What Exactly Is the Baptism in the Holy Spirit?

(Unsplash/Ant Rozetsky)

I had a hard time sleeping because I was struggling with answering questions, like, "What exactly is the baptism in the Holy Spirit?" and "How exactly does the gift of tongues fit in?" The Lord impressed me that rather than fuss over exactly when we receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit and whether speaking in tongues is "the evidence," how about we explore the real issue, "Am I living and walking by the Spirit each and every moment of my day? Am I releasing His healing touch, His infinite wisdom and His overwhelming compassion to all I touch?"

Maybe we should begin this discussion by asking, "What will a lifestyle of living by the strength and abilities of my flesh provide?" The answer is nothing. Jesus said, "The flesh profits nothing" (John 6:63b).

On the flip side, we can say that the Spirit accomplishes everything. So following are some things the New Testament specifically mentions that the Holy Spirit brings to my life. See if this list doesn't take your breath away! It did mine.

The way we live and walk by the Spirit is by living as Jesus did. We do nothing of our own initiative, but only what we hear and see our Father doing (John 5:19, 20, 30). So I fix my eyes on Jesus and tune to flowing pictures (His visions), flowing thoughts (His voice), flowing emotions (His emotions) and flowing power (His power to heal). Notice that the fiver of the Holy Spirit is the flow within us (John 7:37-39).

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You will note that some of the verses below describe Jesus' life in the Spirit. Since He is my example, they also describe my life in the Spirit.

The Beginning: Salvation is when I receive the Holy Spirit.

  1. Altar Call  "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:38; also note that Acts 2:33 and 2:39 are citing Isa. 59:21).
  2. Salvation Means - Being a Christian means I have the Spirit in me (Rom. 8:9).
  3. Kingdom Entrance - I must be born of the Spirit to enter the kingdom of God (John 3:5).
  4. A River - The Spirit is a river which flows from my innermost being (John 7:37,39).
  5. A Temple - I am the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwells in me (1 Cor. 3:16).
  6. One Spirit - By joining my life to the Lord, I become one Spirit with Him (1 Cor. 6:17).
  7. Baptized into - The Spirit baptizes me into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13).
  8. Sealed by - I am sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise (Eph. 1:13).
  9. His Voice - As one of His sheep, I hear His voice (John 10:27).
  10. Adopted Into - The Spirit has adopted me into the family of God (Rom. 8:15).
  11. Saved by - I am saved by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5).

The Power: The Spirit within is the power I now rely upon.

  1. Jesus said - It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words (rhema) that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life (John 6:63).
  2. The Sanctifier - The Spirit is the sanctifier working within me (1 Pet. 1:2).
  3. His Energy - The energy of God's Spirit works within me (Phil. 2:13, NASB).
  4. Spirit Working - If by the Spirit I am putting to death the deeds of the body, I will live (Rom. 8:13).
  5. My Sword Is - The sword I fight with is the words (rhemas) Jesus is speaking to me (Eph. 6:17).

The Lifestyle - I now live and walk by the Spirit.

  1. My Lifestyle - I live and walk by the Spirit (Gal. 5:25).
  2. I Worship - I worship God in spirit and truth (John 4:24).
  3. I Glory In – I glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh (Phil. 3:3).
  4. I'm Led By – I am led by the Spirit of God, which means I am a son of God (Rom. 8:14).
  5. The Natural Mind - The natural mind does not comprehend the wisdom of the Spirit (1 Cor. 2:14).
  6. I Sow To - I sow to the Spirit, and from the Spirit I will reap eternal life (Gal. 6:8).
  7. The Kingdom Is - The kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14:17).
  8. Sanctified by - I am sanctified in the truth by my faith in the Spirit (2 Thess. 2:13).
  9. Glory - God's glory rests upon me through the Spirit (1 Pet. 4:14).
  10. Abiding - Christ abides in me through the Spirit He has given me (1 John 3:24; 4:13).

The Process – I hunger for the leading of the Spirit.

  1. Thirsty - I am thirsty to hear from the Spirit (Rev. 21:17).
  2. Fire - Jesus baptizes me with the Holy Spirit and fire (Matt. 3:11, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16, John 1:33).
  3. Led - I am led by the Spirit (Matt. 4:1).
  4. Knowledge - I seek knowledge from the Spirit who lives within me (1 Pet. 1:11,12).
  5. Influenced - I live under the influence of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18).
  6. Insulting - I never insult the Spirit (Heb. 10:29).
  7. Quenching - I make sure to never quench the Spirit so I stay engaged in honoring and loving everyone, and I rejoice, pray and speak only life-giving words. I honor prophecy (1 Thess. 5:12-19).
  8. Attitude - I rejoice in the Holy Spirit when experiencing tribulation (1 Thess. 1:6).
  9. Spirit Led - Since I am led by the Spirit, I am not under the law (Gal. 5:18).
  10. Released - I am released from the law, and serve God in a newness of the Spirit (Rom. 7:6).
  11. My Focus - Setting my mind on the Spirit allows me to experience peace and life (Rom. 8:5, 6).
  12. Conscience - My conscience is moved upon by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 9:1).
  13. Speaking Mysteries - When I pray in tongues, my spirit prays. It is speaking mysteries, which builds me up (1 Cor. 14:2, 4, 14).
  14. Inner Man - I am strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man (Eph. 3:16).
  15. Strengthened - I build myself up in faith by praying in the Holy Spirit (Jude 1:20)
  16. Increased Faith - It is through revelation of the Spirit that I am strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, which allows Christ to dwell in my heart through faith; and being rooted and grounded in love, I comprehend what is the breadth and length and height and depth of the love of Christ, which surpasses knowledge, and I get filled up to all the fullness of God (Eph. 3:16-19)
  17. Mind and Spirit - In a church service, I pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also. This way, the ungifted can say amen (1 Cor. 14:1).
  18. Tuned Inward - I tune to the Spirit and I receive wisdom, revelation, prophecy, God's voice and His vision (Rev. 1:9-11).
  19. I Listen - I have an ear to hear what the Spirit is saying (Rev. 3:22).
  20. I Hear and Believe – Since I received the Spirit by hearing and faith, I continue to walk in the Spirit by hearing and believing (Gal. 3:2-5).
  21. Receiving Revelation - I pray continuously for a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God and I receive it (Eph. 1:17).
  22. Truth Guarded - I ask the Holy Spirit to guard the truth God has implanted in me (2 Tim. 1:14).
  23. Carried away - I allow the Spirit to carry me away and show me things (Rev. 21:10).
  24. I Prophesy – The Holy Spirit moves upon me and I prophecy (2 Pet. 1:21).

The Results – I am empowered and anointed by the Spirit in every area of my life.

  1. Access - The Spirit gives me access to the Father (Eph. 2:18)
  2. Intimacy - The Spirit grants me intimate communion with my heavenly Father (Gal. 4:6).
  3. Prayer - The Spirit helps me prayer properly (Rom. 8:26).
  4. Divine Thoughts - I receive the thoughts of God through the Spirit (1 Cor. 2:10–12).
  5. Receiving Visions - The Spirit lets me see the things of God in the spirit world, and I become a reflection of that which I gaze upon (1 Cor. 3:18).
  6. Built Together - The Spirit builds me together with other believers into a temple of the Lord (Eph. 2:21, 22).
  7. Guides Prayers - The Spirit guides and forms my prayers (Eph. 6:18).
  8. Opens Doors - The energy of the Spirit opens doors for me (1 Cor. 16:9).
  9. Empowered - I receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon me; and I tell others (witness) what I am seeing (Acts 1:8).
  10. Ninefold Manifestation - I have the ninefold manifestation of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:7-9).
    1. Speaking Gifts - Tongues, interpretation of tongues, prophecy
    2. Revelation Gifts - Word of knowledge, word of wisdom, discerning of spirits
    3. Power Gifts - Faith, healing, miracles
  11. Ninefold Fruit - I have the ninefold fruit of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control
  12. Anointed to Heal - God anointed Jesus, and me as one of Jesus' disciples, with Holy Spirit and with power, and I go about doing good and healing all who are oppressed by the devil (Acts. 10:38).
  13. Preaching Demonstrated by Power - My message and preaching is not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that people's faith would not rest on my wisdom, but on the power of God (1 Cor. 2:4-5).
  14. Deliverance - I cast out demons by the Spirit of God (Matt. 12:28)
  15. Reproducing Spirit-Led Disciples - I make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19).
  16. The Law of the Spirit of Life – This law sets me free from the law of sin and death (Rom. 8:2).
  17. I walk by the Spirit – I do not carry out the desire of the flesh (Gal. 5:16).
  18. Hope Empowered By - I abound in hope because of the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 15:13).
  19. Discernment - I am made aware by the spirit of things around me (Mark 2:8).
  20. Spirit Recall - The Spirit of truth guides me into all the truth, and brings things to my remembrance and discloses what is to come (John 16:13, 14:26).
  21. Dreams - The Spirit gives me dreams and visions (Acts 2:17).
  22. Commissioned By - The Spirit commissions and sends me into ministry (Acts 13:2-4).
  23. Guided By - The Spirit guides my decision-making (Acts 15:28).
  24. Halted By - The Spirit stops me from going in wrong directions (Acts 16:6, 7).

After reviewing the above list of 73 things the Spirit accomplishes for us, I believe we can agree with Jesus: "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life (John 6:63). I think we can also agree that the baptism in the Holy Spirit offers us much more than the one amazing gift of speaking in tongues. It opens the door to an entire lifestyle of intimacy with the Holy Spirit, which once mastered, releases the heavens and the provisions of God to my life.

If your focus is "living and walking by the Spirit," your life will be extraordinary!

Mark Virkler, Ph.D., has authored more than 50 books in the areas of hearing God's voice and spiritual growth. He is the founder of Communion With God Ministries and Christian Leadership University (cluonline.com), where the voice of God is at the center of every learning experience. Mark has taught on developing intimacy with God and spiritual healing for 30-plus years on six continents. The message has been translated into over 40 languages, and he has helped to establish more than 250 church-centered Bible schools around the world.

This article originally appeared at cwgministries.org.

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