By George Greatorex
(An updated version of a Tract - By Kenneth Greatorex)
Everywhere today, there is a great hunger in the hearts of many Christians for more of God. However, because of differing teachings, many have the understanding that when they received Christ as their Savior, they received all that God had for them. The purpose of this article is to show the clear distinction made in the Word of God between being "Born of the Spirit" and being "Baptized in the Spirit."
The distinctions are, in regeneration the Spirit's power imparts life. John 3:5-6 speaks of being born of the Spirit. In the baptism of the Holy Spirit the impartation is, power for service (Acts 1:8, Luke 24:49). We must recognize the fact, to have the Spirit is one thing, to be filled with the Spirit is quite another thing.
Matthew informs us that Jesus was born of the Holy Spirit from His mother's womb (Matthew 1:18). Then at the River Jordan, thirty years later, He was baptized in the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:21-23). Notice He did not begin His ministry until He had received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:1, 14). Only after His baptism in the Holy Spirit did He declare (Luke 4:18), "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me." (NKJV) F.B. Meyer, an outstanding Baptist minister said: "Never forget our Lord's ministry was not in the power of the second person of the blessed trinity, but in the power of the third person."
Concerning the disciples, the Bible says that they left all to follow the Lord. In John 20:22, the Word states, "He breathed on them, and said to them, ‘‘Receive the Holy Spirit." This could not have been the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. In John 7:39, we read, "The Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified." It was after this that Jesus commanded them in Luke 24:49, "Tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high." On the day of Pentecost, they received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. They were endued with power from on high, with the evidence of speaking in other tongues, (Acts 2:4 and Acts 1:8). No one said of them before the day of Pentecost that they were baptized in the Holy Spirit. As we said before, John 7:39, declared that "The Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified."
We read in Acts 8:5-13 of the Samaritans being saved and baptized in water (Vs. 12). Later we read of Peter and John being sent from Jerusalem (Vs. 14 to 17) that they might receive the Holy Spirit (Vs. 15 & 16). "Then they laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit." (Vs. 17) No where in the Word of God do we read that the laying on of hands saves people.
The Apostle Paul in Acts 9:5, called Jesus, Lord. According to 1 Corinthians 12:3, no man can call Jesus, "Lord" but by the Holy Spirit. In Acts 9:17, Ananias said: "the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit." Acts 19 is the record of the disciples at Ephesus. Paul asked in verse two, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" If you receive this experience of the Holy Spirit when you believe as many teach, why did Paul ask them if they had done so? His question infers that believing without receiving the baptism in the Spirit is possible. A.J. Gordon, a notable Baptist minister of Boston said: "This passage, Acts 19:2, seems decisive as showing that one may be a disciple without having entered into possession of the Spirit as God's gift to believers."
This distinction is also in Ephesians 1:13, which refers to the experience of the Ephesians recorded in Acts 19. Note: "after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise." We discover that in Acts 1:4, that the baptism in the Holy Spirit, is called "the promise of the Father." In verse five the "promise" is clearly revealed as being "baptized with the Holy Spirit."
In Acts 2, concerning the day of Pentecost, we read in verse thirty-seven, that "they (The Jews) were cut to the heart." Then Peter declared (Vs. 38), "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized --- and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Verse 39 states: "For the promise is to you and your children-" A. J. Gordon said, "This passage shows logically and chronologically that the gift of the spirit is subsequent to repentance."
Before reading the key passage of 1 Corinthians 12:13, remember that men baptized in the Holy Spirit, with the evidence of speaking in other tongues, wrote the epistles (Acts 2:4). Now we are ready for 1 Corinthians 12:13. NOTE carefully that the Word does not say, "For by one Spirit we were all baptized in the Holy Spirit." Rather: "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body." This does not refer to water baptism, or to the baptism into the Holy Spirit. It clearly shows that it is into the body of Christ.
Just as a minister baptizes a believer in water, so the Holy Spirit is the agent who takes a child of God and places him into the body of Christ. NOTE, the last part of 1 Corinthians 12:13: "and have all been made to drink into (of) one Spirit." This could refer to the baptism of the Holy Spirit. See: John 7:37-39. The two parts of 1 Corinthians 12:13 speak of two experiences, the first being salvation, and the second, the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Dr. R.A. Torrey said: "So it is as clear as language can possibly make that it is one thing to be born again and something additional to be baptized by the Holy Spirit."
Six scriptural examples contrasting salvation by the power of the Holy Spirit, and the baptism in the Holy Spirit are:
1. The Lord Jesus Himself
2. The disciples of our Lord
3. The Samaritans
4. The Apostle Paul
5. The disciples at Ephesus
6. The converts on the day of Pentecost
The two clauses of 1 Corinthians 12:13 confirm the above examples already discussed. John 14:17 also confirms this: "for He dwells with you and will be in you." Ephesians 1:13 says: "in whom also having believed you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise."
In the Old Testament, we have at least three pictures of this distinction.
1. First we have the Feasts of Passover, and Pentecost. The Feast of Passover is described for us in Leviticus 23:4-5. This is typical of Christ's death on the cross. Paul in 1 Corinthians 5:7 declares: "Christ out Passover was sacrificed for us." In Leviticus 23:10-16 we have the Feast of Pentecost, which occurred 50 days later. Verse 16 reads: " Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath." In the New Testament we learn that "Christ our Passover" died at the time of the Passover Feast. Fifty days later the Holy Spirit descended, or was poured out, on the Day of Pentecost.
2. The second picture is that of the cleansing of the leper, see Leviticus 14:14. The blood was applied for cleansing (salvation). In verse 28, oil is applied to the tip of the ear, the thumb of his right hand, and the big toe of the right foot. Verse 29 tells us: "The rest of the oil --- he shall put on the head of him." Note, the twofold use of oil. Oil is used throughout the Word of God as a type of the Holy Spirit.
3. The third picture is that of the meat offering. See Leviticus 2:1, 4-6 and verses 14-15. Notice in verse five, "mixed with oil." In verse seven we have, "fine flour with oil." In verse six we discover, "and pour oil on it." Oil was to be both in and on the offering. Thus, clearly indicating a twofold experience.
We conclude that while it is true that every Christian is born of the Spirit, it is also gloriously true that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is the BIRTH RIGHT of all believers. We end with the words of our Lord Jesus in Acts 1:8. "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
EDITOR'S NOTE: It was in the 1960's my father (1904-1987) wrote this article in tract format. It was read in many countries, proving a blessing to many. Today many still do not know the difference between being "Born of the Spirit" and being "Baptized in the Spirit." Some well meaning persons continue to teach that those, who profess to have received the baptism in the Holy Spirit with speaking in other tongues, are in error. Presenting an updated version of my father's article is, I believe, timely. It is desired that it proves a blessing to all who read with an open heart and mind.
Notice: Scriptures quoted are from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION of the Bible. © 1983, Thomas Nelson, Inc.