Friday, July 24, 2009

The Second Blessing

“Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.....Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For as yet He had fallen on none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 8:5-6, 14-17)

If salvation or being spiritually reborn is the first blessing, the baptism of the Holy Spirit (different from water baptism) is the second. This is the outpouring of God’s Spirit upon the believer. Any individual that has asked Christ to be their Lord and Savior becomes a candidate for this outpouring.

Jesus told his disciples that, when he left them, the Lord would send to them the Holy Spirit, who would be with them forever. The Holy Spirit is a Person - the third Person of the Trinity. Any individual who has invited the Lord to be their Savior has the Holy Spirit living inside him or her. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is simply the release of the Holy Spirit’s power upon the believer for the purpose of empowering him or her to more effectively minister to others.

This infilling of the Spirit is freely given to the believer; it can not be earned, but must be asked for. In 1 Corinthians 12 and 14, Paul the apostle expounds on the wonderful gifts of the Spirit that work in the life of the believer who has received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. He mentions nine distinct gifts that are imparted to believer as the Holy Spirit wills. These gifts are: the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, the gift of faith, the gifts of healing, the gifts of miracles, prophecy, discernment, speaking in various tongues, and the interpretation of tongues.

We can never earn these special endowments of the Spirit. When we ask Jesus to baptize us in the Holy Spirit, he does this not on the basis of our performance, but on the basis of our faith in him. In Luke 11:9-13, Jesus tells us that God will give us the Holy Spirit if we ask him to.

With this precious outpouring of the Spirit comes a deeper intimacy with the Lord. With this second blessing comes greater power to be his witnesses and to heal the sick (see Acts 1:8). With this infilling, comes an increased sensitivity to the Spirit as well as a heightened ability to hear God’s voice and to see into the Spirit (visions and dreams – see Acts 2:17-18).

Dear Lord,

Let me hunger for more of your Spirit. Fill me to overflowing with your holy presence, so I can be a more effective laborer in your kingdom. In Christ's name I pray, Amen.

© Copyright 2008 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

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