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Friday, June 19, 2015

Distinct Works of the Holy Spirit

"Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" (Acts 19:2)

The baptism with the Holy Spirit is a work of the Holy Spirit distinct from his regenerating work. To be born again of the Spirit is one thing, to be baptized with the Holy Spirit is something different, something additional. This is evident from Acts 1:5: "In a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit." The disciples were not as yet baptized with the Spirit, but they were born again. In John 15:3, Jesus had said to these men, "You are already clean because of the word I have spoke to you." It is clear from James 1:18 and 1 Peter 1:23 that to be made "clean" means to be "born again" through the Word of God. Of the disciples, Jesus noted that all had been made clean except for Judas Iscariot (John 13:10-11). But they were not yet baptized with the Holy Spirit.

The same situation was evident in Acts 8:12-16. Here we find a large company of baptized believers, but the record informs us that when Peter and John visited them, "they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them" (vv. 15-16). In as clear and undeniable language as possible, Scripture shows the baptism with the Holy Spirit to be distinct and something additional to being born again. Let us bow to the teaching of the Word of God even if it does not agree with our preconceived theories.

But I should add that one may be baptized with the Holy Spirit at the very moment he is born again. Such was the case of the household of Cornelius (Acts 10:44), and I believe this was meant to be the norm for the Church. The Holy Spirit is every believer's privilege and birthright through the crucified, risen, and ascended Saviour, and He has poured out this marvelous gift (Acts 2:33). But in a manner similar go the believers at Ephesus (Acts 19), many believers today have not claimed what is rightfully theirs.

Spirit of God, I see the questions I have about Your work are not new ones, but the New Testament believers did get their answers. I ask You to answer mine as well. Make Your Word absolutely clear to my mind and heart that I may take it in. Amen

~R. A. Torrey~

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