The Baptism of the Holy Spirit

What does it mean to  be baptized by the Holy Spirit?  In charismatic circles, it is usually characterized by manifestations such as receiving the gift of tongues.  It’s usually described as an extremely joyful, powerful experience.

Today as I was reading Oswald Chambers, I looked ahead to tomorrow’s reading and found this:

Have I ever come to the point in my life where I can say, “I indeed . . . but He . . .”? Until that moment comes, I will never know what the baptism of the Holy Spirit means. I indeed am at the end, and I cannot do anything more— but He begins right there— He does the things that no one else can ever do. Am I prepared for His coming? Jesus cannot come and do His work in me as long as there is anything blocking the way, whether it is something good or bad. When He comes to me, am I prepared for Him to drag every wrong thing I have ever done into the light? That is exactly where He comes. Wherever I know I am unclean is where He will put His feet and stand, and wherever I think I am clean is where He will remove His feet and walk away.

Repentance does not cause a sense of sin— it causes a sense of inexpressible unworthiness. When I repent, I realize that I am absolutely helpless, and I know that through and through I am not worthy even to carry His sandals. Have I repented like that, or do I have a lingering thought of possibly trying to defend my actions? The reason God cannot come into my life is that I am not at the point of complete repentance.

“He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” John is not speaking here of the baptism of the Holy Spirit as an experience, but as a work performed by Jesus Christ. “He will baptize you . . . .” The only experience that those who are baptized with the Holy Spirit are ever conscious of is the experience of sensing their absolute unworthiness.

I indeed” was this in the past, “but He” came and something miraculous happened. Get to the end of yourself where you can do nothing, but where He does everything.

This is much closer to my experience.  And the Christians I most want to model myself after have a humility about them because they have sensed their absolute unworthiness, they have come to the end of themselves, and lo! and behold!  that’s when the Holy Spirit can have His way with us.

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3 Responses to The Baptism of the Holy Spirit

  1. Tim S. says:

    The Church Fathers never did what Charismatics do. Charismatics are strange people.

    • Rev22:17 says:


      The Church Fathers never did what Charismatics do. Charismatics are strange people.

      The truth is that Christians are strange people.

      The other inconvenient truth is that many parishes have failed in their attempts to catechize the young, resulting in a large number of adult parishioners who are not spiritually well-grounded. In many dioceses, such individuals constitute the overwhelming majority of parishioners — and it’s inevitable that many such individuals, seeking a more substantive experience of faith, have found their way into every renewal movement including the Charismatic Renewal. When such individuals gain control of a renewal movement, as happened in the Charismatic Renewal in some dioceses, the result is a complete disaster — and I would share your reaction to the Charismatic Renewal if this were my only experience of a renewal movement.

      That said, one has to be careful not to confuse abuses of those who lack adequate spiritual grounding with legitimate renewal in any renewal movement. The canonical principle is that pastors should never deny the legitimate use of a spiritual practice as a response to abuses thereof. The stubborn fact remains that the magisterium of the Catholic Church has given explicit approval to the Charismatic Renewal itself on numerous occasions under each of the last four popes, so it’s pretty clear that there is a legitimate use of the charisms of the Holy Spirit.

      That said, I do wish that the magisterium would act a bit more quickly to correct abuses where they persist.


  2. Gervase Crouchback says:

    I am familiar with oswald chambers “my utmost for His Highest” and am pleasantly surprised that it is quoted here on a Traditional Catholic website ( i am a convert to Traditional Catholicism from a Church of Christ background) .Perhaps it is the fact that the Holiness Movement he belinged to- although Proddy evangelical- shares more with traditional catholicism now than it does with current day protestantism.
    For me as an Australian ,I know Chambers ministered to Australian and New Zealand troops prior to the disastrous Gallipoli campaign April-December 1915 ,and I hope that many of those who now lie in the cemeteries of Lone Pine,the Nek and Anzac Cove returned to the Faith thanks to Chambers ministry so that the epitaph on many graves ” An Australian/NZ soldier Known Unto God ” is personal

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