What is the baptism with the Holy Spirit?
The baptism with the Holy Spirit is a baptism ministered by the Lord Jesus Christ to His followers, as John the Baptist said: “He [Christ] shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost…” (Matthew 3:11), and as Jesus said to His disciples before He was taken up into heaven “Ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence” (Acts 1:5). Therefore, it is a baptism that one receives after the new birth (in that it is by the new birth that one becomes a follower of Jesus).
Through this baptism the believer is filled with the Holy Spirit, for this is what happened on the day of Pentecost to the about one hundred and twenty disciples, as it is written: “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost….” (Acts 2:4), therefore the believer through this baptism receives a measure of the Holy Spirit that will be added to the measure of the Holy Spirit he already has and thus he becomes full of the Spirit, for according to the Scripture the believer at the time of his conversion receives a measure of the Holy Spirit in his heart who enables him to call God ‘Father’ but when he receives the baptism with the Spirit he will be filled with the Spirit. In other words, when a person is born again he receives the Holy Spirit but not the fullness of the Holy Spirit; he will receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit when he is baptized with the Holy Spirit.
Through the baptism with the Holy Spirit the believer is endued with power from on high, as the Lord Jesus, before He was taken up into heaven, said to His disciples: “For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence….. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:5,8). This power enables him to be an effective witness of the grace of God in his life.
We need to say also that when a believer receives the baptism with the Holy Spirit, he begins to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gives him utterance, for this is what happened to the about one hundred and twenty disciples at Jerusalem when they were filled (or baptized) with the Holy Spirit: “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4). And not only to them, but also to Cornelius and his household and to the about twelve disciples at Ephesus (Acts 10:44-46; 19:1-7). Speaking with other tongues, therefore, is the outward sign attesting that the baptism with the Holy Spirit has been received by the believer.
This baptism can be received through the laying on of hands as well without it, for in the book of the Acts of the apostles the about one hundred and twenty at Jerusalem, Cornelius and his household at Caesarea received it without the laying on of hands (Acts 2:1-4; 10:44-46; 11:15); while the about twelve disciples at Ephesus and Paul received it through the laying on of hands (Acts 19:6: 9:17).