The Baptism of Pentecost

by | Jun 1, 2007

Running through the Bible is the promise of the Pentecostal outpouring of the Holy Spirit. This is to be an epochal experience in the lives of God’s people. Among the various names which it is given is that of “baptism.” It is said of the Lord Jesus,

“He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire” (Matt 3:11).

It is a promised baptism. “I send forth the promise of the Father upon you” (Luke 24:49). Even the promises which found fulfillment at Calvary are no more numerous or strong than those which center at Pentecost (see John 14:16; 15:26; 26:13; and Acts 18).

It is a commanded baptism. “Be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18). Believers are under as great obligations to obey this command as any other in the Bible. We cannot teach obedience unless we exemplify it. Every Christian should be “filled with the Spirit.”

It is a purifying baptism. Peter, divinely inspired, declared the nature of its effect upon himself and others: “God, which knoweth the heart, bare them witness… cleansing their hearts by faith” (Acts 15, 8–9).

This is a deathblow to the popular notion that the baptism with the Holy Spirit does not eliminate carnality or inbred sin, but that one may be fully sanctified and still have pride, lust, fear, envy, temper, and impatience in the soul. The purifying fire of the Holy Spirit eliminates the dross of inbred sin and fully sanctifies the soul.

It is an empowering baptism. It is the promised “power from on high,” the “power of the Holy Spirit, eliminating the cancer of carnality and so enthroning Jesus within that His wisdom and power become continually available. This baptism transforms weaklings into giants and imparts all needed power to witness effectively, work, suffer, or die for God as He may will.

It is an establishing baptism. Its recipients become “steadfast in faith,” “rooted and grounded in love,” “able, having done all, to stand.” It puts to shame the shallow counterfeit of holiness which imparts no backbones and yields easily to enticements and opposition.

It is a unifying baptism. “For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body” (I Cor. 12:13). It burns away all barriers of creeds, color, and clime, and cements believers together in bonds of holy love. Where this baptism is honored and received, those from different denominations come together, all of one heart and mind.

How, then, do believers receive this great Pentecostal baptism?

It is received by earnest asking.

“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?” (Luke 11:13).

Importunate, united, believing, expectant prayer was the key that first unlocked the Pentecostal chamber, and it is the only key that will unlock it now.

It is received by confession of inbred sin, death to everything contrary to God’s will, and faith in God’s promises which offer it. As water baptism is administered to a yielded subject by the baptizer, so this baptism from the skies is bestowed by Jesus upon all who meet the conditions upon which it is promised. Reader, are you meeting them?

It is received by faith.

“…That we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Gal. 3:14).

Like justification, this baptism is not through works nor growth nor death, but through faith. Only those who believe can enter into this “rest.” When the soul dies to all but the will of God, drops every toy and treasure and grasps this promise with present abandonment to all of its conditions, then and thus its power is proved, and its benefits appropriated.

Martin Wells Knapp (1853–1901) was the founder of God’s Bible School (1900) and this publication, God’s Revivalist and Bible Advocate (1888). The above, edited and condensed by the editor, is from Knapp’s Lightning Bolts from Pentecostal Skies, first published in 1898.

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