Update: There are some important perspectives learned since writing this article. Please read: Baptism of the Holy Spirit a Requirement?
There is much to be understood about the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This article hopes to answer important questions you might have, though much more could be written on this subject.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a fundamental part of our walk with Jesus, and it is necessary for salvation. Without truthful understanding of this important event, many don’t know what it fully means, much less how critical it is to their salvation that they seek it. The Holy Spirit is our connection with God, the earnest of our inheritance as children of God, the product of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
To be baptized with the Holy Spirit is to have the very spirit of God within us, so that we can grow into Christ and be freed from the bonds of sin. Without it, we will remain at a stand-still, unable to find freedom from sin fully, unable to know Jesus as we aught to, and if we don’t know Jesus, He doesn’t know us. If He doesn’t know us, then on the day of judgment He will say to us, “depart from me you who work iniquity. I never knew you.”
If you haven’t taken the baptism of the Holy Spirit seriously, there’s no better time to start than now. Read on for answers to questions you might have, as well as my own experience with the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
What is the Holy Spirit?
The Holy Spirit isn’t a “what” or “it,” but a “He.” He is ALIVE! Just as there are evil spirits that work on us in the flesh, there are spirits of God, mentioned here in the scriptures:
And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. – Revelation 3:1
And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. – Revelation 4:5
And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. – Revelation 5:6
What are these “seven Spirits of God?” See Isaiah 11:2-3:
And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord;
And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears.
The fruit of the Spirit
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. – Galatians 5: 22-23
There is much more to the Holy Spirit than I think we can answer, at least not until we know Jesus as we aught to. In any case, there is much we can know.
The Holy Spirit also goes by the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Truth, and the Comforter. All of which give some understanding into what this spirit is. He is a shadow of God, and he is God. He is the essence of His Truth. He is our guide, our healer, and our comforter in times of trouble. Here are some scriptures that help us understand who the Holy Spirit is:
John 14:16-18 – And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
John 14:26-27 – But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
John 15:26 – But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.
John 16:7-11 – Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
The Comforter is the Holy Spirit, sent to God’s children after the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ Jesus. He is the Spirit of Truth which brings our own darkness to light, and draws it out of us. He shows us the truth of God’s promise for remission of sin through faith in Jesus. The Spirit is an amazing gift, one that came at a price we cannot repay.
What does it mean to be born of the Spirit?
Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Being born of the Spirit through the baptism of the Holy Spirit is what it means to be born again. Simply stating that you “accept Jesus” does not make you born again. As with the gift of faith, the gift of the Holy Spirit is given at God’s will, at a time when He deems best. Many believe the false notion that once you make your declaration of faith, you immediately receive the Holy Spirit, and you are “saved.” This is a very deceiving, very deadly lie.
The Holy Spirit can be with you, guiding and teaching you. But, to be baptized is to have Christ “make his abode with you.” He lives IN YOU! When you receive the Holy Spirit, it is a powerful, life changing experience. If you didn’t experience anything remarkable, then it didn’t happen. But, Jesus is a rewarer of all who diligently seek Him, and He will give his Holy Spirit to those who ask – though it may take years of asking. But, once it happens, a seed of God is planted in you, transforming you by writing righteousness into your heart.
Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart. – 2 Cor 3:3
How do you receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit?
John 3: 6-8 – That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
You cannot pin down the Holy Spirit. Many try to come up with special instructions on how to make the baptism happen, but they are trying in vain. The Spirit moves where he will, and on whom he will – not at the command of man.
If you want to receive the Holy Spirit, the best thing you can do is ask – and ask often. Many who are given the Holy Spirit ask for years, so don’t loose hope if it doesn’t happen as fast as you’d like. God does this for a reason. Waiting works patience in us, creates more hunger for Him in our hearts, and shows us that He is in control. There is much in the scriptures that offer encouragement to those who are discouraged when they don’t get the Holy Spirit right away:
If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? – Luke 11:11-12
The parable of the unjust judge – Luke Chapter 18
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. – Hebrews 11:6
How do you know you received the Holy Spirit?
It bears repeating, that simply believing that you have the Holy Spirit without any evidence of it being given to you is a dangerous lie. When Jesus gives you His Holy Spirit, you should experience something very similar to that of the apostles on the day of Pentecost. Today, many have a hard time believing this to be so, denying things like speaking in tongues and prophesying. Many believe that the gifts of the Spirit are not for today, but in reality, we rarely see them because the love and obedience of many has gone cold, not because the gifts ceased. God does not change. We have. These things are real. Accounts that I’ve heard of, including my own, are in unison with one another, and with the apostles. To help demonstrate this very important point, I’m going to share my story of how this happened to me.
My experience with the Holy Spirit baptism
Like many Christians, I was brought up in the traditions of the church. I thought I became “saved” when I was about 10 years old. I accepted Jesus as my savior, and was baptized in a local river. As a child, I was very close to God, but during teen and early adult years, I fell away.
Between 2012 and 2014, events in my life made it very important that I know the truth of Jesus. I was overwhelmed by the many denominations, and was considering a lot of the New Age ideas as truth. In the summer of 2014, I prayed that God send me a true teacher of the Gospel, and the prayer was answered very quickly. Visit my Contact/Resources page for a link to those bible studies.
Once my eyes were opened to the truth, and I learned of the Holy Spirit baptism, I began asking for it. I asked, and cried, and begged, and asked some more. The Lord was gracious in giving me great zeal and hunger for it.
In late January of 2016, my prayer was answered. I started Kindling Truth (the first time) in October of 2015. But I lacked the Spirit, and felt I didn’t have what I needed to continue with it. So I quit. On top of that disappointment, I was also dealing with a lot of pain in my own life, making me feel like a horrible hypocrite, because I could in no way live the righteousness I believed in. I was in a great depression, and so I again called on Jesus. I prayed to him, that he would help me. That he would give me His Holy Spirit because I didn’t know if I could continue on, that a life without serving Him was nothing. I wanted to serve Him and his people, I wanted to understand His truth – and live it.
As I lay there sobbing and praying, a force came over me, like a wave of power mixed with a peace and indescribable joy I had never felt. But it was more than emotion. It was like electricity was moving through my veins, and then I spoke a word or two softly in a language I did not understand. This all happened simultaneously, and within seconds. It hit me, “this is it! It’s really happening!” I sat up in my bed, and continued to speak in the language of the Spirit, then my speaking turned to singing. The singing was forceful, bold, and I had the sense that I was singing about the true churches of the Lord.
After this happened, I began writing songs. You can find those here. The Lord continues to work in me, revealing the truth of my sin, cleaning me from it, and showing me His will for His children.
What does the Holy Spirit baptism work in us?
The Holy Spirit leads us on a path of truth, so that we can be called the sons of God. It reveals the truth of Jesus, the hidden sins in our hearts, and gives us a desire to walk in His love and in obedience to Him. The Holy Spirit also comes with much fruit, as mentioned earlier. For some, they find that some of their sins are taken away instantly after they are baptized in the Spirit. For me, I found healing from crippling social anxiety, freedom from a desire to become drunk off alcohol, and an understanding that psychedelic drugs were a form of sorcery. The Lord also revealed other things to me, in bits and pieces, which I often mixed with my own desires and fears, leading to a great deal of confusion until He was gracious enough to pour more of His spirit into my heart.
Receiving the Holy Spirit is a sign that you are on the path to knowing Jesus, that you are His, and that you will be saved! But, don’t be discouraged if you continue to struggle with sin. What you have been given is a tiny seed of Christ, one that will grow you up into the fullness of Christ. Believe that He will clean you entirely. Go on, and run the race. Run to win!