Question #27: Distinguish between the Baptism of the Spirit and being filled with the Spirit.
Answer: The briefest way to do this is to say that the baptism of the Spirit happens only once in the believer’s life whereas the filling with the Spirit can take place several times, if not many times, and ideally, all the time! I acknowledge that, as Dunn states, “‘Baptized in Spirit’ is there synonymous with ‘granted repentance unto life’ (Ac 11:18) and ‘cleansed their hearts by faith’ (15:8, 9)” (in Elwell and Beitzel, Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, 262).
To be baptized in the Spirit is also the same as being indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Ryrie contends, “The Spirit cannot leave a believer without throwing that believer back into a lost, unsaved condition. Disindwelling has to mean loss of salvation, and loss of salvation must include disindwelling. The security of the believer and the permanent indwelling of the Spirit are inseparable doctrines.
“But we also have the positive promise of the Savior that He would pray to the Father who would give another Helper in order ‘that He may be with you forever’ (Jn 14:16). To be sure, sin affects the effectiveness of the Spirit in the believer’s life, but it does not remove His presence from believers” (Basic Theology, 410).
Being filled with the Spirit is a command given (in Eph 5:18). This implies that not all indwelt-by-the-Spirit Christians are filled with His Spirit.
One-Minute Theology with Chaplain T features the question and answer portions of the Systematic Theology courses that were part of my seminary work at Piedmont Baptist Graduate School. I will be posting one Q & A everyday until my ordination council meeting set for February 2014.
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