The Baptism of the Holy Spirit Gives Exceptional Assurance and Joy
Let’s talk about the baptism of the Holy Spirit now. He believes that this view discourages us, this current evangelical view that equates it with regeneration, discourages us from seeking what the church so desperately needs today, namely, “The greatest need at the present time,” he says, “is for Christian people who are assured of their salvation.” But now, he distinguishes, and he uses Thomas Goodwin here, the “customary assurance,” from the extraordinary, or “unusual” (Joy Unspeakable, 38) or “full assurance” of faith. (JU, 41)
“When Christians are baptized by the Holy Spirit, they have a sense of power and the presence of God that they have never known before —and this is the greatest possible form of assurance.” (JU, 97).
Now let me give you the best illustration in the book Joy Unspeakable that liberated my people last spring when I was preaching on this, and they were shaking in their pews, wondering what in the world was becoming of me. This was a kind of watershed Sunday morning** when I shared this illustration. He get’s it straight from Thomas Goodwin, the puritan. This is an illustration of the difference between a customary, happy, good walk with God as a regenerate, Spirit-indwelt person, and a person who has been baptized with the Spirit:
“A man and his little child [are] walking down the road and they are walking hand in hand, and the child knows that he is the child of his father [this God and the Christian], and he knows that his father loves him, and he rejoices in that, and he is happy in it. There is no uncertainty about it all, but suddenly the father, moved by some impulse, takes hold of the child, picks him up, fondles him in his arms, kisses him, embraces him, and showers his love upon him, and then he puts him down again and they go walking on their way.”
That’s it! The child knew before that his father loved him, and he knew that he was his child. But oh! the loving embrace, this extra outpouring of love, this unusual manifestation of it—that is the kind of thing. The Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are the children of God” (JU, 95-6).
And so he says in another place, the baptism of the Holy Spirit carries us, “not only from doubt to belief but to certainty, to awareness of the presence and the glory of God (JU, 87).
Now this is revival:
The difference between the baptism of the Holy Spirit and a revival is simply one of the number of people affected. I would define a revival as a large number, a group of people, being baptized by the Holy Spirit at the same time; or the Holy Spirit falling upon, coming upon a number of people assembled together. It can happen in a district, it can happen in a country (JU, 51).
** John Piper, “You Shall Receive Power till Jesus Comes,” from Acts: What Jesus Did After the Beginning, 1990
“And now let me step back here and give you an illustration to help. This seemed to help Tuesday night with the deacons. we were here till almost midnight talking about these things, Tuesday night. And this was real precious, and God was there, it was a wonderful meeting. I love those deacons. Oh! One of the joys of my life is the ruling counsel in this church, the counsel of deacons. We were just – you were there, weren’t you? It was great. Sort of bleary eyed the next morning.
Here’s the illustration, I took it from Martyn Lloyd-Jones…”