If you’re just joining us, be sure to go back to Part I and work your way up to this post. Each post in this series builds on the previous ones. None are stand-alone articles.
So what is the baptism of the Holy Spirit?
Answer: I believe it is the act of the exalted Christ in which He plunges the believers into the Holy Spirit where He comes in and upon them, affording them with His power and life, and incorporating them as members into the very body of Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:13 – For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
Acts 2:32-33 – God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.
John 7:38-39 – “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
John 14:17 – that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.
Acts 1:5 – for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (See also Acts 11:16 and Luke 3:16).
Ephesians 2:17-18 – AND HE CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY [Gentiles], AND PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR [Jews]; for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.
When were you baptized in the Spirit?
Answer: 2,000 years ago, when the Jews and Gentiles were plunged into the body of Christ. When you came to Jesus Christ, you received His life by the Spirit. The Spirit came in and upon you. He filled you with His life and He clothed you with His power. And you were made part of the same body of Jesus that came into being 2,000 years ago. God in Christ dwells in you by the Spirit (Rom. 8:9-11). And you’re a member of His body. That is true for every Christian.
- While ever believer has received the baptism of the Spirit 2,000 years ago when Jew and Gentile were plunged into Christ (Acts 2 & Acts 10), that baptism is now passed on to new converts. The laying on of hands is the outward sign that a person has been incorporated into the body and endued with the Spirit.
- When someone repents and submits to Jesus Christ, we should take them to water, encourage them to make a public and verbal confession of faith in Christ, immerse them in water in the name of the Lord Jesus, then lay hands on them signifying that they are made one with the body and plunged into the Spirit. The gifts of the Spirit are also imparted via the laying on of hands (2 Tim. 1:6).
- Immediately and/or afterwards, the Holy Spirit will begin operating in the new convert’s life in the many different ways – see 50 Things the Holy Spirit Does. They may or may not speak in tongues, prophesy, or exhibit any dramatic manifestation when hands are laid on them. But the Spirit will begin to work in their lives. Again: we should never think that the details of the four incidents we’ve looked at in Part III are normative for every Christian today. What is normative is that the Spirit will come on and into the person and they will be membered into the body of Christ. And the fruits and various gifts will begin to manifest in their lives at the time of conversion and/or afterwards.
- There is never a reason to be jealous with how the Spirit works in someone else’s life. Or what gifts they may have. Or what experiences they may come into (see Paul’s argument in 1 Cor. 12 about this). The Spirit is like the wind: unpredictable and unseen (John 3:8). The Spirit knows what each of us needs according to our personality, our past experiences, and what we will go through in the future.
- Like water baptism, the baptism of the Spirit is largely a corporate experience. It is NOT simply an individual experience. The power of the Spirit of God resides on the body. When we are connected to the body in a living and practical way . . . not as an isolated, independent member . . . the power of God is available to us when we need it.
- People who try to operate in God’s power outside of a practical expression of the body of Christ usually end up being destroyed by God’s power. They go off the beam theologically, they become shipwrecked in their faith, or they can’t handle the power so they move into the flesh. The power of God was never designed to be wielded by unbroken people who are isolated from the body. Countless examples through history attest to this fact.
- Knowing the cross, knowing the Lord deeply, and being a functioning part of a local body of believers (a shared-life community) serve as a safeguard in making believers safe to the kingdom of God. Seek Christ . . . for all gifts, power, insight, virtue, and wisdom are in Him. In fact, He embodies all of these things. In other words, seek the face of God rather than His hand. Jesus is the human face of God.
- Every genuine believer has been baptized in the Spirit and thus we have all been filled with the Spirit (He dwells in us). You can’t be a Christian and NOT be filled with the Spirit (see Romans 8:9). But once the Spirit initially fills us, we can be filled with the Spirit over and over again (more on that tomorrow). To be filled with the Spirit means that He is taking over more areas of our lives. Those who are filled again and again and who are walking in the Spirit are said to “full of the Spirit.”
Part V tomorrow . . .