Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

A friend of mine asked me recently if there was such a thing as baptism in the Holy Spirit, and if so why she had never heard of it before. I responded with the following email, but I wonder how much of it I got right. Sometimes I wonder if I'm ready to get into this whole discipleship leading thing that I'm training for right now.

Dear Friend-

I'm not sure about this one. This is one of those things that Christians tend to go around and around about. Many Christians will tell you that Baptism in the holy spirit happens when you accept Christ into your heart. (I would be one of these.) Many say that baptism into the Holy Spirit is a fuller realization of Christ in our lives. I'm not sold on the idea that there is such a thing as baptism in the holy spirit that is separate from the baptism into the blood of Christ.

The reason that the Church seems to find a dichotomy (in my mind) lies in the fact that in scripture, many people of Christ's time were baptized with water, and then later with the Holy Spririt. I do not understand the significance of being baptized with water before the death of Christ but apparently it served as some sort of sign that the Christ was coming. (In the gospel of John, when John the baptist is baptizing the people in the desert, the Jews ask him how he can be baptizing if he is not the Prophet or Elijah. Apparently there is a prophecy or a non-canonical book somewhere that says that "The Prophet" or Elijah will come and usher in the messiah by baptizing people. This was what John the baptist was doing. I have to look further into this to understand it more fully.)

At any rate, these people who were baptized under John were not baptized under the Holy Spirit, and even John said this. Christ's disciples also baptized people in the desert, and they also did not baptize people in the Holy Spirit. The reason for this was because Christ said that the "Helper" or "Councellor" could not come until he had died. The Holy Spirit is the spirit of God, and the spirit of God could not rest in unjustified human bodies because we were unworthy of the indwelling of God. However, after the atonement of Christ, we were gifted with Salvation, thereby making it possible for the Spirit of God to dwell in us. Therefore, those who believed in the salvific force of the blood of the Christ were granted baptism in the Holy Spirit. These people were the only ones (in my opinion) who could have experienced a baptism by water, and a baptism of the Holy Spirit. Not because they were ultra-saintly, but because of the time that they lived in. Before the death of the Christ, only water baptism was possible, after the death of the Christ, baptism in the Holy Spirit necessarily follows a water baptism into the blood of Christ.

The reason I believe in one baptism lies around the nature of the Trinity. God is one. Once I have accepted the salvation of Christ, God saves my soul. As he saves my soul, he comes to dwell in me. (Romans 8:9 - You, however , are controlled not by the Sinful nature, but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.) This verse tells me that once I have been adopted into Christ, I have been adopted into God. God is inseparable, and therefore when I am baptized with water, I am forgiven of my sins, I am grafted into the family of God, and I receive the Holy Spirit. Baptism in the Holy Spirit is absolutely a thing, however, if you are Christian, I believe you have been baptized in the Holy Spirit.

If you want the gift of tongues, pray for it. (Scripture clearly tells us to eagerly desire the greater gifts. (Read I Cor 12:27 - 13:3 to find out which gift Paul tells you to most eagerly desire.)

In short, I believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but I do not believe that Christians can get part of God, and then get more of him later. We get all of the inseperable God at the moment we commit ourselves to him. The reason the Apostles did not recieve this was because they committed themselves to the Christ before he ascended into Heaven.

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