Monthly Archives: October 2019

Baptism of the Holy Spirit

HolySpiritAnointingTo understand the baptism of the Holy Spirit, we must keep in mind the Big Picture:

After Adam’s fall, Satan rules, and the whole cosmos falls under sin and corruption. God’s plan is to redeem humanity and the cosmos. He will destroy sin and corruption through Jesus Christ and reconcile the world to Himself. He will do it in relationship with redeemed humanity through the agency of the Holy Spirit who dwells in the believer, giving new life and power to those who cooperate with Him.

John the Baptist anticipates this New Day when he says, “I baptize with water, but the One who comes after me will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” The Holy Spirit is key to destruction of Satan’s dominion, restoring God’s original purpose in its fullness. The Holy Spirit will work through the lives of Satan’s former subjects, once captive to sin, now free in Christ, to bring about his total destruction.

In short, the baptism of the Holy Spirit is key to effective witness and completion of the Great Commission, which will usher in the triumphant Second Advent of Jesus Christ.

This plan terrifies Satan. He desperately wants to limit the power of the Holy Spirit in the lives of God’s redeemed children. He does all in his power to blind God’s children to the reality and power of the Holy Spirit. He works overtime, getting us to waste time and energy in pointless arguments about the Holy Spirit.

He bends over backward trying to get us to fear the mis-use of Holy Spirit power so that we take the opposite extreme of dis-use. This keeps us from being open and receptive to His infilling so that the Holy Spirit can use us in supernatural ways.

He tries to turn the baptism of the Holy Spirit and its many blessings into a curse that separates members of God’s family from one another.

All of this grieves the Holy Spirit. Let us not fall into Satan’s traps. Let us remember how Acts 2 began to fulfill the prophecy of Joel 2. Let us remember how the Holy Spirit radically transformed the disciples. Let us remember how the Holy Spirit turned that first-century persecutor of the church, Saul of Tarsus, into Jesus’ most faithful missionary.

Let us remember those first centuries of church history when the Holy Spirit caused the church, weak in the eyes of the world, to grow in spite of persecution and outlast their persecutors through our own day.

Let us remember that the Holy Spirit has planted within each of us as His children His New Life. As His children, we have the life of God, Creator of the universe, living within us.

Because life in the Holy Spirit is a relationship, we must renew our relationship with Him day by day as a husband and wife must renew their relationship with one another day by day and even hour by hour and minute by minute for the marriage
to work.

Let us remember the Big Picture of who we are in Christ through the power of His Holy Spirit. Then we will become His more effective witnesses in the world to fulfill the Great Commission and usher in the fullness of His kingdom. We will become His agents to answer the prayer we have long prayed: “Thy kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven.”

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Baptism

Baptism-2019Praise God for His wondrous grace by which He provides everything we need for our salvation. Salvation comes to us by grace through faith alone which is His gift (Romans 4, Ephesians 2).

In spite of these specific declarations of God’s salvation through grace alone, numerous people, both Catholic and Protestant, still believe that we need water baptism for salvation. They insist on this though nowhere in scripture do we find Jesus, Paul or anyone else making such a specific declaration. If baptism were absolutely essential for salvation, why wouldn’t Paul say it outright, leaving no guesswork or need for debate? Since he doesn’t, that should settle the matter.

Think of those saved in the Bible who did not receive baptism—the paralytic man in Matthew 9, the penitent woman in Luke 7, the publican in Luke 18 and the thief on the cross in Luke 23. Nowhere does the Bible mention anything about infant baptism. Biblically recorded water baptism takes place only among people who first choose faith for themselves, and always by immersion.

If baptism does not bring us salvation, why does Jesus command His disciples to baptize at the same time He commands His disciples to preach the gospel to all peoples (Matthew 28:19-20)?

To follow Christ means to change our identity. Baptism publicly declares our identity is now with God’s people and what He did through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Baptism publicly declares we have died to our old life, and we are raised to new life in Christ. We are united with Him.

When Jesus first saves us, He saves us in spirit and soul. But we also consist of a body, and our bodies must work in harmony with our spirits and souls. A visible sign, an action of our bodies, confirms outwardly what we have already done inwardly.

A wedding ring does not in itself bring a man and woman into relationship with one another. Neither does baptism bring a person into relationship with Jesus Christ.

But a wedding ring does signify that a dramatic change has come about in that relationship. A covenant has been made and vows taken between two people that mean new commitments and responsibilities to one another, to future generations.

Baptism should signify a dramatic change in one’s relationship with Christ not just serve as a rite of passage. No longer are we content with passive church attendance, but we publicly identify with the finished work of Christ on our behalf.

With Christ’s finished work as our life foundation, we publicly declare our readiness to bear new responsibilities for Christ. We are ready to take an active concern for those things that move the heart of God. Just as the wedding vows mean new responsibilities, so baptism should become the beginning of new commitment and responsibility for God’s kingdom.

Baptism should signify to the rest of the world not only that we are members of God’s family but that we identify with those eternal things that move the heart of God
our Father.

One of those things that moves the heart of God is fulfillment of the Great Commission that will lead to fulfillment of His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. As true children of God, we will take outward action to fulfill the Great Commission through our prayers, gifts and time.

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