Q. Is the baptism of the Holy Spirit an even separate from salvation?
A. The quick and unhelpful answer is yes and no. Now for the long answer. For the disciples on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 it was a separate event from their salvation. For the Samaritan believers in Acts 8 their baptism in the Holy Spirit was also a separate event from their salvation. (I need to note that this baptism was not only separate but distinct. It was evident to all when they did get "it". Something to think about.) This was also true for the Apostle Paul in Acts 9 and for the Gentile believers in Ephesus in Acts 19.
I must also remind you that Jesus, the divine Son of God, did not begin His ministry until he was endued with power from the Holy Spirit, and as John 3:34 states, Jesus had the Spirit without measure. The Spirit descended upon Him and remained at His baptism. Jesus did His whole ministry by the power of the Holy Spirit, not out of His own divinity as some might believe. Peter said as much, "...How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him" (Acts 10:38, NKJV). So we even have Jesus, the Son of God himself, anointed with the Spirit on a certain day for power. Jesus promised that what He had He would give to His disciples after His ascension. That would be the baptism of the Holy Spirit and of fire. You cannot give what you do not possess. We see that in Acts as well.
With all that said, it does not appear that the baptism of the Holy Spirit was a separate event for the household of Cornelius in Acts 10. For the others who became believers chronicled in the book of Acts it does not specify one way or the other.
So the baptizing of the Holy Spirit which John the Baptist spoke of and Jesus promised could happen at the time of salvation for believers today. It is hard to find a common pattern for determining the when, but it was very evident to all when they did "get it." There was a visible reaction as well as new internal dynamic, a change in the person who received this power. They become consumed by the love of Christ. This is something I will be exploring in the near future in my messages.
Q. Does this mean the Holy Spirit indwells at the time of salvation but its power can be manifested at a different time? I've always thought that the Holy Spirit comes to live in us at the moment of salvation.
A. The Holy Spirit is always present at salvation. Every person who is born again is born of the Holy Spirit of God. This is true in the old covenant and in the new. God has never changed the way He saves. But there is something that is different now in the new covenant. When a person is born again, they unlike in the old covenant are placed into the body of Christ. That is one thing, but not the only thing, that Pentecost did. Pentecost, by the coming of the Holy Spirit birthed the Church, the body of Christ. This was something that had not been in existence before. When you are born again you are not only regenerated by the Holy Spirit but you are placed or baptized into the body of Christ. "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body— whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit" 1 Corinthians 12:13 (NKJV). This is not an immersion in power but an immersion into the body. We are inseparably joined to Christ through the Holy Spirit. This was something done to us at the moment of salvation.
As wonderful as this is, this is not what I was referring to in my message. What I am trying to make clear, and it is hard at times because of our gaps of knowledge of the Spirit, is that you can be a believer, that you can have the Holy Spirit dwelling in you (born again), and still not be baptized with the Holy Spirit. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is something done to us by the Lord Jesus Christ, not by the Holy Spirit. On the other hand, our being baptized into the body of Christ is done by the Holy Spirit.
Let me try to explain the difference. If we can understand this, it will go a long way in helping us to be consumed by the love of Christ. In 1 Corinthians 12:13 the Holy Spirit is causal. It is the Holy Spirit that causes us to be joined to Jesus Christ. However, in the Scriptures where Jesus promises to baptize us with the Holy Spirit, Jesus is causal, not the Holy Spirit. The Greek text makes it clear that the Holy Spirit is instrumental in these texts (Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16), that why the Greek word "en" is translated "with" instead of "by." In 1 Corinthians 12:13 the Greek word "en" is translated as "by" instead of "with" because here the Spirit is causal.It is here that the Spirit causes us to be joined (immersed in) to the body of Christ. This happens to all believers.
To help illustrate this, or to add to your confusion, we see both the instrumental and the causal uses of the Holy Spirit in one verse: Luke 4:1 "Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness." In the first instance, Jesus being filled "with" the Holy Spirit making the Holy Spirit instrumental. The Spirit was what Jesus was filled with. In the second instance, the Holy Spirit is causal. This is because it was the Holy Spirit which led Jesus into the wilderness.The Spirit was the cause of Him going into the wilderness.
I hope I haven't lost you. If I have, I apologize. Maybe this will help. Here is the summary: The baptism of Jesus with the Spirit is one of power, assurance, and witness. The baptism of the Spirit is one of union into the body of Christ and salvation. Do you see the difference? Jesus baptized you "with" the Spirit: power and authority (Acts 1:8 etc.). The Spirit baptizes you "into" the body of Christ: salvation and union (1 Corinthians 12:13). Again, "with" the Spirit: Power. "By" the Spirit: Union.
So every person who calls on the name of the Lord and is born again has the Holy Spirit in salvation and becomes part of the body of Christ. They may also be baptized with power and authority at the same time. That would be great and wonderful! But not necessarily.
I have the creeping feeling from experience that there are far too many of us who are disciples of Jesus but do not have power. If you find this thinking hard to believe, then you will find it hard to believe in revival at all. For this is the heart and soul of revival. Revival is Jesus saturating His people anew with the Holy Spirit and power. If you don't think the Spirit can come in this way, after salvation, then you don't believe in what happened in the First Great Awakening at the beginning of the United States of America, The Evangelical Awakening in London under Whitefield and the Wesley brothers, the Second Great Awakening, the 1857-58 Prayer Revival, the 1904 Welsh Revival, the 1949-52 Hebrides Revival, the later revival on Lewis, the Asbury Revival in the 1970s in Kentucky, or the Brownwood Texas Revival in the 1990s.I fail to mention revivals in India and in eastern Europe and even Asia.
What do you think? Are we people in need of this power? Are we people in need of revival?