I’m going to tackle two topics today, water baptism and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. In my last post I wrote about repentance. These three subjects are essential for any Christian or church who wants to live and walk in God’s power.
Water baptism is the next step in a Christian’s life, and the first act of obedience. Romans 6:4 reads “That’s what baptism into the life of Jesus means. When we are lowered into the water, it is like the burial of Jesus; when we are raised up out of the water, it is like the resurrection of Jesus. Each of us is raised into a light-filled world by our Father so that we can see where we’re going in our new grace-sovereign country.” and Acts 2:38 states “…change your life. Turn to God and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, so your sins are forgiven.” While repentance is an internal spiritual cleansing, baptism in water is a physical act that shows our sins being washed away and proclaiming Jesus as our Lord.
I personally have been baptized twice. Once as a teen, and again as an adult, after a renewed commitment to follow Jesus. Baptism symbolizes putting our old lives away and picking up our new lives. It shows that we are declaring Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour. Although water baptism is an important step in every Christian’s walk with God, we need to remember a few important notes:
- It does not provide salvation. As a symbolic act it has no power to save you.That’s why the first step of repentance is so important.
- Its best done publicly and by someone old enough to understand they’re actions.By old enough I mean maturity, not necessarily age.
- It should be done by all who claim and have received Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.
- It’s a joyous celebration! Think of it as a first birthday party, a reason for the whole family of Christ to rejoice!
When speaking of repentance and of baptism, we are stalking of steps that we must take. Being baptized in the Holy Spirit is a step God takes toward us. And while while some church’s believe that the Baptism of the Spirit was only for the early Church, its important to balance this with scripture. Acts 2:39 “Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Promise is targeted to you and your children, but also to all who are far away – whomever, in fact, our Master God invites.” Clearly this shows that the Baptism of the Spirit is for all believers, than, now and in the future.
This promised gift (Acts 2:38) is meant for all in Christ’s church. With it we receive an even more powerful and complete relationship with God, including:
- A deepened adoration of God. (Acts 2:43, Hebrews 12:28)
- Renewed dedication to God and His calling. (Acts 2:42)
- An intensified love for Christ as well as for the lost. (Mark 16:20)
The Church without the Holy Spirit’s power and guidance is a scary thing. Without we will be deficient in our worship and our ability to evangelize. Two of the very things we were created for! The Holy Spirit will lead us into a more intimate worship time with God and empowers us to reach out in boldness to a lost and dying world. A church left to its own formulas, and programs can grow. But only in numbers, not in the power and might of God.
All Scripture references taken from The Message, Eugene Peterson, 2002