#557 (15/3/22) WHAT IS BAPTISM WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT?
This week, as we continue our 6-week study on the person of the Holy Spirit, we will be looking at the empowering of the Holy Spirit.
Over the next three days, we will consider three terms that are used for the power of the Spirit in our lives. Today we are thinking about baptism with the Spirit. I think that in the subject of the Spirit’s work, as in much of life, confusion and conflict arise from misunderstanding or assuming things by the words and terms that are used.
WHAT IS BAPTISM BY THE HOLY SPIRIT?
For many this is understood to only mean the post-conversion, initial, empowering of the Spirit. Does it always mean this?
i) IT CAN REFER TO POST-CONVERSION EMPOWERING
"…He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." (Matthew 3:11)
“Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptised with water, but in a few days you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:4-5)
(See also Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33; Acts 11:16)
Baptism with the Spirit, in these contexts, seems to be referring to a post-conversion empowering. As John Piper says of Acts 1:5,
‘I think the essence of being baptised with the Holy Spirit is when a person, who is already a believer, receives extraordinary spiritual power for Christ-exalting ministry.’ (John Piper)
ii) BAPTISM BY THE SPIRIT CAN ALSO REFER TO REGENERATION
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians,
‘For we were all baptised by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.’ (1 Corinthians 12:13)
Baptism by the Spirit can relate to regeneration and union with Christ by which all Christians are also united. Baptism by the Spirit is an umbrella term that can be used for regeneration or an initial empowering after becoming a Christian.
How does your being united to Christ and God’s people, by the Spirit, affect your life? Secondly, ask yourself if you have been ‘clothed with power’ by the Spirit? Maybe you’d like to ask a friend or leader to pray for you – the promise is for you!