Receiving the Holy Spirit

here is a footnote from the usccb bible website re Acts 8:16

  • [8:16] Here and in Acts 10:44–48 and Acts 19:1–6, Luke distinguishes between baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus and the reception of the Spirit. In each case, the Spirit is conferred through members of the Twelve (Peter and John) or their representative (Paul). This may be Luke’s way of describing the role of the church in the bestowal of the Spirit. Elsewhere in Acts, baptism and the Spirit are more closely related (Acts 1:5; 11:16).

Peace

  1. God can do what He wants, but He can’t contradict His Own Word.
  2. The fact that these folks received the Spirit before receiving water baptism, contradicts the belief that people receive the Spirit during water baptism, which contradicts the interpretation that Jesus is referring to water baptism in John 3:5. (“Unless one is born of water and the Spirit” he cannot enter the kingdom of God.") Notice, Jesus doesn’t say “Spirit” and then the “water.” Rather, Jesus is saying “water” and “Spirit” - simultaneously.
    a. That passage doesn’t say any such thing. If anything, the Spirit descended confirming what Peter said a few verses back: “…everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins” (Acts 10:43).
    b. Again, that passage doesn’t say that. The Spirit descending on them confirmed what Peter had just said (see above). Plus, if water baptism was “required” then why would Paul tell the Corinthians that he was “glad” that he didn’t baptize anyone except for only 2 people? (1 Corinthians 1) And, if water baptism was “required” then ANYONE who wasn’t baptized in water would end up in Hell, like those baptized by desire, baptized of blood, invincibly ignorant, & unbaptized babies who die. You can’t say something is “required” & then give exceptions to it without contradicting the words of our Lord.

Where does Scripture state that baptism brings people into “God’s covenantal family”? And, if baptism “justifies” someone to be “brought into God’s covenantal family,” then does that mean that people who aren’t baptized aren’t “brought into God’s covenantal family”? Does that mean that unbaptized babies who die aren’t “brought” into it? If not, where do they go when they die? What about other unbaptized people who die - invincibly ignorant, baptized by desire, baptized of blood? Are none of them “brought into God’s covenantal family” because they weren’t baptized?

Remember that Peter was able to raise people from the dead, heal lepers and the lame and even his napkins were able to heal.

God gifted Peter these & other miraculous abilities, as well as other apostles & early members of the Church, to demonstrate that they were genuine apostles speaking on behalf of God. They were “signs” of being true apostles.

The Ethiopian eunuch also asked “what prevents me from being baptized” & Philip’s reply was “if you believe in Jesus Christ, you may.” Same with Paul’s jailor. He asked the same question, & he received the same answer - belief first, then baptism - not together. The Holy Spirit comes as an “outpouring” on believers at the moment of belief (John 3:5,16), not during baptism. Baptism occurs after receiving the Holy Spirit, as you correctly pointed out in your Scriputural example. :slight_smile:

When baptism and the Spirit are mentioned together, baptism is sometimes mentioned before the Spirit:

And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; (Matt 3:16; also see Mark 1:10; Luke 3:21-22)

Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. (John 3:5)

And Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38)

And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. (1 Cor 6:11)

Paul himself tells us the reason why he was glad he didn’t baptize. All we have to do is read the text.

*What I mean is that each one of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apol’los,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I am thankful that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Ga’ius; lest any one should say that you were baptized in my name. (1 Corinthians 1:12-15) *

Paul told the Corinthians that he was glad he didn’t baptize anyone because people were emphasizing their association with the one who baptized rather than with Jesus. It has nothing to do with water.

You don’t know the Scriptures as well as you think.

-Tim-

The first justification…when a person is first justified in the Lord…is what this passage refers to. Or when the Lord is knocking on the person’s heart who has not yet been baptised and therefore has not yet been given the Holy Spirit to dwell with in his soul. The Holy Spirit is asking the person to receive him in the faith.

For to be justified it takes God’s grace…the Holy Spirit at work…to want faith in baptism. The Holy Spirit moves the person and therefore at this point a person can be said to have received the Holy Spirit. This all takes place before baptism because a man cannot do anything of himself to make justification happen…no work on his part can do this. Therefore the Holy Spirit is knocking and then it is said that this person is receiving or has received the Holy Spirit in this way…the grace to accept him in faith.

After receiving the Holy Spirit in this way, then the person accepts the faith given by the Holy Spirit in a more full way by baptism, which makes them a temple of the Holy Spirit, where the Holy Spirit now dwells.

And on further step after this is Confirmation, the Holy Spirit comes to the person in full strength depending on their disposition. But Confirmation is a sacrament that in itself needs more explanation. But here also in Confirmation a person is referred to as receiving the Holy Spirit.

The reason Simon the sorcercer did not receive the Holy Spirit either before or after Baptism is that they were not wanting baptism for the right reason…they wanted the power of baptism for the wrong reasons. So that Baptism is not given even tho performed, if the person receiving it for some other intention. It is a sacrilege to do this…a misuse of God’s holy gift.

May divine mercy, peace, and love be yours in ever greater measure.

Scripture can be twisted and misunderstood because all the details of the situation at hand may not be recorded in such a way that we, 2000 years later, understand. I suggest you read the early church fathers. I did this recently and was astounded that those early Christians certainly believed that they were saved via baptism, as did all Christians for the first 1500 years.

I had a hard time with this at first because it seemed that Catholics were putting “God in a box” but now I see that God, in realizing the limitations of our human nature and knowing that our natures need something tangible as evidence, He graciously gave us the sacraments. At first I balked, but then someone pointed out that when Jesus gave the blind man his sight, He didn’t just declare, “You are healed” (which He certainly could have done!). He made a salve of mud and spit and His Spirit worked through those tangible elements to communicate grace (i.e., healing) to this man. In much the same way, the Spirit works through tangible elements (i.e., water, bread, wine, priest, etc.) to communicate His grace to us.

This, however, DOES NOT limit God to ONLY using those means, because, well, HE IS GOD! He can certainly work around those things to accomplish His will, and I believe He does many times, as in the case of unbaptized babies, forgiveness of sins by those who aren’t Catholic and therefore can’t go to confession with a priest, etc. He is not limited to only the sacraments, but the sacraments are the roadmap to Him provided by Him.

Sounds like salvation based on works… what about God’s grace? Do you limit His grace to those who are able to form sentences?

The Holy Spirit comes as an “outpouring” on believers at the moment of belief (John 3:5,16), not during baptism. Baptism occurs after receiving the Holy Spirit, as you correctly pointed out in your Scriputural example. :slight_smile:

What is baptism if not a sign of the New Covenant? And did the first covenant apply to infants?

But this is referring to Jesus’ baptism, not baptismal salvation (unless you want to imply that Jesus needed forgiveness of His sins through baptism, which is unbiblical). The Spirit descended on Jesus for “fulfilling all righteousness” & acknowledging the legitimacy of John’s baptism for repentance which was different from the baptism of the Spirit, that would define later Christian baptism.

Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. (John 3:5)

Jesus says nothing about baptism here. The “water” refers to the “pouring out” of the Spirit when a person becomes “born again” (Isaiah 44:3-5; Titus 3:5-7). Nothing about this says anything about baptism.

And Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38)

You really have read beyond this single verse, as well as read it in the original Greek. First, Peter isn’t saying repenting “along with baptism” forgives sins. In Greek, Peter is saying that repentance forgives, or “remisses” sins, and “then” a person gets baptized “because of” the forgiveness of those sins, based on the Greek word “for” which means “because of,” not “in order to receive.” If you keep reading, v.39 onwards show that only those who were “devoted” & “believed” were baptized. That’s because they “already” received the Holy Spirit, based on John 3:5.

And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. (1 Cor 6:11)

Again, nothing in this quote says anything about baptism. That is “read into” Scripture. It’s the same thing as Titus 3:5-7 that also doesn’t say anything about water baptism, but the “pouring out” & “washing” of the Holy Spirit, not water baptism.

Read my reply again:

Originally Posted by thetazlord View Post
The Ethiopian eunuch also asked “what prevents me from being baptized” & Philip’s reply was “if you believe in Jesus Christ, you may.” Same with Paul’s jailor. He asked the same question, & he received the same answer - belief first, then baptism - not together.

“Belief” is not a work. Belief comes first, and then a person is baptized. Nothing in these examples implies works-based salvation through baptism. Water baptism is something Christians do out of obedience after they are saved, not during. Scripture doesn’t support that.

What is baptism if not a sign of the New Covenant? And did the first covenant apply to infants?

The first covenant applied to MALE infants, not girls. Therefore, if you’re going to use that analogy, then why do you believe girls need to be baptized? Plus, the NT never gives even a single example of infants being baptized. Even the “whole households” that were baptized, Scripture makes it clear that everybody in those “households” who were baptized had the “ability” to believe, which would exclude infants. This is true in Acts, as well as in 1 Corinthians.

I have read the ECF’s, and they were not “unanimous” in water baptismal salvation. So, although many of the LATER ECF’s believed this, when you go back further in Church history, the unanimity of this belief didn’t exist. Many denied it, because it’s not supported by Scripture.

I had a hard time with this at first because it seemed that Catholics were putting “God in a box” but now I see that God, in realizing the limitations of our human nature and knowing that our natures need something tangible as evidence, He graciously gave us the sacraments. At first I balked, but then someone pointed out that when Jesus gave the blind man his sight, He didn’t just declare, “You are healed” (which He certainly could have done!). He made a salve of mud and spit and His Spirit worked through those tangible elements to communicate grace (i.e., healing) to this man. In much the same way, the Spirit works through tangible elements (i.e., water, bread, wine, priest, etc.) to communicate His grace to us.

The only “box” that God needs to be in is His Holy Word, which doesn’t support water baptismal salvation. That’s because Scripture is God-breathed. So, God cannot contradict Himself based on His Word, which doesn’t support it.

This, however, DOES NOT limit God to ONLY using those means, because, well, HE IS GOD! He can certainly work around those things to accomplish His will, and I believe He does many times, as in the case of unbaptized babies, forgiveness of sins by those who aren’t Catholic and therefore can’t go to confession with a priest, etc. He is not limited to only the sacraments, but the sacraments are the roadmap to Him provided by Him.

Again, although God is all-powerful, God can’t contradict Himself. And “if” the water in John 3:5 refers to the waters of baptism, then Jesus said “you MUST be born again (baptized in water).” If that interpretation is true, then Jesus is saying a person is “required” (Greek meaning of “must”) to be baptized in water or you CANNOT enter the kingdom of God (John 3:5). If this is what God means by “water” then God can’t contradict Himself & allow UNbaptized people into Heaven. Otherwise, He would contradict Himself & cease to be God.

That’s not my point. If water baptism is the means of salvation, and if Paul was “glad” he didn’t baptize any of them - regardless of the reason “why” he didn’t - then why is Paul “glad” that he prevented them from being saved & “entering the kingdom of God”? Why is he “glad” that if they died, they’d end up in Hell? You missed the point of my question.

In Matthew 28:19-20, Christ tells his disciples to go and make disciples of all nations. He tells how to do this, by baptizing first, then by teaching.

**Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” **

IOW, some will be baptized, then taught, while others may hear the word first, then be baptized. I see no reason to set scripture against itself.

Jon

In your own words, define “belief”. If one claims to “believe”, what would be the evidence of that belief?

I don’t care about the point of your question. I care that you again are not reading Scripture correctly.

Paul was glad that he personally baptized no one because then people couldn’t claim that they were something special because of who baptized them. It’s like a Catholic claiming that he had a better baptism because he was baptized by the Pope. God does the work in Baptism, not the person doing the Baptism. That’s Paul’s point.

The Scriptures speak of “accurately handling the word of God.” You really need to slow down, take a deep breath and spend some time with the Scriptures you claim to know so well.

-Tim-

So… let’s say a born again evangelical refuses to get baptized because he was baptized as a Catholic infant. Is that person “saved”? Or is he being disobedient?

The first covenant applied to MALE infants, not girls. Therefore, if you’re going to use that analogy, then why do you believe girls need to be baptized?

Because the New Covenant does not make distinctions based on ethnicity or gender. Besides, Scripture makes it clear that both males and females were baptized.

And Paul tells us that baptism has replaced circumcision.

In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism . . .
–Col. 2:11-12

Plus, the NT never gives even a single example of infants being baptized. Even the “whole households” that were baptized, Scripture makes it clear that everybody in those “households” who were baptized had the “ability” to believe, which would exclude infants. This is true in Acts, as well as in 1 Corinthians.

And yet, it also doesn’t say that infants weren’t baptized, does it? And it doesn’t say that toddlers weren’t baptized. What about teenagers? The elderly? (Nope, and nope).

Who in Lydia’s household engaged in “believer’s baptism” and what were their ages?

And when she and her household had been baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.
Acts 16:15

Who in Stephanas’s household engaged in “believer’s baptism” and what were their ages?

Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.
1 Corinthians 1:16

Oh, that’s right - it doesn’t say what their ages were… Looks like someone might be adding to the Word of God (looking at you thetazlord)…

Where is Jesus saying baptizing nations leads to salvation?

IOW, some will be baptized, then taught, while others may hear the word first, then be baptized. I see no reason to set scripture against itself.

Jon

Because the belief of John 3:5 is that a person receives the Holy Spirit DURING baptism, & it is baptism that allows someone to “enter the kingdom of God.” So, if “some will be baptized, then taught, while others may hear the word first, then be baptized,” that contradicts the “during” baptism interpreted in John 3:5. So, is the interpretation of John 3:5 or what you just said is, because they contradict each other?

Again, works is the “evidence” of one’s belief, not the MEANS of salvation. That’s James point, which compliments Paul’s point that we aren’t SAVED by works, but by grace through faith, & NOT of works, NOR of “yourselves” (Ephesians 2:8-9, cf. Romans 5:1).

I know you “don’t care about my point,” but my point is significant. If those people Paul didn’t baptized suddenly died without baptism, why would Paul be “glad” he didn’t baptize them. I understand he didn’t baptize them because they were incorrectly identifying themselves with a particular apostle like Cephas (Peter) - in much the same way Catholic “identify” themselves with Peter being the first pope. But that doesn’t change the fact that Paul was still “glad” he didn’t baptize them. So, if Paul was “glad” that he prevented them from the “means” of salvation & they died, how is that a “good” thing?

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.