A question came up on the meaning of Acts 19:2:
“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.” (Acts 19:2, KJV)
At first glance, it would appear Paul’s question to the Ephesian “disciples” is implying that receiving The Holy Spirit is separate from believing on Jesus as savior. But, like many scriptures that when read in isolation without proper context can be misinterpreted, this verse is no exception.
Many false teachers who teach that baptism of the Holy Spirit is a SEPARATE event after salvation and that water baptism or a special laying on of hands is required to receive The Holy Spirit.
But, we know that this in not Biblically accurate because The Bible clearly teaches that the moment someone believes The Gospel they are simultaneously sealed by The Holy Spirit and baptized into the Body of Christ by The Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 1:13-14, 4:30)
So Acts 19:2 must have a different meaning than the false teachers assert. And indeed it does!
In the next verse (verse 3) Paul asks:
“Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.” (ACTS 19:3, KJV)
So we find out that the “disciples” were actually disciples of John The Baptist and were baptized by John’s baptism which was a ceremonial immersion in water that followed confession of sins which were requirements of the Jewish Law.
The “disciples” had not believed on the finished redemptive work of Jesus Christ ALONE for the remission of all their sins and eternal life which explains why they hadn’t received The Holy Spirit since we know the Holy Spirit is only received after a person trusts in Christ ALONE as savior (believing The Gospel).
Paul then explains to them that John’s instructions were to BELIEVE on Christ Jesus for salvation.
“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.” (ACTS 19:4, KJV)
Paul is explicitly clear that the “disciples” of John should “believe on Christ Jesus” to receive the Holy Spirit (i.e., to be born again of The Spirit).
This simple straightforward statement refutes the fallacious assertion of many false teachers who claim that water baptism is a requirement for salvation because Paul’s ONLY instruction was to BELIEVE on Christ Jesus!
Not to “believe and be water baptized.”
Just to BELIEVE!!!!!
Hallelujah praise Jesus!
We are then told that after they BELIEVED on Christ Jesus for salvation that they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. (Verse 5) which is not surprising since it was customary for believers to be immediately baptized post conversion similar to Philip baptizing the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8 AFTER the Ethiopian eunich believed that Jesus Christ was The Son of God (Acts 8:37).
“When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” (ACTS 19:5, KJV)
So in summary: Acts 19:2 is NOT teaching that receipt of the Holy Spirit is a separate distinct event from salvation.
The NANOSECOND a person BELIEVES The Gospel (i.e., that The Eternally Existing Son of God, God The Son, Jesus Christ, died for all their sins past, present and future, was buried and rose again on the 3rd Day according to the Scriptures for their justification) they are IMMEDIATELY sealed by the Holy Spirit and baptized into the Body of Christ by The Holy Spirit FOREVER and can NEVER be “unsealed” and “removed” from The Body of Christ for any reason AND guaranteed to never perish, be plucked from God’s Hand or separated from His love FOREVER!!!!! (JOHN 10:28-31, ROMANS 8:38-39)
If you have not believed on the Lord Jesus Christ for forgiveness of all YOUR sins (past, present and future) and eternal life, I pray TODAY would be The Day of Salvation for you!!!!
When you BELIEVE, you RECEIVE!!!!!