The baptism in the Holy Spirit
is an infilling of power
which Jesus performs in the life of one who is completely yielded to Him. This baptism is not a requirement for salvation
; rather, it is a gift
for those who have already received new spiritual birth
There are some who say that the baptism in the Holy Spirit no longer exists today and was only given to the first-century church. Others say that every
Christian is already baptized in the Holy Spirit. Still others maintain that the sole evidence of being filled with the Spirit is speaking in tongues. Setting aside all denominational traditions, let us find out what the Word of God has to say on this important topic.
The Day of Pentecost
Before ascending into heaven, Jesus told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father, "For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence"
(Acts 1:5). What was the purpose of this baptism? Jesus told them: "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth"
It is important to note that the baptism Jesus promised would not be the disciples' salvation experience, for they had already received the indwelling
of the Holy Spirit when they saw and believed in the risen Lord (see John 20:22). Instead, Jesus told His disciples that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit would give them power
to fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) and boldness
to spread the good news wherever they went. The disciples faced severe persecution ahead, so they needed to be "endued [clothed] with power from on high"
When the day of Pentecost had come, the disciples and other followers of Jesus "were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance"
(Acts 2:1-4). This amazing blend of sight and sound caught the attention of the Jews who had come to Jerusalem for the Feast of Pentecost, because they heard the disciples speaking the wonderful works of God in foreign tongues which had not been learned! This baffled the visiting Jews. Some of them doubted and others mocked this unusual occurrence.
But Peter, full of the Holy Spirit, preached a powerful message that brought conviction to their hearts. He said, "This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel: 'And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: and on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: and I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath"
(Acts 2:16-19). Peter then declared that Jesus Christ, Who had been crucified and raised from the dead, was their long-awaited Messiah! "This Jesus
hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear ... Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ"
When the multitude heard these things, "they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, 'Men and brethren, what shall we do?' Then Peter said unto them, 'Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call'"
(Acts 2:37-41). Peter and the other apostles continued to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus, and that day about 3,000 people received the message, repented, and were baptized.