This A/G Perspective reflects
commonly held beliefs based on scripture which have been endorsed by the A/G Commission on Doctrinal Purity and the Executive Presbytery.
Questions About the Baptism in the Holy Spirit
Questions About the Baptism in the Holy Spirit
1. Do Christians receive the Holy Spirit when they are saved? If so, how is this experience different from the baptism in the Holy Spirit?
2. Can a person receive eternal life in heaven without the baptism in the Holy Spirit? If so, why should we be baptized in the Spirit?
3. Once a person is baptized in the Holy Spirit, why is it necessary to be refilled later?
4. What is the difference between "speaking in tongues" when one is baptized in the Spirit and "speaking in tongues" publicly? Also, what is the advantage of "praying in tongues" in one's private prayer life?
5. When tongues are exercised publicly according to the Biblical standard, should there always be an interpretation? Who should give the interpretation?
6. For whose benefit and for what purpose are there utterances in tongues followed by interpretations?
7. Is it possible for an interpretation of tongues to run contrary to the teachings of the Bible?
8. As humans do we play a role as to whether or not tongues and other gifts will operate in the church?
9. Can a person be filled with the Holy Spirit without speaking in tongues?
10. In the first outpouring recorded in the New Testament, there were tongues of fire and the sound of a violent wind. Why does this not occur today?
11. Is it possible to be saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit at the same time?
12. First Corinthians 13:8 says "Whether there be tongues, they shall cease" (KJV). Wouldn't this indicate the baptism in the Holy Spirit was only for those first followers 2,000 years ago?
13. Since Paul suggested in 1 Corinthians 14:19 that it is better to speak intelligible words in church than to speak in tongues, doesn't it follow that the experience of tongues in unnecessary today?
14. Is there proof that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit experienced today is genuinely biblical?
15. Why do Pentecostals emphasize speaking in tongues when this is only mentioned a few times in Acts and 1 Corinthians 12 to 14?
16. Who should be baptized in the Holy Spirit?
17. When a person is filled with the Holy Spirit, is he in a semi-conscious state, or is he totally coherent and aware of what is happening?
18. Why are some people baptized in the Spirit immediately, while other seek so long without receiving the experience?
19. When an individual is seeking the baptism in the Holy Spirit, can anything be done to prepare his life or environment that will quicken the infilling?
20. Is tongues the only evidence of the infilling of the Holy Spirit? Will there be any significant changes in one's attitudes and actions after being baptized in the Spirit?
Christians receive the Holy Spirit when they are saved? If so, how is this
experience different from the baptism in the Holy Spirit?
Yes, when persons accept Christ, the Holy Spirit begins a great work in their lives. The Spirit convicts them of sin, convinces them of righteousness, and dwells within them (John 6:44; 14:17; Roman 8:9; 1 Corinthians 12:13). No one becomes a Christian without this gracious work of the Holy Spirit.
However, there is an additional and distinct ministry of the Holy Spirit called the baptism in the Holy Spirit. The Baptism is an empowering gift from God the Father that is promised to every believer (Matthew 3:11; Luke 11:13; 24:49; Acts 2:33, 38). It helps the Christian to live a holy life and also brings a new devotional attachment to Jesus Christ, making Him very real and precious. The primary purpose of the Baptism is to give greater power for witnessing (Acts 1:8). Other benefits include a greater joy in spiritual service, and a heightened sense of one's mission to the world.
a person receive eternal life in heaven without the baptism in the Holy Spirit?
If so, why should we be baptized in the Spirit?
Receiving eternal life does not depend on being baptized in the Holy Spirit; for salvation is by grace through faith alone (Habakkuk 2:4; John 6:28, 29; Galatians 3:6; 5:6; Ephesians 2:8). It is a gift purchased for us by Christ when He was crucified. All we have to do is accept the gift. Just as the repentant thief on the cross next to Jesus was assured of entering paradise that very day we too are assured a place in heaven with the Father if we believe in Jesus Christ. It is most unfortunate that some have said, "Unless you have spoken in tongues you will not go to heaven." This is not true. It is contrary to the Scriptures.
At the same time, although the Bible does not say the baptism in the Spirit is required for salvation, it does tell us that Christ commanded His first followers to wait for the Holy Spirit to come upon them (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8). The Bible commands us to "be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18). This personal encounter with the Holy Spirit should be sought and cherished by every believer. With it comes a new and fuller dimension of spiritual understanding and a flow of spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:9-13).
a person is baptized in the Holy Spirit, why is it necessary to be refilled
On the Day of Pentecost 120 disciples (committed followers of Jesus) were "filled" with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4). This fulfilled the promise Christ had made to them a few days earlier. He had said, "John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 1:5). But this initial experience of being baptized in the Holy Spirit is only the beginning of a lifelong experience. God wants us to remain filled with the Spirit.
Perhaps an analogy will best clarify this. As Christians we may be compared with a reservoir for producing electrical power. When we accept Christ, construction of our reservoir is complete. We now have the potential to be useful and to affect lives. But until the flood gates are opened and the cascading river waters pour through, no power is realized. So it is when we are baptized in the Holy Spirit. We open our lives to God and the Holy Spirit pours into us and through us. It is then we become most effective in God's service.
As with the reservoir, this power-generating experience is not intended to be a one-time occurrence. It is to be an ongoing process. When our spiritual power runs low, we need to return to the Source and let the blessed Holy Spirit pour into us again, bringing fresh power. This happened to the early followers of Jesus. They had already been baptized in the Spirit; but later on, when persecution arose, they needed a new surge of spiritual power; so they prayed to the Lord once again and "they were all filled with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 4:31).
As the Spirit-filled believer serves the Lord, there is an expenditure of spiritual power. It becomes necessary for him to open himself afresh to the Holy Spirit in order that his power may be replenished. The command in Ephesians 5:18 is literally, "Keep on being filled with the Spirit." Here lies the secret of Spirit-filled living. The Spirit-filled life is a continuous process of receiving and giving, of being filled and sharing with others, of recieving power from God and spending it in gospel service.
is the difference between "speaking in tongues" when one is baptized
in the Spirit and "speaking in tongues" publicly? Also, what is the
advantage of "praying in tongues" in one's private prayer life?
There are at least four uses or purposes of unknown tongues, according to the New Testament: (1) as the initial evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4; 10:46; 19:6); (2) as a gift to edify the church when the tongues are interpreted (1 Corinthians 12:10); (3) as a sign for unbelievers that they might believe (1 Corinthians 14:22); and (4) as a God-given provision for effective prayer and praise (1 Corinthians 14:2, 14). In all these cases, tongues is the same in essence, but different in purpose. The misunderstanding concerning these distinctive uses and purposes has brought great confusion among Christians.
Scripture records that the early believers, upon being baptized in the Spirit, began to glorify God in languages unknown to them but imparted by the Holy Spirit. Tongues is the same evidence today when believers are baptized in the Spirit. All believers, when they are baptized in the Spirit, will speak in tongues. However, not all will exercise the spiritual gift of tongues in the church assembled for worship. All will have the evidence, but not all will exercise the public gift of tongues which requires the additional operation of the gift of interpretation of tongues (1 Corinthians 14:12,13). First in a public worship service someone is moved to speak in tongues; then someone is moved by the Spirit to give an interpretation of the utterance. Operating in this realm, the Spirit provides an effective and powerful means of corporate adoration and worship of God. The purpose of the gifts of tongues and interpretation is to edify or build up the church (1 Corinthians 14:2-12).
Praying in tongues during private devotions is an additional ministry of the Holy Spirit. Many believers today testify that praying in tongues greatly enriches their spiritual lives. The limitations of intellect are overcome as the Holy Spirit quickens the human spirit in glorious expressions of worship and adoration. The quandary of limited vocabulary and the inability to express feelings and concerns of the soul disappear as a Spirit-imparted language flows out from the heart. It is as if heaven and earth, time and eternity, God and man all compress together in a glorious act of worship.
tongues are exercised publicly according to the Biblical standard, should there
always be an interpretation? Who should give the interpretation?
In 1 Corinthians 14 the apostle Paul clearly taught that public speaking in tongues in the assembly of believers is in order only when followed by an interpretation. It was because of this disorderly practice at Corinth that Paul wrote such statements as "speaking into the air" (1 Corinthians 14:9), "stop thinking like children" (1 Corinthians 14:20), "will they not say that you are out of you mind?" (1 Corinthians 14:23), and "keep quiet in the church" (1 Corinthians 14:28).
It [was this disorderly practice] that prompted Paul to stress the superiority of prophecy--not to interpreted tongues, but to uninterpreted tongues (1 Corinthians 14:5).
Final responsibility for giving an interpretation of tongues in a public assembly rests with the one who gave the utterance in tongues. The speaker either must be assured that someone else in the assembly will provide the interpretation, or he must be prepared to do so himself (1 Corinthians 14:13, 27 28).
whose benefit and for what purpose are there utterances in tongues followed by
The purpose of tongues with interpretation is twofold. One purpose is to provide a sign for unbelievers that they might believe. The other purpose is to edify the church body. Tongues with interpretation declares the mighty works of God, exalts His name, and prompts the believers to worship Him in spirit and in truth. It also calls for commitment to the church's mission.
In 1 Corinthians 14:22 and following, Paul wrote that tongues are a sign primarily for the unbeliever when uttered in a public assembly. Understandably so, for tongues properly interpreted will speak of the majesty and glory of God. The unbeliever will be drawn by this empowered expression.
Some confuse speaking in tongues with the gift of prophecy. Paul drew a distinction between the two. He indicated the purpose of the spiritual gift of prophecy is to strengthen, encourage, and comfort (1 Corinthians 14:3, 31). Thus prophecy is primarily for the benefit of believers. Paul pointed out, however, that unbelievers who hear a prophetic word may also be convicted and turn in repentance to God (1 Corinthians 14:24,25).
it possible for an interpretation of tongues to run contrary to the teachings of
If the Holy Spirit has authentically inspired the interpretation, it will never contradict the teachings of the Bible. If the interpretation is contrary to Scripture, it is out of order and must be ruled so. The Bible is the measure by which all utterances must be judged.
For example, in a church service some years ago a prophetic word was spoken that included the phrase "His (Jesus') bones were broken." The Scripture tells us, "Not one of his bones will be broken" (John 19:36; Psalm 34:20). The contradiction was clearly evident. The utterance was unbiblical and had to be judged as wrong.
The Scriptures cannot be contradicted (Psalm 119:89; Matthew 5:18; 24:35; 1 Peter 1:25). They are complete and cannot be added to (Revelation 22:18, 19).
The apostle Paul did not hesitate to establish guidelines within which the gifts of the Spirit must operate. He stated that any utterance, message, or gift expression must line up with Scripture and be judged by it (1 Corinthians 14:29). He declared that God's messenger, whether speaking with a prophetic word or speaking in tongues followed by interpretation, must rule his own spirit (1 Corinthians 14: 32) and submit always to the guidelines of scriptural truth (1 Corinthians 14:37; and 1 John 4:1-3).
Yes, spiritual gifts are divine in their origin, but they are entrusted to people, and they must operate in a way that is consistent with biblical teaching. Good order, established by anointed leadership, is God's way (1 Corinthians 14:33, 40).
humans do we play a role as to whether or not tongues and other gifts will
operate in the church?
Human availability has always been an essential part of the unfolding of God's plan. Throughout Scripture there is an obvious blending of God's sovereign purposes and people's availability in implementing those purposes. While this interrelationship is impossible to fully comprehend, it is consistently recorded in the Bible.
Spiritual gifts operate only with human availability. While the gifts are supernatural both in source and operation, they require willing and obedient hearts through which they might find expression. Jesus commanded His disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they had been "clothed with power from on high" (Luke 24:49). It was not until they had placed themselves at the Spirit's disposal that they were "filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them" (Acts 2:4).
Perhaps this interrelationship between the Holy Spirit and human availability can best be expressed by the following progression. The believer must (1) have a clear understanding of the biblical base for promised gifts; (2) be touched in his heart with a desire for the gifts to flow; (3) be willing to submit to the inner sense that the Spirit is seeking expression; and (4) offer to the Holy Spirit his heart, emotions, will, and voice by which those gifts may operate. The key is obedient availability coupled with a sincere desire to please God.
a person be filled with the Holy Spirit without speaking in tongues?
First let us examine the Scriptures. On the Day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit fell upon the assembled believers and "all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues" (Acts 2:4). Later, as Peter was preaching at the house of Cornelius, "the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message" and they were "speaking in tongues and praising God" (Acts 10:44, 46). Again, as the apostle Paul was ministering to the Ephesian disciples, "the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied" (Acts 19:6). It is evident also that Paul himself was filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:17) and spoke in tongues (1 Corinthians 14:18). These Scriptures clearly show that speaking in tongues is the initial physical evidence of being baptized in the Holy Spirit.
When the early believers were filled, they spoke in other tongues, and the same holds true today. Millions of believers worldwide share the exact testimony: when they initially were baptized in the Holy Spirit they spoke in unknown tongues. This is the truth which Pentecostals consistently affirm. The prophecy of Joel 2:28, 29, cited by Peter in Acts 2:16, 17, links today's Spirit-filled believers with those who were filled with the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. The Spirit's fullness, evidenced initially by the phenomenon of speaking in other tongues, is the common experience all celebrate with joy.
There are those who give testimony to a dynamic and life-changing encounter with the Holy Spirit who have never spoken in tongues. Nevertheless it cannot be said that they are filled with the Spirit in the New Testament sense of the term. There is an essential link between that experience and speaking in other tongues, as pointed out above.
We affirm and teach these truths because they are based upon the pattern from God's Word. We do not look upon speaking in tongues as a proof of superior spirituality. It simply is a precious promise written in God's Word and fulfilled in our lives. To ignore it is to miss a great blessing and come short of the New Testament pattern.
All who are hungry for the "filling" should be encouraged to trust the Lord for the overflowing evidence of that "filling"; namely, speaking in other tongues.
the first outpouring recorded in the New Testament, there were tongues of fire
and the sound of a violent wind. Why does this not occur today?
On the Day of Pentecost, "a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven" and "they saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them" (Acts 2:4). This preceded and provided a dramatic setting for the first outpouring of the Spirit. However, this happened only once. These phenomena did not recur and there is no evidence that they were intended to recur either in apostolic times or in our day. The single phenomenon dramatically expressed on the Day of Pentecost and consistently present whenever early believers were baptized in the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues.
Does this mean that in our day the outpouring of the Spirit will be void of any demonstrations other than speaking in tongues. No. Some testify of deep groanings in their spirit, or surges of inexpressible joy. Some experience strong emotions of exhilaration. For many it is as if the deep inner wells of their spirits have suddenly been thrown open, and a torrent of praise bursts forth in exaltation to the Lord. Their hearts overflow with love for Jesus Christ.
While the ways in which the fullness of the Holy Spirit comes will vary according to the personality of the individual and the creativity of the Spirit, unknown tongues is the one accompanying phenomenon which unites Spirit-filled believers from every land and every generation.
it possible to be saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit at the same time?
There need not be a great lapse of time between conversion (receiving Christ as Savior) and the baptism in the Holy Spirit. However, a person must first be a believer. This Baptism is not for unbelievers.
First, the Holy Spirit comes to convict a person of sin and to reveal Christ as Savior. Then He comes to fill the life with spiritual power for gospel service and victorious Christian living. The one encounter of the Spirit is to regenerate; the other is to empower. The two are not identical; they are logically sequential; but one encounter may follow the other very closely. Many believers can testify to having come to Christ as Savior, and then moments later having met Him as the Baptizer in the Spirit.
It is quite in order, assuming the presence of proper understanding, to lead a new convert into the baptism in the Holy Spirit. While "tarrying" (waiting on God in prayer) is often necessary for heart preparation and understanding, it is not improper for new believers to move quickly into the fullness of the Spirit.
Corinthians 13:8 says "Whether there be tongues, they shall cease"
(KJV). Wouldn't this indicate the baptism in the Holy Spirit was only for those
first followers 2,000 years ago?
In order to understand this statement we need to examine its context. Paul said that prophecies will cease, tongues will be stilled, knowledge will pass away, and perfection will come (verses 8-10). Paul was speaking of a time yet future both to his original readers and to us. When the kingdom of our Lord is ushered in, perfection will come and there will be no further need of Spirit-given knowledge, prophecy, and tongues. They will disappear because they will be no longer needed. But these operations of the Spirit are still needed today.
There is no indication in Scripture that tongues would cease at the end of the first century. Tongues are to be a part of the life of the church in every generation until Christ returns to set up His perfect kingdom. Paul's perception was that spiritual gifts would be operational until that day (1 Corinthians 1:7, 8).
Paul suggested in 1 Corinthians 14:19 that it is better to speak intelligible
words in church than to speak in tongues, doesn't it follow that the experience
of tongues is unnecessary today?
It does seem almost contradictory that the apostle Paul should make the following statements in successive verses: "I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue" (1 Corinthians 14:18, 19). The seeming contradiction evaporates, however, when we examine the chapter more fully. Paul was addressing a specific problem in the church at Corinth; namely, spontaneous utterances in tongues in an assembly of believers without accompanying interpretations. He equated this with disorder and confusion (1 Corinthians 14:13,32,33). He purposely exaggerated ("five intelligible words ... than ten thousand words in a tongue") to make his point. His exaggeration was not made to invalidate the benefit and use of tongues, but to bring order to the church. Actually he encouraged the exercise of the spiritual gifts of tongues and interpretation of tongues by explaining in some detail how they should operate (1 Corinthians 14:26-33). Also he placed great value on tongues in the believer's devotional life (1 Corinthians 14:4).
When biblical truths fall into obscurity and neglect, people often seek for explanations. When speaking in tongues is no longer experienced, they ask the reason, and critics have answered by isolating this particular statement and giving it an unsound meaning. Paul was not opposed to tongues. He said he himself spoke in tongues more than all (1 Corinthians 14:18). His point was that if someone speaks in tongues in a public assembly, it is essential that there be an interpretation so the listeners will be instructed.
there proof that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit experienced today is
The proof is the same proof that supported the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. On that occasion the apostle Peter stood up and defended the outpouring by showing that it was a fulfillment of Scripture. He began his explanation by saying, "This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel" (Acts 2:16). What we are experiencing in our day is that which was prophesied by Joel and which began to be fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost.
A comparison of the Book of Acts with what is happening in the modern outpouring of the Spirit reveals striking similarities in pattern and purpose. The impact of the early church, newly equipped by the power of the Holy Spirit, changed the world of that day. Similar changes are being made in human lives today through Spirit-filled servants of God. Christ is preached. Sinners are saved. The sick are healed. The kingdom of God is greatly increased. We can say, with Peter, "This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel," though we have not yet seen the full extent of the spiritual awakening for which we are praying.
do Pentecostals emphasize speaking in tongues when this is only mentioned a few
times in Acts and 1 Corinthians 12 to 14?
Pentecostals who are well rooted in Scripture do not emphasize the baptism in the Spirit and speaking in tongues to a greater extent than other doctrines such as the New Birth (salvation) and water baptism. They emphasize all the teachings of the New Testament, giving to tongues the same priority that it has in Scripture. The goal is for balance. Admittedly, some have failed to keep that essential balance. The Pentecostal movement suffers wherever there is an imbalance in teaching and practicing all that is in the New Testament.
God has brought the Pentecostal movement into being in order to help the Church rediscover the doctrine of the baptism in the Holy Spirit and the accompanying gifts of the Spirit. In obedience to that charge, Pentecostals have placed a high priority on this particular doctrine. However, much of the supposed imbalance is more imagined than real.
should be baptized in the Holy Spirit?
When the believers were assembled in prayer on the Day of Pentecost, "All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them" (Acts 2:4). Not one was left out. It was not just the apostles who were filled, but all the men and all the women in that company of 120 persons. Then the apostle Peter addressed the onlookers and told them that they should be filled. He said "The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off -- for all whom the Lord our God will call" (Acts 2:39).
As Peter said, the baptism in the Holy Spirit is for every believer in every generation. It is an all-inclusive promise of universal dimension. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is promised to every Christian believer.
a person is filled with the Holy Spirit, is he in a semi-conscious state, or is
he totally coherent and aware of what is happening?
It is clear from Scripture that there may be accompanying phenomena when a believer is baptized in the Holy Spirit. Interestingly, on the Day of Pentecost the crowd who witnessed that original outpouring of the Spirit "made fun of them" the 120 who had been filled with the Spirit. The onlookers said, "They have had too much wine" (Acts 2:13). But Peter explained, "These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel" (Acts 2:15, 16).
The point is clear: there was a dramatic human response to this divine visitation. From outward appearances it was as if these Spirit-filled believers were inebriated. Similar behavior is sometimes seen today when people are filled with the Spirit, but believers' experiences vary widely. Some have been filled with little or no emotional stirring, and yet the experience has been authentic and real. Others have been so overcome that they have been "lost in the Spirit" and oblivious to their surroundings for a time.
It is important that each seeking believer yield fully to the Holy Spirit. The accompanying phenomena are established by the sovereign choice of the Holy Spirit. But the emphasis must always be on the inner filling rather than on the emotional experience, which is contrary to the authentic work of the Holy Spirit. Such extremes must be avoided. The inner work of the Holy Spirit, rather than the outward demonstration of the human spirit, must be the focus of every seeking heart.
are some people baptized in the Spirit immediately, while other seek so long
without receiving the experience?
Just prior to His ascension, Jesus told His disciples, "In a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 1:5). A few days later they were filled with the Spirit (Acts 2:4). Earlier the Lord had said, "I am going to send you what my Father promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high" (Luke 24:49). No doubt the disciples obeyed this directive; they remained in Jerusalem and spent much time in prayer. There was a "waiting" for the Spirit to come. However, once the Spirit had fallen there was no further incident of "waiting" or "tarrying." Today there is no longer any reason for waiting, except as "waiting" may relate to the preparation of the heart for the infilling of the Holy Spirit.
Some believers have received the Baptism almost immediately; others have waited for various periods of time. Why? (1) Because the Holy Spirit is sovereign, He will move and work only as He chooses. (2) Because the Holy Spirit does not impose himself on any believer, some will require a period of waiting before they are prepared to yield themselves fully to His divine control. (3) Because "filling" may involve a process, there are some believers with an authentic baptism in the Spirit which may have been preceded by wonderful and meaningful times of waiting in God's presence. Seekers should realize that any period of "waiting" only brings them closer to the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon their lives.
an individual is seeking the baptism in the Holy Spirit, can anything be done to
prepare his life or environment that will quicken the infilling?
The question is often asked: "What can I do to claim the promise of the baptism in the Holy Spirit for my life?" One thing the believer should do is to seek the Baptizer rather than the Baptism. It is Jesus who baptizes believers in the Holy Spirit. Seekers should focus their attention on Him rather than on an experience.
There are other steps that, if taken, will assist seekers. (1) Understand that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is a gift from God. It should be received with gratitude and giving of thanks to the Giver. It cannot be earned or merited. It can only be accepted with an open and willing heart. (2) Be fully persuaded that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is both biblical and doctrinally correct. (3) Confess any known sins in your life and resolve to live a righteous life with God's help. (4) Begin to worship the Lord with expressions of praise and adoration. (5) Express to the Lord, who is the Baptizer, a desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit for His glory. (6) Yield to any deep "welling up" within your spirit and allow that inner surge to break through in expressions of worship, praise, and adoration in a language unknown to you but meaningful to God.
tongues the only evidence of the infilling of the Holy Spirit? Will there be any
significant changes in one's attitudes and actions after being baptized in the
The first physical sign of the infilling of the Spirit is speaking in
tongues. This is the one physical sign that is consistent in its recurrence, as
pointed out earlier. However, the Baptism in not a goal but a gateway. It is a
door to Spirit-filled living. It marks a beginning, not an end. Speaking in
tongues is but the initial evidence and is to be followed by all the evidences
of Christlikeness that mark a consistent Spirit-filled life.
The apostle Paul described this wonderful life in the Spirit in Galatians
5:22, 23. He wrote, "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,
kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."
It is a life to be lived, not just an experience to be remembered. Some have
missed this essential distinction. They have been satisfied to recall that
wonderful moment when the Holy Spirit came in His fullness and they magnified
the Lord in other tongues. Failure to progress beyond that point is a tragedy.
The question is not only, "Have you been filled?" but, "How
have you lived since you were filled?" The apostle Paul wrote, "Since
we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit" (Galatians
5:25). The baptism in the Holy Spirit is the introduction to a victorious
Christian life in the Spirit. Any lesser result falls short of God's purpose in
bestowing this marvelous gift.
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Assemblies of God
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