What is the baptism of the Spirit?
John the Baptist baptized unto the forgiveness of sins, but also proclaimed that Jesus would come with a baptism that would be far more extensive and deep. “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Matthew 3:11)
What is the baptism of the Spirit?
The baptism of the Spirit is an “immersion of the Spirit.” When you are baptized with the Spirit, you will receive strength, power and boldness from God to accomplish your work and overcome sin in your own life.
You know when you have experienced the baptism of the Spirit. The disciples at Pentecost also knew. They had probably already imagined beforehand what the experience of being baptized with the Holy Spirit would be like. And you, dear reader, who have not yet been baptized with the Spirit, but have a real longing for it, are probably also wondering what it is like. The experience can be expressed in many ways. But many people who have been baptized with the Spirit will be able to relate to what I write here:
Your life is changed at one stroke. God’s power often passes through your body like a powerful current and fills you with an infinite joy and happiness. The disciples were so filled with joy that the people thought they were drunk with new wine.
Some people have so much grace that they receive the baptism of the Spirit immediately after they repent, and sometimes even get the gift of tongues. This usually happens if a revival breaks out somewhere. However, this is not necessarily the case for all who repent. Some people must go through a “dry period” before they are baptized with the Spirit. But of course there is no set timetable for when you get this blessed baptism of the Spirit.
It is a common misconception among many Christians that you have not been baptized with the Holy Spirit if you haven’t received the gift of tongues. This gift often comes later, and many only receive it after a revival has broken out, and yet others receive completely different gifts.
Why do I need the baptism of the Spirit?
If you feel that your life is dry and heavy, pray for the baptism of the Spirit. Because you really need it if you have a strong desire to overcome envy, anger etc. It is written in the Scriptures that the Spirit is given to those who obey Him. It’s no good waiting to be baptized with the Holy Spirit while relaxing and sinning as when you were unconverted. No, read in the Bible, even if it seems dry, and resist the lust to become angry and irritated, for example. One day you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit! You, who were bound by fear of man, become bold, just as Peter was on the day of Pentecost. A brand new day dawns. The dry Bible verses suddenly become alive for you by the Spirit’s revelation, and you can get help from God’s Word when you come into difficult situations. Why? Because you have been baptized with the Spirit.
But it is not the intention that we stop completely at that great experience of being baptized with the Spirit, and never move on. The power we have been given by the baptism of the Spirit, which has made us so happy, is to be used to do the good so that we can be God’s coworkers on earth.
Jesus wanted to baptize us with both the Holy Spirit and fire. As we follow the Spirit’s workings, we must suffer, and that was what Jesus meant by the fire. It is the suffering that follows when we do the good. Just as when the disciples were instructed to make disciples of all nations. This meant that they had to leave their comfort zone and start to journey, often to places they didn’t want to go to – and that involved tribulation (fire). They were not permitted to remain seated quietly with memories of what they had experienced on the day of Pentecost. No, off to the many tasks that awaited! Exactly the same applies to us who are alive now, and have received the Spirit’s power within us.
And even though we have been baptized with the Holy Spirit, we constantly need a new fullness. Even though you have been filled with the Holy Spirit, you can easily be caught up by the world we live in and can lose something of the fullness of the Holy Spirit. That’s why one of the Scripture’s exhortations is: “Be filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18) And that’s what will happen when we earnestly pray to be filled anew, and practice what we read in the Bible.
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You might also be interested in our theme page about Overcoming sin.