This is just an informal little study I did the other day, most of the notes came from my study bible that I shortened or condensed and some of the notes are mine. I didn’t specify which was which because I was just taking notes as I studied these scriptures. I wanted to share them on my blog because there seems to be a great deal of discussion on facebook about when a Christian receives the Holy Spirit and some think we receive the Holy Spirit upon salvation but at a later time receive a Baptism of the Holy Spirit. I happen to believe you are filled with Holy Spirit when you are saved.
1. John’s baptism was a sign or a picture of repentance from sin only- not a sign of new life in Christ.
2. These believers believed in Jesus as the messiah but didn’t understand the significance of Jesus death, resurrection or work of the Holy Spirit. They needed further instruction. These believers were incomplete. There has to be a turning from sin (repentance) and a turning to Christ (faith).
3. Believers received the Holy Spirit in a variety of ways in Acts. Usually as soon as they professed faith in Christ, in this instance it happens later because of their knowledge being incomplete.
4. Pentecost was the formal outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the church. The other outpourings were God’s way of uniting new believers to the church.
5. We receive the Holy Spirit (are baptized with Him) when we receive Jesus Christ- the baptism of the Holy Spirit must be understood in light of His total work in Christians.
Some truths about the Holy Spirit
1. We cannot belong to Christ without His Spirit. Romans 8:9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.
2. We cannot be united to Christ without His Spirit. 1Corinthians 6:17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.
3. We cannot be adopted as His children without His spirit. Romans 8:14-17 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. Galations 4:6-7And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of[a] God through Christ.
4. We cannot be in the body of Christ except by baptism in the spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into[a] one Spirit.
John 6:63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. (Notes: The Holy Spirit gives spiritual life: without the work of the Holy spirit we cannot even see our need for new life. So as we see from the scriptures above the Holy Spirit was working in the believer even before they recognized their need for a savior and their sinfulness. Also from the scripture that is above we can’t be saved without the Holy Spirit indwelling and filling us, it’s impossible so therefore would be impossible for a believer to be running around out there waiting for a delayed infilling of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, it just doesn’t fit with the scriptures.)
John 7:37-39 The Promise of the Holy Spirit
37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing[a] in Him would receive; for the Holy[b] Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (Notes: Living water is used in this verse to refer to the Holy Spirit. Notice it says those believing in Him would receive)
Galations 3:27 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Acts 8:15-16 who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16 For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. (Notes: Many scholars believe that God chose to have a dramatic filling of His spirit as a sign at this special moment in history-the spread of the gospel into Samaria through the powerful, effective preaching of believers. Normally, the Holy Spirit enters a person’s life at conversion. This was a special event. The pouring out of the Spirit would happen again with Cornelius and his family (10:44-47); a sign that the uncircumcised Gentiles could receive the gospel.
I am concluding that based on the scriptures above the believer is filled with The Holy Spirit upon conversion and receiving Jesus Christ as savior and only in special circumstances in Acts the Holy Spirit came upon believers at a later time. However the norm was at conversion and not at a later time.
I also want to add that when we look at the thief on the cross, Jesus told him that today he would be with him in paradise. Now this thief had no opportunity to be baptized, do good works to keep himself saved nor did he have the luxury of waiting for a day when he would be filled with the Holy Spirit. Nor could he have gone to paradise without being filled with the spirit because if he didn’t have the spirit he would not have been Christs and Christ would not have taken him to paradise with him. Christ gives us a perfect picture of salvation here with the thief, we must not add to that! We also can’t build our theology on one or two verses that we try to make stand alone without looking at the rest of the canon to see what they actually mean.