Does the baptism in the Holy Spirit make me more spiritual?

Here are some questions that I’ve been asked about the Holy Spirit.

Is the baptism of the Spirit necessary to be saved?

No! When the church was established in the city of Ephesus, a number of people came to faith in Christ, and the book of Acts calls them “disciples”. Yet, when the topic of the baptism of the Spirit was introduced, they had not even heard of such a thing. Obviously, it is possible to be a disciple without being baptized in the Spirit. [Suggested Bible reading: Acts 19:1 –7].

Isn’t salvation and the baptism of the Spirit one and the same?

When Philip preached in the city of Samaria, we read that many had “received the word of God” and were “baptized in water”. This certainly shows that they were saved. Yet, the Spirit had “not yet fallen upon them”. Salvation and the Holy Spirit falling upon a person are clearly not one and the same. [Suggested Bible reading: Acts 8:12 – 17].

Does the baptism of the Spirit with speaking in tongues make people more spiritual?

Not necessarily! The baptism of the Spirit opens us to the reality of the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit, which is the power of Christ through ordinary believers. However, these gifts of the Holy Spirit do not automatically make us more spiritual. For that we need the fruit of the spirit, which is the personality of Christ.

After the believers in the book of Acts had received the baptism of the Spirit and spoke in other tongues, many problems remained. Paul and Barnabas had a schism. The Corinthian church struggled with sin. When people criticize the baptism of the Holy Spirit by pointing to someone, who claims to have received this baptism and yet, at least in the estimation of the critics, is not very spiritual, I respond; imagine what that person will be like without the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

The baptism of the Spirit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit are wonderful and necessary for the church to be able to do what Jesus called us to do. However, spiritual gifts are never a substitute for true spirituality, which is the fruit of the spirit – the love, joy, peace and personality of Christ manifesting through us. [Suggested Bible reading: Galatians 5: 22 – 23].

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