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God the Holy Spirit: His Personality, Advent, Anointing, Ministry, Baptism

by Lewis Sperry Chafer (1871-1952)

God the Holy Spirit:
His Personality
His Advent
His Anointing
His Ministry
His Baptism

God the Holy Spirit: His Personality

L. S. ChaferThe Godhead subsists in three Persons — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Having in previous chapters considered the Bible teaching concerning both the Father and the Son, it yet remains for us to consider the Bible teaching concerning the Holy Spirit. This and the four following chapters are assigned to this subject. In teaching the fundamental truths relative to the Holy Spirit, special emphasis is always required on the fact of His personality. This is due, no doubt, to the effect produced through the divine arrangement by which the Spirit does not now speak from Himself or of Himself; He rather speaks whatsoever He hears (John 16:13. Comp. Acts 13:2 with Eph. 4:7), and He is said to have come into the world to glorify Christ (John 16:14). In contrast to this, the Scriptures represent both the Father and the Son as speaking from themselves and of themselves, not only with final authority and by the use of the personal I, but they are presented as being in immediate communion, cooperation, and conversation — the One with the Other. All this tends to make less real the personality of the One who does not speak either from or of Himself. This reserve on the part of the Spirit may account in a measure for the fact that some creeds have slighted the Person and work of the Spirit; treating Him as though He were a mere influence or emanation from God. The corrective for this error and the preventive against it is the due consideration of all that the Bible teaches and implies relative to the Person and work of the Spirit.

I. The Spirit's Personality Is Indicated in the Scriptures

1. Since the Spirit is said to do that which is possible only for a person to do:

  (1) He reproves the world, "And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment" (John 16:8).

  (2) He teaches, "He shall teach you all things" (John 14:26; Neh. 9:20; Note, also, John 16:13-15; 1 John 2:27).

  (3) The Spirit speaks, "And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts crying, Abba, Father" (Gal. 4:6).

  (4) The Spirit maketh intercession, "But the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered" (Rom. 8:26).

  (5) The Spirit leads, "led of the Spirit" (Gal. 5:18. Comp. Acts 8:29; 10:19; 13:2; 16:6, 7; 20:23; Rom. 8:14).

  (6) The Spirit appoints the service of men, "The Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them" (Acts 13:2. Comp. Acts 20:28).

  (7) The Spirit is Himself subject to appointment (John 15:26).

  (8) The Spirit ministers: He regenerates (John 3:6), He seals (Eph. 4:30), He baptizes (1 Cor. 12:13), He fills (Eph. 5:18).

2. He is affected as a person by other beings:

  (1) The Father sends Him into the world (John 14:16, 26), and the Son sends Him into the world (John 16:7).

  (2) Men may vex the Spirit (Isa. 63:10), they may grieve Him (Eph. 4:30), they may quench (resist) Him (1 Thess. 5:19), they may blaspheme against Him (Matt. 12:31), they may lie to Him (Acts 5:3), they may do despite unto Him (Heb. 10:29), they may speak against Him (Matt. 12:32).

3. All Bible terms related to the Spirit imply His personality:

  (1) He is called "Another Comforter" (Advocate), which indicates that He is as much a person as Christ (John 14:16, 17, 26; 16:7; 1 John 2:1, 2).

  (2) He is called a Spirit and in the same personal sense as God is called a Spirit (John 4:24).

  (3) The pronouns used of the Spirit imply His personality. In the Greek language, the word spirit is a neuter noun which would naturally call for a neuter pronoun and in a few instances the neuter pronoun is used (Rom. 8:16, 26); but more often the masculine form of the pronoun is used thus emphasizing the fact of the personality of the Spirit (John 14:16, 17; 16:7-15).

II. The Spirit Is One of the Persons of the Godhead and As Such is Coequal With the Father and the Son

1. He is called God. This fact will be seen by comparing Isaiah 6:8, 9 with Acts 28:25, 26; Jeremiah 31:31-34 with Hebrews 10:15-17 (Note, also, 2 Cor. 3:18, R.V., and Acts 5:3, 4 — "Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost? ... thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God"). Though the judgments of God have fallen so drastically on some who have lied against the Spirit (Acts 5:3) and though men are evidently not permitted to swear in the name of the Holy Spirit and though He is called The Holy Spirit, it is certain that He is not more holy than the Father or the Son; absolute holiness being the primary attribute of the Triune God.

2. He has the attributes of God (Gen. 1:2; Job 26:13; 1 Cor. 2:9-11; Heb. 9:14).

3. The Holy Spirit performs the works of God (Job 33:4; Psa. 104:30; Luke 12:11, 12; Acts 1:5; 20:28; 1 Cor. 6:11; 12:8-11; 2 Pet. 1:21).

III. Appeal

Through meditation on the Word of God and through the experience gained by trusting the Spirit for His power, His guidance, and His instruction, the believer may come to realize the personality and sufficiency of the Holy Spirit, the importance and value of which is beyond all estimation.

God the Holy Spirit: His Advent

The Spirit's advent into the world, like His predicted departure from the world, can be understood only as it is seen in relation to the various dispensations and revealed purposes of God. In ages past, the Holy Spirit was in the world as the Omnipresent One; yet He is said to have come into the world on the Day of Pentecost. Beginning with the Day of Pentecost, He is to remain in the world for a divinely determined and unrevealed time. When He shall have departed out of the world, He, as the Omnipresent One, will still be in the world. In arriving at the understanding of the order and harmony of these facts consideration should be given to four aspects of the Spirit's relation to the world:

I. In the Ages Preceding the First Advent of Christ

Throughout the extended period before the first advent of Christ, the Spirit was present in the world in the same sense in which He is present everywhere, and He wrought in and through the people of God according to the divine will (Gen. 41:38; Ex. 31:3; 35:31; Num. 27:18; Job 33:4; Psa. 139:7; Hag. 2:4, 5; Zech. 4:6).

II. During the Three-Year Public Ministry of Christ on Earth

It is reasonable to suppose that the incarnate, active presence of the Second Person of the Trinity in the world would affect the ministries of the Spirit, and this we find to be true.

1. In relation to Christ, the Spirit first wrought as the generating power by which the God-man was formed in the virgin's womb. The Spirit is also seen descending in the form of a dove upon Christ at the time of His baptism. And again, it is revealed that it was only through the Eternal Spirit that Christ offered Himself to God (Heb. 9:14).

2. The relation of the Spirit to men during the earth ministry of Christ was progressive. We first read of the assurance which Christ gave to His disciples that they might receive the Spirit by asking (Luke 11:13). Though the Spirit had previously come upon men according to the sovereign will of God, His presence in the human heart had never before been conditioned upon asking, and this privilege, being so new, was, so far as is revealed, never claimed at that time by any one. At the close of His ministry and just before His death, Christ said: "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth" (John 14:16, 17). Likewise, after His resurrection the Lord breathed on them and said, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost" (John 20:22); but in spite of this reception of the Spirit they were to tarry in Jerusalem until they should be endued with power from on high (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4).

III. During the Present Age of the Church

As promised by the Father (John 14:16, 17, 26) and by the Son (John 16:7), the Spirit, who as the Omnipresent One, had always been in the world, came into the world on the Day of Pentecost. The force of this seeming repetition of ideas is seen when it is understood that His coming on the Day of Pentecost was that He might make His abode in the world. "We are led to believe that God the Father, though omnipresent (Eph. 4:6), is, as to His abode, "Our Father which art in heaven" (Matt. 6:9). Likewise, we know that God the Son, though omnipresent (Matt. 18:20; Col. 1:27), as to His abode now, is seated at the right hand of God (Heb. 1:3; 10:12). In like manner, the Spirit, though omnipresent, is now, as to His abode, tabernacling here on the earth. The taking up of His abode on the earth was the sense in which the Spirit came on the Day of Pentecost. His dwelling place was changed from Heaven to earth. It was for this coming of the Spirit into the world that the disciples were told to wait. The new ministry of this grace-age could not begin apart from the coming of the Spirit.

Two revelations are given concerning the Spirit's abode in the world:

1. He is said to indwell each and every child of God (1 Cor. 6:19). This fact, which is age-characterizing, is to be the theme of a succeeding chapter.

2. He is said to be tabernacling in a structure of living stones — the habitation of God through the Spirit (Eph. 2:18-22). This temple of living stones is now "growing" and is none other than the whole company of the saved ones of this age. By the salvation of souls through the power of the Spirit this tabernacle is growing to its completion.

The redeemed who form the Church are mentioned in the Scriptures under various figures — the sheep, the branches, the stones of the building, the new generation, a kingdom of priests, the body, and the bride. Of these figures, the body and the building lend themselves to the thought of growth or gradual increase unto completion, and are so used in the Word of God (Eph. 2:18-22; 4:13-16).

When the elect number of this heavenly company of redeemed ones shall have been saved, the Spirit will have accomplished the purpose of His advent into the world and will then depart from the world as definitely as He came. He will, however, continue His ministry and presence as the Omnipresent One with His abode changed from earth to Heaven. Though His name is not revealed, His departure is indicated in 2 Thessalonians 2:7. He is most evidently the Restrainer who continues to restrain the evil of the world so long as He remains in the world. It should be observed that though the Spirit may remove His abode from the earth, as He will, He cannot depart without taking the saved ones with Him; for they cannot be separated from Him (John 14:16, 17).

IV. During the Kingdom Age

As the Omnipresent One, the Spirit will have a peculiar ministry in the world during the Kingdom age, which period will immediately follow the present age of the out-calling of the Church (Isa. 11:1-3; Joel 2:28-32).

God the Holy Spirit: His Anointing

In His relation to the believer, the Holy Spirit is three times spoken of in the Scriptures as the Anointing (2 Cor. 1:21; 1 John 2:20, 27 R.V.); however, as the Presence indwelling each child of God, which is the equivalent of the Anointing, He is many times mentioned. Since every Christian has received the Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19), every Christian has received the Anointing. This is clearly indicated in the three passages in which the word appears:

1. "Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; who hath also sealed us, and given us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts" (2 Cor. 1:21, 22). Four immediate results of the Spirit's indwelling are here suggested: (1) The baptism with the Spirit places the believer "in Christ"; thus each child of God is said to be established ... "in Christ" (1 Cor. 12:13; 6:17; Gal. 3:27). (2) Likewise, by giving us the Spirit, God hath anointed us. (3) Again, God through the Spirit hath sealed us (Eph. 4:30), and the Spirit Himself is the seal. (4) So, also, God is here said to have given us the Spirit as an "earnest," and since an earnest is a part of the purchase money, or property, given in advance as security for the remainder, the Spirit is seen to be the earnest of the whole heavenly inheritance which belongs to every believer through infinite grace (2 Cor. 5:5; Eph. 1:14; 1 Pet. 1:4).

2. "And ye have an anointing from the Holy One, and ye know all things" (1 John 2:20 R.V.). Here, again, it is implied that every Christian, being anointed, is indwelt by the Spirit and therefore is in the way of knowing those "deep things" of God which are alone imparted by the indwelling Spirit (1 Cor. 2:10, 12, 15; John 16:12-15).

3. "But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him" (1 John 2:27). In this passage, the important truth disclosed is that the Anointing abides. He may be grieved (Eph. 4:30), but He is never grieved away. He may be quenched, or resisted (1 Thess. 5:19), but He never departs (John 14:16).

In view of the prevalence of the unscriptural teachings which assert that the Holy Spirit does not indwell every believer and that He is secured in the heart as a second work of grace, or second blessing, which is to be sought by the Christian after he is saved, it is important that the Bible teaching on this subject should be considered carefully. There is a "filling with the Spirit" (Eph. 5:18) which is conditioned upon the adjustment of the life of the believer to the Spirit of God, and this filling has to do with the believer's experience of power and blessing (Acts 1:8; 2:4; Eph. 5:18-20). The filling with the Spirit, which is often repeated, should not be confused with the once-for-all indwelling, or anointing, of the Spirit. It is only those who are indwelt by the Spirit who can be filled with the Spirit. The fact that the Spirit is present in every believer is stated in the following Scriptures: John 7:37-39. — "But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive" (compare Acts 11:17; Gal. 3:2).

Romans 5:5. — "The Holy Spirit which is given unto us." This passage, like many more (note, Rom. 8:23; 1 Cor. 2:12; 12:3; 2 Cor. 5:5; Gal. 4:6; 1 John 3:24; 4:13; 2:20, 27), is inclusive of all believers, and not of some class of especially sanctified individuals.

1 Corinthians 6:19, 20. — "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?" This, again, is not a reference to some class of holy Christians; the text shows that those addressed are guilty of the most serious sin (5:1; 6:1, 2, 7, 8). They are not told that they will receive the Spirit if they are holy; rather, they are told that having the Spirit which is a gift of divine grace to all believers alike, they should live holy lives.

Careful study will disclose the fact that Luke 11:13; Acts 5:32; 8:12-17; 19:1-7 and Ephesians 1:13, when rightly translated, and when given their dispensational application, or when rightly understood, do not contradict the positive doctrine of the indwelling Spirit.

The fact that the Spirit is given to every believer when he is saved and as a vital part of his salvation, is not only Scriptural, but it is reasonable. The superhuman manner of life which the Christian must live if he honors his Lord is impossible apart from the enabling Spirit, and, since God has addressed this superhuman requirement to all believers, it is evident that He has provided the sufficiency for all.

The fact of the Spirit's indwelling or anointing is a characterizing feature of this age (Rom. 7:6; 2:29; 2 Cor. 3:6).

By the indwelling of the Spirit, the individual is sanctified or set apart for God. In the Old Testament the anointing oil typifies the present anointing by the Spirit; oil being one of the seven symbols of the Spirit.

1. Anything touched with the anointing oil was thereby sanctified (Exod. 40:9-15). In like manner, the Spirit now sanctifies (1 Cor. 6:11; Rom. 15:16; 2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Pet. 1:2).

2. The prophet was sanctified with oil (1 Kings 19:16), likewise Christ was a prophet by the Spirit (Isa. 61:1; Luke 4:18), and the believer is a witness by the Spirit (Acts 1:8).

3. The priest was sanctified with oil (Exod. 40:15), likewise Christ in His sacrifice by the Spirit (Heb. 9:14), and the believer by the Spirit (Rom. 12:1; 8:26; Eph. 5:18-20).

4. The king was sanctified with oil (1 Sam. 16:12, 13), likewise Christ by the Spirit (Psa. 45:7), and by the Spirit the believer is to reign.

5. The anointing oil was for healing (Luke 10:34), suggesting the healing of the soul in salvation by the Spirit.

6. The oil made the face to shine, which was as the oil of gladness (Psa. 45:7), and fresh oil was required (Psa. 92:10). The fruit of the Spirit is joy (Gal. 5:22).

7. In the fittings for the tabernacle, oil for the lights is specified (Exod. 25:6). The oil suggests the Spirit, the wick the believer as a channel, and the light the outshining of Christ. The wick must rest in the oil; so the believer must walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16). The wick must be free from obstruction; so the believer must not resist the Spirit (1 Thess. 5:19). The wick must be snuffed; so the believer must be cleansed by the confession of sin (1 John 1:9).

The holy anointing oil (Exod. 30:22-23) was composed of four spices added to oil as a base. These spices represent peculiar virtues found in Christ. This compound thus symbolizes the Spirit taking up the very life and character of Christ and applying it to the believer. This oil could in no case be applied to human flesh (John 3:6; Gal. 5:17). It could not be imitated, which indicates that God cannot accept anything but the manifestation of the life which is Christ (Phil. 1:21). Every article of furnishing in the tabernacle must be anointed and thus set apart unto God, which suggests that the believer's dedication is to be complete (Rom. 12:1, 2).

God the Holy Spirit: His Ministry

The law dispensation continued to the very hour of the death of Christ (John 1:17; Gal. 3:14), and since the present peculiar and varied ministries of the Spirit could not have begun until the Pentecostal advent, there is imperative need that the relationships belonging to the past age shall in no wise be made the basis of doctrine which is applicable to this age. The experience of the disciples and the relationships which obtained before the death of Christ contribute little to the precise form of "present truth" (2 Pet. 1:12). It is therefore obvious that no other believers of this dispensation are called to the same progressive experience as that of the disciples; but, on the contrary, the experience of all other believers will, of necessity, be wholly within the limits of that which characterizes the present age. The present ministries of the Spirit, taken together, form a perfect system, or whole, which is wonderfully adjusted to the peculiar facts of salvation by grace and the believer's life under grace. The day of Pentecost with all its provisions for this age has "fully come" (Acts 2:1), and that day marks the new grace-ministries of the Spirit. These are seven:

I. As the One Who Restrains the World

The fact and force of this ministry rests upon but one passage of Scripture, in which the Spirit is said to be restraining the lawlessness of the world until He (the Restrainer) be taken out of the way (2 Thess. 2:7). It is believed that the Spirit is the Restrainer since the restraining work is evidently undertaken by one of the Persons of the Godhead and the Spirit is the active power of God in the world during this age. The context indicates that Satan's supreme manifestations which are to be permitted in the Great Tribulation are now restrained by the Spirit until the Spirit shall have finished His work in the world and is taken out of the way.

II. As the One Who Reproves the World

Again the scope of an important ministry of the Spirit is limited to the statement of one passage (John 16:7-11). This ministry likewise is to the whole world. The reproving of the world is more than a mere deepening of personal sorrow for sin; it is an indivisible threefold enlightenment of the Satan-blinded mind (2 Cor. 4:3, 4) in respect to sin, righteousness, and judgment. The sin is that of unbelief in the Saviour, the righteousness is that righteousness which is from God and is upon all who believe (Rom. 1:16, 17; 3:22; 4:5), the judgment is that finished work of Christ which is past, whereby He suffered in our place. By His reproving ministry, the Spirit causes the unsaved individual who is blinded by Satan to comprehend these three vital facts in the Gospel relative to the divine provisions for the lost.

III. As the One Who Regenerates

By the regenerating power of the Spirit, the one who exercises saving faith in Christ passes immediately from spiritual death to spiritual life, is made a partaker of the divine nature, Christ is begotten in him the hope of glory, God legitimately becomes his Father, and he becomes the legitimate child of God, an heir of God, and a joint-heir with Christ.

IV. As the One Who Indwells

This ministry of the Spirit, which was the theme of the last chapter, is one of the most vital facts concerning the Christian (John 7:37-39; Rom. 5:5; 8:9; 1 Cor. 2:12; 6:17; Gal. 4:6).

V. As the One Who Baptizes

Not only is the divine life in the believer through the indwelling Spirit, but the believer is so vitally joined to the Lord by the baptism with the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13; 6:17; Gal. 3:27) that he is said to be "in Christ." To be in Christ is to have been taken out of the old creation in Adam and placed eternally in the new Creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). Christ becomes the new Federal Head and all that Christ is or has done is imputed to the believer. As a branch is grafted into the vine, or a member might be joined to a body, so the believer is vitally joined to Christ by the baptism with the Spirit. According to Scripture usage, that which has power to receive into itself, to impart its own qualities, or to exercise a controlling influence, has power to baptize, and such baptism is never a "dipping into," but rather secures an abiding position and union. The believer is brought eternally under the limitless influence of Christ by the baptism with the Spirit, and the baptism with the Spirit being a part of salvation is common to all believers. The baptism with the Spirit is the theme of the following chapter.

VI. As the One Who Seals

Every child of God has been sealed by the Spirit unto the day of redemption (2 Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:13; 4:30). The Spirit Himself is the Seal and His presence speaks of divine ownership and of eternal security.

It may be concluded that the Spirit's ministries in regenerating, indwelling, baptizing, and sealing are wrought for the Christian when he believes, and form the very structure of his salvation, and since these blessings are never abrogated they are never wrought a second time.

VII. As the One Who Fills

The filling with the Spirit is unto Christian experience, power, and service. In contrast to the once-for-all regenerating, indwelling, baptizing, and sealing, there are many fillings (Acts 2:4; 4:8, 31; 6:3, 5; 7:55; 11:24; 13:9). According to the one great command (Eph. 5:18), the believer is to be "getting filled" continuously. To be filled with the Spirit is to have the Spirit fulfilling in the heart and life all that He came into that life to do. It is not to acquire more of the Spirit, but, rather, that the Spirit acquires more of the believer. To be filled with the Spirit is to be a normal, if not a usual, Christian. The Spirit came to do all that He does in filling, hence He needs not to be implored; He is imploring the unadjusted believer to the end that every hindrance may be removed.

The Spirit's filling results in certain manifestations: (1) Christ-like character — the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22, 23); (2) Christian service — the exercise of a gift (1 Cor. 12:4-31; Rom. 12:3-8; Eph. 4:7-11; 2 Tim. 1:6); (3) the Spirit's teaching (John 16:13; 1 Cor. 2:9, 10; 1 John 2:27); (4) true praise and thanksgiving (Eph. 5:18-20; (5) the Spirit's leading (Rom. 8:14; Acts 13:2; Gal. 5:18); (6) the Spirit actualizing the unseen (John 16:13-15; Rom. 8:16); and (7) the Spirit interceding (Rom. 8:26, 27).

Spirituality does not consist in negatives only. We are not spiritual because we do not do worldly things. Spirituality is a vital output or accomplishment in and through the believer from the indwelling Spirit.

In order to be filled with the Spirit, it is required that all sin shall be confessed (1 John 1:9; Eph. 4:30); the whole life shall be surrendered to him (Rom. 6:13; 12:1; 1 Thess. 5:19); and that there shall be moment-by-moment reliance upon the Spirit (Gal. 5:16).

God the Holy Spirit: His Baptism

Since all the positions and possessions of the believer are his on the sole ground of his place in Christ through the baptism with the Spirit, misunderstanding of this doctrine is fraught with serious results. The safeguard here, as always, is in adhering strictly to the Word of God. In all the Scriptures, there are not more than eleven direct references to the baptism with the Spirit. In taking them up in order we discover:

1. A plain prediction by John the Baptist, mentioned once in each of the four Gospels, that there would be a baptism with the Spirit (Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33). This four-fold prediction is important; but there is no light from these Scriptures as to what constitutes that baptism with the Spirit.

2. In Acts 1:4-5 we read: "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. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence." Revelation here advances only to the point of assurance that this ministry of the Spirit would be "not many days hence." This we believe anticipates the Day of Pentecost; but no light is yet shed on the exact meaning of this work of the Spirit.

3. In Acts 11:15-18, we have Peter's defense concerning his unjewish action in going to the house of Cornelius the Gentile. Peter states: "And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?" Particular attention should be given to this passage, for here, more than anywhere else in the Scriptures, false interpretations as to the meaning of the baptism with the Spirit are founded.

It should be noted that in this passage Peter makes three references to the Spirit: He states that (1) the Spirit fell on them; (2) Peter was reminded of the promise of the baptism with the Spirit (Acts 1:4, 5.); And (3) the Spirit was given to the Gentiles as He had been given at Pentecost to the Jews. The error concerning this passage arises from supposing that the Spirit "falling on them" is identical with the baptism with the Spirit.

Turning back to Acts 10:44-48, where the first account is given of Peter's experience in Cornelius' house, we find that no reference is made to the baptism with the Spirit; but the Spirit, it is written, "fell on them," and as a direct result they "spake with tongues." "While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God."

It is equally important to read the account of the advent of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost as stated in Acts 2:1-4. "And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." It should be observed that they spake with tongues on the Day of Pentecost as a direct result of the Spirit's filling, and that, according to Acts 10:44-48, they spake with tongues as a direct result of the Spirit falling on them. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that the Spirit falling upon them and the Spirit filling them are one and the same thing. In each case the result was identical; but if this be true, it is evidently unscriptural to relate any outward manifestations of the Spirit, such as speaking with tongues, to the baptism with the Spirit. Not discerning this error, multitudes today are "seeking the baptism of the Spirit," and are assured that if "it" can be gained, they, too, will speak with tongues.

4. Of five remaining passages which by any interpretation give direct teaching concerning the baptism with the Spirit (Rom. 6:1-4; Gal. 3:27; Eph. 4:5; Col. 2:12; 1 Cor. 12:13), 1 Corinthians 12:13 alone gives any revelation as to the meaning and purpose of this ministry. The passage is as follows: "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit."

Every great theme of Scripture will be found to be taken up exhaustively in one central passage, and 1 Corinthians 12:13 is evidently the one clear revelation as to the meaning of the phrase, "the baptism with the Spirit." This passage clearly indicates that the baptism with the Spirit is the divine operation by which believers are made members in the Body of Christ, and are vitally united to Christ by partaking of one Spirit.

The unsaved sustain no living relation to Christ; but the saved are all said to be "in Christ." There was a time when they were not in Christ, but now they are "in Him." If we inquire as to how and when they became thus related to Christ, the answer from God's Word would be that they were placed "in Christ" by the baptism with the Spirit, and that it occurred at the moment they believed and were saved. "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body ... and have been all made to drink into the Spirit."

In considering this great passage, certain crucial revelations which are contained in it should be noted in particular:

1. The pronoun "we," as used here, and throughout the Epistles, is an accurate classification of all saved people, in contrast with the unsaved. The word "we" excludes every unregenerate person and, as certainly, includes every regenerate person. No greater violence could be done to this Scripture than to interpret this word "we" as though it represented some inner group or favored class of Christians. And to give the strongest possible emphasis to the fact that every saved person is included, the word "all" is also employed.

2. When members are added to the body of Christ it is accomplished by the ministry of the Spirit, and this ministry is none other than the baptism with the Spirit. By that operation those who believe on Christ are vitally placed "in Him." As a living union is formed by the process of grafting, and the branch thus united is organically in the vine, and the vine by all its vitality and life is in the branch, so the believer thus united to Christ by the baptism with the Spirit is "in Christ" and Christ is "in him." Again, as a member might be vitally joined to a human body and thus be in that body as to position and relationship, and the life of the head flowing into that new member be imparting its life-giving energy and vital force, so, we being "in Christ," by the baptism with the Spirit, are vitally joined to Christ, and are in Christ as to position and relationship, and He is in us as the supply of our eternal life and every vital force.

Whatever the former position or relationship was of either the branch before it was grafted in, or the human member before it was newly joined to the human body, such relationship forever ceases, and the branch when grafted in, becomes a living part of the vine, and the member if joined to the human body, becomes a vital part of the very personality of the one to whom it might be joined.

It is important to note the unvarying fact that all that the believer is and all that he has depends on his place "in Christ" through the baptism with the Spirit (2 Cor. 5:21; Eph. 1:6; 2:18).

Thus we may conclude that the baptism with the Spirit is in no way related to the outward manifestations of power in the life of the believer, which manifestations follow the Spirit's filling; it is rather the placing of the believer in that vital union with Christ wherein it may be said of him that he is "in Christ" and Christ is "in him" (John 14:20).

There are upwards of one hundred passages which emphasize the fact that the believer is "in Christ." Being in Christ is the essential fact of the believer's position in the New Creation. Therefore, the baptism with the Spirit is the divinely ordained method whereby he enters that marvelous sphere of relationship wherein Christ is the new Federal Head — the Last Adam.

From Major Bible Themes... by Lewis Sperry Chafer. Chicago: The Bible Institute Colportage, 1937, ©1926. Chapters 13-17.

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