The Baptism in the Holy Spirit is a baptism that Jesus gives to impart power to the believer. According to Acts 1:8, this power enables the believer to be a witness for Christ:
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Notice that this scripture does not say that without Holy Spirit baptism you will be an ineffective witness. Anyone can be a witness of the things they have seen, heard, or experienced. However, when you are baptized in the Spirit, you receive power to be a witness so that the Spirit leads you with the right words to say. Without this power, you must rely solely on your own intellect.
This scripture also says “when the Holy Spirit comes on you.” The word “baptize” is not used. We get this designation from John the Baptist when he said, “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” The Greek word translated as “baptize” means to immerse, to overwhelm. I can’t imagine that when the Holy Spirit “comes on you,” it is merely a light touch. No, I think that everything God does is done with gusto, therefore, when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you are overwhelmed!
This baptism in the Holy Spirit that Jesus described in Acts 1:8 was fulfilled in Acts 2:4: “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Many people argue that this baptism was for that time period only (the establishment of the church in the first century). However, scriptures say: “Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.’” (Acts 2:38-39 NAS). Essentially, Peter is saying, “This promise is for each of you, and your children, and their children, and so on as Jesus saves.”
The problem many people have is “speaking in other tongues.” There are people who believe that Christ can heal the sick, but refuse to believe that the Holy Spirit can give them words to speak that are in a language they don’t know or even recognize. They say that it can’t be of God because it sounds like gibberish. However, the Bible says, “Instead, God deliberately chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose those who are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important” (1 Cor. 1:27-28 NLT). Just because something seems simplistic does not mean that God is not behind it. On the contrary, we serve a God who likes to make things simple so that we can understand, and believe.
I have known a lot of people who have a hard time believing in this baptism because it had not happened to them. I remember talking to someone about it once, and he told me that he prays for it all the time, but he has yet to be baptized. I asked him what he actually prayed for. He essentially told me that he was praying to speak in tongues just like the disciples did. I think this is a common issue. People are praying for the manifestation or the proof of the Holy Spirit when they should be praying to be overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit. I heard a preacher explain it this way: “When I go shopping for a pair of sneakers, I do not look to make sure the shoes have tongues. I am shoe shopping, not tongue shopping. Of course the shoes have tongues. When I get the shoes, the tongues will come with them.”
Our prayer should be that we would be overwhelmed by the power of the Holy Spirit, and that we use that power to share the gospel to the world around us.
Feel free to share your thoughts and opinions on this subject.