By Raymond E. Harris
Thus far in this study of Holy Spirit baptism, we have discussed the action, the element, the agent and the subjects.
We have learned that the action of baptizing is always “dipping.” The element in this case is the Holy Spirit. The agent or administrator of Holy Spirit baptism was always Deity (Jesus or the Father). And, the only subjects or recipients of such baptism revealed in the New Testament were the twelve Apostles and the household of Cornelius (Acts 2 & 10).
In this article we want to consider the design of Holy Spirit baptism and draw some final conclusions.
5. The Design: When we discuss the “design” of Holy Spirit baptism we are talking about the aim, the goal, the intent, the purpose or reason for the action.
As we carefully study the two accounts of Holy Spirit baptism as revealed in the New Testament, we find that each was for a very specific, yet very different, purpose.
In the case of the Apostles we learn that as a result of Holy Spirit baptism they:
1. Would be taught all things John 14:26
2. Would remember all things that Jesus had taught them John 14:26
3. Would receive testimony concerning Jesus John 15:26
4. Would be guided into all truth John 16:13
5. Would learn of things to come John 16:13
6. Would receive power Acts 1:5-8
7. Would become witnesses for Jesus Acts 1:5-8
8. Spoke with tongues or languages they had not previously known Acts 2:4-11
9. Were empowered to preach the Gospel of Christ for the first time Acts 2:14
10. Were able to confirm that they were the men of God with the message of God Heb. 2:3-4
The Household of Cornelius
In the case of the household of Cornelius we learn that as a result of Holy Spirit baptism:
1. They spoke with tongues or languages they had not previously known Acts 10:46
2. They magnified God Acts 10:46
3. The Jews were astonished that the Gentiles received the gift as well as the Apostles . . . Acts 11:15-17; 11:15-17
4. Peter was convinced the Gentiles were to receive the blessings of the gospel Acts 10:47
5. All the Jews come to realize that “God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life . . Acts 11:18; 15:8-9
It is obvious from a study of the foregoing passages relative to Baptism in the Holy Spirit, that such baptism was always a gift. No one in all the New Testament was ever commanded to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. It was not something within the control of mankind.
What About Holy Spirit Baptism Today?
The last biblical record of Holy Spirit baptism was the household of Cornelius as recorded in Acts 10. That would have been about the year 43 A.D.
Now we come to the book of Ephesians, written about 64 A.D. In Ephesians 4:5, the Apostle Paul tells us that just as there is one Lord and one faith, so there is but one baptism. But, you ask, what is the one baptism of Ephesians 4? We discover the answer to this question by considering the design or purpose for Holy Spirit baptism. It was never for or in order to gain remission of sins and salvation. That was the purpose of water baptism (Acts 2:38; 8:35-39; 22:16).
1. The Apostles received Holy Spirit baptism to empower them to
(a) Know all the gospel
(b) Speak all languages to go into all the world.
(c) Work miracles to confirm that their message was from God.
2. The Apostles proved they were the men of God with the message of God by manifesting their great power.
3. The confirmed word is now recorded in the New Testament. We have all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3).
4. Because of the events at the household of Cornelius everyone was made to understand what Jesus meant when he told the Apostles to “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations.”
Hence, we see that today we have no need for Holy Spirit baptism. God’s word is forever confirmed and recorded and “whosoever will may come.” The purposes for Holy Spirit baptism have been completely and totally fulfilled.
The one baptism of Ephesians 4:5 is water baptism. It is for the “remission of sin.” Mankind will have need for such till the end of time.
Guardian of Truth XXXV: 13, p. 396
July 4, 1991