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Baptism Day


Today, water baptism is most readily identified with Christianity, where it symbolizes the cleansing (remission) of sins, and the union of the believer with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection so that he becomes one of Christ's Faithful. Most Christian groups practice some form of literal water-based baptism and agree that it is important, yet strongly disagree with other groups regarding any or all of several aspects of baptism, such as:

* form of the baptism
* recipients of baptism
* meaning/effects of the act of baptism

However, a few Christian groups assert that water-based baptism has been supplanted by the promised baptism of the Holy Spirit, and water baptism was unnecessarily carried over from the early Jewish Christian practice.

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Baptism of the Holy Spirit


Question: "What is the baptism of the Holy Spirit?"

Answer: The baptism of the Holy Spirit may be defined as that work whereby the Spirit of God places the believer into union with Christ and into union with other believers in the Body of Christ at the moment of salvation. 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 and Romans 6:1-4 are the central passages in the Bible where we find this doctrine. 1 Corinthians 12:13 states, "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." Romans 6:1-4 states, "What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life." Even though Romans 6 does not mention specifically the Spirit of God, it does describe believers positionally before God and 1 Corinthians 12 tells us how that happens.

Three facts are necessary to look into that help solidify our understanding of Spirit baptism. First, 1 Corinthians 12:13 clearly states that all have been baptized just as all have made to drink (the indwelling of the Spirit). Second, nowhere in Scripture does it exhort believers to be baptized with/in/by the Spirit. This indicates that all believers have experienced this ministry. Last, Ephesians 4:5 seems to refer to Spirit baptism. If this is the case, Spirit baptism is the reality of every believer, just as “one faith” and “one Father” are.

In conclusion, the baptism of the Holy Spirit does two things, (1) it joins us to the Body of Christ, and (2) it actualizes our co-crucifixion with Christ. Being in His body means we are risen with Him to newness of life (Romans 6:4). We should then exercise our spiritual gifts to keep that body functioning properly as stated in the context of 1 Corinthians 12:13. Experiencing the one Spirit baptism serves as the basis for keeping the unity of the church, as in the context of Ephesians 4:5. Being associated with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection through Spirit baptism establishes the basis for realizing our separation from the power of indwelling sin and our walk in newness of life (Romans 6:1-10, Colossians 2:12).

Recommended Resource: The Wonderful Spirit-Filled Life by Charles Stanley.


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