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This false doctrine is put forth by men who haven’t understood the Scriptures. I think it began when people experienced conversion, whether real or spurious, and were told they were born again, which they assumed meant that Christ lived within. Then they experienced the baptism in the Holy Spirit, whether real or spurious. What did that mean? How could they explain two experiences, when they had believed there was only one with Christ? Either there are two Spirits or one Spirit comes one way and then another.
They tried to justify false doctrine, namely that you “receive Christ into the heart” at repentance, which they think they did, but now suddenly they experienced something new, likely false, though not necessarily, and offered an explanation: “Seeing as how I received Christ before, this must be Another – yes, the Holy Spirit, as it is written.”
Another related argument is that at repentance, the Holy Spirit comes to live in you, but at the baptism in the Holy Spirit, He comes upon you. I couldn’t understand why I needed the Holy Spirit upon me when I already had Him in me. These are specious explanations based on false premises. This false doctrine may bring confusion and discourage searchers from receiving the true.
You have nothing to explain away if you don’t believe a falsehood in the first place. Nobody receives the Spirit of God within at repentance. Repentance is not the new birth. Therefore, there’s nothing to explain. Furthermore, the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit of Christ are all one and the same Person, not three.
Some examples from the Scriptures:
“But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone has not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His” (Romans 8:9 MKJV).
“…searching for what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ made clear within them, testifying beforehand of the sufferings of Christ, and the glories that should follow. To them it was revealed that not to themselves, but to us, they ministered the things which are now reported to you by those who have preached the gospel to you in the Holy Spirit sent from Heaven; which things the angels desire to look into” (1 Peter 1:11-12 MKJV).
1 Corinthians 2:10-16 MKJV
(10) But God has revealed them to us by His Spirit; for the Spirit [only ONE] searches all things, yea, the deep things of God.
(11) For who among men knows the things of a man except the spirit of man within him? So also no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.
(12) But we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit from God, so that we might know the things that are freely given to us by God.
(13) These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
(14) But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
(15) But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is judged by no one.
(16) For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ [because we have His Spirit].
“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost has made you overseers, to feed the Church of God, which He [the Holy Ghost/Spirit] has purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28 KJV). Does the Holy Spirit have blood? Yes, if He is the Spirit of Christ.
By the conviction of the Holy Spirit, you repent, are forgiven your sins, and are turned around, which is no small event. But you must go on to receive the Spirit (be born again) whereby your sin nature is dealt with by fire. Then finally, when the purging and breaking work of the fire of God is complete, the rest comes, as spoken of in Hebrews 3 and 4.
So there is a “third blessing,” not just a “second blessing” as some say, and that, in this life. It is the third and final Feast, the Feast of Tabernacles, also known as Sukkoth. In all these stages it is the One Spirit of Jesus Christ ministering, Who is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God.
Consider the alternative to believing this doctrine: Knowing that the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of Christ are One and the Same eliminates much confusion. If there are two or three persons, let them speak and identify themselves as such. If they don’t, take it that there is only One God.