Baptism in the Spirit, for whom & what purpose?
The subject at the head of this page addresses itself to those who have RECEIVED Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord through repentance and faith (Mark 1:15 and Acts 20:21). Repentance is a thorough change of mind with God in view. Saving faith must have the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ in view. Repentance is necessary because of the fact of our sin and its devastating results (all have sinned - Rom. 3:23 and 5:12). All sin is against God (examine the principles found in Acts 5:4, Psa. 51:4 and Ex. 16:7-8)! However, godly sorrow works repentance to salvation by God's goodness (II Cor. 7:10 and Rom. 2:4). Faith comes through hearing the WORD OF GOD (Rom. 10:17) about the redemptive work of Jesus Christ which is the good news (gospel). All have sinned and the wages of sin is death (Rom. 3:23 and 6:23). Such is grievous news to the guilty sinner but the good news is "that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures" (I Cor. 15:1-4).
If my reader has never received Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord you are on the broad and heavily traveled road that leads to destruction (see Matt. 7:13). Please, for your eternal welfare, receive Him this very moment and know the wonders of His great salvation. This you must do if you would shun hell and gain heaven. To reject Jesus Christ is the greatest tragedy of time and eternity.
Supposing the issue is clear enough by now as to where one stands in relation to Christ, let us look at the subject of BAPTISM IN THE SPIRIT. The words "baptism in the Spirit" as a phrase do not appear in the most popular English translation of the Bible, the KJV. However, they clearly set forth what was said by John the baptizer in Matt. 3:11 when he declared that "He (Jesus) shall baptize (immerse) you with (Greek, EN meaning IN) the Holy Spirit..." There are two common expressions among many professed believers (many who are definitely saved), "baptism of the Spirit" and "baptism of the Holy Ghost", which do not set forth the truth of the subject at hand. These statements are without Scriptural support either from the Greek texts or a proper English translation when God's word is rightly divided. The term "baptism of John" is used, but not "baptism of water." (See Matt. 21:25; Mk. 11:30; Luke 7:29, 20:4: Acts1:22, 18:25, 19:3.) In the expression, "baptism of John", John is the baptizer, primarily. Water is the element inwhich John and others baptized (immersed) their subjects.
May we all (as Christians) heed the injunctions to Timothy and Titus to utilize wholesome words, sound words, sound doctrine and sound speech which cannot be condemned. (see I Tim. 6:3; II Tim. 1:13; Titus 1:9, 2:1 and 2:8). Using Scriptural words in Scriptural ways tends to unity and blessing. May our gracious Lord bear upon us to do so for His Glory.
It might also be well to point out that many professed believers have not distinguished between being "filled" with the Spirit and being "baptized" in the Spirit. There are case histories in God's word for believers being "filled" with the Spirit before the day of Pentecost (the Pentecost referred to in Acts 2). See Luke 1:15, 41, 67, for proof of John, Elizabeth and Zacharias being filled with the Spirit long before the day of Pentecost of Acts 2. Our blessed Lord was "full of the Holy Spirit" (Luke 4:1). However, there is no record of anyone being baptized in the Spirit until the day of Pentecost mentioned above.
There are a number of expressions in Scripture which refer to the Holy Spirit in His relation to the believer that deserve special attention. Admittedly there are others, but perhaps these will suffice for now. They are:
I. THE HOLY SPIRIT WAS TO BE GIVEN
A. To the believers John 7:39
(Believers are those who obey (Acts 5:32). When one obeys the truth (Rom. 2:8; Gal. 3:1; 5:7; I Peter 1:22), he has obeyed the gospel (Rom. 10:16; II Thes. 1:8; I Peter 4:17)
B. On the day of Pentecost Acts 2:1-4, 33
II. THE HOLY SPIRIT WAS TO BE SENT
A. By the Father in Jesus' name John 14:26
B. By the Son from the Father John 15:26
(This shows the unity of the Father and the Son) (John 10:30, 17:11 and 22)
C. From Heaven I Peter 1:12
III. THE HOLY SPIRIT WAS TO BE RECEIVED
A. Not by the world John 14:17
B. By Believers John 7:39
John 20:22; Acts 2:33 and 38, 8:15 and 17, 10:47, 19:2, Rom. 8:15 I Cor. 2:12; Gal. 3.2; 3:14
IV. THE HOLY SPIRIT WAS TO FALL UPON
A. Jewish Believers Acts 11:15, 2:1-4
B. Samaritan Believers after the laying on of the apostles' hands Acts 8:16-17
C. Gentile Believers Acts 10:44
V. THE HOLY SPIRIT WAS THE GIFT TO BELIEVERS
A. Jewish Acts 2:38
B. Gentile Acts 10:45
(Both are referred to in Acts 11:17)
VI. THE HOLY SPIRIT WAS THE PERSON OF THE GODHEAD WITH WHOM THE BELIEVERS WERE TO BE FILLED (MEANING TO BE CONTROLLED BY THE SPIRIT)
A. Case histories of some who were filled Luke 1:15, 41, 67; Acts 2:4, 4:8, and 31, 9:17, 13:9
B. Command for believers to be filled Eph. 5:18
VII. THE HOLY SPIRIT WAS TO DWELL IN THE BELIEVER'S BODY
Rom. 8:9 and 11; I Cor. 3:16, 6:19; II Cor. 6:16; II Tim.1:14
VII. THE HOLY SPIRIT WAS TO SEAL THE BELIEVER
II Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:13, 4:30 (Alluded to in II Cor. 5:5)
By now it should be crystal clear that every believer who receives Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord has likewise received the Holy Spirit. This takes place upon believing and the above outline with abundant references should suffice the serious and honest person. It might also be well to point out that if a person does not have the Holy Spirit (Spirit of Christ), he is not Christ's (Rom. 8:9). This is how Christ comes into the child of God--through the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:9-10).
Now up to this point it must be remembered that nowhere have we found that the Holy Spirit was to "BAPTIZE" the believer. However, earlier we noticed that John stated Jesus would "BAPTIZE" repentant believers "IN" the Holy Spirit. There are seven Scripture passages that link the word baptize and Spirit, or Holy Spirit, together in one verse. Only seven! Six are to be found in the Gospels and Acts. One in each of the four Gospels and two in Acts. However, the seventh is found in the First Corinthian epistle. Seven seems to be the number of completion in Scripture and only when we come (chronologically) to I Cor. 12:13 (after having viewed the other six passages) do we see a completing of the subject. When the subject is viewed from all seven passages, Jesus is the undisputed BAPTIZER. The seven passages referred to are: Matt. 3:11; Mk. 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33; Acts 1:5, 11:16; I Cor. 12:13
Now for proof of the foregoing statements, the following is submitted:
Four entities are involved to complete a proper perspective of baptism in water or baptism in the Spirit. They are: 1: THE BAPTIZER; 2: THE BAPTIZED; 3:THE ELEMENT IN WHICH THE SUBJECT IS BAPTIZED (IMMERSED); 4: THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH THE SUBJECT IS BAPTIZED. Either two (2) or three (3) of the four (4) entities of baptism are mentioned in each of the seven passages. Never all four (4) of them in connection with baptism in the Spirit. Where the "BAPTIZER" is mentioned, Jesus is consistently the One. The believer is the one who is "baptized." The Holy Spirit is the "element" in which the believer is baptized. The "purpose" for which the believer is baptized is unto (with a view to) one body (the Church).
Now notice the fixed grammar of the subject with particular emphasis on the prepositions. It can be outlined as follows:
1. THE BAPTIZER JESUS
2. THE BAPTIZED BELIEVER
3. THE ELEMENT IN (GREEK EN) THE HOLY SPIRIT
4. THE PURPOSE UNTO (GREEK EIS) ONE BODY
This can be seen from Matt. 3:11 where both water and Spirit baptism are developed. (Where the inspired record has a preposition for the "element" in which the subject is immersed, it is always the Greek EN, which has a primary meaning of in, when properly translated). Therefore, using water baptism in Matt. 3:11 to illustrate the point, John said "I indeed baptize (immerse) you in water unto repentance." Here all four entities are used to initially develop the subject. John immersed the repentant "in" water. Today many people are sprinkled "with" water. However, sprinkling is RANTIZING, not BAPTIZING. Every time the Greek "rantizo" or "rantismos" is used, it is rightly translated sprinkle, but the Greek "baptizo" or "baptismos" is not translated. John did not immerse "with" or "by" water, but "in" water. The purpose for which he baptized was "unto" repentance, thus evidencing or viewing their repentance. Therefore, the purpose for the believer being immersed in one Spirit is unto (with a view to) one body (the church Christ said He would build - Matt. 16:18). In I Cor. 12:13 the word "by" (KJV) translates the same preposition as is found in the aforementioned passages, EN (meaning in). The English "by" would show agency, not element. The word "into" translates EIS (either into or unto). Three (3) of the four (4) entities are mentioned in this verse. The Baptizer is not mentioned, the Holy Spirit having thus established that fact in five other passages (Matt. 3:11; Mk. 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33; Acts. 11:16). So, correctly translated it will read "For in one Spirit were we all baptized unto one body..."
The unity of Biblical truth is clearly seen by comparing Scripture with Scripture. Of the seven (7) passages which treat the title subject of this pamphlet, each perfectly agrees with the other showing our Lord Jesus. As the one who baptizes every believer in the Holy Spirit unto (with a view to) one body. The one body is the SPIRITUAL house of I Peter 2:5. It is indeed a spiritual body. It might also be put this way, that the baptism "in the Spirit" is the spiritual operation of God forming the one body which is the church. This is a true experience of all who receive Christ in this age (dispensation of the grace of God - Eph. 3:2) It is not something genuine believers are to "seek." Currently there are some advocates of an erroneous teaching that the "baptism" is an experience to be sought, either at or following the experience of salvation. Further, that the "baptism" comes to pass through a "seeking", or "praying" or "praising" experience, and that the "baptism" is evidenced by "speaking in tongues." Such is positively without Scriptural substantiation! Many of them, in an effort to prove that the RECEIVING of the Holy Spirit CAN BE a subsequent experience to salvation, use Acts 19:2 and Eph. 1:13 as proof texts. However, the expression "since you believed" in Acts 19:2 is correctly translated "having believed." The tense of the word PISTEUSANTES (an aorist 1, participle) must be so expressed to give the correct grammatical meaning of the word that the Holy Spirit inspired. It is the same in Eph. 1:13. Both passages teach that the believer RECEIVES the Holy Spirit when he believes on the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ from his heart.
May our ever gracious, ever loving Shepherd enable all dear sheep, who sincerely search the Scripture, to see these truths.