days later received the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:9, 17).

We can find the pattern of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives in these principles from Scripture:

  • First, we are convicted of sin by the Holy Spirit (John 16:8).
  • Second, if we repent and receive Jesus Christ as our Saviour, the Holy Spirit will seal us (Ephesians 1:13).
  • Third, we must seek the Lord for the baptism of the Holy Spirit and get ready to receive, as you have.
  • Fourth, we must surrender each part of our lives and ask the Spirit of the Lord to fill them. Paul wrote to the believers in Ephesus about the importance of ‘being filled’ with the Holy Spirit, and in the original Greek it means to ‘keep on being filled constantly and continually.’
Holy Spirit Power, Knowing the Voice, Guidance and Person of the Holy Spirit by Paul Backholer

What you experienced is not a one-off blessing from God, but the beginning of inviting God to enter into every area of your life and fill them, one by one. As we surrender bitterness, spite, envy, rebellion and so forth, He comes and fills those areas with His love, joy, peace, patience etc. (Galatians 5:22).

The laying on of hands, as you witnessed, is very biblical. Scripture states: ‘And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied’ (Acts 19:6).

In Christ,

By Paul Backholer. Find out about Paul’s books here.