Are the miracle sign gifts for today? Part 3: Baptism of the Spirit

The mystery of how the Holy Spirit works is fascinating. He has an incredible ministry, and does amazing work. He empowers us to do the work of God. He indwells us and helps us resist sin. He is a deposit of the guarantee. He restrains sin in the world. And so much more!

Yet He is often overlooked. James R. White wrote a book called "The Forgotten Trinity". It is a well-regarded book on the unfortunate fact that so many Christians have little understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity, and examines ministry and the work of the Holy Spirit, the oft-overlooked member of the Triune God. If you have an hour, here is Pastor White preaching it.

Any discussion of the Spiritual Gifts should begin with an understanding of the member of the Trinity who delivers the gifts, the Holy Spirit. In part 1 I posted links to the collected verses which speak to who He is and what He does. Here is another link to a different source listing the verses where it speaks to the Spirit's ministry.

Understanding who He is and what He does is important, because misunderstanding how the gifts are supposed to be used dishonors Him. It grieves Him, as a matter of fact. And one can go so far to blaspheme the Holy Spirit. How?

"[I]n this contemporary sort of Christian evangelical church world, people are a little less reluctant to bring dishonor on the name of God, and the name of Christ, but they think they have a free run at dishonoring and abusing the Holy Spirit apparently, because so much of that goes on. I’m not here to defend the Holy Spirit, He can defend Himself. But I am here to say that reproaches that are falling on His holy name are falling on me as well, and mostly this comes in the professing church from Pentecostals and Charismatics who feel they have free license to abuse the Holy Spirit and even blaspheme His holy name. And they do it constantly."

"How do they do it? By attributing to the Holy Spirit words that He didn’t say, deeds that He didn’t do, and experiences that He didn’t produce, attributing to the Holy Spirit that which is not the work of the Holy Spirit. Endless human experiences, emotional experiences, bizarre experiences and demonic experiences are said to come from the Holy Spirit ... visions, revelations, voices from heaven, messages from the Spirit through transcendental means, dreams, speaking in tongues, prophecies, out of body experiences, trips to heaven, anointings, miracles. All false, all lies, all deceptions attributed falsely to the Holy Spirit."

That is called is the Modern Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.

What does the bible teach about the Trinity? How can we not blaspheme Him? Know this:
1. There is one True God. (Monotheism). (Deuteronomy 4:35, Deuteronomy 6:4, Malachi 2:10a, 1 Corinthians 8:6)
2. There are three Divine Persons. (Father-Son-Holy Spirit) (Genesis 1:1, 26; 3:22; 11:7; Isaiah 6:8, 48:16, 61:1; Matthew 3:16-17, 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14).
3. The three Persons are co-existent and co-eternal. (Psalm 90:2, Romans 1:20)

That is the monotheistic faith of Israel and of the Church.

So what about being baptized with the Holy Spirit? Even though the 'baptism of the Spirit' is not a sign gift per se, I include the answer here because those who believe in the second dose of a separate Spirit Baptism often use several of the miracle gifts as their basis. They call the Baptism of the Spirit a 'second blessing'

"Most Pentecostal and Charismatic people believe that the baptism with the Holy Spirit is a second blessing – one received in addition to salvation. They believe that you can be saved, and be indwelt by Christ -- but that this is not ALL that God has for us. You must go on to receive POWER, gifts, and an overflow. This, to them, is the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the so-called, "second blessing." Notice what, by default, is wrapped up in this teaching. If you must receive a second blessing to receive ALL that God wants to give us, then you do NOT receive all when you receive Christ. The answer from scripture is clear: There is NO second blessing. There is NO additional experience we must have after we receive Christ. When we receive Christ, we receive everything God has for us. We are COMPLETE IN CHRIST." (source)

So, is what they say true? IS the second blessing, or baptism of the Spirit, a separate event?

No. No. No. NO. It is not separate. The indwelling of the Spirit at justification (born again belief) is not different from the baptism of the Spirit. It is the same thing.

We all receive the Spirit at conversion. All. Matt. 3:11, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16, John 1:33, Acts 1:5, Acts 11:16). That is the baptism.

Some Pentecostals and others teach a notion of a two-tiered regeneration, the lesser having the first dose of the Spirit and the more advanced believer having been blessed by a second dose. People who believe these things are confused and anxious over their salvation! Of those who teach these things what a stumbling block they put on the fellow believer! What an anxiety they needlessly instill!

John MacArthur tells of the despair and then the rejoicing of a man who had come from that background, who learned the truth--

"Understanding what you have in Jesus Christ is really essential. I was talking to a...a gentleman in our church yesterday and he was saying to me, "You know, the study of Ephesians is so very important." "Because," he said, "I was raised in a family where I was told and in a church where I was told that when you get saved, when you come to know Jesus Christ basically nothing happens. The only thing that takes place is sort of a judicial act on God's part where He forgives your past sins and that's it. There's no empowerment, there's no gift of the Holy Spirit, there's no nothing, just the matter of past sins forgiven. And then when you get the second blessing," quote "Then you get all the goodies that go with it." And it would be a horrible thing to think of but that's the way most of those people have to exist, somewhere in the limbo between believing though they're saved they have nothing and, trying to find that second thing that you finally get that can give you the power that you need."

Ephesians teaches this most pointedly. If you are not sure where to start in learning the truth of the one Spirit baptism, please start there.

"There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all." (Ephesians 4:4-6 RSV).

And also 1 Corinthians:

"For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body" (1 Corinthians 12:13).

"The baptism of the Holy Spirit does two things, 1) it joins us to the body of Christ, and 2) it actualizes our co-crucifixion with Christ. Being in His body means we are risen with Him to newness of life (Romans 6:4). We should then exercise our spiritual gifts to keep that body functioning properly as stated in the context of 1 Corinthians 12:13. Experiencing the one Spirit baptism serves as the basis for keeping the unity of the church, as in the context of Ephesians 4:5." (source)

So there is one baptism. The baptism of the Spirit is the mark of Christian unity! However some churches have made a division by claiming that there is a separate baptism given to some and not others. This is a doctrinal error and a misinterpretation on their part. John MacArthur:

"So when somebody comes along and says - Well, I'm sorry if you haven't had the second work, if you haven't had the special baptism, if you haven't had this little special thing, you don't have the power. I say to them - garbage."


Are the Miracle Gifts for Today? Part 1
Are the Miracle Gifts for today? Part 2: Tongues


  1. Thank you Elizabeth for these 3 posts which so clearly explained all the questions I had. As usual, you brought to light things that have been on my mind lately. I attended pentacostal churches in the past and never quite understood the speaking in tongues, never was comfortable with it or received "the baptism of the Holy Spirit" as they called it. Thank you again. Laura

  2. i think you have pretty much said it all Elizabeth in the three posts you have written about the gifts of the holy spirit ,i think its important for true bible beleiveing christians to dig deeper into finding out whats going on in the world today because when people who are unsaved come at you with difficult questions on any subject it helps to have little knowledge of information to responde to them with love and compassion and in wittnessing for the lord jesus christ ,when i first got saved i found myself being very interested in prophecy but as i stated in one of my comments i backslid for so many years before coming back to the lord just over 5 years ago ,there are many gifts the holy spirit gives today and mine i think is raising my children and wittnessing to my wife who is not a beleiver and to her family around us and friends ,i also like to encourage im a good listner aswell i care very much about peoples souls and where they will spend eternity ,i pray to the lord to give me more resourses to wittness to friends and family as its so extreamly inportant in the days we are in and out there is so much deception in the world,i beleive that its going to take somthing prob on a massive scale to really wake this sleeping world up to the times we are living in .

    somtimes i get fustrated and pray asking the lord what will it take to get peoples attention ,to all who read these comments i would like to say these are the days jesus spoke of in his word the holy bible known as the LAST DAYS all the comotions we see going on around us are what the lord jesus said would happen prior to his return and they will increase as time draws nearer, but you can escape all these things by repenting of your sin, turning from sin ,and ask the lord jesus christ to come into your heart and save you and trust christ as your lord and saviour for salvation ,Jesus said i am the WAY,and the TRUTH,and the LIFE, God bless


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