As Christians, we believe in the Holy Trinity – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is often the least understood of the three, yet is a vital part of our relationship with God. For Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians, the Holy Spirit is central to their worship and spiritual experience. This leads to questions about the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives, including when we receive the Holy Spirit.
In this blog post, we’ll delve into the biblical basis for the different ways the Holy Spirit interacts with believers. We’ll explore the concept of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, which occurs at the moment of salvation and is a permanent presence within believers. We’ll also discuss the baptism in the Holy Spirit, which is an empowering experience that gives believers boldness and power to witness, pray, and serve God in new ways.
If you’re a Pentecostal or Charismatic Christian, you may have heard the phrases “receiving the Holy Spirit” or “being filled with the Holy Spirit.” You may wonder when this happens, what it means, and how it differs from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We hope this blog post will provide guidance and clarity on this important topic, and encourage you to seek the Holy Spirit’s power and guidance in your life.
The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit
When you become a believer in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside you. This is referred to as the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. In John 14:16-17, Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to those who love Him, saying, “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever–the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”
The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity and is co-equal with God the Father and God the Son. His role is to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8), guide believers into all truth (John 16:13), and empower believers to live a life that honors God (Acts 1:8). When you become a Christian, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in your heart and begins the work of transforming you from the inside out.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 also confirms this truth: “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” This means that every believer has the Holy Spirit living inside them, guiding and empowering them to live a life that honors God.
The Baptism in the Holy Spirit
While every believer has the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, not every believer has experienced the baptism in the Holy Spirit. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is an empowering experience that gives believers boldness and power to witness, pray, and serve God in new ways.
In Acts 1:4-5, Jesus told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they received the promise of the Father, which was the baptism in the Holy Spirit. He said, “for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” This promise was fulfilled in Acts 2, when the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples on the day of Pentecost, filling them with power to speak in tongues and boldly proclaim the gospel.
In Acts 8:14-17, we see another example of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. The Samaritans had received the gospel message and had been baptized in water, but they had not yet received the Holy Spirit. When Peter and John came to Samaria, they prayed for the Samaritans to receive the Holy Spirit and laid their hands on them. “Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit” (Acts 8:17).
How to Receive the Holy Spirit
If you have not yet received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, you can ask God to fill you with His Spirit. In Luke 11:13, Jesus said, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”
Begin by confessing any sin in your life and surrendering your heart to God. Ask Him to fill you with His Spirit and to give you the boldness and power to live for Him. You may also want to spend time worshiping and praising God, allowing the Holy Spirit to fill you as you draw near to Him.
It’s important to note that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is not a one-time event. It’s an ongoing experience that empowers believers to continue to grow in their faith and serve God. As Paul writes in Ephesians 5:18, “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit.” The phrase “be filled” is in the present tense, indicating that believers should continually seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
You may experience the baptism in the Holy Spirit with or without speaking in tongues. Tongues is a biblical manifestation of the Holy Spirit, but it is not the only manifestation. Don’t feel pressure to speak in tongues if it doesn’t happen for you. Trust in God’s timing and His plan for your life.
The Benefits of the Holy Spirit
When you receive the Holy Spirit, you gain access to a number of benefits that can help you grow in your faith and serve God more effectively. Here are just a few of the benefits of the Holy Spirit:
Power to Witness
One of the primary benefits of the Holy Spirit is the power to witness. In Acts 1:8, Jesus said, “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.” When you receive the Holy Spirit, you gain the power to boldly proclaim the gospel and share your faith with others.
Guidance and Direction
The Holy Spirit also provides guidance and direction for believers. In John 16:13, Jesus said, “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” The Holy Spirit can give you wisdom and insight as you seek to follow God’s will for your life.
When you receive the Holy Spirit, you also gain access to spiritual gifts that can be used to serve the church and glorify God. In 1 Corinthians 12:7-11, Paul lists some of the spiritual gifts that are available to believers, including wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, tongues, and interpretation of tongues. As you seek to serve God and build up the church, the Holy Spirit can empower you to use your gifts in powerful ways.
As we’ve explored in this blog post, there are two different ways in which the Holy Spirit interacts with believers. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit happens at the moment of salvation and is a permanent presence within believers. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is an empowering experience that gives believers boldness and power to witness, pray, and serve God in new ways.
If you haven’t yet experienced the baptism in the Holy Spirit, we encourage you to seek it out. Ask God to fill you with His Spirit and to give you the boldness and power to live for Him. Trust in His timing and His plan for your life, and remember that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is not a one-time event but an ongoing experience that empowers believers to continue to grow in their faith and serve God.
May we continually seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to guide and empower us to live lives that honor and glorify God. As Paul writes in Galatians 5:16, “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”