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Holy Spirit
(Part II)

Holy Spirit Baptism (Part II)

by Richard Nichols

Published in
The Informer
April 1994

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Last updated:
April 30, 1999.

As we have seen, the baptism of the Holy Spirit and being filled with the Spirit were not necessarily the same thing.  Zacharias, Elizabeth, and John were all filled with the Spirit before the promise of the baptism of the Holy Spirit was fulfilled.  Furthermore, we saw that Christ was the administrator of Holy Spirit baptism as promised by John the Baptist, and Christ, himself, promised that the Father would send the Spirit in Jesus' name.  The baptism of the Holy Spirit was a promise, and never a command.

The purpose of the baptism of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles was two-fold.


First, it took place in order to reveal the truth of the gospel.  In the upper room, Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would come on the apostles and guide them to teach the truth (John 14:26; 16:13-15).  Once more, Jesus told the apostles, "But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.  For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you" (Mat.10:19,20).  The Bible tells us beginning in Acts 4:8, "Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel..."  Peter began to preach being given the words by the Holy Spirit.


The miracles which often accompanied the preaching served as credentials or Divine recommendations of the apostles' message, which is the meaning of the word "confirming" as used in Mark 16:20, the expression "bearing witness" in Heb. 2:1-4.  Please study those passages.  These miracles were "signs" in that they signified the source of the message that was preached (Acts 2:43).  They were called "wonders" in that they stirred interest, surprise, and attraction.


The messengers were mere men.  The people on Pentecost day (Acts 2) noted that the apostles were all just Galileans, but the people heard them speaking all their languages.  Peter who had been a fisherman stood up with the eleven and began to tell them what they MUST DO to please God.  Later, in Acts 10 & 11 Peter tell the Gentiles what they MUST DO TO BE SAVED.  In Acts 5 the early church was shown very clearly by the death of Ananias and Sapphira that one must not rebel against the word of the apostles.  "And fear came on all the church, and upon as many as heard these things" (Acts 5:11).  Paul said to cut off anyone who would not abide in his teaching (Gal. 1:8).


Some contend that the purpose of the baptism of the Holy Spirit was to remove the depraved nature "inherit in Adam."  If this were true then God is responsible for all souls who are lost because no one could receive Spirit baptism except when God was pleased to pour it out.  But baptism of the Spirit came upon the apostles at Pentecost showing that it was not to remove their depraved nature because--1) They had been with Christ three years.  2) They had already preached the "limited" commission to the "lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matt. 10:5-7).  Could a depraved person preach a message from God?  3) They had been performing miracles.  Could a depraved person perform God's miracles?  4) They had been assured of this power (John 20:22).  5) They had been praying to God for 10 days (Acts 1).  Surely all these things prove that they did not have such a depraved nature which had to be removed by the miraculous act of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

The baptism of the Holy Spirit was not to remove the so-called depraved nature of the multitude, because they arrived after the Holy Spirit baptism had come upon the apostles.  They had no part in it.  In fact, the marvelous event caused the apostles to speak in the various languages of the people, which, in turn, caused the multitude to gather out of curiosity (Acts 2:1-8).


The baptism of the Holy Spirit upon Cornelius and his household proves that it did not occur to remove their "depraved nature" as some claim.  The description of Cornelius is not a picture of a "totally depraved man" (Acts 10:2,22).  That idea would contradict the proof of God's acceptance of the Gentiles in Acts 15:7,9.

The Holy Spirit's falling on the household of Cornelius was given as a sign that Gentile converts were acceptable to God, and, therefore, should be to Jewish Christians.

The baptism of the Spirit was not to "sanctify" or accomplish "the second definite work of grace."  The things that accomplish a person's sanctification are: 1) The word of God (John 17:17,19).  2)_ The blood of Christ (Heb. 13:12; 10:10,19,29; Eph. 5:25-28).  3) The person's faith (Acts 26:18).  4) Water--baptism (Eph. 5:25-27).

The baptism of the Spirit is not to save sinners, because the Spirit, as a gift, is promised to those who are already saved (Acts 2:38; 5:32), but not before.

The baptism of the Spirit is not to be the evidence of pardon as some claim. If that were the case then there is no sense to the events of Acts 8:12-16, or of what is said in 1 John 2:2-4; Acts 2:38; or Mark 16:16.

Part 1 of this series.