The Difference between Possessing the Spirit, and Being Filled with the Spirit.
Updated: Aug 3, 2019
Depiction: The Holy Spirit described as the Comforter, helper (parakletos – Greek).
Role: The Work of the Spirit during the Dispensation of Grace:
Everlasting assistance: John 14:16
Brings to remembrance Christ’s words: John 14:26
Give evidence regarding Christ: John 15:26
Convicts the world concerning sin: John 16: 7-8
Leads and Guides as a Father: John 16:13
We may speak of the baptism of the Spirit as that initial act of the Spirit by which, at the moment of our regeneration, we are baptized by the Spirit into the body of Christ; the Spirit then comes and takes up His dwelling within the believer (Romans 6: 3-5; 1 Corinthians 12: 13; Colossians 2:12).
On the other hand, the filling with the Spirit, is not confined to one experience, or to any one point of time exclusively; it may be repeated a numerous time without number. For example, the experience of the Apostles in the book of Acts, bears witness to the fact that they were repeatedly filled with the Spirit. Whenever a new emergency arose, they sought a fresh infilling with the Spirit. Acts 2:4 with 4:31 shows that the Apostles who were filled on the day of Pentecost were again filled a few days after.
All Christian have the indwelling, but not all have the infilling, although all may have both. Ephesians 4:30 speaks of believers as being “sealed,” whereas 5:18 commands those same believers to “be filled (to be filled again and again) with the Sprit.”
Both the baptism and the infilling may take place at once. There need to be no long wilderness experience in the life of the believer. Moreover, it is the will of God that we be “filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God,” (Philippians 1:11), and to remain occupy wholly all the time.
Whenever we are called upon for any special service, or for any new emergency, we ought to seek a fresh infilling of the Spirit, either for life or service, as the case may be.
As Christ acted with his disciples while He sojourned with them, so the Holy Ghost acts with those who believe in His name. Holy Father, forgive our ignorance when we neglect the fountain of the living water.