Is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit really necessary?

We initially receive the Holy Spirit at the point of salvation. Jesus promised Holy Spirit would come after He ascended again from His death on the Cross. At this point, they had become “believers” – they had seen His life, death and resurrection again and believed that He was the Son of God.

Jesus imparted Holy Spirit on the disciples in the upper room in John 20:19-22 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”  After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”  And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 

However, He then asked them to wait together for Holy Spirit to empower them:  Being assembled with them, He commanded them, “Do not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, of which you have heard from Me. For John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Acts 1:4-5

 Things would change after this: But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere–in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8

 You will notice that before the first impartation, the disciples were gathered together in fear. There is no record of that changing directly after this – they still met behind closed, locked doors. However, as Holy Spirit comes upon them the second time – they were to receive POWER to become witnesses and do the things that Jesus Himself did as He was on the Earth: heal the sick, raise the dead, etc. This absolute change of heart in power is seen directly after they received this gift of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost: When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like a mighty rushing wind came from heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.  There appeared to them tongues as of fire, being distributed and resting on each of them,  and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to speak. Acts 2:1-4

Paul explained to the Corinthians the benefits of being baptized by Holy Spirit – His impartation of Gifts: There are various gifts, but the same Spirit.  There are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.  There are various operations, but it is the same God who operates all of them in all people.

 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to everyone for the common good.  To one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom, to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. But that one and very same Spirit works all these, dividing to each one individually as He will. I Cor. 12:4-11

When one truly desires to follow the Lord, to become obedient in all His ways, they will want to be able to “work” under the power and gifting of Holy Spirit for the sake of the Body. A Word of Knowledge given about someone in danger could prevent the situation, or could guide someone in a prayer for healing. A Prophecy given uplifts and edifies, drawing a soul to the heart of God. The use of a gift of healing can bring not only bodily relief, but draw a soul to Jesus for salvation. Praying in tongues can be a powerful weapon of spiritual warfare, freeing a soul from demons who are oppression that person. Each of the gifts, operated through the Holy Spirit’s power, is given for the sake of Body – to encourage, to heal, to draw, to provide for. These gifts are NOT given to those who have not yet received the Baptism.

And so, the short answer is no – you don’t have to be baptized in the Spirit to have salvation.

But the impartation of His Baptism is given to and necessary for the deep growth of a Christian in serving and being obedient to Him, helping and consoling fellow Christians and drawing many souls with the evidences of Power into the Kingdom of Heaven.

Carol Jennings

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