When presenting the gospel to someone, and they receive Christ, what should be said about the Holy Spirit to a brand-new believer? I am thinking of our sealing in Ephesians, asking for in Luke 11:13, rivers of living waters in John 7:38.



Wonderful question! More needs to be taught on this subject. I’ve been burdened for years that more truth regarding the Holy Spirit be taught to new believers. In last week’s Q&A, we addressed the difference between the indwelling of the Spirit and the empowering of the Spirit. New believers should be taught that the Spirit of Jesus moves into them and that He is the new leader and power source for their lives. Together, this includes the sealing (Eph.1:13), the empowering (Luke 11:13; John 7:38) and even more.

The opportunity to do this presents itself when you teach a new believer regarding water baptism because it pictures Spirit baptism. John the Baptist said, “I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (Luke 3:16). That water baptism illustrates Spirit baptism is further seen in the emphasis given to baptism as the first step of obedience for a new believer (Matt. 28:19-20) and Peter telling his hearers they should repent (salvation), get baptized (first step of obedience following salvation), and receive/take the gift of the Holy Spirit (faith).

When an individual believes in Jesus, the Spirit baptizes him or her into Christ and Christ baptizes him or her with the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:26-27). Just as a sponge submerged in water is enveloped with the water even as the water moves into the sponge, so likewise, when the Spirit places you into Christ, you put on Christ as Christ places His Spirit into you. This occurs factually at salvation. You are baptized/placed into Christ and Christ places His Spirit into you/baptizes you with His Spirit. (This truth is thoroughly addressed by considering every passage in the New Testament on Spirit baptism in The Revived Life, chapter eight, “The Whole Package: The Baptism of the Holy Spirit.”) But functionally, this occurs through the access of faith. We have access by faith into this grace in which we stand (Rom. 5:2).

Simply put, for a new believer we can teach the two directions of Spirit baptism. When they believed in Jesus, they were placed into Christ—they have a new position. And at the same time Christ placed His Spirit into them—they have a new provision. The Spirit now in them provides the leadership they need for their new life and the empowering to do it. They do not have to try to live right. They can trust in the power of the Spirit to enable them to live right. They can trust to obey.

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