By Kenneth E. Hagin
Once I had decided that the baptism in the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in other tongues was as much for me as it had been for Jesus’ early disciples, I went right over to the Full Gospel parsonage and told the pastor that I wanted that experience. And he told me to wait.
Waiting to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit isn’t scriptural. Yes, Jesus told His disciples to “. . . tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). But they weren’t waiting to prepare themselves to be filled with the Holy Spirit. They were waiting for the Day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit could not be given until then. Acts 2:1 reads, “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come . . . .”
Someone said, “Well, waiting gets you ready.” No, it doesn’t. Getting saved gets you ready. By saying a person has to wait in order to receive the Holy Spirit, people are really saying a person has to clean himself up first. But you can’t clean yourself up except through repentance of unconfessed sin (1 John 1:9). The blood of Jesus Christ is what cleanses believers from all sin (1 John 1:7). If you are blood-washed, you are ready right now to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit!
Cornelius and his household were not only saved but also filled with the Holy Spirit—in almost the same instant (Acts 11:14–15). They didn’t have time to get ready. The Holy Spirit fell upon them, and they began to speak with tongues.
If it hadn’t been for speaking in tongues, we Gentiles may never have gotten into the Church. It was strictly Jewish until the Spirit fell at Cornelius’ house. Even Peter himself didn’t know that the Gentiles could be saved until he had the vision which is recorded in Acts chapter 10. It astonished the Jews who went with Peter to Cornelius’ house when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Gentiles: “For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. . .” (Acts 10:46). Speaking in tongues is what convinced the Jews that the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles!
When I told the Full Gospel pastor, “I have come here to get the Holy Spirit,” and he told me to wait, I blurted out, “But it won’t take me long to receive!”
Because the church was having a revival service that night and it was already six o’clock, he wanted me to wait and seek the baptism in the service. But I knew I would have to wait until the preliminaries and the preaching were over. It would have been nine o’clock before I could have gotten to the altar, and who wants to wait for a gift?
I have been associated with Full Gospel people for many years now, and in all that time I have never told anyone to wait for the baptism in the Holy Spirit. If people say they want to get saved tonight, you don’t say, “Wait and come to church on Sunday and seek for it.” If someone wants you to pray for their healing, you don’t say, “Wait.” They want to get healed immediately, especially if they are in pain. Salvation is a gift, healing is a gift, and so is the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
A pastor once said, “I know you can receive the Holy Spirit right away, because we read about it in the Acts of the Apostles. But when you have to wait a long time that experience means so much more to you. Take me, for instance. It took me three years and six months to get the Holy Spirit. I waited and waited. Now the Holy Spirit really means something to me.”
I said, “Well, poor old Paul didn’t know that. I wish you could have gotten to him and told him about it. He got the Holy Spirit immediately when Ananias laid hands on him. He didn’t wait, tarry, or seek. But then, all he ever did was write half of the New Testament. Of course, he did more single-handedly in his 38 years of ministry than any denomination has done in 500 years. But if you could have gotten to him and told him to wait for three years and six months, maybe the Holy Spirit would have meant something to him.”
Seeing my eagerness to receive, the Full Gospel pastor reluctantly said, “Well, come on in, then.” I went into the living room and knelt down in front of a large chair. I closed out everything around me, shut my eyes, and lifted my hands. No one told me to do it; I just lifted my hands. And I was right; it didn’t take me long to receive.