The Mystery Of The Baptism In
The Holy Spirit (Pt. 2)
By William Handschumacher
Rock of Offence Special Bible Study
A New And Living Way
"Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water." (Heb 10:19-22)
Most students of the Bible believe Saint Paul is the author of the epistle to the Hebrews. He taught about "a new and living way". Jesus taught that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is what gives us the power to walk in this 'new way'. Remember that one of the Holy Spirit's names is "the Spirit of Christ" (Rom. 8:9 1 Peter 1:11). It not only empowers us to be witnesses to Christ, but it releases the Holy Spirit into a role that was never possible before Pentecost (Acts chapter 2). There are many benefits to having the Holy Spirit live inside us. A person indwelled by the Holy Spirit is in a totally different position than someone who isn't. This represents the major difference between those living under the Old Testament vs. believers living under the New Testament. The differences between these two dispensations are not minor. Some denominations only view the indwelling Spirit symbolically or allegorically. This belief is the result of false teaching. Theologians that teach reformed theology tend to hold this belief. They don't respect the tremendous transformation that takes place when the Holy Spirit is released into a human life.
Saint Paul emphasized an important
fact overlooked in these kinds of
When the Holy Spirit indwells a
believer, He brings a whole new
system with him for relating with
with God. Paul calls this Divine
"The things of the Spirit".
It should be obvious that "the things of the Spirit" are spiritual. In other words, they appear very unusual to our natural human way of thinking. Actually, the word 'unusual' isn't the correct word. Saint Paul tells us that the "things of the Spirit" are foolishness to those who approach the kingdom of God with natural human reasoning or intellectualism. They cannot be understood by such individuals. The Baptism in the Holy Spirit and the spiritual "things" associated with it fall into this category.
"However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written: 'Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.' But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit Who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For 'who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?' But we have the mind of Christ." (1 Corinthians 2:6-16)
If we consider Paul's words, we can understand why organized religion and those trapped in its teachings choose to oppose the baptism in the Holy Spirit - and 'spiritual things' in general.
Our Powerful Partnership With
The Holy Spirit
In his epistle to the Romans, Saint
Paul reveals one of the benefits of
the indwelling Spirit:
"Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He (the Holy Spirit) maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God." (Rom 8:26-27)
Several facts are revealed in
The Holy Spirit helps our infirmities
We don't always know what we should
pray for as we should
The Holy Spirit makes intercession for
us with groanings that cannot be uttered
with normal speech
The Holy Spirit makes intercession for
the saints according to the will of God
Most of us pray by using our own native language and according to our 'natural human understanding' concerning the things going on in the world around us. Yet, when it comes to God's involvement with the affairs of the world, our limited understanding is not enough. Saint Paul suggests that because of this limitation, we don't always know what to pray for. How could we? The only way to know how to pray correctly in every situation is to have unlimited knowledge. Yet, no member of the human race has these capabilities ... unless you think you know it all. Regardless of how much we want to believe this way (even with the vast resources of the Internet) - it isn't possible.
Yet, for the believer who has
released the Holy Spirit into
their lives and gives Him the
freedom to operate as He wishes,
this limitation is removed.
The Apostle Paul tells us that the Holy Spirit - when we allow Him - will make intercession for us "with groanings that cannot be uttered". So what does that mean? To answer this question we need more insight into Paul's words. We often have to look into the Greek language from which our English Bible were translated. P.C. Nelson, a well-known Greek scholar, provides more insight into this topic. Nelson comments that the English translation of Romans 8:26 that says,
"the Spirit itself maketh intercession
for us with groanings which cannot be
... is more accurately recorded in
the Greek, which says,
"the Spirit itself maketh intercession
for us with groanings which cannot be
uttered in articulate speech."
This not only suggests that the Holy Spirit prays for us through simple groanings, but also in a special language used by the Spirit that is not the same as our native language or speech. Furthermore, Nelson states that this completely agrees with Saint Paul's teaching to the Corinthians concerning the topic of speaking in tongues where he says:
"Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries." (1 Cor 14:1-2)
If P.C. Nelson is right, then Paul is speaking to the Corinthian believers about the same operation of the Holy Spirit in intercessory prayer ... that he taught in Romans 8:26-27. Since the Scriptures agree on these things ... and because this writer has seen and studied the different 'inflections' of the Greek that do not always carry over to the various English translations; we believe Nelson is absolutely correct.
Paul told the Corinthians, "For he
that speaketh in an unknown
Speaketh not unto men, but
unto God: for no man understandeth
him." Paul said that speaking
in tongues; is speaking to God.
When we speak to God, we are
This is why those who thoughtlessly
criticize and malign tongues as
'useless jibberish and nonsense' ...
have unknowingly insulted
the Spirit of Christ.
Paul tells us that "no man" understands
those who speak in tongues in this
area of prayer and intercession.
Paul did not say that no man in the
country would understand ... he said
'no man'. This means that if you're
a member of the human race, regardless
of your native language, you won't
understand this special intercessory
language being used by the Holy Spirit.
When you put all these things together; "tongues" is a unique language the Holy Spirit uses to allow you to speak to God without anyone else having the ability to listen in. Our military uses this method to communicate with troops in foreign lands and with naval vessels at sea. It's called "encrypted communication". It's meant to be secret and private for reasons of national security. God's reason for using this "spiritually encrypted" communication is for a similar purpose. But, remember that God invented it long before science did. It's hard for religious people to understand, but God doesn't want some people who are allies of our enemy to know what his plans are - so he keeps the prayer information encrypted.
I once heard the story of a church member who was criticizing speaking in tongues as being unintelligible, useless nonsense. Another person walked up during his public tirade and said, "Well, that's what you get for trying to open someone else's mail". People who oppose speaking with tongues usually have no understanding of the facts. Most just parrot the criticism of their denomination or church group, which is nothing more than a defense of an unbiblical tradition, rather than the actual teachings of the Bible.
You say this idea is far fetched? It might seem that way for those who approach the "things of the Spirit" with natural human thinking. Yet, the supernatural ways of the Spirit, regardless of how unreasonable they seem to us, is how God accomplishes His purposes. We should remember Paul's warning from 1 Corinthians 2:6-16;
"But the natural man does not receive
the things of the Spirit of God, for
they are foolishness to him; nor can
he know them, because they are
Paul spoke these words, not as a
complement, but as a rebuke.
We can either agree with the Lord Jesus Christ - and the Spirit of Christ Who represents Him - or walk away in disgust and miss out. I was faced with this same decision as a young Baptist - and decided to follow what Jesus and the New Testament taught ... even if it offended those around me. It might appear as foolishness to us ... but it's wisdom to God. Lots of religious folks walk away because they consider themselves too rational to accept such things.
Romans 8:26-27 reveals an important
truth. If we understand how the Holy
Spirit operates, we can release Him
in such a way ...
That He will use us as a partner in
intercession that has full access
to the unlimited knowledge of God.
It's allowing the Holy Spirit access
to our mouths in intercession to pray
perfectly according to the will of
God about things we could not
That's what makes it so powerful.
This is why our enemy is so determined to stop believers from discovering this power. Ever notice how much of organized religion is opposed to the message of the baptism in the Holy Spirit and the topic of speaking in tongues? However, it's not as bad today as it was 50 years ago. If critics can't defeat this truth using an honest exegesis of Scripture, they resort to using demeaning terms and ridicule. Thirty years ago, it was a topic that got you thrown out of some churches. Today, I believe more people have the tools they need to do their own study and arrive at their own conclusions. If you can ignore all the noise and misinformation, the Word of God has some very interesting things to say.
Our discussion about the role of the Holy Spirit in intercessory prayer brings us into another area of controversy.
Speaking In Tongues As An Evidence
Of Holy Spirit Baptism
In this ministry, we don't force God's Word to fit some cherished denominational tradition or belief. Instead, we report what God's Word teaches - and then form our beliefs around what it reveals. We approach the subject of tongues in the same way. In the previous section we learned that 'speaking in tongues' is an instrument the Holy Spirit uses in our intercessory prayer life. The area of intercessory prayer is a large and diverse Biblical subject, which is why we must limit our discussion. However, the Bible states that intercession is only one place tongues play a role ... and that many other functions exist. One of these is acting as an indication or evidence that the Holy Spirit (or the gift of the Holy Spirit) has been received. Why do we say this? Because nearly every time Holy Spirit baptism is received in the Bible, speaking in tongues accompany it.
"And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." (Acts 2:1-4)
"While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?" (Acts 10:44-47)
"Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. And all the men were about twelve." (Acts 19:4-7)
We know the Corinthian church received the Holy Spirit under Paul's ministry. We also know that Paul gave them instructions concerning the use of tongues in their public meetings because they were misusing the gift. You can read about it in 1 Cor. Chapters 12 through 14. From Paul's writings we know that the Corinthian congregation had the spiritual gift of tongues in continual operation.
We also know that the Apostle Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:17) because he later revealed to the Corinthian congregation that; "He spoke in tongues more than all of them" (1 Cor. 14:18). Notice that this was not just a one time occurance when he was 'filled with the Spirit'. Paul was saying that speaking in tongues was a regular practice in his Christian life.
We know that all of Christ's disciples (assembled with the 120) on the day of Pentecost spoke in tongues - because the Bible says that they ALL did (Acts 2:4).
These are known examples from Scripture. Yet, it's impossible to make an airtight defense concerning this point. Can a case be made where the Holy Spirit (or the Baptism in the Holy Spirit) is received without speaking in tongues? Yes, I believe so. But, the argument would be based on speculation rather than hard Scriptural facts. We consider this Bible study to be based on honesty and choose not to use worldly persuasive speech tactics in our discussion. We make the assumption that the reader needs information to make up his or her mind about this topic. We have nothing to lose if you choose to disagree. Yet, if you're someone who's desperately looking for a way to discredit or disprove speaking in tongues as evidence that accompanies the infilling with the Holy Spirit ... you will find a way. Why do we say this? We should remember the words of Saint Paul who said;
"The things of the Spirit are
foolishness to the natural man.
(or offensive to our natural
way of thinking)".
(1 Corinthians 2:6-16)
In addition to this, 'the things of the Spirit' are also offensive to those who elevate religious tradition above the Word of God. Since Paul said that 'Spiritual things cannot be understood through natural thinking', then this whole study is an exercise in futility if our goal is to provide an airtight intellectual defense. If we could intellectually make people understand spiritual things ... something that Paul said couldn't be understood through natural human thinking; then Paul lied about it. Unless God's Holy Spirit is opening this subject up for you to understand, it doesn't really matter what is said in this study.
This is part 2 of a 3 part Bible Study.
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Mystery Of The Baptism In The
Holy Spirit (Pt. 1)
Mystery Of The Baptism In The
Holy Spirit (Pt. 3)
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