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The relation between “regeneration and the baptism of the Holy Spirit”

 

Richard B. Gaffin insists the baptism of the Spirit takes place at regeneration.

When were all baptized with the Spirit? At a first glance the verse (1 Cor. 12:13) may not seem to address this question. But the answer is provided by the preposition into (eis). The experience of Holy Spirit baptism takes place for each member at the time of incorporation into the one body, at the time of saving inclusion within the covenant community, and not at some time subsequent to that saving incorporation. (Richard B. Gaffin, Perspectives on Pentecost, p.29.)
 
     Richard B. Gaffin teaches that the baptism with the Spirit takes place at the time of incorporation into the one body, that is, at the time of regeneration. This is quite erroneous because it is based on the mistranslation of the preposition “eis” in 1 Cor. 12:13. The terms “baptized with the Spirit” and “Holy Spirit baptism” fail to treat the Spirit as God the Spirit and a divine Person. It should read either, “baptized with/in the Spirit and with/in fire,” or “the baptism with/in the Spirit’s fire,” or “the baptism of the Holy Spirit.”

Charles C. Ryrie insists the baptism of the Spirit comes at the moment of regeneration.

Baptism is frequently identified with the filling of the Spirit. Sometimes the terms “baptism” and “filling” are confused, while at other times the same error is stated by asserting that the baptism does not come at the time of regeneration but a subsequent work of grace. Confusion is compound by the fact that great men like Torrey and Moody were unclear. Torrey taught that a person could or could not be baptized with the Spirit at the moment of regeneration. (Charles C. Ryrie, The Holy Spirit, p.75.)

     Charles C. Ryrie rejects the teaching that the baptism of the Spirit takes place subsequent to regeneration. This is quite erroneous since it is based on the misun- derstanding of the synonymous relation between the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the filling of the power of the Holy Spirit. If the “baptism” (Acts 1:5) cannot be identified with the “filling” (Acts 2:4), it is impossible to understand the relation between regeneration and the baptism of the Spirit and to construct the doctrine of the Spirit. Torrey taught that a person could or could not be baptized with the Spirit at the moment of regeneration, but this teaching is from the mistranslation and misinterpretation of Acts 10.

John F. MacArthur rejects Pentecostal theology on the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

In the present age, baptism by Christ through the agency of the Holy Spirit takes place for all believers at conversion. At that moment, every believer is placed into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13). The baptism with the Holy Spirit is not a special privilege for some believers, nor are believers challenged and exhorted in Scripture to seek it. It is not even their responsibility to prepare for it by praying, pleading, tarrying, or any other means. The passive voice of the verb translated “be baptized” indicates the baptism by Jesus Christ with the Spirit is entirely a divine activity. It comes, like salvation itself, through grace, not human effort. (John F. MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament commentary Acts 1-12, p.18.)

     All these notes are quite inaccurate because of (1) the mistranslation and misin- terpretation of 1 Cor. 12:13 and (2) misunderstanding of the relation between the regeneration and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The note, “baptism of the Holy Spirit takes place for all believers at conversion. At that moment, every believer is placed into the body of Christ,” is quite erroneous. The Bible confirms that the baptism of the Holy Spirit takes place because a believer is already in the body of Christ, i.e., the baptism takes place subsequent to conversion. The note, “The baptism with the Holy Spirit is not a special privilege for some believers, nor are believers challenged and exhorted in Scripture to seek it,” also is quite inaccurate. It must be said that the baptism of the Holy Spirit must be received by all believers and all believers exhorted in Scripture to seek it since it does not take place at conversion, i.e., regeneration. John F. MacArthur continues:  

Acts 2:4 is the charismatic touch stone, containing what many Pentecostals and charismatics view as the core truth of the New Testament: “They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.” Most charismatics believe this verse teaches that at conversion Christians receive the Holy Spirit only in a limited sense. Therefore, they believe, Christians need to seek Spirit baptism in order to move to a higher level of spiritual life, being supernaturally immersed in the power of God’s Spirit. The experience is usually–many say always–accompanied by speaking in tongues and results in new spiritual motivation and power. (John F. MacArthur, Charismatic Chaos, 209.)

     MacArthur’s claim, “Most charismatics believe this verse (Acts  2:4) teaches that at conversion Christians receive the Spirit only in a limited sense,” is quite unclear. It should be clearly stated that without exception true Christians receive the Holy Spirit at conversion and not in any limited sense. To receive Jesus is to receive the Holy Spirit. The note, “Therefore, they believe, Christians need to seek Spirit baptism in order to move to a higher level of spiritual life, being superna- turally immersed in the power of God’s Spirit,” is quite accurate except the term “Spirit baptism.” For example, the apostle Peter was a powerless Christian before he received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. At Pentecost he was transformed to completely different man. MacArthur wrote, “The experience is usually–many say always-accompanied by speaking in tongues.” 1 Cor. 12:29 says that all do not speak in tongues. It is more accurate to teach that the experience is usually, but not always, accompanied by speaking in tongues. John F. MacArthur continues:

The notion that one gets salvation at one point and the baptism of the Spirit later is often referred to as the doctrine of subsequence. Gordon Fee lists two Pentecostal distinctives: (1) the doctrine of subsequence, i.e., that there is for Christians a baptism in the Spirit distinct from and subsequent to the experience of salvation….and (2) the doctrine of tongues as the initial physical evidence of the baptism in the Spirit. (John F. MacArthur, Charismatic Chaos, Ibid., p.209-210.)

     The statement, “The notion that one gets salvation at one point and the baptism of the Spirit later is often referred to as the doctrine of subsequence,” is quite correct. The note, “the doctrine of subsequence, i.e., that there is for Christians a baptism in the Spirit distinct from and subsequent to the experience of salvation,” is also right, but “the doctrine of tongues as the initial physical evidence of the baptism in the Spirit” is quite erroneous. The experience of the baptism of the Spirit is usually accompanied by speaking in tongues but not always. MacArthur continues:

In his thorough investigation of Pentecostal theology, Frederick Dale Bruner wrote, “Pentecostals believe that the Spirit has baptized every believer into Christ (conver- sion), but that Christ has not baptized every believer into the Spirit (Pentecost).” Not only do most charismatics believe that the baptism of the Spirit happens at some point after salvation, but most also believe that Spirit baptism is something Christians must seek. (John F. MacArthur, Ibid., p.210.)

     “Pentecostals believe that the Spirit has baptized every believer into Christ (conversion), but that Christ has not baptized every believer into the Spirit (Pentecost).” This Pentecostal’s doctrine is thoroughly inaccurate. It is based on the mistranslation of 1 Cor. 12:13. It should be inferred that the Spirit has baptized every believer with/in fire in one body of Christ, that is, because they were already in Christ. There is no scripture to indicate Christ baptized every believer into the Spirit (Pentecost). It should be inferred that the Spirit sent by Christ baptized the 120 disciples with/in fire in one body of Christ. The Pentecostal theology (“the baptism of the Spirit happens at some point after salvation, and Spirit baptism is something Christians must seek”) is quite accurate except the term “Spirit baptism.” He should speak of “the Spirit’s baptism.” MacArthur continues:  

Charismatics attempt to support their doctrine of subsequence from the book of Acts. First Corinthians 12:13 (“For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit”) cannot be used to prove subsequence because the verse simply says that all believers have been baptized by one Spirit into the body of Christ. Indeed, it would seem clear that the baptism described in 1 Corinthians 12:13 cannot take place at a point in time after salvation. Otherwise, what Paul says could not be true of all Christians. (John F. MacArthur, Ibid., p.210.)

     The note, “First Corinthians 12:13 cannot be used to prove subsequence because the verse simply says that all believers have been baptized by one Spirit into the body of Christ,” is inaccurate since it is from the mistranslation of 1 Cor. 12:13. This verse must be translated, “By one Spirit we were all baptized in one body.” It must be inferred that by one Spirit we were all baptized in one body, i.e., believers were already in one body before being baptized by the Spirit. The words “we were….in one body” must be inferred to mean that to receive Jesus is to be in His body, and to be in Jesus is to be saved. The phrase, “By one Spirit we were all baptized in one body,” is the same as, “By one Spirit we were all baptized on having already been in one body, i.e., on having already been saved in one body of Jesus.” This fact confirms that the baptism of the Spirit takes place subsequent to salvation. There is no scriptural reference to indicate that the baptism of the Holy Spirit takes place at the moment of conversion. MacArthur continues:

The charismatic notion of subsequence leads to other errors. The belief that Spirit baptism is a second work of grace has become  a cardinal doctrine of  the charismatic movement. As we have seen, charismatic writers and teachers generally agree that “the baptism,” evidenced by speaking in tongues, is a crucial next step after salvation. Turning to the epistles yields quite a different view. For example, as 1 Corinthians 12:13 makes clear, Spirit baptism is actually an integral part of every Christian’s salvation experience. Paul wrote, “By one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.” (John F. MacArthur, Ibid., p.230-231.)

     MacArthur’s note is from the mistranslation and misinterpretation of 1 Cor. 12:13. MacArthur continues:

Like being baptized with the Spirit, being indwelt by the Spirit is virtually synonymous with conversion. (John F. MacArthur, Ibid., p.313.)

     MacArthur teaches that Christians are baptized with the Spirit at conversion, but this is unsupported by the Bible. Christians are not baptized with/in the Spirit at conversion but after conversion. His claim that being baptized with the Spirit is virtually synonymous with being indwelt by the Spirit is thoroughly inaccurate.

Daniel B. Wallace comments on 1 Cor. 12:13.

Some suggest that Spirit-baptism (1 Cor 12:13) is normally a post-conversion event (as on the day of Pentecost), but the double emphasis on “all,” coupled with the passive verbs, suggests that this took place at the point of conversion. The analogy with Pentecost fails, too, because the disciples did not fully realize nor apprehend the spiritual events of that day at the moment they occurred. (Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar beyond the Basics, p.440.)

     This note is quite erroneous since it is based on the mistranslation of 1 Cor. 12: 13. The 120 disciples were baptized with/in/by the Holy Spirit in one body of Jesus, i.e., these believers were already one body in Jesus! The record of the 120 disciples should be inferred to mean that it is the same as that of 1 Cor. 12:13. This passage describes a post-conversion event similar to the day of Pentecost.

Billy Graham comments on “regeneration and the baptism of the Holy Spirit.”

“For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body” (I Cor. 12:13). Two things stand out in that verse: first, the baptism with the Spirit is a collective operation of the Spirit; second, it includes every believer. All believers are baptized with the Holy Spirit. For example, some Christians hold that the Spirit’s baptism only comes at some time subsequent to conversion. The biblical truth, it seems to me, is that we are baptized into the body of Christ by the Spirit at conversion. This is the only Spirit baptism. (Billy Graham, The Holy Spirit, p.67,68,69.)

     The note says that “the Spirit’s baptism does not come at some time subsequent to conversion, but all believers are baptized with the Holy Spirit at conversion.” It is based on the mistranslation of 1 Cor. 12:13. The note, “Some Christians hold that the Spirit’s baptism only comes at some time subsequent to conversion,” is correct and biblically supported. It must be inferred that believers are baptized by the Spirit in the body of Christ after conversion. Billy Graham continues:

I used to wonder if I had been wrong in thinking that having been baptized by the Spirit into the body of Christ on the day of my conversion. I needed no more other baptism. But the longer I have studied the Scriptures the more I have become convinced that I was right. (Billy Graham, Ibid., p.70.)

     Billy Graham writes, “The longer I have studied the Scriptures the more I have become convinced that I was right.” He witnesses that he accepted all English versions regarding the Holy Spirit as authentic, and he did not discover the mistranslations regarding the Holy Spirit. Thus, his writing on the Holy Spirit is quite erroneous because it is based on the mistranslations of the Greek text including 1 Cor. 12:13. Billy Graham continues:

Since the baptism with the Spirit occurs at the time of regeneration, Christians are never told in Scripture to seek it. Thus, the purpose of the baptism with the Holy Spirit is to bring the new Christian into the body of Christ. No interval of time falls between regeneration and baptism with the Spirit. (Billy Graham, Ibid., p.79.)

     This note also is quite erroneous since it is based on the mistranslation of the Greek text. The note should be changed to read, “Since the baptism of the Spirit does not occur at the time of regeneration, Christians are told in Scripture to seek it. The purpose of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is not to bring the new Christian into the body of Christ but to receive the power of the Holy Spirit after being born again of the Holy Spirit.”

Harvest Rock Church notes “regeneration and the baptism of the Holy Spirit.”

Is the baptism in the Holy Spirit experience the same as conversion? Although the experience can happen at the time of conversion, it seems that the experience is distinct from conversion. Lk. 3:21-22, Jn. 20:22, Acts 2:38, 8:12-17,10:43 ff (1539 E. Howard St., Pasadena, Ca 91104, Harvest Rock Church, Senior pastor Che Ahn.)

     The note, “although the baptism in the Holy Spirit experience can happen at the time of conversion, it seems that the experience is distinct from conversion,” represents great ambiguity and confusion. The baptism of the Holy Spirit can by no means happen at the time of conversion, and there is no scriptural reference to indicate the experience of the baptism of the Holy Spirit can happen at the time of conversion. The note “the experience of the baptism is distinct from conversion” is right and biblical.  

John R. W. Stott comments on “regeneration and the baptism of the Holy Spirit.”

All Christians receive the Spirit at the very beginning of their Christian life. This truth is confirmed by the New Testament use of the expression ‘baptism of the Spirit’ as an equivalent to ‘gift of the Spirit,’ or rather of the verb (for the expression is always verbal) to ‘baptize’ or ‘be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ The very concept of ‘baptism’ is initiatory. Moreover, there can be no doubt that Cornelius’ baptism with the Spirit was initiation into Christ, his conversion. (John R. W. Stott, Baptism & Fullness, p.36-37.)

     This rule has been presented by Stott: “To receive Jesus is to receive the Holy Spirit; to receive the Holy Spirit is to be baptized with the Spirit; to be regenerated is to be baptized with the Spirit.” Stott applied this rule to the interpretation of all the Scriptures. “To receive Jesus is to receive the Holy Spirit” is right, but to receive the Holy Spirit is by no means the same as to be baptized with the Holy Spirit. To be regenerated is by no means to be baptized with the Spirit. (See the detailed discussion on the misinterpretation of the relation between “to receive the Spirit and the baptism of the Spirit.”)

John Stott continues:

When sinners repent and believe, Jesus not only takes away their sins but also baptizes them with his Spirit. Indeed, as Paul put it in dramatic terms to Titus, when God saves he not only ‘justifies’ us by his grace but also gives us a certain ‘washing’ or ‘bath.’ If, as is probable, this is a reference to water-baptism, then it indicates what water-baptism signifies. For Paul describes it by a remarkable, composite expression. It is a bath of ‘rebirth and renewal of (i.e. by) the Holy Spirit whom he abundantly poured out upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior’ (3:4-7). So the outpoured Spirit to regenerate and renew us is again seen to be part of our salvation. (John R. W. Stott, Baptism & Fullness,  p.26.)

     This note is from the mistranslation of Titus 3:6 (“whom he abundantly poured out upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior”). It must be “of whom he abundantly poured out upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior.” It can be asserted that God abundantly poured out of the Holy Spirit (of whom) upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. In Titus 3:6 the word “gift,” present in Acts 10:45, is omitted. Thus, it must be inferred that God abundantly poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. The words “the outpoured Spirit” in the note are from the mistranslation of Acts 2:17 and Titus 3:6. So to write “the outpoured Spirit to regenerate and renew us is again seen to be part of our salvation” makes no sense. The words, “the outpoured Spirit” should instead be, “the outpoured gift of the Spirit.” The note, “When sinners repent and believe, Jesus takes away their sins” is certainly correct, but to add, “Jesus not only takes away their sins but also baptizes them with his Spirit” is quite erroneous. There is no scriptural reference to indicate that Jesus baptizes with his Spirit when sinners repent and believe, that is, at the very moment of repenting and believing.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones comments on “regeneration and the baptism of the Spirit.”

A man cannot believe without the work of the Holy Spirit…It is the Holy Spirit who regenerates us, it is he who gives us new life. The Christian is a man who is born again. Yes, he is a man who is ‘born of the Spirit.’ In the preaching of John the Baptist, the baptism of the Holy Spirit is something that is done by the Lord Jesus Christ not by the Holy Spirit. ‘I indeed baptize you with water…he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’ This is not primarily some work of the Holy Spirit. It is the Lord Jesus Christ’s act. It is his action–something he does to us through the Spirit or his giving us, in this particular way, of the Spirit. Now here it seems to me is something that is there, plain and clear, on the very surface of this whole subject and yet people get confused over it, and quote 1 Corinthians 12:13 ‘For by one Spirit are we all baptized.’ Of course we are. Our being baptized into the body of Christ is the work of the Spirit, as regeneration is his work, but this is something entirely different; this is Christ baptizing us with the Holy Spirit. And I am suggesting that this is something which is therefore obviously distinct from and separate from becoming a Christian, being regenerated, having the Holy Spirit dwelling within you. I am putting it like this–you can be a child of God and yet not be baptized with the Holy Spirit.…What is established beyond any doubt is that one can be a believer without being baptized by the Holy Spirit. (Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Joy Unspeakable, p.22,23,31.)

     Lloyd-Jones insists that (1) the baptism of the Holy Spirit is the same as the baptism with the Holy Spirit spoken by John the Baptist, and (2) the baptism with the Holy Spirit/the baptism of the Holy Spirit is quite distinct from the baptism by the Spirit in 1 Cor. 12:13. He says that the baptism by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13) is the work of the Spirit, as regeneration is the Spirit’s work. His claim concludes that the baptism by the Holy Spirit in 1 Cor. 12:13 takes place at regeneration worked by the Holy Spirit. Lloyd-Jones also insists that one can be a child of God and yet not be baptized with the Holy Spirit. It can be found here that the baptism with the Holy Spirit takes place after regeneration. And he also insists: “What is established beyond any doubt is that one can be a believer without being baptized by the Holy Spirit.” He insists that the baptism by the Holy Spirit takes place after regeneration and the baptism with the Spirit also takes place after regeneration. Further, he insists that both baptisms are the same and also both are quite different, so Lloyd-Jones is in great confusion in his writing. The reason he is in great confusion is from the mistranslation and misunderstanding of the Greek preposition en in Luke 3:16, Matt. 3:11, Mark 1:8, John 1:33, Acts 1:5, 1 Cor. 12:13 and the Greek eis in 1 Cor. 12:13. Lloyd-Jones continues:  

In Acts 8 the Samaritans were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, then laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. These people were already true believers on the Lord Jesus Christ crucified as their Saviour. They had been baptized into his name because they had become believers, but still were not baptized with the Holy Spirit. (Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Ibid., p.28.)

     This statement argues that to receive the Holy Spirit is to be baptized with the Holy Spirit, but this is from the mistranslation of the Greek lambano in Acts 8:14-19. The note, “they had become believers, but still were not baptized with the Holy Spirit,” is correct. The Samaritans were baptized with/in the Holy Spirit subsequent to regeneration. Lloyd-Jones continues:

Ananias does not instruct Paul on the way of salvation. He is sent to heal him and to fill him with the Holy Spirit, to give him the baptism with the Holy Spirit. ‘And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.’ You can, you see, receive the Holy Spirit before you are baptized, or the other way round, it does not matter at all. (Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Ibid., p.29.)

     The note, “You can, you see, receive the Holy Spirit before you are baptized,” is quite erroneous. The experience of Paul (Acts 9) indicates otherwise. This is from the misunderstanding of the relation between “be filled with the Spirit” and “be baptized with the Spirit,” and “to receive the Spirit.” Lloyd-Jones continues:

It is possible for a man to be baptized with the Holy Spirit virtually simultaneous with his belief. Take care of Cornelius and his household. You remember that we are told in Acts 10 that as Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon them. There it seems that the baptism with Holy Spirit happened ‘as they were believing,’ ‘almost simultaneously.’…It is possible for a man to believe without receiving the Holy Spirit. ‘Did you receive the Holy Ghost when you believed’? (Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Ibid., p.30.)

     This note is from the mistranslation of the Greek verb lambano in Acts 10:47 and a misunderstanding of OT regeneration. According the record of OT standard, Cornelius and his household were already regenerated through faith in God before meeting Peter. On hearing the gospel presented by Peter they were baptized with/ in the Holy Spirit. The note, “It is possible for a man to believe without receiving the Holy Spirit. ‘Did you receive the Holy Ghost when you believed?’” is inaccurate and based on the mistranslation of the Greek lambano in every English version. To believe in Jesus is to receive Jesus, and to receive Jesus is to receive the Spirit. It is impossible for a man to believe without receiving the Spirit. “Did you receive the Holy Ghost when you believed?” is from the mistranslation of the Greek lambano in Acts 19:2. It should be translated, “Were you filled with the power of the Holy Ghost since you believed?” Lloyd-Jones continues:

The 12 disciples at Ephesus are true believers, children of God, but still they have not been baptized with the Holy Spirit, because we read in verse 6: ‘When Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.’ Now there is an absolute proof that you can be a true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and still not be baptized with the Holy Spirit; that incident proves it twice over. Twice over! The question at the beginning and what actually happened subsequently. The important point is that there is a difference, that there is a distinction between believing and being baptized with the Holy Spirit. All I am trying to establish is this–that you can be regenerated without being baptized with the Holy Spirit. (Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Ibid., p.31-32.)

     “The 12 disciples at Ephesus are true believers, children of God, but still they have not been baptized with the Holy Spirit.” This note is quite correct. Also the note, “The important point is that there is a difference, that there is a distinction between believing and being baptized with the Holy Spirit” is thoroughly biblical except the words “being baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Without a single exception, all the Scriptures in the OT and NT describe the purpose of the baptism of the Holy Spirit as to receive the power of the Holy Spirit and as taking place subsequent to believing. There is no scripture to indicate that the baptism of the Holy Spirit takes place at the moment of regeneration. Lloyd-Jones continues:

Now that writer in Galatians 3 identifies receiving the Spirit or being baptized with the Spirit with believing the gospel, with regeneration, with becoming a Christian, and he says this is the normal way; you believe and receive the Spirit by faith. So you must not say that the baptism with the Spirit is something which is different and distinct from belief and regeneration. (Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Ibid., p.37-38.)

     Lloyd-Jones here insists, “You must not say that the baptism with the Spirit is something which is different and distinct from belief and regeneration.” This means that the baptism with the Spirit is not different and distinct from belief and regeneration. And Lloyd-Jones also insists, “You can be a child of God and yet not be baptized with the Holy Spirit…What is established beyond any doubt is that one can be a believer without being baptized by the Holy Spirit…You can be regenerated without being baptized with the Holy Spirit.” This means that the baptism with the Spirit is different and distinct from belief and regeneration. Lloyd-Jones inconsistently concludes that the baptism with the Spirit is not different and distinct from belief and regeneration, and the baptism with the Spirit is different and distinct from belief and regeneration. So his statement affirms that he is in great confusion, inconsistent and contradictory.  

C. Peter Wagner comments on “regeneration and the baptism of the Spirit.”

Issues such as whether we are baptized or filled with the Spirit once or whether it occurs at conversion or subsequent to conversion, or whether there is initial physical evidence to certify that it has happened, are more important to some Christian leaders today than others. But the reason the issues are raised is a good one: We need to receive the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit in our lives and our ministries to the great extent possible in order to serve God well in our world. All will agree on this. (C. Peter Wagner, Acts of the Holy Spirit, Ventura: Regal Books, 2000, p.55.)

     There are many opinions on “Whether we are baptized or filled with the Spirit once or whether it occurs at conversion or subsequent to conversion and relation between ‘being baptized with the Spirit’ and ‘being filled with the Spirit.’” If these issues are not clear, it is impossible to receive the supernatural power of the Spirit in our lives and to serve God well in our world. Unfortunately, it is impossible to understand the issues since all English versions contain some key mistranslations of the Greek text. C. Peter Wagner continues:  

Acts 8:14-17 is a favorite text for those who teach that baptism in the Holy Spirit a second work of God’s grace subsequent to salvation. The Samaritans had been saved and baptized in water but had not as yet received the Holy Spirit. Through prayer and the laying on of hands, the Holy Spirit came upon them. Others disagree. The reason that this has become a continuing point of debate among committed Christians is that the Bible itself is not clear. (C. Peter Wagner, Ibid., p.172.)

     The note, “The Samaritans had been saved and baptized in water but had not as yet received the Holy Spirit,” is from the mistranslation of the Greek lambano in Acts 8:14-19. The claim, “The reason that this has become a continuing point of debate among committed Christians is that the Bible itself is not clear,” is thoroughly unscriptural. According to the present mistranslated Bible, it is right to say that the Bible itself is not clear. But the Greek text itself is clear if the Greek lambano in Acts 8:14-19 is translated as “to be filled with.” Wagner continues:

Passages such as this one encourage one point of view. Passages such as 1 Corin- thians 12:13, “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body…and have all been made to drink into one Spirit,” encourage the point of view that the baptism of the Holy Spirit occurs at conversion. Subsequent to conversion, many fillings with the Holy Spirit or special anointing, or whether, can occur. I have my personal point of view, but I am not interested here to attempt to prove that I am right and that others are wrong. Fortunately, we are all seeking the same thing, namely, the powerful energizing of the Holy Spirit for ministry. (C. Peter Wagner, Ibid., p.172.)

     The note (“Passages such as 1 Corinthians 12:13, ‘For by one Spirit we were all baptized into (eis) one body…encourage the point of view that the baptism of the Holy Spirit occurs at conversion’”) is quite erroneous. It is based upon the mistranslation of the Greek eis in this passage. It should be, “by one Spirit we were all baptized in (eis) one body.” It should be inferred that “by one Spirit we were all baptized on having been in (eis) one body,” that is, the baptism of the Spirit does not occur at conversion but subsequent to conversion. According to the note, “the baptism of the Spirit occurs at conversion. Subsequent to conversion, many fillings with the Spirit,” he does not accept that the baptism of the Spirit as synonymous with the filling of (the power of) the Spirit. If it is not accepted that both are the same, it is impossible to have a consistent doctrine of the Holy Spirit. The note, “Fortunately, we are all seeking the same thing, namely, the powerful energizing of the Spirit for ministry” is certainly correct, but if questions regarding “whether we are baptized or filled with the Spirit once, or whether it occurs at conversion or subsequent to conversion” are not answered by the Bible alone, it is impossible to receive the powerful energizing of the Spirit for ministry. Wagner continues:

Some, however, use this (Acts 10, Cornelius) as a proof text for a doctrine that born-again Christians should all expect to receive the Holy Spirit as a second blessing after the first blessing of salvation, and that the invariable initial physical evidence is speaking in tongues. This is usually called “baptism in the Holy Spirit.” (C. Peter Wagner, Ibid., p.464.)

     In the note, C. Peter Wagner accepts that “to receive the Holy Spirit” is the same as the baptism in the Holy Spirit. But it is quite erroneous since it is based upon the mistranslation of the Greek lambano in Acts 10:47. Wagner continues:

Others, and I find myself part of this group, believe that Holy Spirit baptism ordinarily takes place as a part of conversion because Paul says, “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body” (1 Cor. 12:13). We prefer to call subsequent experience “fillings of the Holy Spirit.” (C. Peter Wagner, Ibid., p.464.)

     Here, the terminology “Holy Spirit baptism or fillings of the Holy Spirit” is quite erroneous since “Holy Spirit baptism” is quite different from “the Holy Spirit’s baptism.” In the terminology “Holy Spirit baptism,” the Holy Spirit is not honored as God the Holy Spirit and a divine Person but spoken of as an element like water in water baptism. Through the record of 1 Cor. 12:13, C. Peter Wagner insists that Holy Spirit baptism ordinarily takes place as a part of conversion, but this is thoroughly inaccurate. It is based upon the mistranslation of the Greek eis in 1 Cor. 12:13. It should be translated, “by one Spirit we were all baptized in one body.” The Holy Spirit’s baptism does not take place as a part of conversion, but takes place in the body of Christ, that is, on having already been in the one body and therefore, subsequent to conversion. There is no scriptural reference to indicate the Holy Spirit’s baptism ordinarily takes place as a part of conversion.

What does the Bible say about the regeneration of Old Testament days?

Is. 43:11-12  I, even I, am the Lord, and besides Me there is no savior. I have declared and saved, I have proclaimed, and there was no foreign god among you; Therefore you are My witnesses, “Says the Lord, that I am God.” (NKJ)
Joel 2:32       And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (NKJ)
Acts 2:21      And it shall come to pass the whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (NKJ)

     In OT days if individuals trusted in God as Savior and Lord, they were saved. The Bible confirms that whoever calls on the name of the Lord God shall be saved (Joel 2:32; Acts 2:21). The OT regeneration was not basically different from that of the NT. All believers in the days of OT received God as Savior and Lord and expected the Messiah to come. In the days of NT, all believers recognized Jesus as the Christ, the only Son of God sent by God, and the Lamb of God who takes away sin. The strict rule of regeneration can be set up as follows: to believe in God with the expectation of Messiah was to be regenerated in OT days. To believe in Jesus Christ sent by God the Father is to be regenerated in NT days. To believe in God and Jesus Christ is to receive God and Jesus Christ, and to receive God and Jesus is to receive the Holy Spirit. These strict rules of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit and regeneration must be, without a single exception, applied to all believers at all times. 
 

What does the Bible say about the regeneration of New Testament days?

Acts 2:21    And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved (Joel 2:32). (NKJ)
Acts 4:12    Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. (NKJ)
Acts 16:31  they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (NKJ)

     The texts confirm that if anyone believes in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, he is saved. The 120 disciples of Jesus Christ believed in Jesus as Savior and Lord before Pentecost, so they were regenerated and saved before they were baptized with/in the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. They were not baptized with/in the Spirit at the moment of regeneration but after regeneration.

Mark 16:16  He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. (NKJ)  

     The text affirms that anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. The Samaritans believed in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord through Philip’s preaching. They were baptized with/in water by Philip in the name of the Lord Jesus, so they were already regenerated and saved before they met Peter and John, and before being filled with (lambano) the power of the Spirit, i.e., before being baptized with/in the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands. The Samaritan believers were by no means baptized with/in the Holy Spirit at regeneration.
 

Jesus Christ confirms that the 120 disciples were already regenerated before Pentecost.

John 13:10-11  Jesus answered, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean. (NIV)
John 15:3    You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. (NIV)

     Jesus said, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean, and you are already clean.” The disciples of Jesus were regenerated and saved before being baptized with/in the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Billy Graham insists, “I do not personally find anything in Scripture which indicates there must be some later ‘baptism of the Holy Spirit’ into our lives after conversion.” (Billy Graham, The Holy Spirit, p.120.)
Although Graham may not find it, his conclusion is quite inaccurate. The Scriptures mentioned above affirm that the 120 disciples of Jesus were already converted, but they did not receive the baptism of the Spirit until Pentecost. There is no scriptural reference to indicate that believers are baptized with/in the Holy Spirit at conversion/regeneration.

If anyone’s name is written in the Book of life, he is regenerated and saved.

Luke 10:17-20  The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (NIV)

     If anyone’s name is recorded in heaven, he is already regenerated and saved. The phrase, “Your names are written in heaven,” testifies that the disciples of Jesus were already regenerated. They were saved before being baptized with/in/by the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. This passage confirms that the baptism of the Spirit takes place subsequent to conversion. Rev. 13:8, 20:15, 21:27, Phil.3:20, 4:3, Ex. 32:32, Dan. 12:1 and Mal. 3:16 affirm that if anyone’s name is written in the book of life, he is regenerated and saved. Through the Scriptures it can be concluded that all OT and NT believers were regenerated through their faith. The 120 disciples were already regenerated before being baptized with/in the Spirit at Pentecost.  

Rene Pache comments on the 120’s regeneration and the baptism of the Spirit.

The nature of the Holy Spirit’s baptism. Our definition will be drawn from the most lucid text which the New Testament contains on this subject (I Cor. 12:13). “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks whether bond or free; and were all made to drink of one Spirit.” From this we can infer that the Spirit’s baptism is the act whereby God makes us members of Christ’s Body. (Rene Pache, The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit, p.71.)

     The note says that the Holy Spirit’s baptism is the act whereby God makes us members of Christ’s Body. Unfortunately, most scholars accept this argument as the truth written in 1 Cor. 12:13, but this is thoroughly inaccurate and based on the mistranslation and misunderstanding of 1 Cor. 12:13. Pache applied his doctrine based on the understanding of 1 Cor. 12:13 to the case of the 120 disciples of Jesus. Rene Pache continues:

According to Acts 1:5 the company of one hundred and twenty were baptized with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost and became members of the body of Christ created on that day by the Spirit. The Gentiles, in Cornelius’ house were also baptized with the Spirit at the very moment in which they became through faith members of that same Body (Acts 11:15-16). (Rene Pache, Ibid., p.72.)
 
     Pache insists that the 120 who were baptized with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost became members of the body of Christ created by the Spirit on the day of Pentecost. This is thoroughly inaccurate because they were already members of the body of Christ through faith in Christ before that day. The note, “The Gentiles, in Cornelius’ house were also baptized with the Spirit at the very moment in which they became through faith members of that same body,” also is thoroughly inaccurate since these Gentiles in Cornelius’ house were already faith members of the body of believers before they were baptized with/in the Spirit.  
     They lived in the days of transition from OT to NT. Thus, Pache’s note is incorrect, and is affirmed that the interpretation of 1 Cor. 12:13 is erroneous. Without a single exception, all scholars have accepted the mistranslation of 1 Cor. 12:13 in all English versions as correct. Consequently, this mistranslation makes the doctrine of the Holy Spirit contradictory. Rene Pache continues:

At what stage do we receive the baptism of the Spirit? Since the Spirit’s baptism makes us members of the Body of Christ, there can be no doubt that we receive it when we turn to Savior and accept Him. The baptism of the Spirit and regeneration are, therefore, effected simultaneously. What are the results of the Spirit’s baptism? It makes us members of the body of Christ (I Cor.12:13) as has been already explained. (Rene Pache, Ibid., p.73,75.)

     The note is by no means correct because it came from the mistranslation of 1 Cor. 12:13. The Spirit’s baptism does not make us members of the body of Christ. And the baptism of the Spirit and regeneration are not achieved simultaneously. There is no scriptural reference to indicate the Spirit’s baptism makes us members of the body of Christ.

R. A. Torrey comments on regeneration and the baptism of the Spirit.

It is evident that the baptism with the Holy Spirit is an operation of the Holy Spirit distinct from and additional His regenerating work. This is evident from Acts 1:5: For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. It is clear that at that time the disciples had not as yet been baptized with the Holy Ghost, that they would be thus baptized not many days hence. But the men to whom Jesus spoke these words were already regenerate men. (R. A. Torrey, The Person & Work of the Holy Spirit, p.149.)

     Torrey insists, “It is evident that the baptism with the Holy Spirit is an operation of the Holy Spirit distinct from and additional His regenerating work. This is evident from Acts 1:5. The disciples were already regenerate men.” This implies that the 120 disciples of Jesus were not baptized with the Holy Spirit at the moment of regeneration. In conclusion, Torrey insists that the baptism of the Holy Spirit did not take place at the moment of regeneration. This is thoroughly biblical since the Bible says so.

Chuck Smith comments on regeneration and the baptism of the Spirit.

The Bible teaches that the baptism with the Holy Spirit is separate and distinct from regeneration. It is one thing to be born of the Spirit; it is yet another to be baptized with the Holy Spirit. Several passages confirm this to us. (Chuck Smith, Living Water, p.259.)

     Chuck Smith says, “the baptism with the Holy Spirit occurs subsequent to regeneration.” This is correct according to the Scripture. Chuck Smith continues:

In John 20:22, Jesus breathed and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit,” the obvious meaning is that they received the Holy Spirit at that point–the Holy Spirit began to indwell them. The promise in Acts 1:4,5 was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost. That means the baptism with the Holy Spirit occurred some after the disciples’ conversion, and subsequent to their receiving the Holy Spirit as an indwelling presence. The moment you accepted Jesus as the Lord of you life, the Holy Spirit came into you and began to indwell you. Although these believers in Acts 8 had been baptized in the name of Jesus, they had not yet received the gift of the Holy Spirit. When Peter and John laid their hands on them and prayed for them, they received the Holy Spirit. Receiving the Spirit is like believing in Jesus Christ for salvation. The phrase “filled with the Holy Spirit” in Acts sees to be used interchangeably with the phrase “baptism of the Holy Spirit.” The receiving of the Holy Spirit is subsequent to believing; one can believe without receiving this filling or baptism of the Holy Spirit. However the phrase should be translated into English it has the same affect. This baptism or infilling with the Spirit occurs subsequent to believing. (Chuck Smith, Living Water,Ibid., p.260,262,264,272,297.)

     Chuck Smith says, “This baptism or infilling with the Spirit occurs subsequent to believing, and the receiving of the Holy Spirit is subsequent to believing.” According to this note, Smith insists that baptism with the Holy Spirit is the same as the receiving of the Holy Spirit, that is, to be baptized with the Holy Spirit is to receive the Holy Spirit. In his interpretation of John 20:22, Smith insists that the disciples of Jesus received the Holy Spirit on the night of resurrection.
     If they received the Holy Spirit on the night of resurrection of Jesus, then according to Chuck Smith, they received the baptism with the Holy Spirit on that night because he insists that to be baptized with the Holy Spirit is to receive the Holy Spirit. In his note he also insists that the promise in Acts 1:4,5, that is, the baptism with the Holy Spirit was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost. Then, according to these notes, the 120 disciples of Jesus were baptized with the Holy Spirit on the night of resurrection and on the day of Pentecost two times. Here, it is confirmed that Chuck Smith himself is in great confusion. The note, “Receiving the Spirit is like believing in Jesus Christ,” can be summarized as, “to receive the Spirit is to believe in Jesus Christ.” This would mean that to receive the Spirit, i.e., to receive the baptism with the Spirit, occurs at the moment of the believing in Jesus Christ. In the note also he insists that the receiving of the Holy Spirit is subsequent to believing.
     Here, the note “to receive the baptism with the Spirit occurs at the moment of the believing in Jesus Christ” is quite different from the note “the receiving of the Holy Spirit, that is, the baptism with the Holy Spirit is subsequent to believing.” It again is confirmed that Chuck Smith himself is in great confusion. The reason Chuck Smith himself is in great confusion is from that he mistakenly accepted the translation of the Greek lambano (“receive the Holy Spirit”) in John 20:22, Acts 8:14-19, 10:47, 19:2 and Gal. 3:2 as authentic.

Merrill F. Unger comments on regeneration and the baptism of the Spirit.

Now, in the normal course of the age, all believers are so united to Christ the moment they believe on Christ as Savior. “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body” (1 Co 12:13). (Merrill F. Unger, The Baptism & Gifts of the Holy Spirit, p.56.)

     The note, “all believers are so united to Christ the moment they believe on Christ as Savior,” is thoroughly biblical. Likewise, OT believers were united to God the moment they trusted God as Savior. Without exception, this doctrine must be applied to every believer in both the OT and the NT. 1 Cor. 12:13 does not indicate that all believers are so united to Christ the moment they believe on Christ as Savior. Merrill F. Unger continues:

Old Testament saints were regenerated by faith, as were Abraham and David (Ro 4:1-25) and the disciples of Jesus before Pentecost (Lk 10:20). This does not mean, however, that what happened to Jesus’ disciples at Pentecost was something in addition to salvation, a sort of second work of grace. They received the common salvation of the new era, purchased by Christ on the cross, attested by Christ’s glorious resurrection, and mediated by the outpoured gift of the Spirit consequent upon Christ’s ascension to heaven. The experience of Jesus’ disciples at Pentecost cannot be used as a norm for today. (Merrill F. Unger, Ibid., p.64.)
 
     “OT saints were regenerated by faith, as were Abraham and David and the disciples of Jesus before Pentecost,” is right. The 3,000 believers in Acts 2, and Cornelius and his family in Acts 10 were already part of the family of OT saints regenerated and saved by faith before hearing Peter’s message of the gospel of Jesus. But the note, “This does not mean that what happened to Jesus’ disciples at Pentecost was something in addition to salvation, a sort of second work of grace,” is quite incorrect because what happened to Jesus’ disciples at Pentecost was exactly that, i.e., something in addition to salvation. The baptism of the Holy Spirit came in addition to salvation, a sort of second work of grace. The note, “They received the common salvation of the new era after resurrection and the receiving of the outpoured gift of the Spirit consequent upon Christ’s ascension to heaven,” also is incorrect. They had already received the common salvation of the new era through faith in Christ before Pentecost. The note, “The experience of Jesus’ disciples at Pentecost cannot be used as a norm for today,” is definitely incorrect. It must be inferred that the experience of Jesus’ disciples at Pentecost should surely be the norm for today’s disciples. They were baptized with/in the Holy Spirit subsequent to conversion and salvation. There is no scriptural reference to indicate the experience of Jesus’ disciples at Pentecost cannot be the norm for today’s Church. Merrill F. Unger continues:  

How precarious then for present-day charismatic Christianity to insist that because pre-Pentecostal saints were born again, therefore, what happened to them at Pentecost was something in addition to salvation. Pentecost was the bestowal of the Holy Spirit as the gift of God. (Merrill F. Unger, Ibid., p.65,67.)
 
     “Present-day charismatic Christians insist that because pre-Pentecostal saints were born again, therefore, what happened to them at Pentecost was something in addition to salvation.” This is not only true of what charismatics say, but also true according to the Word of God. It should be accepted as a biblical doctrine of the Holy Spirit and as a norm for today. The note, “Pentecost was the bestowal of the Holy Spirit as the gift of God,” is incorrect and unbiblical. Pentecost was not the bestowal of the Holy Spirit as the gift of God, but instead it was the bestowal of the power of the Holy Spirit and the gift of tongues of the Holy Spirit, that is, the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The baptism of the Holy Spirit, i.e., the fullness of the power of the Holy Spirit came after regeneration and salvation and for the service and witness of Jesus Christ. This doctrine is confirmed by Acts 1:5,8 and 2:1-4. Merrill F. Unger continues:

The 120 disciples at Pentecost consequently received the Spirit and the great salvation. They received the Spirit, which means they were saved, as the Gentiles were when they received the Holy Spirit at Caesarea in the home of Cornelius (Ac 11:14). (Merrill F. Unger, Ibid., p.69,78.)

     This note is thoroughly inaccurate because the 120 disciples at Pentecost did not receive the Spirit and the great salvation. John 14:16-17 and Romans 8:8-16 confirm that they had already received the Holy Spirit and salvation before Pentecost. The note, “the Gentiles were saved when they received the Holy Spirit at Caesarea in the home of Cornelius,” is quite incorrect. It is based on the mistranslation of the Greek verb lambano in Acts 10:47.
 

John R. W. Stott on the 120’s and the 3,000’s regeneration and the baptism of the Spirit

In Old Testament days, although all believers were indeed regenerated, the Holy Spirit came upon special people for special ministries at special times. (John R. W. Stott, Baptism & Fullness, p.27.)

     Stott’s note, “In OT days, all believers were indeed regenerated,” is a correct interpretation. As a result a strict doctrine can be built: “to receive God as God the Father and Savior is to be regenerated.” This doctrine must be applied to all OT believers as well as those in the period of transition of the OT/NT such as John the Baptist. John R. W. Stott continues:

The Day of Pentecost. And this is what happened! The three thousand of those who heard the word that day repented, believed and were baptized with water. And although we are not specifically told that they received the remission of sins and the gift of the Spirit, yet the strong presumption is that they did. This is not a precarious argument from silence. It is based on the unequivocal promise of the apostle Peter that they would receive these gifts if they repented, believed and were baptized. We are told that they were baptized (verse 41), having received his word (i.e. with penitent faith). Since they thus fulfilled the conditions, and God must have fulfilled his promise. This means that, according to the second chapter of Acts, two separate companies of people received the baptism or gift of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost the 120 at the beginning of the chapter, and the 3,000 at the end. (John R. W. Stott, Ibid., p.28.)

     This note is inaccurate. John R. W. Stott himself said although we are not specifically told that the three thousand received the remission of sins and the gift of the Spirit, yet the strong presumption is that they did. To use “strong presumption” to insist that the 3,000 received the baptism or gift of the Spirit at Pentecost makes no sense at all. Billy Graham accepted John Stott’s notes mentioned above as biblical truth in his writing on the Holy Spirit. (Billy Graham, The Holy Spirit, p.72-73.)
Through the record of Acts 2:38-41, it is impossible to insist that the 3,000 people received the baptism of the Spirit on that day. Nowhere in the book of Acts is there a passage to support this “strong presumption.” John R. W. Stott continues:

Nevertheless, there was this difference between them: the 120 were regenerated already, and received the baptism of the Spirit only after waiting upon God for ten days. The 3,000 on the other hand were unbelievers, and received the forgiveness to save themselves from this corrupt generation of their sins and the gift of the Spirit simultaneously and it happened immediately they repented and believed, without any need to wait. This distinction between the two companies, the 120 and the 3,000 is of great importance, because the norm for today must surely be the second group, the 3,000, and not (as is often supposed) the first. (John R. W. Stott, p.28-29.)

     The note, “the 120 were already regenerated, and received the baptism of the Spirit only after waiting upon God for ten days,” is right according to the Bible. But the note, “the 3,000 on the other hand were unbelievers, and received the forgiveness of their sins and the gift of the Spirit simultaneously,” makes no sense at all for the following reasons:

John R. W. Stott insists that the 3,000 in Acts 2:41 were unbelievers before Pentecost.

Acts 2:4     All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. (NIV)
Acts 2:5     Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. (NIV)
NKJ           And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.
Acts 8:2     And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. (NKJ)
Acts 2:6     And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. (NKJ)
Acts 2:14   Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words.” (NKJ)
Acts 2:21,23 And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. You have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; (NKJ)
Acts 2:32-33 This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. There fore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. (NKJ)
Acts 2:36    Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ. (NKJ)
Acts 2:37    Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (NKJ)
Acts 2:38    Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be bap- tized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (NKJ)
Acts 2:39-41 “For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. (NKJ)

     If these passages are not understood, it is impossible to interpret the relation between the regeneration of the 3,000 people and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. In Acts 2:5 the words “Jews, devout men” (NKJ) and “God-fearing Jews” (NIV) is used of the same as in the case of Simeon (Luke 2:25), Stephen (Acts 8:2) and Cornelius (Acts 10:2). In Acts 2:14 Peter said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words.” These “Jews, devout men and God-fearing Jews” who were staying in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost were believers and sons of God. They believed in the God of the OT. Thus, it is affirmed that the argument “the 3,000 were unbelievers” is thoroughly inaccurate. According to Peter’s preaching, “Be saved from this perverse generation,” it seems the 3,000 were not yet saved before Pentecost. By the term “this perverse (corrupt) generation,” Peter points out the fact that the Jews did not accept Jesus as Lord and Christ sent by God. Since they killed Him, they were surely a corrupt generation. Though they believed in the God of the OT and were saved accordingly, Peter insisted that if they do not accept Jesus as Christ/Messiah sent by God, they would lose that salvation which had already been acquired through their OT faith in God. They would not be saved. In Acts  2:36 Peter preached, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” They accepted Peter’s preaching, and Acts 2:37 says, “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” This implies that they knew they were evildoers before God, convicted by Peter’s preaching.
     Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” What does the term “repent” mean here? If it is not properly understood, it becomes impossible to interpret Acts 2:38. Acts 2:36 says they had failed to accept Jesus sent by their God as Lord and Christ. They crucified Him. The non-acceptance of Jesus as Lord and Christ, and the crucifying of Him were great sins before God. The “men of Judea and many who dwell in Jerusalem” (Acts 2:14) had committed these great sins before the day of Pentecost. Thus, they had be- come a corrupt generation before God. So Peter said, “Be saved from this perverse generation” (NKJ). Those who had already believed in God were to repent of their sins to save themselves from that corrupt generation. The term “repent” implies specially that they were to repent their sins of rejection and crucifixion of Jesus who was sent by God. Acts 2:21 says, “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” According to Peter, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem,” including the 3,000 people, had not yet called on the name of the Lord Christ sent by God before preaching of Peter. Even though they had already called on the name of the Lord God before Pentecost and were already saved through faith in the God of the OT, they had yet to accept Jesus as the Christ/Messiah sent by God. Thus, they were to accept and call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ/Messiah sent by God to save themselves from their corrupt generation.
     The Bible affirms again that Stott’s argument “the 3,000 were unbelievers” is thoroughly inaccurate. It is from the misinterpretation of the verses mentioned above. Stott insists that in OT days, all believers were indeed regenerated, as noted above. Though this note is indeed correct, he made a great mistake because he did not apply it to the case of the 3,000 believers in Acts 2. It must be understood that they were transition believers, in that period from OT days to NT days just like Cornelius and his family (Acts 10), and the 12 disciples at Ephesus (Acts 19). Using the case of the 3,000, Stott mistakenly constructed a doctrine of the Holy Spirit, but nowhere in the Bible is there a passage to support a doctrine of the Holy Spirit that he says, “The baptism of the Holy Spirit takes place at the moment of regeneration.” John R. W. Stott continues:
 
The fact that the experience of the 120 was in two distinct stages was due simply to historical circumstances. They could not have received the Pentecostal gift before Pentecost. But those historical circumstances have long since ceased to exist. We live after the event of Pentecost, like the 3,000. With us, therefore, as with them, the forgiveness of sins and gift or baptism of the Spirit are received together. (John R. W. Stott, Baptism & Fullness, p.29.)

     All these notes are quite erroneous. Stott himself witnesses: “although we are not specifically told that the 3,000 received the remission of sins and the gift of the Spirit simultaneously, yet the strong presumption is that they did.” His note is virtually derived from his own strong presumption. With a strong assumption and without a scriptural reference, it is impossible to advance the doctrine saying, “the forgiveness of sins and gift or baptism of the Spirit is received together.” There are no scriptural references to indicate that the gift or baptism of the Spirit takes place at the time of the forgiveness of sins. The note, “this distinction between the two companies, the 120 and the 3,000 is of great importance, because the norm for today must surely be the second group, the 3,000, and not (as is often supposed) the first,” is virtually inaccurate and thoroughly unscriptural. The case of the 3,000 can by no means be inferred to mean that the forgiveness of sins and the gift or the baptism of the Spirit is received simultaneously. John R. W. Stott continues:

as many as the 3,000 were simultaneously convicted of sin, born again and welcomed into the Christian community. (John R. W. Stott, p.30.)

     In the note, “the 3,000 were simultaneously convicted of sin, born again” is a misinterpretation. They were already born again, that is, regenerated and “devout” through faith in the God of the OT before they met Peter on the day of Pentecost. In the note, “the 3,000 were welcomed into the Christian community” is correct. Until they accepted Jesus as Christ/Messiah sent by God they did not belong to the Christian community. As a result of meeting Peter at Pentecost they accepted Jesus as Christ/Messiah, so they were welcomed into the Christian community.

What does the Bible say about the Samaritan regeneration and the baptism of the Spirit?

     If the regeneration and the baptism of the Holy Spirit of the 120 disciples, the 3,000, Saul (Paul), Cornelius, the 12 disciples at Ephesus, and the baptism in 1 Cor. 12:13 are not understood, it is virtually impossible to build the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Without a single exception, every scholar and pastor and teacher has accepted the mistranslation of the Greek lambano in John 7:39, 20:22, Acts 8:14-19, 10:47, 19:2 and Gal. 3:2 as authentic.
     Acts 8:14 says that when the Samaritans believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. They received Jesus Christ sent by God as Savior and Lord. The doctrine “to receive Christ is to be regenerated” should be applied to the Samaritans. Here, it must be inferred that they were obviously regenerated when they received Christ through Philip’s preaching and being baptized with/in water in the name of Christ. According to the literal description of Acts 8, the doctrine “to receive Christ is to receive the Holy Spirit” obviously was not applied to the case of the Samaritans. Thus, many scholars, including John Stott, insist “as we study them carefully, we shall not fail to observe that there is something unusual, something irregular, about some situations.” According to John Stott’s comment it seems correct to say that the Samaritan incident was clearly abnormal.
     All non-Pentecostals accept Stott’s interpretation as biblical truth. If we accept Stott’s interpretation of Acts 8:14-19, Stott’s argument appears to be correct, but it is not. It is based on the mistranslation of the Greek verb lambano in these verses. Without a single exception, all scholars, all pastors and all teachers, including Pentecostals and non-Pentecostals, accept the mistranslation of “lambano” as correct.  This verb lambano must not be translated as “receive” but “to be filled with,” as already noted. Thus, “to receive the Holy Spirit” in Acts 8:15,17,19 must be translated, “to be filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit.”
     The doctrine, “To be baptized with/in the Holy Spirit is synonymous with to be filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit,” must be applied to Acts 8:15,17,19. In conclusion, it should be observed that even though the Samaritans were already regenerated through Philip’s ministry, they were not yet filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit, that is, not yet baptized with/in the Holy Spirit. Thus, we read that when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that the Samaritans had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. When they came, they prayed for them that they might be filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit. As a result they were filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit, that is, baptized with/in the Holy Spirit through placing of the two apostles’ hands on them. They were already regenerated through Philip’s ministry before receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The baptism of the Holy Spirit of the Samaritan believers did not take place at the time of regeneration. The same is true of the 120 believers. Thus, Acts 8 confirms that Graham’s statement, “No interval of time falls between regeneration and baptism with the Spirit,” comes from the mistranslation and misinterpretation.
     John Stott insists: “As we study them carefully, we shall not fail to observe that there is something unusual, something irregular, about situations.” His note “the Samaritan incident was so clearly abnormal” is from the mistranslation and mis- interpretation of the verb lambano. John R. W. Stott insists:

Because this Samaritan incident was so clearly abnormal, it is difficult to see how most Pentecost and some charismatic Christians can regard it as constituting a norm for spiritual experience today, namely the Holy Spirit is given subsequently to conversion. (John R. W. Stott, Baptism & Fullness, p.33.)

     John Stott’s note is also based on the mistranslation and misinterpretation. The truth is, because this Samaritan incident was so clearly normal, it is easy to see “most Pentecostal and some charismatic Christians (even though they accepted the mistranslation) regard it as constituting a norm for spiritual experience today.” Acts 8 affirms the baptism of the Holy Spirit took place subsequent to conversion.

Billy Graham comments on the Samaritan believers’ baptism of the Holy Spirit.

For example, some Christians hold that the Spirit’s baptism only comes at some time subsequent to conversion. The biblical truth, it seems to me, is that we are baptized into the body of Christ by the Spirit at conversion. This is the only Spirit baptism. The moment we received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior we received the Holy Spirit. As we compare Scripture with Scripture, we immediately discover one extraordinary feature in Acts 8:17...the situation in Samaria as recounted in Acts 8 was unique and does not fit with other passages of Scripture as we compare Scripture with Scripture. (Billy Graham, The Holy Spirit, p.69,75,79.)

     Graham insists: “the Spirit’s baptism comes at conversion, and the moment we received Jesus Christ we received the Holy Spirit. But the Samaritans did not re-  ceive the Holy Spirit at conversion, that is, they did not receive the Spirit’s baptism at the moment of regeneration. Thus the situation in Samaria in Acts 8 was unique and extraordinary does not fit with other passages of Scripture.” This note is quite erroneous. It is based on the mistranslation of the Greek lambano in Acts 8:15-19. Billy Graham comments, “some Christians hold that the Spirit’s baptism only comes at some time subsequent to conversion. The biblical truth, it seems to me, is that we are baptized into the body of Christ by the Spirit at conversion.” Again Billy Graham’s error comes from the mistranslation of 1 Cor. 12:13. Acts 8 confirms that the Spirit’s baptism comes at some time subsequent to conversion.

Donald T. Williams comments on the Samaritan believers.

One such passage occurs in Acts 8:14-17. Having heard that a group of Samaritans had “received the word of God,” the apostles in Jerusalem sent Peter and John to pray for them that hey might receive the Holy Spirit. “For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus” (v. 16). The Samaritans received the Holy Spirit when the apostles laid hands on them. We do not know why the reception of the Spirit by these Samaritans had been delayed after what seemed a genuine conversion to Christ and baptism in His name. It is possible that the “word of God” they received was too vague, incomplete, or distorted, and not actually become Christians until the arrival of Peter and John. What is certain is that Acts 8:14-17 is presented as an anomalous incident, one which called for special explanation; therefore, it can not be used as a normative. The spiritual status of the Sama- ritans prior to the coming of the Spirit was ambiguous. (Donald T. Williams, The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit, p.130-131,133.)

     The note (“We do not know why the reception of the Spirit by these Samaritans had been delayed after what seemed a genuine conversion to Christ and baptism in His name, and the words vague, incomplete, distorted, anomalous incident”) comes from the misunderstanding and accepting the mistranslation of the Greek verb lambano as authentic. The Samaritan believers were regenerated and saved and genuinely converted through Philip’s ministry, but they were not yet filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit, that is, not yet baptized with/in the Holy Spirit. They received it after their regeneration as the two apostles placed their hands on them.
     What is certain is that Acts  8:14-17 is not presented as an anomalous incident. The note, “the spiritual status of the Samaritans prior to the coming of the Spirit was ambiguous,” makes no sense. It is based on the mistranslation of the Greek lambano. Their spiritual status was not ambiguous. They were genuinely regenerated Christians through faith in Jesus Christ. They were baptized with/in water in the name of the Lord Jesus. They were filled with (the power) of the Holy Sprit, that is, baptized with/in the Holy Sprit subsequent to conversion. If one does not have a correct translation of the Greek verb lambano (Acts 8:15-19), it is impossible to understand the Samaritans’ regeneration and the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  

Billy Graham comments on Paul’s regeneration and the baptism of the Spirit.

A second passage that gives some people difficulty deal with the conversion of Saul on the road to Damascus as recorded in Acts 9. Some say that when he was later filled with the Spirit in the presence of Ananias (v.17) he experienced a second baptism of the Spirit. Here again the situation is unique....in other words, when did Saul’s re- generation take place? Was it on the Damascus road, or could it have been over a period of three days of witnessing by Ananias (which would cover the period of Saul’s blindness)? Furthermore, Acts 9:17 says Paul is to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The verse does not use the word “baptism,” and when he was filled it does not says he spoke in other tongues. My point is that even if Paul was regenerated on the Damascus road, his later filling is not presented as a second baptism. And possibly his regeneration did not occur until Ananias came to him. So the passage does not teach that Paul was baptized twice with the Spirit. (Billy Graham, The Holy Spirit, p.76-77.)

     Billy Graham says, “When did Saul’s regeneration take place? Was it on the Damascus road, or could it have been over a period of three days of witnessing by Ananias”? It should be inferred that Saul had been regenerated for a period of three days before meeting Ananias. Billy Graham’s claims are in great confusion because he misunderstands the relation between the regeneration and the Spirit’s baptism, that is, the filling of the power of the Spirit.

Acts 9:11-12  So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.” (NKJ)  

     Jesus gave Paul a vision to meet Ananias the disciple sent by Him. Thus, when Paul met him, Paul accepted unconditionally Ananias’ message of Jesus and the placing of his hands on him. This fact affirms that Paul had accepted Jesus as the Christ sent by God and believed in Him as his Savior and Lord before meeting Ananias  sent by Christ. To receive Christ is to be born again. Thus, it can be affirmed that Paul was regenerated just before meeting Ananias and before Ananias placed his hands on Saul to be filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit.
     Billy Graham insists that furthermore, Acts 9:17 says Paul is to be filled with the Holy Spirit, and the verse does not use the word “baptism.” He insists here that to be filled with the Holy Spirit is not to be baptized with/in the Holy Spirit, but this is definitely erroneous. Acts 1:5,8 and 2:3-4 verify that to be baptized with/in the Holy Spirit is to be filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit, as already noted. Acts 9 confirms that Paul was not baptized with/in the Holy Spirit, that is, he was not filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit at the moment of his conversion, at the moment of receiving Christ as Savior and Lord. If it is not accepted that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is synonymous with the filling of the power of the Holy Spirit, it is impossible to interpret Acts 9 and the book of Acts correctly.
     In OT days, all believers and all sons of God were regenerated through faith. Moreover, Paul was in the transitional period from OT days to NT days. He was a true son of God. He confessed in Phil. 3:4-7: “though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of  the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ” (NKJ).  
     Here, Paul himself affirms that he had a strong faith in the God of the OT before accepting Jesus as Christ. Thus, he was not unbeliever before meeting Ananias. He was surely regenerated just as the 3,000 believers were on the days of Pentecost, but after accepting Jesus as Christ sent by God and because Ananias placed his hands on him, he was baptized with/in the Holy Spirit, i.e., he experienced the filling of the power of the Holy Spirit. The Bible affirms that Paul was not baptized with/in the Holy Spirit at the moment of regeneration. Therefore, Billy Graham’s statement, “No interval of time falls between regeneration and baptism with the Spirit,” makes no sense at all. It comes from the mistranslation and misinterpretation of 1 Cor. 12:13. Acts 9:1-25 again confirms there is an interval of time between regeneration and baptism of the Spirit. Billy Graham’s argument, “the passage does not teach that Paul was baptized twice with the Spirit,” is from the misunderstanding of the relation between regeneration and the baptism of the Holy Spirit (the filling of the power of the Spirit).

John R. W. Stott comments on Cornelius’ conversion.

When sinners repent and believe, Jesus not only takes away their sins but also baptizes them with his Spirit. In Old Testament days, although all believers were indeed regenerated, the Holy Spirit came upon special people for special ministries at special times. The very concept of ‘baptism’ is initiatory. Moreover, there can be no doubt that Cornelius’ baptism with the Holy Spirit was initiation into Christ, his conversion. (John R. W. Stott, Baptism & Fullness, p.26-27,36-37.)

     The note, “When sinners repent and believe, Jesus not only takes away their sins,” is right. But the note, “When sinners repent and believe, Jesus also baptizes them with his Spirit,” is thoroughly erroneous. Nowhere does the Bible say so. The note, “there can be no doubt that Cornelius’ baptism with the Spirit was initiation into Christ, his conversion,” also is erroneous. His note, “In OT days, all believers were indeed regenerated,” is thoroughly biblical, but he failed to apply it to the case of Cornelius who belonged to OT days. Thus, he himself is in great confusion and contradiction. Cornelius had a strong faith in God before hearing the message by Peter concerning Jesus Christ. He was in a period of transition just like the 3,000, Paul (Saul), and the 12 believers at Ephesus. Thus, before meeting the apostle Peter, Cornelius had already been regenerated and converted according to the OT standards.

John F. MacArthur comments on Cornelius’ conversion.

A person is saved by God’s grace alone working through his faith as a gift of God (Eph. 2:8). Through the book of Acts, baptism is shown in the closest possible association with conversion. When Cornelius and his household were saved, Peter ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ (10:48). As unbelievers in Corinth were being won to Jesus Christ, they were also being baptized (Acts 18:8). In the context of the Great Commission, baptism is synonymous with becoming a disciple. (John F. MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary Matthew p.24-28,344.)

     This statement is a mixture of correct and incorrect elements. The note, “A person is saved by God’s grace alone working through his faith as a gift of God,” is biblically right. But the note, “Through the book of Acts, baptism is shown in the closest possible association with conversion,” is erroneous. Paul was baptized with/in water after conversion and with/in the Holy Spirit, that is, filled with the power of the Holy Spirit after conversion. The note, “When Cornelius and his household were saved, Peter ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ,” is thoroughly erroneous. Cornelius and his household were already saved through faith in the God of the OT before they met the apostle Peter.

Frederick D. Bruner comments on Cornelius’ conversion.

The Caesarean event cannot be interpreted by means of Pentecostalism’s doctrines of either the subsequent or the conditional baptism in the Holy Spirit. The tongues came neither subsequent to conversion nor through conditions fulfilled prior to their incidence. They occurred here at conversion. Of most importance, the gift of the Holy Spirit here is conversion, not later experience. The argument that Cornelius was converted prior to his hearing, so that what happened here was a second (or even third) experience is insubstantial. Peter was to be summoned, Cornelius was told, “to declare to you a message by which you will be saved, you and all your household” (11:14). The gift of the Spirit, as always, was no further experience, it was the experience of salvation. (Frederick D. Bruner, A Theology of the Holy Spirit, p.192.)

     Frederick D. Bruner is in great misunderstanding because he presents Cornelius as an unbeliever before meeting Peter. It must be understood that Cornelius lived in the period of transition from OT days to NT days before meeting Peter. Acts 10:1-8 says that Cornelius had a strong faith in God, so that he was living as a son of God before meeting Peter. If one were to insist that Cornelius was not a convert to God before meeting Peter, then no one in OT days was saved even though they trusted in God. If this were accepted as true, it would bring great confusion to believers. Through Peter’s massage Cornelius was changed into a new believer, that is, a NT Christian as opposed to an OT believer.
     The note, “The argument that Cornelius was converted prior to his hearing, so that what happened here was a second (or even third) experience is insubstantial,” is erroneous. What happened here was not a second (or even third) experience and certainly not insubstantial. Acts 10:44-47 says, “The Holy Spirit came on them who heard the message and they spoke in tongues. They received the Holy Spirit.” Here, every English version mistakenly translates the Greek lambano in v.47 as “receive.” It must be “to be filled with,” as noted already. It must be translated and inferred, “They were filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit when the Holy Spirit came on them and they spoke in tongues,” just as did the 120 disciples at Pentecost. To be filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit is to be baptized with/in the Holy Spirit. Consequently, it must be inferred that the Gentiles, Cornelius and his relatives were baptized with/in the Holy Spirit subsequent to conversion to God. What happened here was not a second (or even third) experience but the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Bruner’s note, “the gift of the Holy Spirit here is conversion,” is quite erroneous because Acts 10:44-46 clearly affirms that the gift of the Holy Spirit is not conversion but the gift of tongues of the Holy Spirit. The note, “Peter was to be summoned, Cornelius was told, ‘to declare to you a me- ssage by which you and all your household will be saved’” (Acts 11:14), should be understood. If we do not understand this passage, it is impossible to understand what happened to Cornelius. If we read this passage literally, it seems that he and his household were not yet converted and saved, but again, it must be understood that they were in a period of transition from OT days to NT days. Those who lived in a period of this transition had to accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord sent by God written in the OT even though they were already converted to God and saved just as Paul did as well as the 3,000 believers at Pentecost. If they did not receive Jesus as Christ sent by God, even though they trusted in the God of the OT, their salvation would be lost. Therefore, God sent Peter to them who did not yet hear the Good News of Jesus Christ that they might be saved. Every believer who lived in that transitional period had to accept Jesus as Christ and Savior and Lord sent by God to be saved. If one does not understand the theology of transition believers, it becomes impossible to comprehend God’s work in the 120 disciples, the 3,000 people, Paul, Cornelius  and  his family, and the 12 disciples at Ephesus.

John F. Walvoord comments on regeneration and the baptism of the Spirit.

On the Day of Pentecost a number of ministries of the Holy Spirit began simultaneously. No doubt the new converts in the house of Cornelius, like the converts on the Day of Pentecost, including the apostles, were regenerated, indwelt, sealed, and filled with the Spirit at the same moment they were baptized with the Spirit. (John F. Walvoord, The Holy Spirit, p.144.)

     The note is erroneous because Cornelius and the apostles were not regenerated, not indwelt at the same moment they were baptized with/in the Holy Spirit. The 120 believers and the Samaritan believers and the house of Cornelius were already regenerated before they were baptized with/in the Holy Spirit. The note, “they were filled with the Spirit at the same moment they were baptized with/in the Spirit,” is incorrect. To be filled with (the power) of the Spirit is synonymous with “to be baptized with/in the Spirit.” John F. Walvoord continues:

Never in Scripture is baptism by the Spirit recorded as occurring subsequent to salvation. (John F. Walvoord, Ibid., p.140.)

     This argument is thoroughly erroneous because the Scripture records the baptism by (of) the Spirit as occurring subsequent to salvation/conversion. This note is based on the mistranslation of 1 Cor. 12:13. Never in Scripture is the baptism by (of) the Spirit recorded as occurring at the moment of salvation and regeneration. John F. Walvoord continues:

According to 1 Corinthians 12:13, the baptism of believer is “into one body.” Using the figure of the human body as representing the church, individual believers are revealed to be joined to this living church by the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Intimately connected with the fact that the baptism by the Spirit brings the believer into the body of Christ is the inseparable truth that baptism also places the believer in Christ Himself. (John F. Walvoord, Ibid., p.140-141.)

     The note is quite inaccurate because according to 1 Cor. 12:13, the baptism of believers is not “into” one body but “in” one body. 1 Cor. 12:13 should be translated and interpreted, “By/with/in one Spirit (and with/in fire) we were baptized in (eis) one body,” that is, we were already in one body of Christ before being baptized by one Spirit. There is no scriptural reference to indicate that the baptism is “into” one body. The note, “individual believers are revealed to be joined to this living church by the baptism of the Holy Spirit,” also is quite erroneous. Individual believers are not joined to the living church as a result of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Instead, by joining the Body of Christ, they make themselves candidates for receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The believers must already be joined to the church by faith in Christ before receiving that baptism. Never in Scripture is the baptism by the Spirit connected to joining the church. This idea is from the mistranslation of 1 Cor. 12:13. John F. Walvoord continues:

Through the baptism with the Spirit, the Christian has become as much an organic part of Christ as the branch is a part of the vine, or the member is a part of the body. The Christian baptized by the Spirit is joined to the body of Christ. (John F. Walvoord, Ibid., p.143.)

     The note is quite erroneous. Through the baptism with/in the Spirit, the Christian does not become an organic part of Christ. Before the baptism with/in the Spirit, the Christian has already become an organic part of Christ through faith in God and Jesus. Walvoord’s argument comes from the mistranslation of 1 Cor. 12:13.

Donald T. Williams comments on Cornelius’ regeneration.    

Undeniably, Cornelius and his friends experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit at the very moment of their conversion to Christ. (Donald T. Williams, The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit, p.132.)

     The note is quite erroneous. Cornelius and his friends did not experience the baptism of the Holy Spirit at the very moment of their conversion to Christ. They were already believers in God through faith in the God of the OT before they met Peter. They were believers in a period of transition from OT days to NT days.

Merrill F. Unger comments on Cornelius’ regeneration and the baptism of the Spirit.

The Gentile Cornelius, who doubtless was regenerated before Peter came to Caesarea (Ac 10:2-4), apparently did not receive the common salvation ministered by the outpoured gift of the Spirit upon the Gentiles. This is clearly declared by the angel who had appeared to Cornelius and said that Peter would tell him “words” by which he and all his household should “be saved” (Ac 11:14). (Merrill F. Unger, The Baptism & Gifts of the Holy Spirit, p.66.)
 
     The statement, “Cornelius who doubtless was regenerated before Peter came to Caesarea,” is thoroughly biblical. But the note, “He did not receive the common salvation ministered by the outpoured gift of the Spirit upon the Gentiles,” is in great error. Unger failed to understand that Cornelius lived in a transitional period. Cornelius was an OT saint and true believer. There was a difference in the salvation of those who lived in OT days (including those who lived in the period of transition) and in NT days.

R. A. Torrey comments on Cornelius’ regeneration and the baptism of the Spirit.

It did, for example, in the household of Cornelius. We read in Acts 10:43 that, while Peter was preaching, he came to the point where he said concerning Jesus, “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” At that point Cornelius and his household believed, and immediately, “while Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.” The moment they believed the testimony about Jesus, they were baptized with the Holy Ghost, even before they were baptized with water. Regeneration and the baptism with the Holy Spirit took place practically at the same moment, and so they do in many an experience today. (R. A. Torrey, Ibid., p.150-151.)

     The argument, “Regeneration and the baptism with the Holy Spirit took place practically at the same moment, and so they do in many an experience today,” seems right. But it is thoroughly erroneous because Cornelius and his family were already regenerated by the faith in the God of the OT before meeting Peter. They were in a period of transition. If the passage, “through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins (Acts 10:43),” is not understood, it is impossible to interpret the case of Cornelius.

Acts 2:21    Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (NIV)
Acts 10:43  Everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name. (NIV)
Acts 16:31  Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household. (NIV)

     The passages must not be applied to all people and all believers in OT days and NT days. The word in Acts 2:21 is uniquely applied to the 3,000 devout believers who already believed in the God of the OT. They had faith in God and had already become the sons of God before Pentecost. Even though they had not accepted Jesus as Christ sent by God, they accepted Jesus as Christ/Messiah through Peter’s message, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved,” on the day of Pentecost. Even though they were already regenerated according to the OT standards, if they failed to accept the Gospel of Jesus, their salvation would be lost.
The word of Acts 10:43 was the word Cornelius heard, though he previously be- lieved in the God of the OT. No one had preached the gospel of Jesus Christ who had already come and already ascended into heaven to Cornelius before he met Peter, but he had a strong faith in the God of the OT nevertheless. Thus, God sent His angel to him to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ through Peter. After meeting Cornelius, Peter preached the gospel of Jesus Christ with the strict message of Acts 10:43. As a result, Cornelius accepted his message, i.e., Jesus is the Christ/ Messiah and the Son of God sent by the same God he trusted.
     Cornelius and his family were in the period of faith transition just as were the 3,000 believers, but he and his family were transformed from OT believers to NT Christian believers when they accepted the message of God through Peter’s preaching. They had already been regenerated through faith in the God of the OT just like the 3,000. Cornelius and his family accepted Jesus as the Christ of God and were baptized with/in the Holy Spirit. Cornelius’ baptism of the Holy Spirit did by no means take place at the moment of regeneration.
     The word in Acts 16:31 is applied to the Philippian jailer and his family. They were not believers in God or Christ; that is, they were unbelievers at all before meeting Paul. They accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord after hearing the gospel by Paul. They were regenerated and saved. After hearing the message of Acts 16:31, they were only baptized with/in water by Paul. Here, there is no a specific record that they were baptized with/in the Holy Spirit after being baptized with/in water. This jailer’s case is quite distinct from the two cases of the 3,000 and Cornelius. In conclusion, Cornelius and his family were not baptized with/in the Spirit at the moment of regeneration. It is confirmed that Torrey’s argument, “Regeneration and the baptism with the Holy Spirit took place practically at the same moment, and so they do in many an experience today,” is thoroughly inaccurate since it is based upon the mistranslation and misinterpretation of Acts 10.

Chuck Smith comments on Cornelius’ regeneration and the baptism of the Spirit.

In Acts 9:17 Paul’s filling with the Holy Spirit was subsequent to, and distinct from, his conversion on the road to Damascus. In Acts 10, Peter began to declare the truth of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit fell upon (epi) all who were hearing the Word. The Jews who came with Peter were surprised that the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the Gentiles. In this case, it appears that the Gentiles’ conversion and their filling with the Spirit was a simultaneous experience. (Chuck Smith, Living Water, p.265.)

     The statement of the case of Paul is right, but in the case of the Gentiles of Acts 10 it is quite inaccurate. They were already converted through faith in the God of the OT before they met Peter. Their conversion and filling with the power of the Spirit, i.e., baptism of the Spirit, was not a simultaneous experience. In the note “the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the Gentiles,” the gift of the Spirit does not mean the Spirit Himself but the gift of tongues of the Spirit.

The following passages indicate that Cornelius was already regenerated before meeting the apostle Peter.

Acts 10:1-4  At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!” Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked. The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.” (NIV)
Acts 10:22   The men replied, “We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to have you come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say.” (NIV)
Acts 10:34-35 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.” (NIV)  

     The texts affirm that Cornelius and his family were already devout children of God before listening to Peter’s preaching. He had believed in the God of the OT, and belonged to the believers of the transitional period from OT days to NT days. Anyone who is a son of God is already regenerated. In the case of Cornelius, no one had preached the gospel of Jesus to him before he met Peter. He was filled with (the power) of the Spirit (the baptism of the Spirit) when Peter preached the good news. Before hearing the gospel of Jesus through Peter, before being baptized with/in the Spirit, he was already a member of the family of God through faith in the God of the OT. After regeneration he was baptized with/in the Spirit in the one body of Jesus when Peter preached the gospel. Therefore, it is affirmed again that Billy Graham’s statement, “No interval of time falls between regeneration and baptism with the Spirit,” makes no sense. It is virtually based on the mistranslation and misinterpretation of 1 Cor. 12:13. And it is confirmed that Chuck Smith’s statement, “In Cornelius’s case, it appears that the Gentiles’ conversion and their filling with the Spirit was a simultaneous experience,” is thoroughly erroneous.

The following passages seem to indicate Cornelius was not yet regenerated before meeting Peter.

Acts 10:43   All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name. (NIV)  
Acts 11:14   He will bring you a message through which you and all your households will be saved. (NIV)  
Acts 11:18   When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.” (NIV)

     According to these texts, Cornelius does not appear to be regenerated before meeting the apostle Peter. These passages must be carefully examined. In Acts 10:43, Peter says that everyone who believes in Jesus Christ receives forgiveness of sins through Jesus’ name. But this word cannot apply retroactively to OT believers. In OT days everyone who trusted in God received forgiveness of sins through faith in His name. Therefore, Peter’s preaching (Acts 10:43) is plainly directed as a warning towards every unbeliever, every believer who lived in the period of transition, and to those presently who do not accept Jesus as the only begotten Son of God and Savior and Lord and Messiah sent by God. Cornelius and his family had already accepted the God of the OT as Savior and Lord before meeting Peter. For that very reason God spoke to him through His angel. Subsequently, they received Jesus as Savior and Lord and Messiah sent by God because of Peter’s preaching. Cornelius and his family who were OT believers became Christian believers, that is, NT believers. That is, they were changed into NT believers (Christians) from OT believers.
     Acts 11:14 says, “He will bring you a message through which you and all your households will be saved.” According to this literal record, it seems that neither Cornelius nor his family was saved, but according to the records (Acts 10:1-4; 10:22; 10:34-35), they were already saved through faith in the God of the OT. As we have already noted, anyone without exception, who believes in God after Jesus Christ ascended into heaven, must accept Jesus as Savior and Messiah to be saved. Acts 11:14 expressly means that even though they believed in the God of the OT, Cornelius and his household were now to accept Jesus as Savior and Messiah sent by God the Father if they were to be saved. Likewise, the 3,000 (Acts 2:41) were devout Jews who had already believed in the God of the OT, but if they had not accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord and Messiah sent by God, their salvation would be lost. They were saved and maintained their salvation because they accepted Jesus as Savior and Messiah sent by God through Peter’s preaching on the day of Pentecost.
     Acts 11:18 says, “When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, ‘So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.’” According to this literal record, it can be inferred that God had not yet granted Cornelius and all his household repentance unto life before meeting Peter. But this conclusion is in great error because Cornelius and all his family had already been saved through faith in the God of the OT. In OT days, God granted even Gentiles repentance unto life. Therefore, God had already granted even the Gentiles, Cornelius and his entire household who believed in God, repentance unto life in that period of transition between the OT and NT. The word “they” in Acts 11:18 must be understood as representing Cornelius and his family.

Acts 11:1-3  The apostles and the brothers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him and said, “You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.” (NIV)
Acts 11:18   When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life. (NIV)

     According to the literal record “the apostles and the brothers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God” (Acts 11:1), the Gentile Cornelius and his household had not yet received the word of God prior to meeting Peter. Acts 10 must be examined to understand Acts 11:1. Acts 10 says that they had already received the word of God and believed in God before Peter’s preaching concerning Jesus Christ. Thus, “the apostles and the brothers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God” means that the apostles and the brothers throughout Judea did not yet know that Cornelius and his family had already received the word of God before meeting the apostle Peter.
     The term “they” in Acts 11:18 implies “the circumcised believers” who criticized Peter. These circumcised believers who lived in Jerusalem criticized Peter because he went into the house of uncircumcised Gentiles to eat with them. Later they accepted Peter’s explanation concerning his visit to the Gentiles. It was by the command of God. Before listening to Peter, the circumcised believers did not know that God had already granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life. Through Peter’s explanation, the circumcised believers who lived in Jerusalem had no further objections and praised God.
     Thus, they said, “God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.” God had already granted even the Gentile Cornelius and all his household repentance unto life, and they had been saved through faith in God before meeting Peter. They have already belonged to the believers and regenerated believers of the OT through faith in God before meeting Peter. Through Acts 10 and Acts 11 many scholars, including R. A. Torrey, insist that regeneration and the baptism of the Holy Spirit takes place at the same moment. This argument is from the mistranslation and misinterpretation of Acts 10, Acts 11, and 1 Cor. 12:13. Nowhere in the Bible is there a passage to insist that regeneration and the baptism of the Holy Spirit takes place at the same moment.

The term “the beginning” in Acts 11:15 must be examined to know Cornelius.

Acts 11:15-17 And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. 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 gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? (KJV)
NKJ   And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ “If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?”

     Acts 11:15-17 indicates that the Holy Spirit came on Cornelius and his family. They were baptized with/in the Holy Spirit, and God gave them the same gift as He gave the 120 disciples. These three phrases are synonymous. Acts 11:15 says, “And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came upon them (Cornelius and his family), as upon us at the beginning.” What does the term “at the beginning” mean? If here it is inferred as when the 120 disciples of Jesus believed in Jesus, it makes no sense at all, because the Holy Spirit did not come upon them when they believed in Jesus. The Holy Spirit came upon them on the day of Pentecost after they believed in Jesus. Peter began to preach Jesus’ death and resurrection from Jerusalem at Pentecost. So the term “at the beginning” does not mean to pinpoint the day they began to believe in Jesus but the beginning of preaching at Pentecost. Acts 11:15-17 confirms that the disciples of Jesus and the other believers did not receive the baptism of the Spirit at the beginning of believing in Jesus Christ.

There are two different terms “who” and “when” in Acts 11:17. Which is right?

The NIV and KJV translate,  “who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ.”
The NKJ and NRS translate, “when believed on the Lord Jesus Christ.”

     Both are quite different. Which is the correct translation? The word “the gift” in Acts 11:17 is the gift of tongues of the Holy Spirit in Acts 10:45-46. The translation of the NKJ and NRS, “when believed on Jesus,” is erroneous because the 120 disciples of Jesus did not receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, i.e., the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the gift of tongues when they believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. It must be concluded that the correct word is “who.” According to Acts 10:43-47, Cornelius and his household seemed to be unbelievers and non-children of God before meeting Peter because they came to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ through Peter’s preaching. However, they were already believers and children of God through their faith in the God of the OT before meeting Peter. Before meeting Peter, they had not yet accepted Jesus as Savior, Lord and Messiah sent by God since no one had preached the gospel of Jesus to them, but still they believed in God. Through Peter’s preaching, they accepted Jesus as Savior, Lord and Messiah sent by God. They were already regenerated and saved before meeting Peter and before becoming NT believers, that is, NT Christians.

Chuck Smith comments on the 12 disciples at Ephesus.

In Acts 19, they said they were Christians…They replied that we were baptized with John’s baptism. John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance from sin, not a baptism into Christ. So right then they were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. (Chuck Smith, Living Water, p.265.)

     The note, “In Acts 19, they said they were Christians” is quite inaccurate. There is no scriptural reference to indicate they said they were Christians. They were not yet Christians before meeting Paul. They were baptized with John’s baptism, so they were the disciples of John the Baptist before meeting Paul.

Merrill F. Unger comments on the 12 disciples’ regeneration and the Spirit’s baptism.

One more misunderstood passage in Acts has been made the source of unsound teaching. This is the episode of the twelve disciples of John the Baptist who became New Testament believers (Christians) under the gospel of grace proclaimed by Paul (Ac 19.1-6). In other words the Ephesus disciples were not saved (Ac 11:14) with the common salvation of the new age before Paul preached to them the gospel of grace and free salvation. Apparently they were already regenerated, as were the Old Testament saints. (Merrill F. Unger, The Baptism & Gifts of the Holy Spirit, p.88,89,90.)

     The note, “One more misunderstood passage in Acts has been made the source of unsound teaching,” is right. But Unger himself is in great confusion because of his own misunderstanding. He insists that the twelve disciples of John the Baptist were already regenerated, as were the OT saints but not saved (Acts 11:14) with the common salvation of the new age. According to this argument, it can be concluded that even though the OT saints were regenerated, they were not yet saved. If that were accepted as biblical truth, it would make no sense at all. It should be said that all the OT saints were regenerated and saved through their faith in God.
     Likewise, all the NT saints were regenerated and saved through their faith in God. In OT days one who trusted in God was regenerated and saved. In NT days to receive Jesus sent by God is to be regenerated and saved. The difference is only that the OT saints believed in God with the expectation that Christ will come, and the NT saints believe in God with the expectation that Christ who had already come will come again, that is, a second coming. It must be understood that John’s 12 disciples at Ephesus were in a period of transition just as the 3,000 mentioned in Acts 2, Paul in Acts 9, and Cornelius in Acts 10.
     The 12 at Ephesus who believed in the God of the OT through the preaching of the disciples of John previously had no chance to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ before they met Paul. Through Paul’s ministry, they accepted Jesus as Christ and were baptized with/in water in the name of Jesus Christ. They were filled with (the power) of the Spirit, that is, the baptism of the Spirit as Paul placed his hands on them after regeneration. These OT believers became the NT believers. The 12 disciples confirm that the baptism of the Spirit takes place subsequent to regeneration.

John R. W. Stott notes the 12 Ephesians’ regeneration and the Spirit’s baptism.

The second unusual incident is described in Acts 19:1-7. I am not, of course, denying that these men received the Spirit when Paul baptized and laid his hands on them. But my question is: were they Christians before this? We have seen that they were in some sense professing disciples. But is it seriously maintained that people who have never heard of the Holy Spirit, nor been baptized in the name of Jesus, nor even apparently believed in Jesus, were true Christian disciples? Surely not. If they were anybody’s disciples, they were disciples of Apollos and of John the Baptist. They were not clearly converted Christians. They certainly cannot be regarded as typical of Christian believers today. (John R. W. Stott, Baptism & Fullness, p.34-36.)

     The note “The second unusual incident is described in Acts 19:1-7” is incorrect, because the 12 at Ephesus were OT saints through faith in God by the teaching of Apollos and the disciples of John the Baptist. They were in a period of faith transition. Therefore, the incident described in Acts 19:1-7 is usual. The note, “I am not, of course, denying that these men received the Spirit when Paul baptized and laid his hands on them,” may be true in Stott’s mind, but it is an incorrect confession. These men did not receive the Spirit when Paul baptized and laid his hands on them. They had already received the Spirit before they met Paul. How do we know? The doctrine of the Holy Spirit in OT days is this: “to receive God is to receive the Spirit.” This must be applied to the 12 believers. Stott’s note came from accepting the mistranslation of all English versions of the Greek lambano in Acts 19:2. Before meeting Paul, they received God and received the Spirit and were regenerated and saved, as were all OT saints. It must be inferred that the 12 believers who had faith in God with the expectation of Jesus’ coming were filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit through the laying on of Paul’s hands. If “they were the disciples of Apollos and of John the Baptist” just as Stott said, they were already converted to God through preaching of Apollos and the disciples of John the Baptist. And then, they were converted to Jesus sent by God through the preaching and water baptism of Paul.

John F. Walvoord comments on Acts 19:1-6.

The problem of Acts 19:1-6 yields to a careful study of the context and an accurate translation of the text. From the context it can be learned that the disciples at Ephesus were followers of John the Baptist and had not come into contact with the gospel of grace. Upon their baptism and confession of faith in Christ, the Spirit came on them. It cannot be inferred, therefore, from this passage that the Spirit comes to indwell as a work subsequent to salvation, because they had not been saved previous to Paul’s visit. (John Walvoord, The Holy Spirit, p.154.)

     The note, “Upon their baptism and confession of faith in Christ, the Spirit came on them,” is quite erroneous. The Spirit came on them only as Paul placed his hands on them after their confession of faith in Christ and after water baptism in the name of Christ. The note, “It cannot be inferred from this passage that the Spirit comes to indwell as a work subsequent to salvation, because they had not been saved previous to Paul’s visit,” is thoroughly erroneous. The Spirit came on them as a work subsequent to salvation because they were already part of God’s family, saved previous to Paul’s visit.
     Walvoord insists, “From the context it can be learned that the disciples at Ephesus were followers of John….and they had not been saved previous to Paul’s visit.” Here, it can be found that the note itself is in great confusion. If the note, “The 12 disciples at Ephesus who were followers of John the Baptist had not been saved previous to Paul’s visit,” is accepted, Walvoord’s conclusion makes no sense. These 12 believers at Ephesus were in a period of transition and already converted to the God of the OT with a living faith that expected Christ’s coming just as the Gentile Cornelius did. John F. Walvoord continues:

The translation of Acts 19:2 in the Authorized Version, “Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?” should be translated, “Did ye receive the Holy Spirit when ye believed?” as in the American Revised Version. Instead of being in support of the supposed theory that only some Christians are indwelt, it is actually a refutation. In the fact that they had not received the Holy Spirit, Paul found proof of the lack of regeneration. The absence of the Holy Spirit indicated a lack of salvation. It may be concluded, therefore, that the events of this section of Scripture indicate no departure from the norm of the doctrine that all Christians are indwelt at the moment of regeneration. (John Walvoord, Ibid., p.154.)

     The note also is erroneous. The translation of Acts 19:2 should be translated, “Were you filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit since you believed?” as already examined. The note, “In the fact that they had not received the Holy Spirit, Paul found proof of the lack of regeneration. The absence of the Holy Spirit indicated a lack of salvation,” makes no sense at all because it comes from the mis- translation and misinterpretation of Acts 19:2-6. The 12 had already received the Holy Spirit and were regenerated and saved when they received the God of the OT by ministry of the disciples of John the Baptist before meeting Paul. Through Paul’s ministry they were baptized with/in water in the name of Jesus Christ, and then baptized with/in the Holy Spirit as Paul placed his hands on them.

The Bible indicates the 12 Ephesians were regenerated and saved before meeting Paul.

Matt. 11:2-3  when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” (NKJ)
Matt. 14:11-12 And his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. Then his disciples came and took away the body and buried it, and went and told Jesus. (NKJ)
Luke 5:33     Then they said to Him, “Why do the disciples of John fast often and make prayers, and likewise those of the Pharisees, but Yours eat and drink?” (NKJ)
Matt. 22:15   Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk. And they sent to Him their disciples. (NKJ)
Matt. 23:1     Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, (NKJ)
John 9:28      Then they reviled him and said, “You are His disciple, but we are Moses’ disciples.” (NKJ)
Acts 13:52    The disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. (NKJ)
Is. 8:16-17    Bind up the testimony, Seal the law among my disciples. And I will wait on the Lord, Who hides His face from the house of Jacob; and I will hope in Him. (NKJ)

     The texts reveal that there were many kinds of disciples in the OT and NT. All of them were the children of God except the Pharisees and lawyers who rejected the will of God and were not baptized by John the Baptist. One who receives God is a child of God, and to be a child of God is to be regenerated and saved. If Cornelius and the 12 at Ephesus were not yet regenerated and saved before meeting Peter and Paul, it is thoroughly inaccurate to call them the sons of God.  

Luke 7:29-30 And when all the people heard Him, even the tax collectors justified God, having been baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him. (NKJ)

     The text affirms that the Pharisees and lawyers and their disciples were not saved. They rejected the will of God for themselves, and refused to be baptized by John the Baptist even though they believed in the God of the OT.

Matt. 21:31   Jesus said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him.” (NKJ)

     Jesus Christ confirms that the disciples of John the Baptist, that is, his followers will enter the kingdom of God through their faith because they were baptized with/in water. Here, it can be found that the disciples of John the Baptist were in a period of faith transition from OT days to NT days. They were regenerated and saved through their faith in God. Through the word of Jesus, it can be constructed, a doctrine “to believe in the preaching of John the Baptist sent by God was to be regenerated and to be saved.” Here, it also is confirmed that the 12 at Ephesus were regenerated and saved through their faith in God before meeting the apostle Paul.

What does Acts 19:2 mean?

     Acts 19:2 reads, “Paul asked them, did you receive the Holy Spirit when (since) you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” What does this passage mean? If it is not thoroughly understood, it is impossible to build a correct doctrine of the Holy Spirit. There is a great amount of theological controversy on this passage. The phrase, “Did you receive (lambano) the Holy Spirit when (since) you believed?” is from the mistranslation of the Greek lambano, as noted already. It must be, “Were you filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit since you believed?” The apostle Paul asked them if they were filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit. The phrase, “We have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit,” should be inferred to mean that they did not know the Holy Spirit. It can be found here that the disciples of John the Baptist did not teach them about the Holy Spirit. So they did not know the Holy Spirit.

What does Acts 19:3-4 mean?

Acts 19:3-4   So Paul asked, ‘Then what baptism did you receive?’ ‘John’s baptism,’ they replied. Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus. (NIV)
Matt. 3:1-2,5-6 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the desert of Judea and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.’ People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. (NIV)  

     These passages state that John the Baptist challenged many to repent and confess their sins. They did so and he baptized them. Here, it may be concluded that these people were converted, regenerated believers through the baptism of repentance. Matt. 3 and Acts 19 indicate that John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. The 12 at Ephesus were baptized with this same baptism of repentance preached by the disciples of John the Baptist. Thus, they became the disciples of John the Baptist. They were already converted, regenerated, saved by a baptism of repentance previous to Paul’s visit. It can be concluded that they were the sons of God living in the transitional period from OT days to NT days. These OT believers became NT believers (Christians) through Paul’s ministry.
 

What does Acts 19:5 mean?

Acts 19:5  On hearing this, they were baptized into (eis) the name of the Lord Jesus. (NIV) 

* It should be “On hearing this, they were baptized in (eis) the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Author)

     When this passage is interpreted correctly, the relation between regeneration and the baptism of the Holy Spirit of the 12 disciples at Ephesus is clear. The words, “On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus,” imply that they accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord sent by God through preaching of Paul. When one accepts Jesus, he is in the name of the Lord Jesus, that is, in Jesus. Thus, one has already been in Jesus through faith in Him before being baptized with/in water in the name of the Lord Jesus.
     Acts 10:47-48 confirms to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ in the book of Acts is to be baptized with/in water in the name of Jesus Christ. Those who were baptized with/in water in the name of the Lord Jesus were those who had already become Christians. To accept Jesus as Savior and Lord is to be converted and saved, a follower of Christ, i.e., a Christian. Actually, the 12 disciples of John the Baptist were already regenerated through accepting John’s message of the baptism of repentance before meeting the apostle Paul. Further, even though they had not yet been regenerated by accepting John’s message, they were obviously regenerated at the moment of accepting Jesus Christ and publicly following Him, allowing Paul to baptize them with/in water in the name of the Lord Jesus.

What does Acts 19:6 mean?  

Acts 19:6  When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. (NIV)
 
     After accepting Jesus and being baptized with/in water in the name of the Lord Jesus, Paul placed his hands on them who were already regenerated. Why did he place his hands on them? To answer this question the case of the Samaritans must be remembered because the case of the 12 believers is just the same as that of the Samaritans. The Samaritans had already become Christians through Philip’s ministry but the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them. They were not yet been filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit, but had simply been baptized with/in water in the name of Jesus. To be filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit is synonymous with “to be baptized with/in the Holy Spirit.” Peter and John placed their hands on the Samaritan believers because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them, that is, not yet been filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit, i.e., not yet been baptized with/in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit came on them when two apostles placed their hands on them. They were filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit, that is, baptized with/in the Holy Spirit (and with/in fire) when two apostles placed their hands on them. The story of the Samaritans is just the same as that of the 12 disciples at Ephesus. The 12 disciples have already become new Christians through Paul’s ministry after water baptism in the name of Jesus and before placing Paul’s hands on them, but the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them, that is, they were not yet been filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit; they had simply been baptized with/in water in the name of Jesus. The Holy Spirit came on them as Paul placed his hands on them. They were filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit, that is, baptized with/in the Holy Spirit when Paul placed his hands on them.
     The phrase “The Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied” in Acts 19:6 could be changed into that they spoke in tongues and prophesied when the Holy Spirit came on them. In conclusion, the 12 were baptized with/in the Holy Spirit (and with/in fire) when He came on them as Paul placed his hands on them. They were already regenerated and saved before meeting the apostle Paul because they were the disciples of John the Baptist. It can be concluded that the 12 Ephesians were not baptized with/in the Holy Spirit at the moment of regeneration.

Stanley M. Horton insists that the 12 were the disciples of Jesus before meeting Paul.

At Ephesus speaking in tongues is again mentioned in connection with certain disciples whom Paul found there (Acts 19:1-7). Through the Book of Acts almost always uses the word disciple to mean a disciple of Jesus, a Christian, Paul sensed something missing here. Undoubtedly, these 12 men professed to be followers of Jesus. (Stanley M. Horton, What the Bible says about the Holy Spirit, p.159.) The Wycliffe Bible Commentary also teaches that they were the disciples of Jesus. (The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, p.1160.)

Stanley M. Horton also teaches that undoubtedly, these 12 men professed to be followers of Jesus, that is, Christians. This makes no sense at all because in Acts 19:3-5, Paul asked, “What baptism did you receive? John’s baptism,” they replied. Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. These passages indicate that they received the baptism of John before meeting Paul. They were not yet baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus so that they were not followers of Jesus but that of John the Baptist. After being baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, they became Jesus’ disciples from the disciples of John the Baptist, that is, Christians.

Billy Graham comments on the 12 disciples at Ephesus.

A third text that has given rise to some controversy is Acts 19:1-7. Were these twelve people true Christians before their meeting with Paul? Dr. Merrill Tenney calls them “belated believers.”...In my thinking, this does not suggest a second baptism with the Spirit subsequent to a baptism with the Spirit at regeneration. Rather, it appears that they were regenerated and baptized with the Spirit at the same time. (Billy Graham, The Holy Spirit, p.77.)

     The statement “Merrill Tenney calls them ‘belated believers’” may be a correct quotation, but it is from the mistranslation of Acts 19:2. The 12 disciples were not “belated believers” but genuine believers living in the period of transition from the times of John the Baptist to that of Jesus Christ. It should be inferred that the disciples of John the Baptist who received John’s baptism were changed into the disciples of Jesus who were baptized in the name of Jesus by Paul. The note, “it appears that they were regenerated and baptized with/in the Spirit at the same time,” is actually from the mistranslation and misinterpretation of Acts 19:2-6. They were by no means baptized with/in the Spirit at the time of regeneration.

John F. MacArthur comments on the apostles’ days and the present days.  

Despite the claims of many, the apostles’ and early disciples’ experience is not the norm for believers today. They were given unique enabling of the Holy Spirit for their special duties. They also received the general and common baptism with the Holy Spirit in an uncommon way, subsequent to conversion. All believers since the church began are commanded to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18) and to walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:25)...They were in the transitional period associated with the birth of the church. In the present age, baptism by Christ through the agency of the Holy Spirit takes place for all believers at conversion. At that moment, every believer is placed into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13). (John F. MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary Acts 1-12, p.18.)

     These notes come from the mistranslation of 1 Cor. 12:13 and misinterpretation of the relation between “to be baptized with/in the Holy Spirit (and with/in fire)” and “to be filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit.” 1 Cor. 12:13 should be, “We were all baptized with/in/by one Spirit in (eis) one body.” This passage cannot be inferred to mean that the baptism by Christ through the agency of the Holy Spirit takes place for all believers at conversion, and at that moment every believer is placed into the body of Christ. The baptism of the Holy Spirit does not take place for any believer at the moment of conversion. Instead, it takes place at some interval of time afterwards. Acts 1:5-2:4 confirms that “to be baptized with/in the Holy Spirit (and with/in fire)” is synonymous with “to be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.” Thus, all believers since the apostles’ days are commanded to be filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit, that is, to be baptized with/in the Holy Spirit subsequent to conversion.
     The note, “Despite the claims of many, the apostles’ and early disciples’ experience is not the norm for believers today,” is from a mistranslation and misinterpretation. In the note “They also received the general and common baptism with the Holy Spirit in an uncommon way, subsequent to conversion,” “in uncommon way” is incorrect but “subsequent to conversion” is correct. The apostles and early disciples received the general and common baptism with/in the Holy Spirit subsequent to conversion. Thus, it should be said that the apostles’ and early disciples’ experience is the norm for believers today. As we have already observed, the Bible affirms that the baptism of the Holy Spirit does not take place at the moment of regeneration. Every believer must receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit after conversion/regeneration just as the 120 disciples, the Samaritans, Paul, Cornelius and his family, and the 12 disciples at Ephesus did.

H. Orton Wiley comments on “regeneration and the baptism of the Spirit.”

The administrative acts or functions of the Holy Spirit which pertain especially to the work of salvation may be classified under two general heads–the Holy Spirit as “the Giver of life,” and the Holy Spirit as “a sanctifying Presence.” To the former belongs the birth of the Spirit of the initial experience of salvation; the latter, the baptism with the Spirit–a subsequent work by which the soul is made holy. This is known as entire sanctification which is wrought by the baptism with the Holy Spirit. (H. Orton Wiley and Paul T. Culbertson, Introduction to Christian Theology, Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 1964, p.252-3.)

     The note, “the baptism with the Spirit is a subsequent work by which the soul is made holy,” is from a misinterpretation. There is no scriptural reference which would indicate that the soul is made holy by the baptism with the Spirit. The baptism of the Spirit is given to instill the power of the Spirit after regeneration just as happened to the 120 disciples on the day of Pentecost. Their souls were already made holy, and they had already received salvation through faith in Jesus Christ before Pentecost. The note says, “This is known as entire sanctification which is wrought by the baptism with the Holy Spirit.” But there is no scriptural reference to indicate that entire sanctification is wrought by the baptism with the Holy Spirit. H. Orton Wiley and Paul T. Culbertson continue:

Regeneration is related to sanctification. The life bestowed in regeneration is a holy life. It is for this reason that John Wesley spoke of it as the gateway to sanctification. In relation to regeneration, a distinction must be made between initial and entire sanctification. Initial sanctification accompanies justification, regeneration, and adoption, while entire sanctification is subsequent to it. Wesleyanism has always held that sanctification begins with regeneration, but it limits this “initial sanctification” to the work of cleansing from the pollution of guilt and acquired depravity, or the depravity which necessarily attaches to sinful acts. Entire sanctification, then, is subsequent to this, and from the aspect of purification, is a cleansing of the heart from original sin or inherited depravity. The distinction, therefore, is grounded in the twofold character of sin–as an act, and as a state. Regeneration does not destroy the inbeing of original sin. This new life is devoted to God in sanctification, and he needs now to advance to the goal of entire sanctification, in which the heart is purified from all sin by the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Entire sanctification emphasizes cleansing from all sin, including the carnal mind, or indwelling sin. The baptism with the Holy Spirit stresses the gracious means by which the heart may be purged from all sin and filled with divine love. (H. Orton Wiley and Paul T. Culbertson, p.288-9,290,297.)
 
     The comments of H. Orton Wiley and Paul T. Culbertson are in great confusion. Why are they in great confusion? In the argument mentioned above they say, “The soul is made holy by the baptism with the Spirit. Entire sanctification is wrought by the baptism with the Holy Spirit.” From this comment it can be said that entire sanctification is that the soul is made holy by the baptism with the Spirit. Wiley also says, “The life bestowed in regeneration is a holy life.” With this statement it can be inferred that “the soul is made holy” is the same as “the life which the soul is made holy is just a holy life.” Now, it can be found that entire sanctification takes place at regeneration since the life, which is bestowed in regeneration, is a holy life, that is, the soul is made holy in regeneration. Through their note it can also be said that entire sanctification takes place at the baptism with the Holy Spirit since it is wrought by the baptism with the Holy Spirit.
     So we can conclude that he says entire sanctification takes place at regeneration and at the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Wiley also said, “John Wesley spoke of regeneration as the gateway to sanctification. A distinction must be made between initial and entire sanctification.” If the statement of Wiley, “entire sanctification takes place at regeneration and at the baptism with the Holy Spirit,” is applied to the comment of John Wesley, “regeneration is the gateway to sanctification,” it is unreasonable, contradictory since regeneration is not the gateway to sanctification, instead, regeneration itself is sanctification. Wiley’s statement is not in harmony with that of John Wesley. He says above, “The life bestowed in regeneration is a holy life. Entire sanctification is that the soul is made holy by the baptism with the Spirit.” This must mean that the life which bestowed in regeneration is a holy life as well as entire soul sanctification takes place by the baptism with the Spirit. He also insists that initial sanctification accompanies regeneration while entire sanctification is subsequent to it. Therefore, his note can be summarized, “Entire sanctification is subsequent to regeneration and entire sanctification takes place at regeneration.” Now, it is confirmed that the statements of H. Orton Wiley and Paul T. Culbertson themselves are in great confusion and contradiction.
     It is confirmed that Wiley’s statement of the relation between sanctification and the baptism with Holy Spirit is from the misinterpretation of the meaning/purpose of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The note, “The life bestowed in regeneration is a holy life,” is biblically supported, but the note, “The soul is made holy by the baptism with the Spirit,” is thoroughly inaccurate and without biblical support. The purpose of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is not to make the soul holy, but to impart the power of the Holy Spirit to witness for Jesus and for service. This baptism of the Holy Spirit comes after the soul is made holy in regeneration just as happened to the 120 disciples on the day of Pentecost. If this is not accepted as the biblical truth of Acts 1:5,8, all writings on the Holy Spirit will be in great confusion and filled with contradiction just like the notes of H. Orton Wiley and Paul T. Culbertson. In the statement mentioned above Wiley insists, “Entire sanctification, from the aspect of purification, is a cleansing of the heart from original sin or inherited depravity. Regeneration does not destroy the inbeing of original sin. And the heart is purified from all sins by the baptism with the Holy Spirit.” From this statement one can conclude that the meaning/purpose of the baptism with the Holy Spirit is to purify the heart from all sins (original sin or inherited depravity.) This teaching is from the misinterpretation of the meaning of regeneration and baptism of the Holy Spirit in Acts 1:5,8. To be baptized with/in the Holy Spirit is to receive the power of the Holy Spirit to witness for Jesus and for service subsequent to regeneration. Paul T. Culbertson continues:

A second term used in connection with regeneration is “quickening” or “making alive.” Thus, the Son quickenth whom he will (John 5:21); and He hath quickened us together with Christ (Eph. 2:5). This idea of a spiritual quickening or resurrection sets the new life in contrast with the previous state of sin and death. St. Paul emphasizes this when he says, You hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1); and You, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses (Col. 2:13). Regeneration, then, is a spiritual quickening, by which the souls of men dead in trespasses and sins are raised to walk in newness of life. A third term presents the works of regeneration as “a creating” or “a creation.” Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (1 Cor. 5:17). (Orton Wiley and Paul T. Culbertson, Ibid., p.284-5)

     From John 5:21, Eph. 2:1,5 and Col. 2:13, H. Orton Wiley accurately insists that regeneration is a spiritual quickening, by which the souls of men dead in tres- passes and sins are raised to walk in newness of life. Jesus quickens those who were dead in all trespasses and sins. All trespasses and sins must be inferred to mean that all sins including actual sins and original sin or inherited depravity. Consequently, regeneration is a spiritual quickening, by which the souls of men dead in all trespasses and sins including actual sins and original sin or inherited depravity are raised to walk in newness of life. Paul T. Culbertson continues:

Regeneration does not destroy the inbeing of original sin. The regenerated soul is changed fundamentally in moral and spiritual quality. (Orton Wiley and Paul T. Culbertson, Ibid., p.289.)

     The note, “Regeneration does not destroy the inbeing of original sin,” makes no sense. Wiley insists above, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature” (1 Cor. 5:17). How can a man be a new creature in regeneration without the purification and the remission of original sin? He also insists that the regenerated soul is changed fundamentally in moral and spiritual quality. How can the regenerated soul be changed fundamentally in moral and spiritual quality without purification and the remission of original sin? It must be inferred that regeneration/conversion occurs at the moment God destroys the inbeing of original sin and actual sins. Jesus Christ the Savior died for all sinners as well as original sin and actual sins. It must be inferred that the regenerated soul is changed fundamentally in moral and spiritual quality at the moment of the forgiveness of original sin and actual sins through faith in Jesus. Paul T. Culbertson continues:

Adoption occurs at the same moment as justification and regeneration; but in the order of thought, logically follows them. Justification removes our guilt, regeneration changes our hearts, and adoption actually receives us into the family of God. Justification secures for us the remission of actual sins; sanctification, in its complete sense, cleans the heart from original sin or inherited depravity. Partial or initial sanctification occurs at the time of justification, and entire sanctification occurs subsequent to justification. Both initial and entire sanctification, however, are instantaneous acts wrought in the hearts of men by the Holy Spirit. (Paul T. Culbertson H. Orton Wiley, Ibid., p.291,313.)

     These notes are in great confusion and contradiction. Here, the note says, “Sanctification cleans the heart from original sin or inherited depravity. Partial or initial sanctification occurs at the time of justification, and entire sanctification occurs subsequent to justification.” If this argument were to be applied to the note, “Jus- tification removes our guilt,” it would read, “Justification removes our guilt without the clearing of the heart from original sin or inherited depravity.” Does it make sense? No. If the argument were to be applied to the note, “regeneration changes our hearts,” it would read, “regeneration changes our hearts without the clearing of the heart from original sin or inherited depravity.” This too makes no sense at all since “regeneration changes our hearts” means that regeneration changes or frees our hearts from actual sins and original sin or inherited depravity. The note, “adoption actually receives us into the family of God” is right but before adoption we must receive Jesus as Savor who died for our sins. If anyone receives Jesus, his actual sins and original sin is forgiven by the blood of Jesus. At that point a man becomes a part of the family of God. It is impossible for a sinner to be in the family of God without the purifying of actual sins and original sin.
     The note, “Adoption occurs at the same moment as justification and regeneration,” is right. All three then, adoption, justification, and regeneration occur at the moment of confessed faith in Jesus and as He cleans our hearts from all sins, actual and original by His blood. Then, is this a correct summation? “Both initial and entire sanctification are instantaneous acts wrought in the hearts of men by the Holy Spirit means that after the Holy Spirit cleans our hearts from original sin or inherited depravity, the Holy Spirit cleans our hearts from actual sins at the moment of faith, namely, conversion, regeneration, justification.” No. The statements of H. Orton Wiley and Paul T. Culbertson are confirmed to be in great confu- sion and contradiction. Then, where are these confusions and contradictions from? H. Orton Wiley and Paul T. Culbertson continue:

The guilt of actual sin, and the pollution of inbred sin, can be cleaned only by the blood of Jesus Christ. (H. Orton Wiley, Ibid., p.307.)

     This note is biblically supported. If anyone receives Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord who died for all his sins, actual and original, he will be cleaned by the blood of Jesus Christ. It can be said that to receive Jesus is to have one’s heart cleaned from actual sins and original sin or inherited depravity. The heart is purified from all sins by the blood of Christ. The note, “Regeneration does not destroy the inbeing of original sin,” is quite inaccurate. To receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord is to be regenerated. To receive Jesus Christ is to purify the heart from all sins. To be regenerated is to destroy actual sins and the inbeing of original sin by the blood of Christ. Consider the note, “The guilt of actual sin, and the pollution of inbred sin, can be cleaned only by the blood of Jesus Christ.” If this note suggests that the guilt of actual sin is forgiven at the moment of regeneration, and the pollution of inbred sin, namely, original sin is forgiven at the moment of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, it makes no sense at all. The Bible will not support such a claim. So it should be inferred that all sins are forgiven when Jesus Christ is accepted as Savior and Lord. H. Orton Wiley and Paul T. Culbertson continue:

Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you (Ezek. 36:25). The work of the Holy Spirit is here represented by the symbol of water as a cleansing agent. (H. Orton Wiley,Ibid., p.307.)

     Ezek. 36:25 cannot be inferred to mean that the work of the Holy Spirit is represented by the symbol of water as a cleansing agent. In this passage to sprinkle clean water symbolizes the cleaning of all filthiness and all idols. The clean water is symbolic of washing away all sins. From Ezek. 36:25, it could be said that water baptism by the sprinkling of clean water is to symbolize the cleaning of all sins, actual and original. In this case, if it is inferred that the symbol of clean water was not applicable to clean original sin but only actual sins, it would make no sense at all. H. Orton Wiley and Paul T. Culbertson continue:

For he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offer in righteousness (Mal. 3:2-3). Christ is here portrayed by the prophets as the Great Refiner of His people. It is the sons of Levi who are to be purged, and the purpose of this cleansing is to enable them to make as offering in righteousness. (H. Orton Wiley, Ibid., p.307.)

     The note is biblical since Mal. 3:2-3 says so. Paul T. Culbertson continues:

I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me….he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire. Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire (Matt. 3:11-12). It is evident from this passage that the baptism with the Holy Spirit effects an internal and spiritual cleansing which goes far deeper that John’s baptism. The latter is for the remission of sins, the former for the removal of the sin principle. (H. Orton Wiley, Ibid., p.307.)

     To speak of “John’s baptism is for the remission of sins” is biblical, but “the baptism with the Holy Spirit is for the removal of the sin principle” is thoroughly inaccurate. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is not for the removal of the “sin principle.” H. Orton Wiley inaccurately identified “fire” in Mal. 3:2-3 with the “fire” in Matt. 3:11-12. The fire of Mal. 3:2-3 was to purify the sons of Levi and purge them as gold and silver. The fire in Matt. 3:11 was not to purify unbeliever’s sins but came as the element of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Likewise, the fire in Mal. 3:2-3 is quite distinct from that of Matt. 3:11 as that of Matt. 3:11 is quite distinct from that of Matt. 3:12. The fire in Matt. 3:11 is the same fire in Luke 12: 49 and Acts 2:3. The fire in Matt. 3:12 is the same fire in Rev. 20:15 (“If anyone’s name is not found written in the book of life, he will be thrown into the lake of fire”). In Matt. 3:11 John said, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance.” In Acts 1:5 Jesus said, “John baptized you with/in water but you will be baptized with/in the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” These passages confirm that the disciples of Jesus Christ were already purified by the water baptism of John the Baptist, that is, the baptism of repentance (Acts 19:4).
     They repented their sins but they had yet to be baptized with/in the Holy Spirit. Here, to conclude that they again needed to be purified by the baptism of the Holy Spirit, would be a great contradiction. The note “sanctification cleans the heart from original sin or inherited depravity” may be acceptable, but the note, “the heart is purified from original sin or inherited depravity by the baptism with the Holy Spirit,” is by no means acceptable. The purpose of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is not for the purifying of the sins but for the imparting of the power of the Holy Spirit for witnessing and for service. H. Orton Wiley’s comment is based on the misinterpretation of the relation between water baptism and the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the filling of the power of the Holy Spirit in Acts 1:5,8 and 2:1-4. H. Orton Wiley and Paul T. Culbertson continue:

John Wesley: “Sanctification in proper sense is an instantaneous deliverance from all sin, and includes an instantaneous power then given always to cleave to God.” John W. Goodwin: “Sanctification is a divine work of grace, purifying the believer’s heart from indwelling sin. It is subsequent to regeneration, is secured in the atoning blood of Christ, is effected by the baptism with the Holy Ghost, is conditioned on full consecration to God, is received by faith, and includes instantaneous empowerment for service. It has been the uniform belief of the Church that original sin continues to exist with the new life of the regenerate, at least until eradicated by the baptism with the Holy Spirit. (H. Orton Wiley, Ibid., p.312-3.)

     This note, “‘purifying the believer’s heart from indwelling sin’ is subsequent to regeneration, is secured in the atoning blood of Christ” is thoroughly inaccurate. Regeneration is secured in the atoning blood of Christ, which cleanses us from all sins. Therefore, to receive Jesus’ atoning blood is to be regenerated, and to receive Jesus purifies the believer’s heart from all sins by the atoning of His blood. Consequently, the note “Sanctification is purifying the believer’s heart from indwelling sin” is quite accurate. But the note “purifying the believer’s heart from indwelling sin that is subsequent to regeneration, is secured in the atoning blood of Christ” is from a misunderstanding. Furthermore, to write “purifying the believer’s heart from indwelling sin is effected by the baptism with the Holy Ghost” also is quite erroneous. The baptism of the Holy Ghost is not for the purifying of the believer’s sin but for imparting the power of the Holy Ghost to be witnesses of Jesus and for service (Acts 1:5,8). The note “original sin continues to exist with the new life of the regenerated, at least until eradicated by the baptism with the Holy Spirit” also is thoroughly inaccurate. Original sin is not eradicated by the baptism of the Holy Spirit but by faith in the atoning blood of Christ at the mo- ment of conversion.
     The baptism of the Holy Spirit does by no means eradicate original sin. For instance, the original sin of the 120 disciples of Jesus was already eradicated by water baptism of John and by faith in Jesus before the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus and before they received the baptism of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. To say that the original sin of the 120 disciples was not eradicated until the receiving of the baptism of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost makes no sense at all. Paul T. Culbertson continues:

Baptism is a sign and seal of the covenant of grace. As a sign it represents spiritual purification. Our Lord declared, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God (John 3:5). Here, evidently, the sign is the outward baptism with water, and the thing signified is the inner work of the Spirit. As a sign, baptism not only symbolizes regeneration, but also the baptism with the Holy Spirit which is the peculiar event of this dispensation. All who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and have been regenerated, are proper subjects of Christian baptism. This is established by the direct statement of Jesus, He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved (Mark 16:16). (H. Orton Wiley, Ibid., p.391,393.)

     Culbertson interprets “a man be born of water and of the Spirit” as speaking of water baptism. This is quite erroneous since no man is born again by means of water baptism. Instead, by receiving Jesus as Savior and Lord one can be born again. A person is first regenerated by receiving Jesus as Savior and Lord before being baptized with/in water. Water baptism is a sign of regeneration, that is, water baptism symbolizes regeneration. Water baptism is an outward sign that signifies or testifies of the inner thing, or the regenerative work of the Spirit.
     “As a sign, baptism symbolizes regeneration” is correct, but “As a sign, baptism symbolizes the baptism with the Holy Spirit” is thoroughly inaccurate and without biblical support. It is from the misunderstanding of the relation between water baptism and the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:16; John 3:22-23; Acts 1:5,8). Of the 120, many were disciples of John and were baptized with/in water possibly three years ago before being baptized with/in the Holy Spirit (and with/in fire) on the day of Pentecost. This fact confirms that water baptism does by no means symbolize the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
     The note, “Water baptism represents spiritual purification,” is biblical. H. Orton Wiley and Paul T. Culbertson insist that entire sanctification is, from the aspect of purification, a cleansing of the heart from original sin or inherited depravity. (H. Orton Wiley, Ibid., p.288.)
This means that entire sanctification is a purifying, or a cleansing of the heart from original sin and inherited depravity. In the statement “Water baptism represents spiritual purification,” the word “spiritual purification” must signify not only the purification of the heart from original sin or inherited depravity, but also from all actual sins. If “spiritual purification” is supposed to mean only a purification of the heart from original sin, it makes no sense. H. Orton Wiley’s statement, “the outward baptism with water, and the thing signified is the inner work of the Spirit,” must be revised.
     The outward baptism is with water, and the thing signified is the inner work of the Spirit, that is, the purification of the heart from actual sins and original sin or inherited depravity. But the baptism of the Holy Spirit does by no means represent spiritual purification. It is the imparting of the power of the Holy Spirit to be witnesses of Jesus and for service in His name. The following passages indicate that our all sins, actual and original, are purified by the word of God and the inner work of the Holy Spirit when we receive Jesus as our Savior and Lord who died for all our sins.

What does the Bible say about the purifying of all sins including actual and original sin?

Acts 2:21     Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (NIV)
Acts 10:43   Everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name. (NIV)
Acts 16:31   Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved-you and your household. (NIV)

     The texts say that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord Jesus and believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name. Then salvation comes! Can we interpret “to receive forgiveness of sins through His name” as “to receive forgiveness of the only actual sins without the forgiveness of original sin?” No. It makes no sense at all. It must be inferred that to receive forgiveness of sins is to forgiveness of all sins, both actual and original. To believe in Jesus is to receive forgiveness of sins, and to receive forgiveness of sins is to be purified from all sins. To be purified from all sins is to be saved even though one has not yet been baptized with/in water or received the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
     Consequently, the statement of H. Orton Wiley “purifying the believer’s heart from indwelling sin or original sin is subsequent to regeneration” is based on a misinterpretation. It must be claimed that the purifying of a believer’s heart from indwelling sin or original sin occurs at the moment of regeneration, that is, at the moment of conversion. According to the phrase “Everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name” (Acts 10:43), before being baptized with/in water in the name of Jesus Christ, one must believe in Him. At that moment of believing and conversion we receive the forgiveness of all sins, actual and original, through His name and His blood.
 
John 13:6-9  “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well! Jesus answered, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean. (NIV)

     Jesus said, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” It must be inferred that the 120 disciples, excluding Judas Iscariot, were already clean. They had already received forgiveness of sins before Jesus spoke this word. Here, there is no scriptural reference to indicate they received forgiveness of only actual sins and not original sin. The words, “his whole body is clean. You are clean,” mean that all sins, actual and original, are cleaned. If Jesus said this applied only to actual sins, it would make no sense. From the word of Jesus in John 13:6-9 it can be concluded that the disciples of Jesus were already cleaned from actual sins and original sin before they received the baptism of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.  

Matt. 26:26-28   While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (NIV)
Luke 22:19-20   He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” (NIV)

     Jesus says, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” To say the blood of Jesus is poured for the forgiveness of only actual sins and not original sin, that only the actual sins of the 120 disciples of Jesus were forgiven at the moment of regeneration before the day of Pentecost, and that their original sins were forgiven at the time of the receiving of the baptism of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, makes no sense.

John 15:3  You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. (NIV)
 
     Jesus spoke of this word to His disciples before crucifixion, resurrection and Pentecost. It confirms the disciples were already clean. They were forgiven from all sins. To say Jesus taught that the disciples were forgiven from only their actual sins  and that their original sins were to be forgiven after crucifixion and on the day of Pentecost, makes no sense at all.

John 17:14-19  I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. (NIV)

     The phrase, “I have given them your word,” means that the disciples received the word of God through Jesus’ preaching and teaching. Therefore, Jesus said, “They are not of the world any more than I am of the world.” This means they were already forgiven from all sins, actual and original, and sanctified by the word of the truth. Why then did Jesus Christ pray, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth…they too may be truly sanctified”?  The phrase “they too may be truly sanctified” means that they were already sanctified by the word of God, but they were not yet sanctified truly and fully. The word “sanctify” in John 17:14-19 is explained in more details by the following passages.

1 Cor. 6:9-11 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (NIV)
Rom. 10:10   For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. (NIV)

     “All sins” in 1 Cor. 6:9-11 surely means the only actual sins. Then, can we interpret the phrase “you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” in v. 11 as “you were washed from only actual sins, you were sanctified from only actual sins, you were justified from only actual sins in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God?” No. The statement must include both actual sins and original sin. 1 Cor. 6:11 reveals that the three terms “washed, sanctified, and justified” carry the same meaning, i.e., they are synonymous.
     The word of God in v.11 indicates that the statement of Wiley, “Adoption occurs at the same moment as justification and regeneration; but in the order of thought, logically follows them. And partial or initial sanctification occurs at the time of justification, and entire sanctification occurs subsequent to justification,” (H. Orton Wiley, Ibid., p.291,313.)
is not based on the Bible but on only human ideas. This statement is inaccurate because it is from the misinterpretation of the relation between water baptism and the baptism of the Holy Spirit and an erroneous statement “entire sanctification, in which the heart is purified by the baptism with the Holy Spirit.”
     If one is in the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God through faith in Jesus, he is already washed, already sanctified, already justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of God. This is truth even though one has yet to be baptized with/in water or with/in the Holy Spirit (and with/in fire). Romans 8:9-11 confirms that to be in Jesus is to be in the Holy Spirit. The 120 disciples were already in Jesus and in the Holy Spirit before being baptized with/in the Holy Spirit (and with/in fire) at Pentecost. This means that they were already washed, they were already sanctified, and they were already justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of God before being baptized with/in the Holy Spirit (and with/in fire) at Pentecost.  
     The statement of H. Orton Wiley, “Sanctification is subsequent to regeneration, is effected by the baptism with the Holy Ghost,” (H. Orton Wiley, Ibid., p.312.)
is confirmed as erroneous since he did not examine 1 Cor. 6.9-11. Rom. 10:10 confirms that if we believe in Jesus, we can be justified and be saved in the name of Jesus Christ.

Matt. 3:11  I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. (NIV)
Acts 2:38    Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (NIV)

     The texts say that water baptism spoken by John the Baptist and Peter was for repentance, that is, for the forgiveness of sins. If anyone repents and is baptized with/in water in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of his sin, all his sins will be forgiven. Before being baptized with/in water one must repent of all sins, actual and original. Then, God forgives. To repent all sins including actual sins and original sin is to receive the forgiveness in the name of Jesus Christ. To be in the name of Jesus Christ is to be in the Holy Spirit, and to be in the name of Jesus Christ and in the Holy Spirit is to be regenerated by the Holy Spirit.
     Consider 1 Cor. 6:9-11: “You were washed, you were sanctified, and you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” This must be applied to those who are not yet baptized with/in water. If anyone believes in Jesus and repents of his sins, he is in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. He is regenerated even though he was not yet baptized with/in water. So it must be inferred that to be in the name of the Lord Jesus, that is, to be regenerated is to be washed, sanctified, and justified. If Goodwin’s comment, “Sanctification is a divine work of grace, purifying the believer’s heart from indwelling sin. It is subsequent to regeneration,” is accepted as truth, it means that we can be regenerated without sanctification, that is, without the purification of our heart from indwelling sin. This makes no sense at all, so Goodwin’s comment is inaccurate and it is from the misinterpretation of the Bible.
     The Scripture confirms that sanctification is a divine work of grace, but by no means subsequent to regeneration. The note, “Sanctification is purifying the be- liever’s heart from indwelling sin,” must be “Sanctification is purifying the believer’s heart from actual sins and original sin at the moment of conversion and regeneration.”

Eph. 5:25-27  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. (NIV)
NKJ   Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church,

     The NIV translates hagiase (ἁγιάσῃ) in v. 26 as “make holy” and the NKJ, as “sanctify” and both translate hagia (ἁγία) in v. 27 as “holy.” Both translations are right. This means that we might be sanctified and cleansed with the washing of water by the word of Jesus.

Ps. 119:9-11  How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. (NIV)

     How can we keep our Christian lives holy and blameless? How can we be purified and sanctified from actual sins? Psalms 119:9-11 has the answer. We can keep our ways pure and holy and blameless by the only word of God. “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” If one does not hide the word of God in his heart, he may sin against God and not be sanctified. John Wesley said, “Sanctification in proper sense is an instantaneous deliverance from all sin.” (H. Orton Wiley, Ibid., p.312.)
But Psalms 119:9-11 pronounces this statement as inaccurate. It is impossible to say that sanctification is at once, an instantaneous deliverance from all sins. What does the Bible say about the issue?

1 Thess. 3:13  so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints. (NKJ)
YLT   to the establishing your hearts blameless in sanctification before our God and Father, in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.

     The NKJ translates hagiosune (ἁγιωσύνῃ ) in v. 13 as holiness and the YLT, as sanctification. In the text, the term “your/our” does not apply to unbelievers but to Christian believers who have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, that is, regenerated Christians through faith in Him. The phrase, “He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness/sanctification before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,” means that it might be hard to keep our hearts blameless in holiness/sanctification even though we were washed, we were sanctified, and we were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Cor. 7:1  Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. (NIV)

     The phrase indicates that we must continually have the word of God in our hearts. Otherwise we might sin against God causing our body and spirit to be contaminated even though we were sanctified when we repented of our sins and believed in Jesus Christ, namely, at the moment of regeneration.

1 Thess. 5:23  May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (NIV)

     The text, “May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,” indicates that blamelessness, namely, sanctification is not at once, an instantaneous deliverance from all sins. If our whole spirit, soul and body are not kept blameless by the word of God until the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, even though we are regenerated, it is impossible to keep blameless or to be sanctified. We are to strive daily to purify ourselves from every thing that would contaminate the spirit, soul and body.

Heb. 9:13-14  The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! (NIV)
 
     The text says of OT days, “The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean.” Similarly, when unbelievers accept the blood of Christ who died for their sins, the blood of Christ sanctifies the unclean so we are inwardly clean. We become regenerated Christians. The blood of Jesus cleanses the conscience from acts that lead to death when we accept Jesus’ death for our sins. Heb. 9:13-14 affirms that if anyone believes in Jesus as Savior and Lord and accepts Jesus’ blood as the covering sacrifice for all sins, the blood of Christ sanctifies him so that he is clean from all sins, actual and original, that lead to death. To be in Jesus as Savior and Lord is to be in the blood of Christ. To be in the blood of Christ is to be in sanctification even though one may not yet be baptized with/in water and baptized with/in the Holy Spirit.

Heb. 9:21-22  In the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies. In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. (NIV)

     The text says, “the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood.” If anyone believes that his sins are cleaned with the blood of Jesus Christ, he is cleaned and purified by his faith. One is regenerated even though he is not yet baptized with/in water and baptized with/in the Holy Spirit.

Heb. 10:22  let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. (NIV)

     A sincere heart is the heart that has been cleaned from a guilty conscience from sins by the sprinkling of pure water, that is, by the washing with water through the word (Eph. 5:25-27). He is regenerated. If a guilty conscience were not to refer original sin but only to actual sins, it would make no sense.

I John 1:7-8  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. (NIV)

     1 John 1:7-8 says, “If we confess our sins, the blood of Jesus purifies us from all sin.” Here, if we were to conclude the blood of Jesus purifies only actual sins and not original sin, it would make no sense at all. It should include both sins.

Ps. 19:12-13  Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression. (NIV)

     This is the prayer of David who was a son of God. He was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, namely, the baptism of the Holy Spirit through the anointing of Samuel. David had hidden faults and willful sins even though he had been filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, namely, the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Ps. 51:1-5  When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba. Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. (NIV)

     The prayer of David confirms that we can commit actual sins even though we were cleaned and purified from actual sins and original sin when we confessed our sins at the moment of conversion and regeneration.
 
Prov. 20:9      Who can say, “I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin”? (NIV)
Eccles. 7:20   There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins. (NIV)

     Prov. 20:9 and Eccles. 7:20 confirm that we can commit sins (the actual sins) before God even though we are regenerated and filled with the power of the Spirit.

     Ezek. 33:12-13 Therefore, son of man, say to your countrymen, ‘The righteousness of the righteous man will not save him when he disobeys, and the wickedness of the wicked man will not cause him to fall when he turns from it. The righteous man, if he sins, will not be allowed to live because of his former righteousness.’ If I tell the righteous man that he will surely live, but then he trusts in his righteousness and does evil, none of the righteous things he has done will be remembered; he will die for the evil he has done. (NIV)

     The text says, “The righteousness of the righteous man will not save him when he disobeys. The righteous man, if he sins, will not be allowed to live because of his former righteousness.” The text confirms that the righteous man, regenerated man and the receiver of the baptism of the Holy Spirit can disobey the word of God and commit actual sins before God. He will die for the evil he has done.

Randy L. Maddox comments on entire sanctification.

The topic entire sanctification has been the focus of considerable debate among Wesley’s twentieth century heirs. For many Methodists it is simply an ideal toward which we (and Wesley!) continually strive but never attain in this life. By contrast, for many in the holiness movement it is an unsurpassable state which can be attained instantaneously by faith, shortly after justification. (Randy L. Maddox (editor), Aldersgate Reconsidered, Nashville: Kingswood Books, 1990, p.141.)

     The note, “For many Methodists entire sanctification is simply an ideal toward which we continually strive but never attain in this life,” is true, not only because many Methodist believe it, but because the Bible supports it. But the note, “for many in the holiness movement entire sanctification it is an unsurpassable state which can be attained instantaneously by faith, shortly after justification,” is quite erroneous. There is no scriptural reference to support that.
     Ted Haggard rightly comments on sanctification: “Sanctification is a process. Time, trial and error, failing and trying again, thinking, praying, talking and sha- ring with others in the Body works sanctification into our lives.” (Ted Haggard, The Life Giving Church, Ventura: Regal Books, 2001, p.74.)

 

Martyn Lloyd-Jones comments on sanctification and the baptism with the Spirit.

The first tendency is to regard the baptism with the Holy Spirit as meaning entire sanctification; or to use the term of the Wesley, ‘perfect love’; or, to use another term, ‘sinless perfection.’ And there are those who therefore teach that when a man is baptized with the Holy Spirit he is entirely sanctified, and that should be our essential definition of the baptism with the Holy Spirit–that our heart is cleansed and that we are delivered from sin. Some talk about ‘eradication’ of sin. (Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Joy Unspeakable, p.135.)
 
     “When a man is baptized with the Holy Spirit he is entirely sanctified, and that should be our essential definition of the baptism with the Holy Spirit–that our heart is cleansed and that we are delivered from sin. Some talk about ‘eradication’ of sin,” is thoroughly unbiblical. It is based upon the misunderstanding of the relation between repentance, forgiveness and the power from on high (See Luke 24:45-49), and “the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the power of the Holy Spirit” (See Acts 1:5,8). Martyn Lloyd-Jones continues:  

What is the relationship between the baptism with the Holy Spirit and sanctification? My first answer is that there is no direction connection. I mean that the primary purpose and object of the baptism with the Holy Spirit is not sanctification, but it is something that is concerned with power–power in witness and in testimony…I am therefore arguing here that there is no direct connection between the baptism with the Holy Spirit and sanctification. It is all appeal, exhortation, argument, and that is the typical method of the New Testament in teaching us sanctification. Sanctification is ultimately the work of the Spirit. No man can sanctify himself unless he has the Spirit of God in him. But the moment a man is regenerated the Spirit is in him and the work of sanctification has already started…sanctification is a continuing and a continuous process…I am arguing that it is wrong to identify them, and we must teach and say that there is no direct connection between them…What I mean is that the very experience of the baptism with the Holy Spirit must affect and have an influence upon our sanctification. The moment a man is born again the Spirit brings to work in him. He works in him to produce his sanctification. (Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Ibid., p.136-7,140,206.)
 
     The note is correct except the terminology “the baptism with the Spirit.”


John R. Rice comments on sanctification and the baptism with the Spirit.

The blessing of Pentecost was not what is called “sanctification,” was not “Christian perfection,” was not the eradication of the carnal nature…But there is an idea abroad with many good people that at Pentecost the disciples received a personal experience of sanctification, and that at Pentecost there were purified and carnal nature was burned out and destroyed, the root and principle of sin eliminated. Some people so believe, but a study of the Word of God will prove that they are mistaken. That is not what happened at Pentecost. Jesus did not say to the apostles, “Tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until ye be sanctified.” Rather He said, “Tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high,” and He specified that it would be power to be witnesses for Him, that is, to preach repentance and remission of sins in His name among all nations (Luke 24:47-49). We Bible Christians must teach what Jesus taught. He did not say that at Pentecost the disciples would be sanctified. Again the matter is taken up in Acts 1:4,5…Note carefully that no mention is made here of sanctification or the eradication of the carnal nature…What were the disciples to receive when the Holy Ghost came upon them? They were to receive power! Power that would make them witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and in the whole world! Nothing is said here about sanctification nor about any special experience of cleansing and purification for themselves…And three thousand people were saved. Then Peter preached a sermon explaining what happed at Pentecost. And he said not one word about these Christians being sanctified or purified or having sin eradicated at Pentecost. It simply did not happen there. It is never mentioned in connection with Pentecost in the Bible. Let us accept the fact made plain by the Scriptures, then; at Pentecost the disciples were not “sanctified,” they were not made perfect, they were not made sinless, they did not have the carnal nature eradicated. That is not what was promised. That is not what they received. That is not what they waited for and not what they got. There were promised power of the Spirit. They waited upon God until they were filled with the Spirit and had the promised power. Then they witnessed for the Lord and three thousand were saved. That is the meaning of Pentecost. (John R. Rice, The power of Pentecost, p.113-115,116.)

     This statement is quite right and biblical except the terminology “filled with the Spirit.” This note is based upon the correct understanding of the relation between the baptism of the Spirit and sanctification.