Written Word

How Does Jesus Baptise with the Holy Spirit? Part 2

When the Spirit came on Pentecost, what Jesus had said – “you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit” – was fulfilled. What Jesus did on Pentecost is unrepeatable. It occurred once, but the benefits will continue until the Lord returns.

Since the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, the Spirit has been (1) taking up residence in the heart of God’s people and (2) giving spiritual gifts to the body of Christ at his own divine discretion. “… he gives [spiritual gifts] to each one, just as he determines.” (1 Corinthians 12:11) This position is supported by Paul who asks a series of rhetorical questions: “Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?” (1 Corinthians 12:28-30) You can hear Paul answering his questions: No! No! No! But why not? Because the giving of spiritual gifts is the prerogative of the Holy Spirit. It is his divine right to choose on whom he will bestow spiritual gifts.

Let me say this one more time. It was foretold that Jesus would “baptise with the Holy Spirit.” He would not do this until he was glorified. On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit came, fulfilling what the prophet Joel had foretold and what Jesus said he would do. The Holy Spirit was made available for all God’s people and, at his own divine discretion, he distributes spiritual gifts “just as he determines.” What occurred on Pentecost is unrepeatable. The Holy Spirit has been given, Jesus has indeed “baptised with the Holy Spirit” and the Spirit will remain available to God’s people until the Lord returns.

A summary of the expression “he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit”:

  • This did not occur during the Lord’s earthly ministry
  • This did not occur until Jesus was glorified
  • Jesus alone is the one who “baptises with the Holy Spirit”
  • This was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost
  • It is unrepeatable for it was linked with the Lord being glorified, and the Lord is now glorified
  • The Holy Spirit was given for all God’s people on Pentecost
  • Every Christian receives the Holy Spirit upon conversion
  • When the Holy Spirit was given on Pentecost the Spirit gave spiritual gifts to the church at his sovereign discretion

Some Common Misunderstandings:

  1. Jesus would “baptise with the Holy Spirit” to empower the apostles to work miracles. The problem with this position is that it fails to take into account the fact that the apostles worked miracles before Pentecost. (Matthew 10:5-8) This is not to deny that when the Holy Spirit came he equipped the Apostles for their unique ministry.
  2. This was intended for the apostles only. This position is clearly wrong. In Mark 1:4-8 all those whom John baptised, and there were many, were told that Jesus will “baptise you with the Holy Spirit.” And when Jesus poured out his Spirit on Pentecost, they received the Holy Spirit.
  3. In order to speak in tongues Jesus must “baptise you with the Holy Spirit.” That the Holy Spirit gives the gift of tongues is true, but when the Bible says that Jesus will “baptise you with the Holy Spirit” it is referring to the time when the Holy Spirit would be given for all God’s people. That was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost. Once the Spirit was given (which is the same as saying that Jesus will “baptise you with the Holy Spirit”), then the Spirit in his sovereignty “gives [spiritual gifts] to each one, just as he determines.” (1 Corinthians 12:11)
  4. One should pray to be “baptised with the Holy Spirit.” This is without biblical authority. If you are a believer in the Lord Christ and have been immersed in his name you have received the Holy Spirit, which Jesus made available for you at Pentecost. (Acts 2:38) If you want spiritual gifts by all means ask God, but the giving of those gifts will be at the discretion of the Holy Spirit.