The Baptism with the Spirit is Different from Salvation

Both salvation and the Baptism with the Holy Spirit are the work of God, but the latter is a second work altogether separate from the first. Even though the disciples had received the Holy Spirit for salvation, Jesus made it clear they also needed to be baptized in the Holy Spirit for empowerment. Sadly there have always been those groups that have failed to make this distinction and have spiralled into deeper error and caused confusion amongst believers.

A second work

“For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence” (Acts 1:5). This text reveals that the Holy Spirit’s power had not yet fallen upon the disciples of Jesus, yet, apart from Judas Iscariot, they were already regenerated. “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you” (John 15:3). Such a cleansing can only be in regards to salvation. “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (1 Peter 1:23) … “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures” (James 1:18). We usually call salvation being born of the Spirit, but this does not infer that we are automatically baptised with the Spirit at that point. While the salvation of the disciples was on the basis of the Old Covenant, since the New Covenant was not yet established through the blood of Christ, it was still in accordance to their faith in what the Lord taught them. With this in mind we can understand that only the betrayer was unregenerated. “Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean” (John 13:10-11).

Regardless of what we believe happened to the disciples prior to the cross, it is evident in light of the events on the Day of Pentecost that the baptism with the Spirit was something altogether different to salvation, that is, it was a further work of God. The disciples were born again of the Holy Spirit on Resurrection Sunday but they were baptized in the Holy Spirit seven weeks later on Pentecost Sunday. These two different events show our new birth in Jesus Christ is distinct and separate from Jesus baptizing us in the Holy Spirit. When we are born again, we receive Christ’s life; when we are baptized in the Holy Spirit, we receive Christ’s power. The point being made here suggests that a person can be saved but remain without the power of the Holy Spirit in his or her life. This fact is evident in many churches. This is exactly the situation Peter and John when they encountered a group of believers who had not yet received the Holy Spirit. “But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) (Acts 8:12-16).


We can see from these Scriptures that there is a very real possibility of there being Christians who love and serve the Lord, but who have never actually received the power of the Holy Spirit. The promise of such a filling is available to all believers just for the asking. “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:13). Until we have this blessing, as we will study later, we are not ready to serve the Lord as He intended.