Question: What is the difference between the baptism and the filling of the Holy Spirit.
Scripture References: 1 Corinthians 12:1-13; Galatians 3:27; Ephesians 5:18.
Answer: The baptism of the Holy Spirit refers to the placing of the believer into the body of Christ at the moment of salvation (1 Cor. 12:13). Believers are commanded to be filled with the Holy Spirit as a means of living the Christian life (Eph. 5:18). The baptism of the Holy Spirit is positional; the filling is experiential.
Explanation: In 1 Corinthians 12:13, the text states that all have been baptized into the body of Jesus Christ and all have been made to drink of the Holy Spirit. This must be all inclusive of every one who accepts Christ. In contrast to this one-time supernatural act of God, which secures our position in Christ (Gal. 3:27-28), the filling of the Holy Spirit is commanded for every believer (Eph. 5:18). The word filled is a present passive imperative, which implies that there is to be a repeated filling or making way in the life of the believer “to be filled” with the Holy Spirit. The filling implies a kind of control or habitual manifestation of the Holy Spirit within and without the life of the believer. In this text, the filling is in direct contrast to the debauchery of drunkenness. The Apostle draws on the rejuvenating experience of the filling of the Holy Spirit to vitalize the Spirit-filled life of the believer as a means to both enjoy and submit to the will of God (Eph 5:19-22).