In my quiet time yesterday, I felt a nudging to address, on a regular basis, some of the tough questions that people have concerning issues of the Scripture. This project in no way supposes that I have all the answers, but that in many if not most cases, I will have to do a lot of “digging” myself to BIBLICALLY address some of the issues. So, my plan is to take one question a week that I either get asked or that comes into mind, based on our topic of discussion on Sunday mornings.
So to get started: “Do I have to speak in tongues to be baptized in the Holy Spirit?
First let me say that a Christian does not have to do anything he or she does not want to do, unless we desire to please God and walk according to the designs laid out in Scripture. Speaking in tongues has always been a controversial topic and probably will remain so. But God will not force us to do anything, being the perfect and gentle Father that He is.
So let’s rethink the question and respond with “I get to speak in tongues when I am baptized in the Holy Spirit” But tongues is not the end goal of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. The end goal is to walk in power for the purpose of being a witness for Jesus in the earth. We are to do what He did and we cannot do this with our own power.
Now back to the question. What does the Bible teach us?
If we look at the examples set forth after the day of Pentecost, we see that each time there was mention of people being baptized in the Holy Spirit, there was the evidence of tongues (a physical sign of the baptism) given. This Scripture support can be found in Acts 2:4; Acts 8:14-18; Acts 10:44-46 and Acts 19:4-6. In each case, tongues is associated with the baptism. This is telling me that God’s intention for the Spirit baptism and a sign of full submission to the Holy Spirit is that we also relinquish our tongue, that unruly little member of our body that James speaks of in James 3:6-8. There is purpose in speaking in tongues also, as revealed in Scripture. We see in Romans 8:26-27 that the Holy Spirit will intercede for us the will of God. 1 Cor. 14:2-4 tells us that we speak divine spiritual mysteries to God when we pray in tongues. Jude 20-21 tell us that we build ourselves up in our faith and that we remain in the love of God by praying in the Spirit, so there is always divine purpose in what God does. Acts 1:8 tells us that we will receive power to represent Jesus in the world.
As Spirit filled believers, we should ask ourselves another more important question, “Do we have other evidences of the Holy Spirit ruling in our life?” Do we walk in love? Do we have the fruit of the Spirit? Do we have the gifts of the Spirit operating in our life? God so wonderfully provides all that we need for life and for Godliness and the Holy Spirit is a key part in that provision. He is a powerful part of the trinity of God and we are so privileged to be able to have Him within us. He is the glorified Spirit of the resurrected Christ and He lives within people. It is no wonder that Paul could say in Colossians 1:27, it is “Christ within us, our hope of glory!” This comes through the Presence of Holy Spirit within each of us.
So do I have to speak in tongues to be baptized in the Holy Spirit? To me, this is like saying “Do I have to get wet to jump in the pool?” Well not if I put on a wet suit that keeps the water away from my skin. When we allow ourselves the full immersion of Holy Spirit, tongues will be present. But are we wearing “wet suits” of fear and wrong doctrine that keep us from experiencing this wonderful experience of the language of the Spirit? Lets take all God intends and desires. After all, Father knows best!
Love and blessings,