Volume Five — Article 3 Volume 5 | Home

Justification by Faith
and the Baptism of the Spirit


When we consider the message of Saint Paul, one word stands out — justification. His letter to the Romans is the great beacon light on the doctrine of justification.

The words justify and justification are legal words, closely related to the idea of a court trial and judgment. Justification with God implies that one has stood before the divine court and has been forgiven and declared just, or righteous.

Being a legal word, justification is also closely related to law. The divine court has a holy, just and good law (Rom. 7:12) which must be reckoned with in the matter of justification. At the outset of his epistle, the apostle declares," . . . the doers of the law shall be justified." Rom. 2:13. The law demands perfect obedience, and unless this demand is met, no man will ever be justified.

The human predicament, however, is that absolutely no man can render an obedience that will satisfy the law. "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin." Rom. 3:20. Let a man climb the alpine heights of holy living, and the law will say, "Not good enough." A man might just as well reach up and touch the stars as satisfy the law with his obedience. Not only is it true that "all have sinned," but all "continue to come short 1 of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23).

Thus does Paul use the law to level all men and show that a man has to look outside of his own experience for justification.

Three Objective Aspects of Justification

The justification and forgiveness of sinners is the redemptive work of God (Rom. 8:33). Just as God has revealed Himself to us in His word as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, so there are three aspects to God's way of declaring men righteous. It is said to be:

By grace — (the Father)
By Christ — (the Son)
By faith — (the Spirit).

"Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God." Rom. 3:24-25.

By Grace. Grace in this context is not a quality infused into man but is simply God's attitude of favor and mercy toward undeserving sinners. Justifying grace is qualified by the word freely, which is elsewhere translated "without a cause." Grace therefore is unearned and unmerited. The sinner must not look for it in his own heart but only in the heart of God. Grace means to be accepted in spite of being unacceptable.

By Christ. Justification is said to be "by Christ" (Gal. 2:17), or "by the obedience of One" (Rom. 5:19). We have seen that the law demands perfect obedience. This the sinner owes to the law, but he is incapable of rendering it. Christ became the sinner's Substitute. By His doing and dying (His sinless life and atoning death) He satisfied the demands of a righteous law in the sinner's name. Salvation comes through perfect obedience to the law of Jehovah – not ours but His. Men are saved by good works — not theirs but His.

Justification by Christ means that repentant believers are accepted before God by means of a substitute life. We are accounted righteous because Jesus is righteous. We are pleasing in the sight of a holy God because Jesus is pleasing.

By Faith. Repentance towards God and faith in the blood of Christ are created in the sinner's heart by the mighty working of the third Person of the Godhead. When the gospel is proclaimed, the Spirit persuades the sinner that it is true, and creates in his heart both the desire to repent and the willingness to accept the salvation which is in Jesus.

Acts 20:20-21 I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, 21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

Acts 2:21 21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

John 12:31-33 1 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. 32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. 33 This he said, signifying what death he should die.

John 15:26 26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceeds from the Father, he shall testify of me:

John 16:7-8 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

John 16:13 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come.

There is no saving merit in faith, but faith brings to God the obedience of Jesus Christ, and the Lord places the obedience of His Son to the repentant sinner's account. This is how faith is counted (reckoned or imputed) as righteousness (see Rom. 4:5-6, 9-10, 21-25).

Justification with God comes by an imputed righteousness. The word impute is very different from the word infuse. Imputed righteousness means that this righteousness is outside of the believer, in the person of Jesus Christ. It is, as Luther said, an alien, foreign, and extrinsic righteousness. It is not on earth but in heaven. Justification therefore is God's verdict of righteousness upon the fallen repentant sinner for the sake of Christ in whom the sinner believes.

Christ's sinless life and atoning death are a finished work that God has done for man, and must not be confused with what He does within man. As John Bunyan said, "That man will be at a loss that looketh for a righteousness in himself, when it is to be found nowhere but in Jesus Christ." ....."Indeed this is one of the greatest mysteries in the world – namely, that a righteousness that resides with a person in heaven should justify me, a sinner, on earth." — John Bunyan, Justification by an Imputed Righteousness (Swengel, Penn.: Reiner Publications, 1967).

Thus, the grace which justifies is outside of us, the doing and dying of Christ which justifies us is outside of us, and the righteousness which is by faith is that righteousness which is outside of us and which justifies. There is no room for sentimental subjectivism in Paul's doctrine of justification by faith.

The All-Sufficiency of God's Justification

The life which Jesus lived for us and in our name was equal to the broadest demands of an infinite law. In Him was "all the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (Col. 2:9) – a life of infinite perfection, a life superior to sinless Adam or highest angel. Christ's righteousness was the very righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21), and all this and nothing less than this is imputed to the believing sinner. The "righteousness of God" Himself (Rom. 3:21-22), in all its infinite plenitude and immeasurable totality, is ascribed to the believer in Jesus. God does not impute His righteousness in degrees but gives it all – all the accumulated wealth of eternity, all the virtue of Jesus Christ. The gift of justification is an exceeding and eternal weight of glory. It cannot be infused into mortal man; it cannot be reduced to an intra-human experience. But this unspeakable inheritance is put to the believer's credit in the bank of heaven. In the sight of God and in the verdict of the supreme Judge of the universe, the believing forgiven sinner is righteous – as righteous as Jesus Himself. He is faultless, blameless and perfect (Col. 1:20-22; 2:10; Heb. 10:14). He stands as one who has perfectly fulfilled the law of God and as one who is in harmony with all its righteous precepts (Rom. 10:4). The repentant believing sinner has rest for his troubled conscience and assurance before God as he trusts and continues to trust only in the blood of Christ for his forgiveness and acceptance with God and the free gift of eternal life.

God is not playing make believe in this matter of imputed righteousness. Christ took humanity unto Himself. The believer's real life is in Christ (Col. 3:3-4), and that life is pure and sinless — indeed, it is the very righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21). Furthermore, faith unites the sinner to Jesus. By faith he is "married to Another, even to Him who is raised from the dead" (Rom. 7:4).

As Luther said in one of his great passages:

"Faith . . . unites the soul with Christ, like a bride with the bridegroom, and from this marriage, Christ and the soul become one body, as St. Paul says (Eph. 5:30). Then the possessions of both are in common, whether fortune, misfortune, or anything else; so that what Christ has, also belongs to the believing soul, and what the soul has, will belong to Christ. If Christ has all good things, including blessedness, these will also belong to the soul. If the soul is full of trespasses and sins, these will belong to Christ. At this point a contest of happy exchanges takes place. Because Christ is God and man, and has never sinned, and because His sanctity is unconquerable, eternal, and almighty, He takes possession of the sins of the believing soul by virtue of her wedding ring, namely faith, and acts just as if He had committed those sins Himself. They are, of course, swallowed up and drowned in Him, for His unconquerable righteousness is stronger than any sin whatever. Thus the soul is cleansed from all her sins by virtue of her dowry, i.e., for the sake of her faith. She is made free and unfettered, and endowed with the eternal righteousness of Christ, her bridegroom. Is not that a happy household, when Christ, the rich, noble, and good bridegroom, takes the poor, despised, wicked little harlot in marriage, sets her free from all evil, and decks her with all good things? It is not possible for her sins to damn her, for now they rest on Christ and are swallowed up in Him. In this way she has such a rich righteousness in her bridegroom that she can always withstand sins, though they indeed lie in Wait for her." — B.L. Woolf, Reformation Writings of Martin Luther (London: Lutherworth Press, 1952), Vol. I, pp. 363-364.

This beautifully illustrates how the sinner may be righteous through faith; and whoever has this faith is righteous – fully and completely. He is ready for anything – life, death, judgment, Christ's coming, the day of wrath, glorification.

"Therefore being justified by faith, we . . . rejoice in hope of the glory of God [i.e., the coming of Christ]." Rom. 5:1-2.

"…being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him." Rom. 5:9. (When "the great day of His wrath is come," "who shall be able to stand?" [Rev. 6:17]. Those who are justified!!)

"Whom He justified, them He also glorified." Rom. 8:30.

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit

Having viewed the greatness and all-sufficiency of God's act of justifying the sinner, we should be ready to answer the question, "Does God's verdict of righteousness upon the fallen sinner qualify him to receive the baptism, or infilling, of the Holy Spirit?" Of course! The justified forgiven sinner stands before God, not only as if he had never sinned, but as righteous as Jesus Himself. Is not Jesus righteous enough to receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost? And we may ask, If God's act of justification does not qualify the believer to receive the infilling of the Spirit, what else will?

The doctrine of Paul is that the Holy Spirit fills every soul who is justified by faith in the doing and dying of Christ, and fills that soul immediately upon his justification:

"Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ . . . the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." Rom. 5:1, 5.

To the Galatians Paul declared:

"Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law.. .. that the blessing of Abraham [justification] might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." Gal. 3:13-14.

Faith in the gospel not only justifies sinner, but brings to the justified believer the measureless gift of the Holy Spirit as soon as he believes. Paul challenged the Galatians, "Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?" Gal. 3:2. And to the Ephesians he wrote," . . . after that ye believed [or literally, having believed), ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise . . . " Eph. 1:13. This agrees with the words of Jesus, "He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”(But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive. . .) John 7:38-39.

In the book of Romans Paul deals very specially with two gifts: 1.) the gift of justificatiion and the forgivenss of sin (Rom. 5:17) and 2.) the gift of the Spirit (Rom. 5:5; Rom. 8). The gift of righteousness is imputed (reckoned) for our forgivenss and justification; the gift of the Spirit is imparted (infused) for our renewal and sanctification.

The imputed gift of righteousness and the imparted gift of the Spirit must not be confused, but must be properly distinguished. Justification is what God does for us; the infilling of the Spirit is what He does in us. Our renewal in the Spirit is not the meritorious cause of our justification in whole or in part. Justification is by imputed righteousness alone – that is, it rests on something completely without us, namely the sinless life and atoning death of Christ. Renewal and sanctification of the Spirit are the fruit of justification (see Rom. 5:1-5).

While we must be careful not to confuse God's work for us (justification) and God's work in us (the infilling of the Spirit), we must be equally careful not to divorce one phase of His work from the other. His work for us (justification and forgiveness) brings the gift and infilling of the Spirit. Indeed, this gift of the Spirit is the seal, pledge and guarantee that we have been justified (Eph. 1:13-14; Rom. 8:14-16). Consequently, where there is no renewal by the transforming power of the Spirit, no fruit of the Spirit, it is certain that justification has never taken place. Repentance involves both sorrow for sin and a turning away from willful, high-handed dissobedience to the Law of God. The Law of God begins to be written in the heart of the believing repenting sinner.

The Gift of the Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts

The book of Acts amply illustrates what Paul teaches – namely, that the acceptance of Christ for our justification brings the gift of the Holy Spirit. The book of Acts begins with Jesus' command to His apostles and small band of followers:

"…and, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith He, ye have heard of Me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence." Acts 1:4-5.

Jesus commanded His disciples to "wait" for the baptism of the Spirit. Waiting is hardly the posture of heroes, but it does accentuate the truth that the Spirit is given, not obtained. Jesus did not say, "Pray for the promise of the Father." Doubtless the disciples did pray, but the accent is on waiting, because the Spirit, being a promise and a gift, does not come upon men as a result of their activity.

Then the next chapter of Acts continues:

"And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they 2 were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance."
Acts 2:1-4.

If Luke wanted to emphasize that prayer or some other activity brought down the Holy Spirit, he missed a wonderful opportunity. The scripture does not say that the 120 were praying when the Spirit fell, but that "they were sitting." There appears to be a definite effort to play down any great activity on the part of the disciples in connection with the baptism of the Spirit.

The crowd gathered, and finally Peter stood up to preach that great Pentecostal message. In explaining the gift of the Holy Spirit, he did not say, "This Spirit has been poured out upon us because we have waited for it, and for many days we have prayed earnestly for it." Never! Peter made no reference to his activities. Here is what he said:

"This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, He hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear." Acts 2:32-33.

The Spirit was given because of Christ's atonement, not the believer's attainment. He destroyed sin, conquered death and removed every barrier that kept the Holy Spirit from His people. At Christ's ascension into heaven He was glorified in the presence of the Father, exalted far above principalities and powers with glory impossible to describe. But in His exaltation He could not forget His toiling, struggling ones on earth. He longed to share His glory with those who believed on Him. Pentecost was Christ sharing His glory – all that mortal beings could endure – with His disciples. It was a gift, the fulfillment of a promise, and came upon the fledgling church solely because Jesus was glorified.

At Pentecost the gospel was preached under the demonstration and power of the Spirit. Like arrows from the Almighty, the truth went home to the hearts of the hearers. They cried out, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?"

"Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. …Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls." Acts 2:38, 41.

Now it is imperative that we understand how the 3,000 souls received the Holy Spirit. They were not told to wait. The disciples had waited. But after Pentecost there is no command or suggestion that believers should wait for the Spirit. The Spirit had come upon the church in a once-and-for-all event. Peter did not tell his hearers, "First you be baptized for the forgiveness of sins. After that you must wait for the Spirit like we did." No! Since Pentecost, the message of the gospel is believe and receive. All who believe receive the Spirit.

Not only did the 3,000 have no need to wait, but there is no suggestion that the Spirit came upon them with a sound of wind, appearance of fire, and speaking in foreign languages.3 The great inaugural events of redemption – Christ's death, resurrection, ascension and glorification (Pentecost) – were attested to by great signs and wonders. At His death the sun was darkened, at His resurrection there was an earthquake, angels appeared to the disciples at His ascension, and wind, fire and tongues were associated with His glorification and the Spirit's initial outpouring upon the church.

Men are now called upon to identify and participate in the benefits of Christ's death, resurrection, ascension and glorification. It would be as wrong to demand wind, fire and foreign languages to accompany the gift of the Spirit today as to expect to see the sun darkened when we experience dying with Christ or an earthquake when we rise to walk with Him in a new life. We are justified by faith, and by faith (not sight, sound or feelings) we receive the Holy Spirit. Miraculous demonstrations may or may not accompany the gift of the Spirit. Faith does not rest on these, however, but rather on the infallible Word of promise.

Acts 2:38 shows us that, since Pentecost, the Spirit is given at the time of Christian initiation. The baptism of the Spirit is associated with the baptism into Christ. We are not here concerned with the mode of Christian baptism4but with the principle of baptism. Baptism means that one is identified with the death and resurrection of Christ (see Rom. 6:3-7). Faith unites and identifies the soul with Jesus. Those who thereby share in Christ's death and resurrection, share in His glorification at the right hand of God. This is why the Holy Spirit accompanies Christian baptism. The book of Acts amply demonstrates that baptism and the gift of the Holy Spirit belong together.

Peter preached Jesus to the Gentiles at the home of Cornelius. He said:

"…God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him…To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins. While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the Word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?" Acts 10:38, 43-47.

What a clear testimony to the truth that faith in Jesus for justification, or forgiveness of sins, brings the gift of the Holy Spirit! This is further illustrated by Paul's visit to Ephesus:

"And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, he said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on Him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied." Acts 19:1-6.

It is strange how some people will use this scripture in support of a post-conversion baptism of the Holy Spirit, or "second blessing." It would be more consistent if they would use the passage to support the idea of two water baptisms – one to become a Christian, and one more to get the Holy Spirit. Paul's vital question, "Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?" is not to be read as if Paul were asking if they had gone on to receive the second blessing. The Revised Standard Version more correctly translates the question, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" Paul is really saying, "If you did not receive the Holy Spirit when you believed, you have not true Christian faith." That is Paul's doctrine – the Spirit comes when men believe in Jesus. But these disciples of John had not shared in the blessing of Pentecost, for they had not heard about Christ's atonement and glorification. The information which they lacked was not information about the Holy Spirit as such, but information on the gospel of Christ. Paul told them about Christ, baptized them in the name of Jesus, and they shared in the blessing of Pentecost. Thus, the gift of the Spirit must accompany Christian baptism, else something is very wrong.

Our Pentecostal friends will then say, "What about Acts 8? Philip preached the gospel in Samaria. The people believed and were baptized. But they did not receive the Holy Spirit until the apostles came down and prayed for them."

"Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the Word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (for as yet He was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost." Acts 8:14-17.

We will admit that this is an exceptional case. But rather than prove that the Spirit does not come at the time of conversion, it really proves the opposite. According to Acts 2:38, the disciples knew that the gift of the Holy Spirit should accompany baptism. But at Samaria (their first missionary outreach to non-Jews) it did not. This led them to take immediate steps to remedy the abnormal situation. That believers should be baptized without having the gift of the Holy Spirit was unthinkable, a contradiction. The apostles hastened down, prayed for the Samaritans, and they also shared the blessing of Pentecost.

Why did God work this way in Samaria? When we consider the historical situation, the reason is not difficult to determine. The Jews and the Samaritans were traditionally hostile to each other. They were divided racially and religiously. The Lord did not want this division to continue in the Christian church. If the Samaritans had received the full blessing of the gospel apart from the church at Jerusalem, they might have been inclined to have a Christian church of their own. On the other hand, the apostles were still inclined to be prejudiced against the Samaritans. The leaders of the church needed to see that God put no difference between the believing Jews and the believing Samaritans. Acts 8 shows how the Spirit worked to preserve unity in the developing church.

The idea of a post-conversion, second-blessing gift of the Holy Spirit is unknown in the book of Acts. When Paul preached the gospel to the heathen Galatians, they believed and received the Spirit (Gal. 3:2). When Paul and Barnabas returned to them, the apostles did not say, "Last time we preached to you the gospel. Now we want to give to you the full gospel." No, for Paul's gospel was only and always the full gospel — the gospel of Christ. But what did Paul tell them on his second visit?

". . . confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God." Acts 14:22.

There is no second blessing suggested here. As men received Christ Jesus the Lord, so they must walk in Him (Col. 2:6). Nowhere in the New Testament are Christians exhorted to wait for the Holy Spirit; but through the Spirit they are exhorted to wait, hope and expect the coming of Jesus Christ in power and great glory (Gal. 5:5; Rom. 5:2; 8:23-24; Heb. 9:28; 1 Thess. 1:10). The coming of Jesus Christ and the glorification of the saints are the real second blessing of the New Testament.

Why Modern Pentecostalism Is a Complete Negation of the Truth of Justification

The central thesis of the Pentecostal movement is that the baptism, or infilling, of the Spirit is a definite second blessing which comes at a time subsequent to conversion. This Pentecostal thesis is a complete negation of the truth of justification by faith. This is a most serious charge, and we realize that it comes as a great shock to many Pentecostals who think that they believe in justification by faith. It is true that sometimes Pentecostals sound quite orthodox when dealing with justification; but it is impossible to embrace the Pentecostal doctrine and hold to the primacy, supremacy and all-sufficiency of justification by faith, for the following reasons:

1. The Pentecostal idea of a post-conversion baptism of the Spirit implies that God's act of justification is not sufficient to bring the infilling of the Spirit. But if God's gift of His own righteousness cannot qualify the believer for the baptism of the Spirit, what else will? In the light of Paul's message about the all-sufficiency of justification, Pentecostalism is an awful error. If God's greatest work for the sinner does not bring the Holy Spirit's infilling, then man must resort to his own works — and so there are books and papers which advocate five steps, seven steps or ten steps to receive the Spirit.

Psychological gimmicks, "emptyings," "letting go," "absolute surrender" and tricky inner doings are supposed to bring the Holy Spirit.

If Paul were here, he would ask, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you were justified (that is, when you believed)?" If our answer were "No," Paul would reply, "Then you have not received Christian justification." He would not take us on to higher things; he would take us back to fundamental things.

2. The Pentecostal teaching implies (and sometimes states explicitly) that the experience of being baptized in the Spirit is something greater and beyond the justification which comes by faith. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Luther talked about justification most because to him it was the chief doctrinal jewel of the Bible. Pentecostals talk about their experience more than anything else simply because they feel it is greater than the gift of justification.

Justification is the gift of God's righteousness, in all its totality, to the believing sinner. In God's act of forgiveness, the entire inheritance of Jesus Christ, the exceeding and eternal weight of glory, is given to the believer. This gift can never be superseded, for in it God gives absolutely all the accumulated treasure of eternity. So far from being greater, the experience of being filled with the Spirit is called the "firstfruits" (Rom. 8:23), guarantee or down payment (Eph.1:13-14) of that infinite inheritance.

It is as if a man, journeying abroad, finds himself in need. A benefactor gives him $30 million — a sum so large that it cannot be contained on the traveler's person. So it is deposited to his account at home. In the meantime, however, he draws $100 from the account as spending money on the way. As he extol Is the goodness of his benefactor, which does he talk about most — the $30 million or the $100?

The grace which is above us is always infinitely greater than the grace that is within us. Justification is like the whole ocean of water that covers and surrounds the little shell. The experience in the Spirit is like the bit of water the shell contains.

But Pentecostalism would make it appear that the down payment of the inheritance is greater than the inheritance, that the $100 is more wealth than $30 million, that the shell full of water is more than the ocean. In all this it represents a serious distortion of the gospel message.

3. Pentecostalism presents an unfortunate dichotomy of receiving Christ and receiving the Holy Ghost. Not only is the impression often left on minds that the Holy Spirit gives a greater and richer blessing than the blessing of the Savior, but Christ is not presented as a complete gift. The Pentecostal doctrine declares that there is more to the gospel than simply receiving Christ as a Savior. In fact, Pentecostal literature often speaks demeaningly about those who only know Christ as a Savior. But we are glad to affirm our faith in the all-sufficiency of Christ. To know and receive Him as Savior is to receive all that God has to give. He is both the power and wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:24). To have Jesus is to have all wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption (1 Cor. 1:30). It is not only vain, but a positive denial of the gospel, to look for a fullness that is outside or beyond Him. This was the heresy that threatened the church at Colosse. But Paul affirmed before the church the absolute all-sufficiency of Christ. "In Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete [made full) in Him…” Col. 2:9-10.

Therefore, to possess Christ is to possess all of the Godhead in Him. The Spirit in all His infinite plentitude is given to every believer in Jesus. Everything Christ has belongs to those who are "married" to Him. Therefore, the gospel of Christ is the full gospel; and anything that offers Christ plus something else is Judaising with another gospel.

4. Pentecostalism makes two different events of the baptism into Christ and into the Spirit. It proposes that the church is composed of ordinary ("carnal") Christians and Spirit-filled Christians – as if the church were like one of those passenger ships with first- and second-class berths. But the church is a one-class ship. There is "one Lord, one faith, one baptism" (Eph. 4:5).

"For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit." 1 Cor. 12:13.

Jesus commanded His disciples:

"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost . . .” Matt. 28:19.

"Ordinary" Christian baptism is therefore the baptism of the Father, it is the baptism of Christ, and it is the baptism of the Holy Spirit. In proposing another baptism and another experience, Pentecostalism goes beyond the gospel of Christ and confesses that neither Christ nor His justification is a complete gift of the Father.


 1 In the Greek, the verb is in the present continuous tense.
2 About 120 souls in all (see Acts 1:15).
3 The gift of tongues at Pentecost was the supernatural ability to communicate the gospel in a foreign tongue (see Acts 2:4-8).
4 The mode of baptism is not the vital point of discussion here, although this matter could very well be discussed later in Present Truth Magazine.