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Don Stewart :: Is the Baptism with the Spirit the Same as the Filling of the Spirit?

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Don Stewart
When the Bible speaks of the baptism and the filling of the Holy Spirit, is it speaking of the same thing? Though people often speak of both as the same experience, the Bible makes a distinction between the two.

The Scripture seems to teach that the baptism with the Holy Spirit takes place at the moment of salvation and places believers into the body of Christ. The filling of the Holy Spirit is something that occurs repeatedly after the person is saved.

Non-Repeatable

The baptism with the Holy Spirit is non- repeatable. No one is ever spoken of receiving the baptism with the Spirit more than once. The filling of the Holy Spirit, on the other hand, is something that occurs many times. We see this in the life of the apostles:

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance (Acts 2:4).

Yet these same disciples were filled again with the Holy Spirit:

And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 4:31).

The baptism with the Holy Spirit places a person in the body of Christ and sets the stage for the filling of the Spirit- an experiential work that has to do with living a Christian life.

What Happened At Pentecost?

If the baptism and the filling are two different ministries of the Holy Spirit, what happened on the Day of Pentecost? The Scriptures seem to speak of them as the same experience. Jesus made the following promise to the believers before He ascended into heaven:

For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now (Acts 1:5).

On the Day of Pentecost this promise was fulfilled:

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance (Acts 2:4).

Same Experience?

Does this make the two the same experience? No. On the Day of Pentecost the believers were both baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit. The baptism with the Spirit is what joined them to Christ and provided the basis for their spiritual power. The filling of the Holy Spirit was the experience of that power. When the Bible records that they were filled with the Holy Spirit, it demonstrates that the baptism with the Holy Spirit had occurred.

Summary

In summary, the baptism and filling of the Holy Spirit are two separate ministries of the Spirit that occurred on the Day of Pentecost. Because the believers were baptized with the Holy Spirit, they were able to receive the Spirit's filling.

We can sum up the difference as follows:

1. The baptism with the Spirit occurs once at salvation, the filling of the Holy Spirit occurs after the believer is saved.

2. The baptism with the Holy Spirit occurs only once, while the filling of the Spirit occurs many times.

3.
The baptism with the Holy Spirit sets the stage for filling of the Spirit which the believer directly experiences.


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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