Friday, May 16, 2014

P2 Understanding the Baptism of the Holy Spirit

Acts 11:16 And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 Therefore if God gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” 18 When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.”

Introduction & Review:
In yesterday's post we began considering the Bible's teaching on the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  We traced the idea through the Gospels and the Book of Acts. In today's post we aim to finish up our study by noting what the Epistles teach about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, as well as some final life applications.   

Tracing the "baptism of the Holy Spirit" through the Epistles
Seeing how the "baptism of the Holy Spirit" is understood in the epistles
As one continues on into the New Testament, the baptism of the Holy Spirit becomes clarified in both its meaning and purpose.  1 Corinthians 12:13 represents the clearest definition we have regarding this important ministry of the Holy Spirit: "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." Paul's statement here is plain: that all who by grace through faith believe upon Jesus Christ are described as being "baptized into one body" by the Holy Spirit.  What is that body? The body of Jesus Christ - i.e the church.  In other words, the baptism of the Holy Spirit places a believer into the church - that is to say - that group of God's people who are chosen, beloved and truly regenerated by grace through faith. (Ephesians 2:8-9; Colossians 3:12)  

Much like when you plug a cord into an outlet to access the power and influence of the electricity, the Holy Spirit's of Spirit baptism connects you to Jesus' Person and power at conversion. Through the progress of revelation in the New Testament, we can see most clearly what John the Baptist, Jesus, Peter and Paul meant by this phrase "baptism of the Holy Spirit."

A quick note on the relationship between "Spirit baptism" and "water baptism"
For those who may wonder what the distinction is between "Spirit baptism" and "water baptism", a quick few thoughts are in order. First, water baptism is something one does to bear witness to their prior conversion to faith in Jesus.  Second, water baptism points back, signifies or pictures what took place in the Spirit baptism of conversion.  Water baptism conveys the meaning of the Christian's prior saving identity in Christ by faith.  Thirdly, being that it communicates visibily the Spirit's invisible prior work of connecting that person to Jesus in saving faith (i.e Spirit baptism), both are related to one another as sign (water baptism) signifying a prior saving event (i.e Spirit baptism). Fourthly, the Spirit's baptism at salvation is the saving event, with water baptism simply re-enacting and making public and visible what took place privately and invisibly. These distinctions are worth pointing out to the reader, being that so much confusion abounds among sincere Christians as to the order and timing of these things. 

Closing thoughts and applications
Today we spent time tracing through the New Testament the phrase: "baptism of the Holy Spirit." We discovered that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is all about connecting you as a believer to Jesus Christ, thus clarifying your Christian identity. (see for example Ephesians 4:1-6)  This event of "Spirit baptism" takes place at conversion and happens to every believer in Christ so convicted by the Spirit to believe on Jesus as Savior and Lord. It is upon this work of the Spirit in connecting us to Jesus that we base our entire identity as Christians. 

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