Spirit & Fire
Dr. Jay Worth Allen
Luke, “the beloved physician” and companion of Paul, in commenting on Israel’s expectations concerning John the Baptist writes, “John answered saying unto them all, I indeed Baptize you with water; but One mightier than I comes, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: He shall Baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Luke 3:15,16).
John was prophesying of the One who was coming after him, who was mightier than he, and who would “Baptize” them, individually, with the “Holy Spirit and fire.”
In John 1:33, we see John the Baptist again speaking of his testimony concerning Jesus, “And I knew Him not: but He that sent me to Baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom you shall see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, the same is He who Baptizes with the Holy Spirit.”
John here is testifying of Jesus, declaring that He really did not know that Jesus was the One, until he saw the Spirit of God descending and remaining upon Him. For the One, who sent him to Baptize, told him that the One, upon whom he saw the Spirit descend and remain, was the One that would “Baptize with the Holy Spirit.”
After His resurrection, we see Jesus assembled together with His disciples, when He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem , but to wait for the promise of the Father, of which, He said, “You have heard of me. For John truly Baptized with water; but you shall be Baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days hence” (Acts 1:4,5 KJV).
So what do we learn from these verses? First of all, there is an experience that is properly called the “Baptism with the Holy Spirit.” John said, “There is One coming after me, (who is) mightier than I am. He will Baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” And later, John affirms that Jesus is that One.
Secondly, these verses bear witness that the “Baptism with the Holy Spirit” is separate and distinct from Regeneration (being “born again” - 1 Peter 1:23). It is one thing to be “born of the Spirit” (which is not a reformation of mankind’s carnal nature, but rather, a creative act of the Holy Spirit making a “new creation” in Christ) and yet another thing to be “Baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
In John 20:22, we read that Jesus “breathed on them (His disciples) and He said unto them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” It was at this point the disciples received that indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.
I know that there are those who will object to this indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, by remarking that the action Jesus took - by “breathing on” His disciples, saying “Receive the Holy Spirit” - was only symbolic. But they’re wrong in their objection. They are totally without scriptural warrant in making that assumptive interpretation. There is nothing in the Scripture that would indicate His disciples did not receive the Holy Spirit when Jesus “breathed on them” and told them to “Receive the Holy Spirit.” In fact, it’s hard for me to imagine that Jesus could “breathe on” anyone and say, “Receive the Holy Spirit,” and that person not “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
Be that as it may, from the time that Jesus “breathed on them,” the Holy Spirit indwelt His disciples. However, in Acts 1:4, Jesus told those same Spirit indwelt disciples that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father saying, “John indeed Baptized with water unto repentance, but you will be Baptized with the Holy Spirit in a few days.”
So, according to Jesus, regeneration, water Baptism and “Baptism with the Holy Spirit” are not one and the selfsame experiences.
In the Greek language, there are three prepositions that signify our relationship with the Holy Spirit: para, en and epi. He is with you (para). He shall be in you (en). And you will receive power when He comes upon you (epi).
Everyone, who has been “born again” (1 Peter 1), has experienced both the para and en: He is with you, and, He shall be in you. Every believer had the Holy Spirit with them to convict them and to bring them to Jesus Christ. “According as He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4). And the moment they, individually, believed, the Holy Spirit came, and He began to indwell them. But, in Acts 1, Jesus told those believing, Holy Spirit indwelled disciples, to wait in Jerusalem (not to depart, but to wait there for the promise of the Father). Then He said, “For you shall receive power, when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.” And here He uses the third Greek preposition, which is epi. The Holy Spirit comes upon or over the believer. I personally prefer when He overflows the believer. But the preposition, is epi.
So, it is one thing to have the Holy Spirit with you - para - which brought you, individually to Christ. It is another thing to have the Holy Spirit in you - en - to be individually, as a single believer, indwelt with the Holy Spirit. But it is even more to have the Holy Spirit, individually, upon you, or over you - epi - with which you, individually, “receive power,” when He Baptizes “you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”
Spirit & Fire
Published: 21 June 2011 on Freed In Christ! blogsite.
Published: 26 May 2011 in FAITH Column of The County Journal.
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