Some weeks ago a young man, who had run into a dispute on the topic, asked me about the baptizing work of the Holy Spirit. This baptism was described to him as an experience that is distinct from and subsequent to his salvation. Without it, he was an incomplete Christian and needed this ‘second blessing’ to graduate further in his faith. Is this so? He wondered—was he missing something? Fortunately, the term is biblical, so we can turn to the 7 New Testament references and find an answer.
““I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit (ἐν πνεύματι) and fire.” (Matthew 3:11, ESV)
“I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit (ἐν πνεύματι).”” (Mark 1:8, ESV)
“John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit (ἐν πνεύματι) and fire.” (Luke 3:16, ESV)
“I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit (ἐν πνεύματι).’” (John 1:33, ESV)
“for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit (ἐν πνεύματι)not many days from now.”” (Acts 1:5, ESV)
“And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit (ἐν πνεύματι).’” (Acts 11:16, ESV)
“For in one Spirit we were all baptized (ἐν ἑνὶ πνεύματι) into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:13, ESV)
Those who advocate for a second blessing acknowledge that the first 6 verses refer to Jesus’ saving work. But they claim that the Corinthians verse is altogether different and refers to a second work that is accomplished by the Holy Spirit. This distinction seems to be plausible when one studies some English translations, but it cannot be supported by the Greek text, which uses the identical phrase in every verse. What is described in the first 6 verses (salvation) is equally present in the seventh. The biblical evidence teaches us that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is the rejuvenating work of salvation.
Was my young friend incomplete? Hardly, when he trusted Jesus for salvation, he received everything he needed for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). I hope you have also.