The Holy Spirit’s ministry has been diluted and the impact of His ministry decreased by religious tradition. This is especially true of the belief that Christians experience all of the Holy Spirit they can at the moment of conversion. Many people think then that there is nothing more to pursue as a result and so live without an expectation of anything more in their Christian walk.
It is my goal to show from Scripture that there is much more for us to pursue. This begins with a second encounter with the Holy Spirit which is called the baptism in the Spirit. This is something some consider to be controversial because of the way people have been taught about the experience.
To start, let’s take a look at the word “baptism”. It is largely a religious word that comes from the Greek word “baptizo” which means to “immerse” or “submerge”. When the Bible speaks of being “baptized” (Acts 1:5) with the “Holy Ghost” it is describing an immersion into His presence.
We use the word “baptize” to refer to water baptism which is a Scriptural practice. It is representative of a person being “baptized” into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit at the moment of conversion. The second experience I am describing is a baptism by Jesus into the Holy Spirit. In summary, our first baptism is by the Holy Spirit into Jesus and the second by Jesus into the Holy Spirit.
1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
Notice that the writer of Hebrews references the “doctrine of baptisms” as a principle “doctrine of Christ”. This tells us that there is more than one baptism. The first occurs when the Holy Spirit baptizes a person into Christ at salvation. This is followed by water baptism which is a public demonstration of the Holy Spirit’s baptism. A third baptism occurs when Jesus baptizes the Christian into the Holy Spirit.
19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.
21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.
24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
Jesus appeared to eleven of the disciples and breathed on them to receive the Holy Spirit. This was the point where they were born again. Thomas was not with the disciples when this happened and so they told him about their experience and he refused to believe.
25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
Thomas refused to believe without having physical proof. This is hard to imagine after all of the miraculous manifestations he had witnessed over the previous three years of traveling with Jesus. It is also the position of many people today that refuse to accept Jesus solely by faith.
26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
Jesus had appeared to the eleven disciples eight days before this occasion. There is no mention of Him being with them again since then. I believe then that it is significant He immediately addressed Thomas’ doubt by encouraging Him to touch the places where He had been wounded at the cross.
Paul tells us in Romans 10:9 that any person who confesses that Jesus is their Lord and also believes that Jesus is raised from the dead is “saved”. Thomas’ reaction to Jesus was a confession of His Lordship which would indicate that this is the moment that he was “saved” or “born again”.
4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
This was Jesus’ last opportunity to be with the disciples before ascending to be seated at the Father’s right hand. They had already been born again. He had breathed on them to receive the Holy Spirit but now was telling them to wait for the baptism of the Spirit. This experience would fulfill John’s prophecy in which he stated that Jesus would baptize His followers with the “Holy Ghost and fire” (Matthew 3:11).
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