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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: Baptism with the Holy Spirit

Don Stewart :: Is the Baptism with the Holy Spirit the Same Thing as Regeneration or Spiritual Rebirth?

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Is the Baptism with the Holy Spirit the Same Thing as Regeneration or Spiritual Rebirth?

Baptism with the Holy Spirit – Question 14

There are some who equate the baptism with the Spirit with regeneration or being “born again.” However, the Scripture never equates them. We must make the following observations.

They Are Not the Same Thing

The Scripture makes a distinction between the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit and the baptizing work of the Spirit. The Greek word translated, “regeneration” or “rebirth” has the idea of new birth, renewal, or re-creation. The word is used only twice in the New Testament. We first see it in Matthew. It says.

So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matthew 19:28 NKJV).

The translation, God’s Word, puts it this way.

Jesus said to them, “I can guarantee this truth: When the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne in the world to come, you, my followers, will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matthew 19:28 God’s Word).

The “world to come” is a translation of the same Greek word which is also translated as “regeneration.”

Paul wrote the following to Titus about the need for regeneration. He put it this way.

He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5 ESV).

Only in the reference in Titus is the word used in this sense of the regenerating, or rebirthing work, of the Holy Spirit. However, it has become the general term used for a person who is converted to Jesus Christ.

People Were Regenerated before the Baptism with the Holy Spirit Ever Occurred

Regeneration is a spiritual rebirth. Spiritual rebirth has been taking place ever since humanity fell into sin with the fall of Adam and Eve. From the beginning, whoever has put their trust in the promises of God for their salvation from their sins has experienced a spiritual rebirth, or regeneration. It is not something which has only taken place during the New Testament era.

They Happen at the Same Time but Are Distinctive Ministries of the Holy Spirit

The regeneration of the believer occurs at the same time the believer is baptized with the Holy Spirit. Although they happen at the same time, they are different ministries of the Holy Spirit. Regeneration gives the believer new life, while the baptizing work of the Holy Spirit places the believer into the body of Christ. Thus, while they take place at the same time we should not confuse the two.

Summary – Question 14
Is the Baptism with the Holy Spirit the Same Thing as Regeneration or Rebirth?

The regenerating work of the Holy Spirit and the baptizing work of the Holy Spirit are not the same thing. While they both occur at the same time, when a person believes in Jesus Christ, they are two distinct ministries of the Holy Spirit.

People have been regenerated or reborn spiritually, since the beginning of the time humanity was here upon the earth. Indeed, without the regenerating work of the Spirit of God nobody could become a believer in the God of Scripture. However, the baptizing work of the Holy Spirit has only been in existence since the time of Jesus’ ascension into heaven. Indeed, previous to His ascension, there was no such thing as a “baptism with the Holy Spirit.” This is the case because the risen Christ is the baptizer. Consequently, we should take care not to confuse the two.

Was Jesus Baptized with the Holy Spirit? ← Prior Section
What Is the Filling of the Holy Spirit? Next Section →
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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