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What Is The Baptism Of The Holy Spirit:
Salvation or a Second Experience?

By

Neil Armstrong B.A., M.Div.



Is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit salvation or a second experience which comes sometime later? There are two schools of thought. Some say the disciples already had the Spirit and were Christians before the Spirit came on them at Pentecost. They conclude the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is a second separate experience "distinct from, and subsequent to, the experience of the new birth." Those who do not agree with the idea of a second experience say the Spirit coming at Pentecost is salvation and furthermore is the birth of the Church. Which position is right? Is there a Scripture which sheds light on what is happening on the Day of Pentecost?

Fortunately, there is a Scripture which explains exactly what is happening on the Day of Pentecost. It is found in Acts 2:14-40 which is Peter's sermon explaining why the Jews from different nations are hearing the “wonders of God in our own tongues”. Acts 2:11 The verse is Acts 2:33, “Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.” This verse clearly indicates the sequence of events leading up to Pentecost and explains exactly what is happening.

According to Acts 2:33, there were a number of important events which had to occur before salvation became a reality. The first of these was the exaltation of Jesus to the right hand of God. Ephesians 1:19-21; Hebrews 1:3 When this happened it was the indication that Jesus sacrifice for sins was accepted by the Father. Previous to Jesus being seated at the right hand of God, salvation could not and did not exist. This one fact alone shows it was impossible for salvation to occur previous to the Day of Pentecost.

Jesus provision for salvation was a step by step process. First, he died on the cross as the sacrifice for sin. Second, he was raised from the dead. Third, the ascension into heaven took place. Fourth, he went through the Most Holy Place by His own blood. Fifth, Jesus was exalted to His right hand by the Father. Hebrews 12:1-2; Hebrews 9:12; Romans 8:34 Each one of these steps was absolutely necessary with each event following the previous one. During the ten days between the ascension and Pentecost, Jesus waited to receive the Spirit from the Father. Without the ability to pour out the Spirit, Jesus was not able to provide salvation. When he received the Spirit, only then did Jesus have the authority to provide redemption and extend eternal life to those who believed. We see all the steps needed for the provision of salvation come together on the Day of Pentecost resulting in, “what you now see and hear.” Acts 2:33

What is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit? The Baptism is the Spirit being poured out on the Day of Pentecost bringing salvation to Jesus followers. It is not a second separate event following salvation, it is salvation! When one does a study of Acts 2, it is clear that Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost is a Biblical explanation of theological and practical details surrounding this essential event. He then, “pleaded with them, ‘Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.’” Acts 2:40 In response to his message three thousand people were saved that day. Salvation had come through the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, “and everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Acts 2:21


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