Baptism with the Holy Spirit

 

 

2. Some Christians say that if a Christian does not speak in tongues he does not have the Holy Spirit, is that true?

 

 

 

No, it isn’t and I will show it immediately from the Scripture. First of all, however, I must give a brief introduction. When some Christians say that those who don’t speak in tongues don’t have the Holy Spirit, they do not mean that those who do not speak in tongues don’t have the Holy Spirit at all, nor do they mean that they are not saved, but rather they mean that they have not yet received the baptism with the Holy Spirit, which is an experience subsequent to the new birth. Therefore these Christians don’t mean that a believer who doesn’t speak in tongues is not saved or is not a son of God. However, they use an improper expression, which leads people to think that those who do not speak in tongues do not have the Holy Spirit. And indeed many believers understand that expression in that way, and when they hear it they get angry and feel offended since they don’t speak in tongues. Therefore that expression must be rejected and avoided even though some believers do not use it in order to say a wrong thing. However, there are some Christians who use that expression to mean that those who don’t speak in other tongues don’t have the Holy Spirit at all, thus they don’t belong to Christ and are still lost. I am going to show that this meaning given to this expression is untrue. To do it adequately, however, I must first of all explain what speaking in tongues is, in that once I have explained it, it will be easier to understand why that expression is wrong.

Now, according to the teaching of the Scripture, speaking in tongues is a spiritual phenomenon produced by the Holy Spirit in the believer when the believer is baptized (by Jesus Christ) with the Holy Spirit, that is to say, when the believer is filled with the Holy Spirit. ‘To be baptized with the Holy Spirit’ and ‘to be filled with the Holy Spirit’ are expressions that refer to the same experience, for the Scripture says that just before Jesus was received up into heaven He told His disciples that they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit in a few days (“For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence” - Acts 1:5) and on the day of Pentecost (when the promise was fulfilled) they were filled with the Holy Spirit, as it is written: “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:1-4). Now, what happened when they were filled with the Holy Spirit? They began to speak with other tongues (which means that before that moment they did not speak in other tongues) as the Spirit gave them utterance. That was the first time the disciples of the Lord spoke in tongues. Now, having established that speaking with other tongues follows immediately the filling up with the Holy Spirit, it is evident that speaking in tongues is a sign attesting that the believer has experienced the filling up with the Holy Spirit. Therefore, if this spiritual phenomenon is missing that means that the believer is not filled with the Holy Spirit (that is, he is not baptized with the Holy Spirit).

Does that mean, then, that the believer who doesn’t speak in tongues, does not have the Holy Spirit since he is not filled with the Spirit?’ Not at all, for saying that a believer is not filled with the Holy Spirit is not tantamount to saying that he does not have the Spirit. Let me give you an illustration: if I say that my glass is not filled with water, I don’t mean that inside my glass there is not a drop of water, I just mean that inside the glass there is not enough water to say it is full of water. Therefore there is some water inside the glass, but the water does not reach the rim of the glass. The same thing must be said about a Christian who is not filled with the Holy Spirit: he has a certain measure of the Holy Spirit, but he is not filled with the Holy Spirit. That’s all. The believer who is not baptized with the Holy Spirit or filled with the Holy Spirit has anyway a certain measure of the Holy Spirit for he feels he belongs to Christ, he feels he is a son of God and he calls God ‘Father’. How can he have this assurance within him? Because of the witness of the Holy Spirit, who dwells in his heart. Paul explains this to the Romans when he says: “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself [Himself] beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Romans 8:15-17). Therefore, a believer who has not yet been filled with the Holy Spirit, belongs to Christ, he is a son of God, because he has a measure of the Spirit, who is present within him since the moment he believed. If he did not have that measure of the Spirit, then he would not belong to Christ, as it is written: “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Romans 8:9), but since he has a measure of the Holy Spirit (for when he repented of his sins and believed in Jesus Christ the Holy Spirit came to dwell in him) then he belongs to Christ.

At this point, you may ask me this question: “If he has a certain measure of the Holy Spirit, why does he need the baptism with the Holy Spirit?’ In other words, ‘What does a believer filled with the Holy Spirit have more than a believer not filled with the Holy Spirit?’ The answer is this: he needs the baptism with the Holy Spirit in order to receive power from on high, for Jesus said to His disciples about the baptism with the Holy Spirit they would receive: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). So this is the difference between a believer filled with the Holy Spirit and a believer not filled with the Holy Spirit: the former has received power from on high, the latter has not yet received it. There are no doubts about it. And what about tongues? Obviously they are a sign that differentiates a believer filled with the Holy Spirit from a believer not filled with the Holy Spirit.

Now I would like to say something about tongues, that is, something about their utility of which we hardly ever hear. He who speaks in a tongue, speaks to God (1 Corinthians 14:2). And what does he say to God? The apostle Paul says that “in the spirit he speaketh mysteries” (1 Corinthians 14:2). And the same apostle explains what kind of mysteries the believer utters in the spirit, for he says that he prays and intercedes with other tongues, he gives thanks to God with other tongues, and he sings to God with other tongues. No matter if the believer speaks with only one foreign tongue or with several foreign tongues (in this case he has also the gift of diversities of tongues), the believer speaks to God. Is speaking to God useful? Of course, it is. In this case the believer intercedes for the saints in another tongue asking God - by the Holy Spirit - for certain things (unknown to the believer, yet known to the Spirit), he gives thanks to God for His benefits, he sings His praises in foreign tongues with spiritual words. All these things the believer does by the power of the Holy Spirit; all these things in other tongues, yes, in other tongues. Who will dare to say that these things are not useful? I think nobody. Therefore, if the ability to speak in other tongues is missing, the believer will not be able to pray with other tongues, to sing with other tongues, and to give thanks with other tongues. Somebody may say: ‘Well, it suffices for me to pray and to give thanks and to sing to God in my own language!’ Brother, you are not speaking wisely, for if God has provided His children with the ability to pray, to give thanks and to sing to Him in another tongue or in several tongues, you cannot say that it suffices for you to speak to God in your own tongue. And please note that the One who has decreed this is God, the same God who created all things by His endless wisdom. It would be like saying that a person can walk even with only one leg! Of course he can, but he needs some crutches. But certainly he will not be able to run, he will not have the same abilities as those people who have two legs. Therefore, if this is what you wish, you can continue to pray, to give thanks and to sing to God only in your own language, but for sure you will have some limitations.

Therefore, what differentiates the believers who speak with other tongues from those who don’t speak in other tongues is not their belonging to the body of Christ or their salvation, but rather it is the power and the ability to pray, to give thanks and to sing to God with other tongues (that is, by the Spirit).

Therefore, the right thing to say about those Christians who don’t speak in tongues is this: “They have not yet been baptized with the Holy Spirit, and thus they have not received power from on high, nor the ability to pray, to give thanks and to sing to God with other tongues by the Holy Spirit’. Of course, I know that even this expression will irritate some of those believers who are not baptized with the Holy Spirit, however this is the truth.

I conclude my answer by saying that he who is baptized with the Holy Spirit is not more saved than he who is not baptized with the Holy Spirit; he who is baptized with the Holy Spirit is not more important in the eyes of God than the one who is not baptized with the Holy Spirit; he who is baptized with the Holy Spirit is not a believer belonging to the first category while he who is not baptized with the Holy Spirit belongs to the second category; both the former and the latter are brothers in the Lord, both of them must be accepted in Christ, honored, loved and helped. However he who is already baptized with the Holy Spirit must say the truth also about this part of the counsel of God, that is, that those who do not speak with other tongues are not baptized with the Holy Spirit, even if the believer who is not baptized with the Holy Spirit will be offended by his words.

 

 

 

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