10 The baptism, power and anointing of the Holy Spirit
Some people think that the baptism of the Holy Spirit must include speaking in unknown languages. They appeal to the book of Acts chapter two when the Holy Spirit was poured out as a powerful reality upon the church. We do believe that we live now, since Pentecost, in the administration of the Spirit, where the Holy Spirit lives in his fullness, in every true believer of God. In Old Testament times the Holy Spirit did indwell believers, but not all were in-dwelt in the same way as now, and equipped for the work of ministry. Jesus Himself promised to send the Holy Spirit after He went to heaven while He was on earth. Before Christ was incarnated, crucified and ascended into heaven about 2000 years ago, the Holy Spirit was not an abiding, powerful reality in every believer’s life although believers in the Old Testament were saved through faith in the promised Messiah and did experience the work and indwelling of the Holy Spirit to some degree (Psalm 51). But since Jesus went to heaven we live now in the administration of the abiding fullness of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said:
“On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:37-39 ESV)
Every believer in Christ in the Old and New Testament and today has been and is born again by the Spirit of God. Although the Holy Spirit gave the first disciples coherent languages at Pentecost we must not think the baptism of the Holy Spirit always includes the speaking of foreign languages. When a person believes in Jesus Christ unto salvation it shows that he/she is born again (1 John 5:1; John 1:12,13). Being regenerated by the Holy Spirit and receiving the Holy Spirit are not the same experience. Being born of the Spirit is the initial experience when a person becomes alive spiritually and experience the heinousness of his sins and realizes he stands condemned and guilty before God. He experiences the pains of spiritual birth and starts crying out for forgiveness and salvation. The seed of regeneration is implanted in a person by God, but it is only after a person repents of his sins, acknowledges his own sins, and believes in Christ that he receives the gift or the Holy Spirit or are baptized by the Spirit (Galatians 3:14). Every believer in Christ has been baptized in the Holy Spirit. Paul makes this very clear in the first book of Corinthians.
“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.” (Corinthians 12:12-13 ESV)
Some Christian groups in the world want to make us believe that if you don’t speak in unknown languages you haven’t been baptized by the Holy Spirit. This teaching is not according to sound doctrine. Paul says here that all Christians were make to drink of the same Spirit, meaning being baptized in the Holy Spirit. We are commanded to be filled with the Holy Spirit by the Scriptures (Ephesians 5:18) and to pray for the fullness of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:15-20). Christians can walk in the power of the Spirit. Jesus promised the disciples before Pentecost that they will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon them and that they would be witnesses of Christ (Acts 1:8). This promise of receiving the power of the Holy Spirit in Christ is true for all believers throughout all ages, since Pentecost. In fact, Paul prayed for the Ephesian Christians that their eyes would be enlightened to see the hope of their calling, the riches of their inheritance in the saints and the immeasurable power of God who is at work in every believer. That is the same power that God worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead (Ephesians 1:15-22). God has not given believers a spirit of fear but of love, power and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:9).
Because the Holy Spirit can be quenched (1 Thessalonians 5:19) and grieved (Ephesians 4:30) when we as believers sin, we ought to confess (1 John 1:9) and repent (Proverbs 28:13) of our sins regularly to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. God’s will for the believer is that we always walk in step with the Spirit and not according to the flesh and sinful desires. God’s will is that the believer mortify the deeds of the body on a daily basis (Romans 8:13, Matthew 16:24,25).
When a person is born again and baptized by the Spirit of God he receives the anointing of the Holy Spirit (1 John 2:20). All believers in Christ are anointed by the Holy Spirit and all must be filled continually with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). In the Old Testament the kings, priests and prophets were anointed for specific tasks they had to administer. They were equipped by the Spirit of God for their offices, although many were rebellious and didn’t worship the true God, especially the kings. In the New Testament we see that all believers are called to be prophets, priests and kings (Revelation 1:5; 1 Peter 2:9). In other words, all believers are anointed to represent God on earth as His kings, to rule over sin, Satan and the curruption of the world. We are anointed to be priests representing Christ by praying for the church and the lost and the unreached and we are commissioned to share and preach and proclaim the gospel as prophets (Ephesians 6:15; 1 Peter 2:9 Mark 16:15). All Christians are called to proclaim the gospel and to be God’s witnesses because we have received the Spirit of Christ, and the testimony of Christ.
The anointing we as believes were given, means God has equipped us with His Spirit to speak forth his word. This anointing was not given to all believers in the Old Testament. Old Testament believers were not all equipped for the work of the ministry.
“So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32-33 ESV).
Paul the apostle said:
“I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ because it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes…” (Romans 1:16,17).
The presence, power, anointing and baptism of the Holy Spirit equips the believer to be an evangelist: to be successful and to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgement (John 16:8). When we obey God in evangelism and witnessing, the Holy Spirit will do the work of convicting sinners. The power is in the word (1 Peter 1:23-25) and the gospel of God, not in us. We are mere jars of clay that easily break. The power is in God. Without the Spirit’s baptism, power and anointing all our efforts in evangelizing believers and unbelievers will be useless and futile. We have to be regenerated by the Holy Spirit first of all, lead by the Holy Spirit, equipped by the Holy Spirit and moved by the Holy Spirit in this great work set before us.