“This much all Christians are agreed upon: Every true believer must be baptized by the Spirit into the body of Christ” [Billy Graham in his book The Holy Spirit].
The problem with many Christians is that it stops right there.
Baptism by the Spirit takes on many forms: second Spirit baptism is the empowerment of the Christian to live a life dedicated to Christ and dedicated to Christian service. It is a next level above Spirit baptism which signifies initiation into the church. Some feel that Spirit baptism means that a person should be open to the phenomenon called “speaking in tongues.” This is based on the Acts 2: 1-4, the first occurrence of speaking in tongues which occurred on the day of Pentecost. The apostles went out and shared the gospel with the crowds, speaking to them in their own languages: “We hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!”* Graham mentions the term Spirit-filling which means that the Spirit-filled Christian is literally filled with Christ to the point that he or she is abiding in Christ, walking in the light as He is the light, with the idea that the blood of Jesus Christ will cleanse and keep on cleansing them from all unrighteousness. Being controlled by Christ means not being controlled by a robot, but as one who is led and empowered by the Spirit.
To be honest, this is the stuff that divides good people. Some think their version of being baptized in the Spirit is “the” only way and other variations are all wrong.
But Graham says there is one thing that all of us should agree on, the most important thing: “All Christians are agreed that we should seek after holiness—without which no man shall see the Lord.”
That leads to the important question “How does this kind of life come?” It comes as we are filled with the Holy Spirit, “as He works in and through us as we are yielded to God and His will.” My pastor preached on the Holy Spirit in church today and admitted many barriers that we all have in our pursuit of the Holy Life. We should yield to God and yielding is just not in everyone’s DNA. I know on one hand that my life would be much better if I could listen to God’s Holy yearnings as they are manifest in me. Yet I have a stubborn streak, that I know better or to make other choices would lead to more fun. I believe God has my best interest in His heart but there is that lingering doubt, based on the idea that I have to have my independence. I think I can handle all the situations in my life, but the reality is, I cannot. There have been circumstances where I was too weak to handle the stress, too lacking in wisdom to choose the right direction, and too confused to act in a manner reflecting my beliefs. I needed something. I have to admit it: I needed God.
You see, I have a problem admitting my weaknesses and more than that, I have a hard time leaning on my Creator God.
I act like I don’t know that in my weakness, He will show His strength. When challenges come our way, this is a time to grow stronger and more dependent on God.
But it takes a humble man to be able to do that and humility it not second nature to many of us.
When we come to Christ and ask for salvation, we experience justification. Since I have had some experience with writing I always remember this by thinking about how margins are justified by a computer. They are made right, as words have to end and not continue off the side of the page. Like the words at the end of a line, we are “justified. It is the next step that is so hard because the next step is to be “sanctified.” We want to be “glorified” when our time is over on this earth and we have a chance to see God face to face, but to get there, we should attempt to lead a sanctified life.
We should seek after holiness.
“All Christians are agreed that we should seek after holiness—without which no man shall see the Lord.”
The time between justification and glorification is sanctification. We will never be able to be purely Holy as long as we are on this earth because we are human beings, but that does not mean we should not listen to the Holy Spirit and try to obey His instructions.
That means we should be filled with the Holy Spirit and let that Spirit lead us…
*Another definition used by “linguists” is the fluid vocalizing of speech-like syllables that lack any readily comprehended meaning, in some cases as part of religious practice in which it is believed to be a divine language unknown to the speaker.