Baptism in the Holy Spirit is Regeneration
In a recent publication the following statements were made:
1. "In some areas of opinion much confusion has been generated through the teaching that a person cannot be 'bornagain' and experience eternal life, unless that person speaks in other tongues.
It is claimed that to speak in tongues is the only way that a person can know that he is 'bornagain'.
The larger Pentecostal fellowships such as the Apostolic Church, the Assemblies of God, the Christian Revival Crusade and most Full Gospel fellowships believe and teach that the gift of speaking in other tongues is not given to bring about salvation.
Rather, such an experience is a further distinct ministry of the Holy Spirit, as being endued with power from on high."
2. "Jesus, by the act of breathing on the disciples, conferred on them spiritual life (REGENERATION)" (see JOHN 20:22). "Fifty days later (ACTS 1:8), Jesus defines specifically the Baptism in the Holy Spirit (see JOHN 1:25-36) as a mighty baptism of power - NOT REGENERATION."
The tragedy of this "alternative gospel" (see GALATIANS 1:6-9) is that multitudes have been convinced that they are reconciled to God when in fact they are still dead in sin.
A basic principle of using God's Word is to note that important features are designated in a variety of ways.
God, for example, bears many names in scripture, yet the Word assures us there is but ONE God; likewise Jesus, Israel, Jerusalem, Davidic throne, etc.
This principle will be applied here to God's Spirit and the event that occurred in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. More than twenty names for God's Spirit are found in the New Testament, but EPHESIANS 4:4 categorically states there is only ONE spirit.
Noteworthy here is ROMANS 8:9 -
"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."
Hence, if a person does not have (possess) the (Holy) Spirit, he is not saved.
The SINGLE event which occurred on Pentecost is defined in ten ways.
- Baptised with the Holy Ghost (ACTS 1:5; 11:16)
- Received the promise of the Father (LUKE 24:49; ACTS 1:4)
- Endued with power (LUKE 24:49; ACTS 1:8)
- Holy Ghost came upon them (ACTS 1:8)
- Were filled with the Holy Ghost (ACTS 2:4)
- Holy Ghost was poured out (ACTS 2:17; 10:45)
- Holy Ghost was shed forth (ACTS 2:38; 10:47)
- Holy Ghost was received (ACTS 2:38; 10:47)
- Holy Ghost fell on them (ACTS 10:44; 11:15)
- Cornelius and others received the like gift (ACTS 11:17)
The word "regeneration" occurs twice in the New Testament and comes from the Greek word "palingenesia"; meaning: rebirth, regeneration, renewal, beginning of a new life (TITUS 3:4-5), restoration, resurrection (MATTHEW 19:28).
In JOHN 3:5-8, Jesus fully defines regeneration as being
We must now take a close look at verse 8 as it is translated in the King James and many other versions.
1. The statement,
"The wind bloweth where it listeth..." (Greek: wills) is wrong; the direction in which a wind blows is determined completely by natural law.
God created the earth, and He wrote His Word and He did not make a mistake in either.
2. The word "sound" comes from the Greek word meaning: sound, tone, the sound of the voice, speech, utterance, language, and in particular "any articulate sound".
Articulate sounds are made by a conscious mind, something winds do not possess.
The word "phone" occurs 140 times in the New Testament, and is translated as "voice" or "voices" 131 times in the King James version.
3. The Greek word "pneuma" occurs twice in verse 8 and is translated "wind" and "spirit" respectively.
In the New Testament "pneuma" is used 383 times and in the King James version it is translated as "spirit", "ghost" and "life" 382 times. IT APPEARS AS "WIND" ONCE - in JOHN 3:8!
The literal translation of JOHN 3:8 is -
"The Spirit breathes where He will, and you hear His voice, but you do not know from where He comes, or to where He goes: so is EVERY ONE born of the Spirit."
In JOHN 3:6 Jesus told Nicodemus that, "
that which is born of flesh is flesh." When a natural child is born, it breathes natural air and makes a natural sound - ask any mother. He added that,
"that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." When a supernatural child is born (brought forth) it takes a breath of "supernatural air" and makes a supernatural sound: TONGUES - the voice of the Spirit.
There is no ambiguity in God's Word about this matter; when a person is bornagain, born from above, regenerated, filled with the Spirit, receives the Spirit, is endued with power, baptised in the Holy Spirit, etc., etc.
HE SPEAKS IN TONGUES - NO EXCEPTIONS:
- No tongues - no Holy Spirit.
- No tongues - no regeneration (just a spiritual stillbirth).
Now let us look into what really did happen when Jesus
"breathed on" His disciples, in relation to subsequent events recorded in scripture.
1. The apostle Thomas missed out; he was not there (JOHN 20:24).
2. Sometime later (JOHN 21:15-16) Jesus twice asked the supposedly "spiritually enlivened" and "regenerated" Peter (if statement 2 be true), if he loved Him with God's supernatural love (Greek: agape).
Peter was quite adamant: he loved Jesus with a natural human love (Greek: phileo).
Why was Peter unable to satisfy his Lord's requirement?
ROMANS 5:5 gives us the answer:
"And hope maketh not ashamed: because the love (agape)
of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."
Peter had not received, been given, been baptised in the Holy Spirit at the time of this encounter with Jesus, so of course, he could not manifest God's supernatural love to his Master.
3. Several years later, when explaining to the church at Jerusalem what had happened in the house of Cornelius, Peter said:
"And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, AS ON US AT THE BEGINNING." (ACTS 11:15).
Reference to ACTS 10:46 shows us what happened when the Holy Ghost fell on Cornelius and others:
"For they (Jewish Christians)
heard them SPEAK WITH TONGUES and magnify God."
Peter then went on to explain to the Jerusalem saints:
"THEN REMEMBERED I THE WORD OF THE LORD, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. Forasmuch then as God gave them the like (Greek: isos, equal)
gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?" (ACTS 11:16-17).
Peter's beginning in the Holy Spirit, like that of Cornelius, was his baptism in the Holy Spirit (on the day of Pentecost); not in a unique and unequal experience, but in the single and common regeneration as defined by Jesus in JOHN 3:5-8 (See also ACTS 1:5; 2:4; 11:16-17; 10:44-46).
Earlier in His ministry, Jesus said:
"He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake he of the spirit, which they that believe (i.e. Peter, Thomas and others)
on him should (Greek: were about to)
receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified." (JOHN 7:38-39).
When was Jesus glorified? It was after His ascension, for in ACTS 2:33 we read:
"Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, He (Jesus)
hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear."
It is quite clear that those disciples who were present when Jesus
"breathed on them" did not receive the Holy Spirit then and there, but rather this was a prophetic gesture regarding what should shortly come to pass.
The folly of building major doctrine on single verses of scripture is plainly manifested in the statement above; it was only when the followers of Jesus were baptised in the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost that they were regenerated.
And immediately after this supernatural event, God (through Peter) commanded:
"Repent, and be baptized EVERY ONE OF YOU in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and YE SHALL RECEIVE THE GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST." (ACTS 2:38).
And the proof (MARK 16:16-18) that a person has indeed been filled with God's Holy Spirit and entered into God's family - (eternal life) is that he or she speaks in tongues.