Filled with Joy and the Holy Spirit

Joy in the Holy Spirit

Joy often accompanies the Holy Spirit in the NT. We see this as a fulfillment of prophecy in Jesus’ ministry that serves as a pattern for the charismatic, prophetic church.

Two Times Seventy Were Commissioned

Twice in Scripture, God’s prophetic leader commissioned seventy others to aid with the work of the Kingdom.

Moses asked God for help in leading God’s people. God answered by sending the prophetic anointing of the Spirit upon seventy elders.

25 Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke with him, and he took some of the power of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied—but did not do so again. …
29 …Moses replied, “…I wish that ALL the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!
–Numbers 11:25,29 NIV

Moses’ commission was attended by a prophetic anointing from the Spirit of God, foreshadowing Pentecost.

Likewise, Jesus dispatched seventy of His followers to “‘Heal the sick who are there and tell them, “The kingdom of God is near you”’” (Luke 10:9 NIV).

1 After this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them before Him, by twos, to go to every town or place which He Himself intended to visit.
2 And He addressed them thus: “The harvest is abundant, but the reapers are few: therefore entreat the Owner of the harvest to send out more reapers into His fields. And now go.”
–Luke 10:1-2 WEY

Upon returning from their mission, they reported good news.

17 The Seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in Your name.”
18 He said to them, … 20 “[D]on’t rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
21 In that same hour He rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth…”
–Luke 10:17-18a,20-21a HCSB

One thing that definitely makes Jesus happy is when the devil is defeated and demons are cast out (see Acts 10:38).

But this is no mere circumstantial joy. Verse 21 says, “Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit.”

Rejoicing in the Holy Spirit

“Rejoice” is the Greek work egalliasato. In the Septuagint OT, it is “usually found in the Psalms and the prophetic portions of the Prophets, and it denotes spiritual exultation that issues forth in praise to God for his mighty acts” (Robert P. Menzies, Speaking in Tongues [CPT Press, 2016], 24). This word appears in the Messianic Psalm 16.

9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.
11 You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
–Psalm 16:9-11 NIV

The Hebrew word for “rejoice,” gîl, means “to spin round, under the influence of emotion” (Strong’s H1523). This is Spirit-inspired ecstasy.

Did Jesus Speak in Tongues?

Luke 10:21 says, “Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit AND said…” (NKJV). Menzies indicates that two types of speech may be indicated here. This same “and” construction is used in Luke 13:12: Jesus “called her forward AND said to her, ‘Woman,…’” (NIV), the conjunction separating two distinct actions (Menzies, 49).

The verb [“rejoiced,” agalliaō], linked as it is to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, may imply glossolalia; while the phrase, “and he said”…, introduces the intelligible words of praise described in the narrative. (Menzies, 49; emphasis mine)

“Rejoicing” (egalliasato) and declaring the acts of God “is particularly striking in Luke-Acts” (Menzies, 25). We see it in the joyful praise of the impregnated Virgin Mary, who prophesies at the overshadowing of the Spirit (Luke 1:47). Jesus in Luke 10:21. And David in Acts 2:26.

In Lk 1.47 and 10.21 the verb is specifically linked to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and in Acts 2.25-30 David is described as a prophet. This verb, then, was for Luke a particularly appropriate way of describing prophetic activity. (Menzies, 25; emphasis mine)

In his Pentecost sermon, Peter refers to Psalm 16 where David the prophet says, “Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices” (Acts 2:26 NIV). This association of “tongue” and “rejoicing” occurs six times in Luke-Acts (Luke 1:64; Acts 2:4,11,26; 10:46; 19:6).

The Jews of Peter’s day would have understood his quoting of Psalm 16 as referring to the Messiah. In Luke 10:21, we see its fulfillment when Jesus, inspired by the Spirit with joy, proclaims inspired thanks and praise to the Father.

If Jesus did not speak in tongues, His experience is very close to it. In the context of Peter’s Pentecost sermon and what had just happened to the tongues-speaking disciples that day, “my tongue rejoices” could very well refer to Jesus speaking in tongues.

“You will fill me with joy in your presence”—the Greek word prosōpon (Strong’s G4383). This word is used in Peter’s next sermon: “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19 NKJV).

Peter’s reference to Psalm 16 also refers to Jesus’ exaltation in heaven, but when compared with Acts 3:19, it points toward earthly charismatic expression when the refreshing presence of the Holy Spirit falls.

The filling of the Holy Spirit results in joy and prophetic utterance about the mighty works of God.

Jesus, Our Pattern

Jesus’ experience in Luke 10:21 is repeated at Pentecost and becomes the pattern for the Spirit-baptized Church. Joy accompanies the presence of the Spirit.

  • “And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 13:52 NIV).
  • “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17 NIV).
  • “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 15:13 NIV).
  • “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Gal. 5:22-23 NIV).
  • “You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit” (1 Thess. 1:6 NIV).

Let us follow the example of Jesus, fulfilling His prophetic commission to destroy the works of the devil, being filled with the Holy Spirit and declaring God’s works. Then we will bear the fruit of Christ’s joy.

Standing Firm Until Christ’s Return

Christ's return

“You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near” (James 5:8 NIV). We stand firm until Christ’s return by being filled with the Spirit, ministering the gifts of the Spirit, and praying in the Spirit.

Times of Refreshing

After the Apostle Peter healed the lame man at the temple gate, he preached to the astonished witnesses, saying,

19 “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,
20 and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.
21 He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.”
–Acts 3:19-21 NIV

Before Jesus returns to restore the earth to God’s original plan, Peter prophesies that “times of refreshing” would “come from the Lord” (v. 19). The Wuest NT says will come “epoch-making periods of spiritual revival and refreshment from the presence of the Lord.”

The word “refreshing” is the Greek anapsuxeos, meaning to strengthen, refresh, relieve; recovery of breath, to cool by blowing. It is used only here in the NT. Jesus told Nicodemus, “The wind [pneuma: Spirit] blows wherever it pleases” (John 3:8 GW), resulting in spiritual regeneration and revival.

The Last Days

We see this refreshing wind on the first day the Holy Spirit was poured out on the followers of Christ, when Peter quotes the prophet Joel:

17 “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.
18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.'”
–Acts 2:17-18 NIV

Since Pentecost, we live in the age of the blowing Spirit—the last days. Through repentance, conversion, and the baptism in the Holy Spirit, we prepare for the return of the Lord, that Great Day (Zeph. 1:14).

During these last days before Christ’s return, God promises “epoch-making periods of spiritual revival and refreshment from the presence of the Lord.” He has waves of revival, fresh breezes from the Spirit, to bring many into the Kingdom before the door on this age shuts (Matt. 25:10-13).

Spiritual Gifts Prepare Us for Christ’s Return

Because of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, we are endowed with gifts and graces of the Spirit to endure till the end. Paul greeted the Corinthians this way:

2 To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours: …
4 I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.
5 For in him you have been enriched in every way—in all your speaking and in all your knowledge—
6 because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you.
7 Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.
8 He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
–1 Corinthians 1:2,4-8 NIV

The sanctified who call on the Lord’s name have received grace (charis) and have been “enriched in every way”—especially in “speech and knowledge of every kind” (GW). This refers to prophetic utterance, speaking in tongues, and revelation knowledge (1 Cor. 13:1-2).

This “confirmation”—meaning to make stable and secure—comes from the charismatic baptism in the Spirit and the gifts the Spirit imparts.

21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us,
22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
–2 Corinthians 1:21-22 NIV

Wherever he went, Paul testified of Christ in the power of the Spirit by signs and wonders (Rom. 15:18-19; 1 Cor. 2:4-5; Heb. 2:4).

Through the baptism in the Holy Spirit, the Corinthians (and all those who have received the fullness of God’s Spirit) lacked no spiritual gift. (Paul discusses these gifts in chapters 12-14.)

But note in 1 Corinthians 1:7-8 that moving in the gifts of the Holy Spirit is linked with:

  • Eagerly waiting for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed
  • Remaining strong to the end
  • Being kept blameless until the day of Jesus Christ

By ministering to one another through spiritual gifts, we encourage and strengthen one another to endure (1 Cor. 14:3-5,12,15,26,31; 1 Pet. 4:10). This is also true of “praying in the Spirit”—praying in tongues.

Praying in the Spirit

20 But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.
21 Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.
–Jude 1:20-21 NIV

Praying in the spirit:

The baptism in the Spirit, moving and ministering through the gifts, and praying in the Spirit preserve and prepare us for Christ’s return and full salvation. In these two verses from Jude, we see the Father, the Son, and Spirit, as well as faith, hope, and love.

When the Perfect Comes

8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.
9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. …
12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
–1 Corinthians 13:8-10,12-13 NKJV

In these last days, the age of the Spirit, we have the adoption as children, the seal of ownership, and the grace gifts to strengthen ourselves and one another in love. Although the gifts are imperfect reflections of the glory to come, they will keep us until the Perfect arrives—the day when we will see Him face to face.

2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
3 Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.
–1 John 3:2-3 NIV

Speaking in Tongues: Intelligible Languages or Unknown Tongues?

When the Bible mentions “speaking in tongues,” is it referring to intelligible human language or unintelligible unknown tongues?

Both.

Yet these two types of speaking in tongues are closely related. Let’s take a look.

Tongues as Intelligible Languages

The first time speaking in tongues is mentioned is in Acts chapter 2:

1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.
2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.
3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.
4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
–Acts 2:1-4 NIV

The Greek phrase for “other tongues” is heterais glossais. Glossais is also used in Acts 10:46 (Spirit-baptism of the Gentiles) and 19:6 (Spirit-baptism of the Ephesians).

However, the occurrence in Acts 2 is the only place where “other tongues” are identified as known human language.

6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language.
7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans?
8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?”
–Acts 2:6-8 NIV

The word “language” is translated as such because it comes from the Greek dialekto. In Acts 2, heterais glossais is understood as native dialects—known human languages.

Peter indicates that this understandable form of tongues, xenolalia, is a type of prophetic utterance foretold by the prophet Joel: “‘Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy‘” (Acts 2:18 NIV).

The foreign hearers understood the Spirit-baptized disciples to be “declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” (Acts 2:11 NIV) Spirit baptism manifests itself in prophetic declaration and praise.

Although the tongues at Cornelius’ house and in Ephesus are not identified as intelligible human languages, heterais glossais is still used. We see that the circumcised believers who accompanied Peter to the Gentile’s house “heard them speaking in tongues and praising God” (Acts 10:46 NIV). When Paul laid his hands on the Ephesians, “the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied” (Acts 19:6 NIV).

Spirit baptism manifests itself in prophetic declaration, praise, and speaking in tongues, whether they are intelligible (xenolalia) or unintelligible (glossolalia).

Tongues as Unintelligible Utterances

In 1 Corinthians 12-14, Paul discusses “speaking in tongues” (lalousin glossais) at length (12:30; 13:1; 14:2, 4, 6, 13, 18, 23, 27, 39).

In these chapters, however, Paul assumes that the Corinthians’ utterances in tongues are unintelligible: “For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit” (1 Cor. 14:2 NIV). And “Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air” (14:9 NIV).

Therefore, these unintelligible tongues must be interpreted by someone gifted by the Holy Spirit to do so: “For this reason anyone who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret what he says” (14:13 NIV). And “If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret” (14:27 NIV).1

If Paul insists these tongues must be interpreted, he apparently considers they are not intelligible human languages being spoken, as in Acts 2. Yet, Paul says, “No matter how many different languages there are in the world, not one of them is without meaning” (14:10 GW).

These Corinthian tongues may be unintelligible, yet they are not meaningless. They merely need to be interpreted.

A key to the difference between xenolalia and glossolalia is found here:

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
–1 Corinthians 13:1 NIV

Paul, here, could be comparing prophecy in the native language with a glossolalic message in an unknown tongue that must be interpreted. But he could also mean that some speaking tongues is understandable human languages (“tongues of men”), as at Pentecost in Acts 2 (xenolalia), and some are unintelligible unless interpreted (“tongues of angels”), as in these chapters of Corinthians (glossolalia).

As Robert P. Menzies points out in his excellent Speaking in Tongues (CPT Press, 2016), all of these passages:

  • Associate tongues with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit
  • Use similar vocabulary (glossais)
  • Describe resulting speech as praise and prophecy

There are contemporary instances where private tongues or public messages in tongues are recognized as known human languages. Jordan Daniel May has collected testimonies of xenolalic occurrences in his inspiring Global Witnesses to Pentecost: The Testimony of ‘Other Tongues’ by Jordan Daniel May (Cherohala Press, 2013).

Whether we use tongues as private prayer language or deliver a Spirit-prompted message in tongues at a gathering of believers, we are speaking prophetically and glorifying God.

16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
17 “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.
18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.'”
–Acts 2:16-18 NIV


1. Paul is comparing private prayer language, given as evidence of being baptized in the Spirit, with the spiritual gift of tongues, a Spirit-prompted utterance in a public setting that must be followed by the Spirit-prompted gift of interpretation.

Drinking of the Holy Spirit

Water

For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
–1 Corinthians 12:13 NIV

Although the word “baptism” is used in the first part of the verse above, it does not refer to water baptism or the baptism in the Holy Spirit. It simply means that the Holy Spirit immerses us into, or makes us a part of, the one Body of Christ, the Church (see also Galatians 3:28).

This happens at conversion when the Holy Spirit regenerates us and is the same thing as being included in Christ (Ephesians 1:13). It should be followed by water baptism.

In the last part of the verse, however, “drinking” of the Spirit does refer to the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Some commentary will help to differentiate between these two experiences:

For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body (at conversion)—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and (some time later) we were all given the one Spirit to drink (the baptism in the Holy Spirit).
–1 Corinthians 12:13 NIV (parenthetical phrases my addition)

The baptism in the Holy Spirit is for those who have accepted Christ as Savior—those who are spiritually regenerated (see Titus 3:4-6). All of the Corinthians were first converted and then baptized in the Holy Spirit, which is referred to as drinking of the Spirit.

Unfortunately, this cannot be said of most Christians today. Many are saved, but not all have gone on to drink of the Spirit’s fullness.

Jesus told the woman at the well, “whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst” (John 4:14a NASB). This was a foreshadowing of Pentecost, for later, Jesus equated thirst and drinking with the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

37On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” 39By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
–John 7:37–39 NIV

Notice in verses 38 and 39 that “drinking” of the Spirit is available to those who believe in Him. And these believers would not receive the Spirit until after Jesus was “glorified.”

This glorification is what Jesus prayed about in John 17:5: “glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began” (NIV).

We know this glorification took place after His ascension, when Jesus sat down at the Father’s right hand. Ten days after this, the Holy Spirit was poured out at Pentecost.

So the Spirit being given after Jesus’ glorification refers to the Pentecostal outpouring. Drinking of the Spirit in John 7:37–39 means to be baptized in the Holy Spirit.

Paul also compared drinking with being filled with the Spirit:

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
–Ephesians 5:18 KJV

You get drunk by drinking (but don’t!). Likewise, you get filled with the Spirit by drinking.

So far, we have been dealing with contrasts. But there is a similarity between salvation and the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Salvation and the baptism in the Holy Spirit are both symbolized in the New Testament by immersion.

At salvation, the Holy Spirit regenerates the repentant sinner. That is also when the Holy Spirit immerses him into the Body of Christ, making him a member of the Church (1 Corinthians 12:13a). But with the baptism in the Holy Spirit, Jesus immerses believers in the Holy Spirit to empower them (see John 1:33). When believers are immersed in the Spirit, they drink and are filled with the Spirit (Acts 2:4).

Have you drunk of the Spirit’s fullness? Are you thirsty? Ask Jesus to baptize you in the Holy Spirit: “If you … know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! (Luke 11:13 NIV).

An Anointing from the Holy One

When you are baptized with the Holy Spirit, God seals you and deposits His Spirit in your heart and clothes you with power. But that’s not all. Along with being sealed and filled, you are also anointed.

21Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
–2 Corinthians 1:21–22 NIV

Those who have been baptized in the Holy Spirit have received an anointing from Him, just like Jesus received (see Luke 4:18).

The Apostle John wrote about this anointing in two books of Scripture. Let’s look at the passage from his first epistle:

But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.
–1 John 2:20 NKJV

Note two things in this verse:

  1. This anointing comes from the “Holy One,” a name which refers only to Christ Jesus in the New Testament (see Mark 1:24; Luke 4:34; Acts 2:27; 3:14; 13:35).
  2. Because John’s readers had this anointing, they knew “all things.”

This verse is reminiscent of what John wrote in his Gospel concerning Pentecost. In the Gospel of John, also note two things:

  1. Jesus said that when He ascended to heaven, He would send the Holy Spirit to His disciples: “‘When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth’” (John 15:26 NASB), and, “‘if I do not go away, the Helper shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you’” (John 16:7 NASB).
  2. When the Holy Spirit came, He would teach them “all things” (John 14:26) so that they would know the truth. (See also John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13.)

Therefore, this “anointing from the Holy One” in John’s first epistle refers to the baptism in the Holy Spirit, which he wrote about in his Gospel. It is the same anointing that Jesus received when He was baptized in the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:21–22). This is the Christ anointing!

And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.
–1 John 2:27 NASB

If you have been baptized in the Holy Spirit, you were marked with a seal and you received an anointing from Him. It is the same anointing that belongs to Christ Jesus. This anointing remains and dwells in you as a deposit. (See 2 Corinthians 5:5; Ephesians 1:14.)

What John had written about the Holy Spirit before Pentecost—“He… will be in you” (John 14:17 NIV)—had come to pass: “the anointing which you received from Him abides in you” (1 John 2:27 NASB). It dwells in the Spirit-baptized Christian.

Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
–1 Corinthians 3:16 NASB

Next time, we’ll take a look at the baptism in the Holy Spirit as “drinking” of the Spirit.

Sealed with the Holy Spirit

Seal

If you’ve accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, you were included in Christ.

After conversion, if you went on to be baptized in the Holy Spirit, you were sealed, anointed, and filled with the Spirit of God. In this issue, we’ll look at the sealing work of the Holy Spirit.

If you’ve been baptized in the Holy Spirit, God stamped you with a seal.

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a SEAL, the promised Holy Spirit.
–Ephesians 1:13 NIV

Included in Christ by the Word of Truth

The “word of truth” is the Gospel of salvation:

  • Jesus prayed for His disciples: “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17 NIV).
  • Paul wrote, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes…” (Romans 1:16 NIV).
  • James said, God “chose to give us birth through the word of truth” (1:18 NIV).
  • Peter explains, “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God” (1 Peter 1:23 NIV).

Trusting in Christ by accepting and believing His Word (Acts 8:14; 1 Thessalonians 2:13) includes us in the Church, the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13).

Marked with a Seal

After heart conversion, there is a second experience the Bible refers to as “the baptism in the Holy Spirit” by which we are sealed as belonging to God.
This seal is the Holy Spirit.

21Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
–2 Corinthians 1:21-22 NIV

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
–Ephesians 4:30 NIV

Specifically, according to Ephesians 1:13, this seal is the “promised Holy Spirit,” which Jesus told His disciples of before His ascension:

4… “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
–Acts 1:4b–5 NIV

(See also Luke 24:49; John 14:16–17,26; 15:26; 16:7,13.)

The “gift my Father promised” is the baptism in the Holy Spirit, which is available to all believers (Acts 2:38–39). The seal of the “promised Holy Spirit,” then, is the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

A seal denotes:

After you believed, were you sealed? If you long to serve Christ with power, ask Jesus to baptize you with the Holy Spirit today.

9“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

11“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!
–Luke 11:9-13 NIV

Next time, we’ll study more about being filled and anointed with the Holy Spirit.

Recommended Resources

Sins Against the Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit as a Dove

The Holy Spirit is a Divine Person, a member of the triune Godhead. And as God, the Spirit can be sinned against. The New Testament warns us of six specific sins against the Holy Spirit. But first, let’s examine the Spirit’s personhood.

The Holy Spirit is a Person

Sins Against the Holy Spirit

Of the six sins against the Holy Spirit, three can be committed by Christians, and three by those who do not know Jesus Christ. We’ll examine the ones non-Christians can commit first.

Insulting the Holy Spirit

How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?
–Hebrews 10:29 NIV

The word “insulted” means to exercise violence, use despitefully, reproach, or treat shamefully. It is used only here in the Bible.

The salvation offered us through Christ is a gift of grace, not to be spurned, but to be accepted with faith, humility, and joy.

Resisting the Holy Spirit

51 “You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52 Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him— 53 you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.”
–Acts 7:51-53 NIV

This word means to oppose. The religious leaders of Stephen the Martyr’s day came from a long line of those who said they honored God but rejected what God’s prophets had to say. Disobedient to the spirit of the Law, they crucified Christ. And, despite the miracles that Stephen did, these stiff-necked people resisted the ministry of the Holy Spirit through the Law, the Prophets, the Christ, and Stephen. Their rage led to Stephen’s stoning.

Blaspheming the Holy Spirit

“31 And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”
–Matthew 12:31 NIV

The Pharisees accused Jesus of casting a demon out of a man by the power of Beelzebub, the prince of demons. He warned them against attributing the works of the Holy Spirit to the devil. For these unbelievers, Jesus said that such sin is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which will not be forgiven. Serious indeed.

Quenching the Holy Spirit

19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil.
–1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 NIV

As believers, we must not extinguish the Spirit’s fire through the manifestation of spiritual gifts. Instead, as Paul told Timothy, we are to “fan into flame the gift of God” (2 Timothy 1:6 NIV).

“Stir” is the word anazopureo, meaning “to rekindle or stir up.” It comes from a combination of three words: one meaning “intensely,” one meaning “a live thing such as an animal or beast,” and another, meaning “fiery, fire, or lightning.”

Paul insisted that Timothy “lively and intensely set yourself on fire to use your spiritual gifts!” Do you eagerly desire spiritual gifts? (1 Corinthians 14:1). Stir yourself up. Do not quench the Spirit’s fire.

Grieving the Holy Spirit

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
–Ephesians 4:29-32 NIV

How we speak to and treat others can distress the Holy Spirit. We are to cleanse ourselves from the sins of the flesh and put on Christ (Romans 13:14), speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).

Lying to the Holy Spirit

Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?”
–Acts 5:3 NIV

Ananias and his wife Sapphira led the church to believe they had sold a piece of land and given the whole amount to the work of the Lord when they actually had held back a part of the money. In lying to the apostles and the church, they had lied to the Holy Spirit. For this, they paid with their lives.

Our Power Over the Spirit

Although the Holy Spirit is sovereign, we as Christians have the power, as Sam Storms says, “either to restrict or release what he does in the life of the local church” (Practicing the Power, 180).

We can quench or resist the Spirit by neglecting the Divine’s work of baptizing (filling) with the Spirit and imparting spiritual gifts through which the church must be built up. We can stymie the Spirit by creating an atmosphere in our church meetings that does not allow for the Spirit’s spontaneous moving. We grieve the Spirit when we despise tongues and prophetic utterances.

Let us honor the Spirit in our lives and in the midst of the Church, allowing the Spirit to have free reign and to manifest the glory of God with signs, wonders, gifts, and fruit.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
–2 Corinthians 3:17 NIV