Introduction: There are religionists who teach one must experience the baptism of the Holy Spirit in order to be saved. Others say the baptism of the Spirit is not essential to primary salvation, but is indicative of a second blessing or "second layer of salvation." What does the Bible say?
I. An examination of the language
A. There are many references to the baptism of the Spirit (Mk. 1: 8, Lk. 24: 49, Acts 1: 5, 8).
B. "Baptism" means immersion (W. E. Vine).
a. Hence, the language "baptism of the Spirit" suggests being immersed in the Spirit, in his miraculous ability.
C. The twelve apostles received the baptismal measure of miraculous power (Acts 1, 2), the apostle Paul (2 Cor. 12: 11, 12), and Cornelius and his household (Acts 10, 11).
a. The baptism of the Spirit enabled the apostles to impart to others miracle-working ability (Acts 8: 12-19).
II. What this baptism did not do
A. The baptism of the Holy Spirit did not depend on human agency, according to the two recorded cases (Acts 2, 10).
B. It never was a command.
C. It did not impart faith or sanctify (Rom. 10: 17, Jn. 17: 17).
D. It never directly turned people to God or purified a single soul (Acts 26: 16-18, Rom. 1: 16).
E. Moreover, it did not directly save any (Acts 10, cp. 11: 17).
III. The baptism of the Spirit and today
A. As seen, the baptism of the Spirit had a special design, to impart the needed degree of miracle working ability to the recipients.
B. In about ten years of history of the early church, we only read of two cases, the apostles and Cornelius (Acts 2, 10).
a. Both these events were special and unusual. We simply do not have people today who can raise the physically dead and do what the recipients of this baptism did (Acts 20: 9 ff.)
Conclusion: About twenty years subsequent to the last recorded case of the baptism of the Spirit, Paul wrote there is one baptism (Eph. 4: 5). This one baptism is clearly water baptism, the baptism of the Great Commission (I Pet. 3: 20, 21, Mk. 16: 16).