The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is neither seen nor felt. It is a fact stated in the Word of God for us to believe. Technically, it is when the believer is placed into union with Jesus Christ at salvation. There seven baptisms in the Bible and the baptism of the Holy Spirit is but one of these. The word for baptism in Greek is “baptisma” and literally means, “to dip.” It was used to describe the dyeing of a garment or the drawing of wine by dipping the cup into the bowl. John the Baptist and Jesus used the word to describe water baptism as submersion, therefore, the accurate interpretation of the word is “to dip into or submerge.” (I Corinthians 12:13)
When a person trusts Christ as Savior they are “dipped into” or “submerged” into the “body of Christ.” This, of course, is speaking of positional truth, signifying our union with Christ. Water baptism for believers has always been a picture of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Submersion into water pictures how the believer becomes united with Christ. (Romans 6:3-5; Galatians 3:27; Ephesians 4:4-5)
As I stated, there are seven baptisms in the Scriptures and all are for the purpose of identification. Of these seven, four are ritual identifications and three are actual identifications. In the apostate times in which we live, water baptism (ritual) and the baptism of the Holy Spirit (actual) have been distorted into a system of works. Water baptism, for example, is taught by some ministers as a necessity for salvation, which is false doctrine. No one has ever been saved by being submerged in water. The only purpose for water baptism is identification: Identification with the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, which it pictures. It was a teaching aid for the early church before the canon of Scripture was completed. As a matter of fact, water baptism is mentioned only once after the historical record in the book of Acts and it is mentioned as a source of division in the church of Corinth. (I Corinthians 1:11-17)
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is also being distorted today into a system of emotionalism and ecstatic behavior leading to a pseudo-spiritual experience that is not found in the Word of God. The gift of tongues, for example, has been distorted into a requirement to prove salvation and/or to prove spirituality. Both are false doctrines. The gift of tongues was a sign to the nation of Israel of impending divine discipline according to Isaiah 28:9-13. The nation was destroyed in 70A.D. and the warning was stopped. (I Corinthians 13:8, 14:21) There are two words for “tongues” in Greek. The first word is “glossa” and the second is “dialektos” and both refer to a known, spoken languages. This is confirmed in the book of Corinthians when Paul insists that an interpreter be present when a person with the gift speaks in the local assembly. The gift was used (before the destruction of Jerusalem and the nation) to evangelize Jews from many nations who spoke many languages not necessarily known by the apostles.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit was prophesied by John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. This prophesy was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost, which occurred fifty days after Christ ascended when the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit began. This event marked the beginning of the Church Age. Therefore, the baptism of the Holy Spirit is for the Church Age believer only. Since it is the means of placing the believer into union with Christ, the baptism of the Holy Spirit assures the believer of sharing Christ’s inheritance. This inheritance includes becoming a member of the Royal Family of God. We actually share Christ’s royalty, a royalty He received by defeating Satan in the Angelic Conflict. Christ won this victory by His spiritual death, physical death, resurrection, ascension and session at the right hand of God the Father. Because of our union with Christ we are different from believers of other ages and we are given a higher spiritual position. What a privilege and what a responsibility! (Matthew 3:11; Acts 1:5; 2:4; 11:15-17; Colossians 2:9-15)
The baptism of the Holy Spirit results in a union, which never before existed for the believer. This union with Christ is unique and sets up many potentials for the believer. Being placed in union with Christ is called Positional Sanctification. Positional Sanctification describes our new relationship with God through Christ. It is a permanent relationship based on our faith in Christ and never changes, regardless of the believer’s spiritual condition. The baptism of the Holy Spirit, therefore, sets up the potential for the believer to make his daily experience (Experiential Sanctification) align with his position in Christ (Positional Sanctification). This means that we are to exhibit the character of Jesus Christ on a daily basis by means of the power of the Holy Spirit Who is indwelling us. (John 14:20; I Corinthians 12:12-27)
Breaking the power of the sin nature in the life of the believer is possible through the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans Chapter 6 describes a battle that is going on in the life of every believer. This battle begins the moment a person accepts by faith Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. Though we are immediately delivered from the penalty of sin, we are not immediately delivered from the power of sin. Deliver from the power of sin is a process developed by learning and using God’s system.
The battle is in the soul of the believer between the sin nature and the new spiritual nature. Control of the soul is the objective of each. Satan, his demons and his world system influence the sin nature. God the Holy Spirit influences the spiritual nature. Your personal volition makes the difference. You make the choice of allowing either the sin nature or the spiritual nature to be in control.
One key to success is understanding your position in Christ and how it can affect your spiritual life. Your position in Christ as a result of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is permanent and places you in a unique and powerful position. As a believer in Christ, you possess the supernatural power of the indwelling Holy Spirit Who empowers you to break the power of sin in your life as you learn, believe and apply accurate Bible doctrine to your experience. Using this key means understanding that God wants every believer to live as the royalty they already are in Christ. This means making your daily experience align with your position in Christ.
Paul uses an interesting analogy in Romans Chapter 7 verses 1-4 to describe our position in Christ. In this analogy, the believer is like a wife whose husband dies and she remarries. The former husband is analogous to the sin nature and the new husband is the Lord Jesus Christ. Under Jewish law, if the husband dies the wife is free to marry another. In the case of the believer, when he trusts Christ as Savior he becomes “dead to sin” positionally, which is analogous to the sin nature being dead. Marrying another is analogous to marrying the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul is teaching, as he always does, that we should “reckon” ourselves dead to the sin nature. The word for “reckon” in Greek is “logizomai” and literally means a numerical calculation. Metaphorically in this passage it means “to count” ourselves dead to the sin nature. In other words, live your spiritual life apart from the control of the sin nature. Live as if you have no sin nature. Positional truth demands a new way of life for the believer. Instead of living under the rulership of the ex-husband, we should now live under the rulership of Christ. Romans 6:8-10; Ephesians 2:5-10)
Christ demonstrates the proper relationship for the believer. His relationship with God the Father is our example of the correct relationship between the believer and Jesus Christ. Christ is the head of the Church and we are the “body of Christ.” Just as the Son submitted to the authority and rulership of the Father, we are to submit to the authority and rulership of Christ.
What exactly does this mean? It means that we are to allow the character of Jesus Christ to be produced in our lives through the control and power of the Holy Spirit. It means that we are to think the thoughts of Christ by saturating our souls with His Word and making appropriate application. It means that Jesus Christ is the standard to Whom we are to compare ourselves, not to others. It means that the execution of the Christian Way of Life is how we glorify God and become a blessing to others. It means that we are to fulfill our roles as royal priests and royal ambassadors.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit places all believers in this age into the body of Christ. All believers in the Church Age have equal privilege and equal opportunity to execute God’s plan, purpose and will. No one in the body of Christ is more privileged than the next. Under God’s system we all possess the same potential. Some believers choose to exploit this potential and some do not. In any case, we are all in union with Jesus Christ and we are all important to the success or the failure of the body. The analogy of the body is used throughout Scripture to illustrate the doctrine of unity. The head is no more important than the foot and the foot is not more important than the hand. All parts of the body are important, if the body is to function properly.
Never assume that your role in the body of Christ is not essential to the success of the church body. We must all discover our spiritual gift/gifts, and use them to glorify God.