“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise,” Ephesians 1:13
A couple of days ago I was talking with a Pentecostal friend of mine and he decided that he would educate yet another Baptist on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, so he shared his thoughts on the subject. I said, “I believe that we are filled with the Holy Spirit when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior.” He replied, “Only a portion of the Spirit is given at that time. You receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit later.” I listened politely, and then said, “I believe that if a person is filled with the Holy Spirit, they will do everything in their power to further the Kingdom of God in everything they do.” He agreed with this statement and had no rebuttal, so the conversation ended.
Romans 10:9 reveals, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” This pivotal verse states that we should accept Jesus as Lord, but often people fixate on the last word – saved – and what they truly believe is that He is their Savior. That’s a problem, because Jesus must be both your Lord and Savior. The Holy Spirit dwells within us and provides leadership, guidance, comfort, discernment and wisdom. If you are unwilling to have Jesus as Lord of your Life, I don’t believe you can be filled with the Holy Spirit. In contrast, I know that if you genuinely accept Jesus as Lord in accordance with Romans 10:9 and related scripture, you will be instantly filled with the Holy Spirit.
The Pentecostals are correct. Not all those that profess Jesus as their Savior are filled with the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost (the terms are synonymous). In order to be filled with the Holy Spirit you must be prepared and welcome Jesus as your Lord. If you are not willing to allow your life to reflect the Lordship of Jesus, how can you be filled with the Holy Spirit? If you just accept Jesus as Savior due to fear, peer pressure or some other intangible you are not really His. I believe we are given the Holy Spirit as soon as Jesus is both Lord and Savior of our lives. If service to the Lord fails to occur, and no evidence of His lordship is present in our lives after we profess salvation, then maybe we never got saved in the first place.
The doctrine of the Holy Spirit starts in Genesis 1:2 and continues throughout the Old and New Testaments. The Holy Spirit is the third and equal person of the Trinity. That being true, how can my Pentecostal friend say that only a portion of the Holy Spirit is given during salvation. How do you give a portion of a person? You can’t, it’s all or nothing. Many people have been filled with the Holy Spirit throughout history, including: Moses (Genesis 41:38), the craftsman Bezaleel (Exodus 31:3). King David, the Profits of God, John the Baptist, “For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.” (Luke 1:15). John’s mother in Luke 1:41 and John’s father in Luke 1:67. The Holy Spirit descended like a dove upon Jesus after his Baptism. We also see the apostles being filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:4) This is when the Holy Spirit was given to all those that profess Jesus as Lord and Savior, as opposed to God providing the Holy Spirit to specific individuals. The doctrine of the Holy Spirit permeates scripture. Even though we are all just old sinners saved by grace, if we are truly saved, God, our Heavenly Father, provides us His Holy Spirit. “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.
The Pentecostals believe that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is a separate revelation, sometime after salvation. “…but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.” (John 1:33). Baptists believe that you receive the Holy Spirit when you accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. I personally submit that if you weren’t filled with the Holy Spirit during your salvation experience, then you were never saved in the first place. I also believe that you can have a salvation experience, but fail to accept Jesus as Lord and fail to receive the Holy Spirit, thus remaining lost. If Jesus isn’t Lord and Savior, and your old life hasn’t changed after your salvation experience and you weren’t filled with the Holy Spirit, you were never saved.
The 3rd person of the Holy Trinity, The Holy Spirit: provides leadership, guidance, comfort, discernment and wisdom and that unquenchable need to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, and then compels us to live a life in service to our Lord. There is no work or works involved. It’s a free gift, just reach out and accept it. Then you will be compelled by love and compassion to share the gospel and serve the Lord in any and every way you can.
“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18