by Wade E Taylor
“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” I Corinthians 12:13
The “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” is received at the time of salvation, in which we are “immersed,” or “set” into the Body of Christ, by the Holy Spirit.
“Now you are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” I Corinthians 12:27
“We are all baptized into one body.” Through “regeneration,” we are made a specific member of His body (a member in particular). As we grow spiritually, we will discover our place within the Body of Christ (placement). It is important that we both know and function in this specific calling and ministry.
“One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” Ephesians 4:5
We are saved only once, therefore, there is “one baptism” with many immersions (infillings).
“I indeed baptize you with water to repentance: but He that comes after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” Matthew 3:11
“He… whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall immerse you.” This is the “Baptism of Jesus in the Holy Spirit.”
The word “baptize” is a Greek word which means “to immerse.” Through an intensely powerful experience in which we are immersed into the Holy Spirit, Jesus gains control of our entire being. There is an indication, or sign that has been given to confirm that we have been fully immersed – we will begin to speak in an unknown (to us) tongue.
It cannot be said Scripturally that tongues is the “evidence” of receiving the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. However, the Lord has provided a “witness” to the fact of a total immersion. The Word tells us that our tongue is the most unruly member of our body.
“For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.” James 3:2
Thus, when the Holy Spirit gains control of this member (our tongue), it is reasonable to say that all other members are already under His control.
When Moses went up into the Mount, the children of Israel said, “All that the Lord has spoken, we will do” (Exodus 19:8). The Old Testament is a testimony that good intentions cannot fulfill the law of God, as they utterly failed. Something more is needed – the ability to obey. Ezekiel 36:26-27 reveals a new covenant in which this ability is given to us by the Lord.
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My judgments, and do them.”
The “Baptism in the Holy Spirit” is given as the fulfillment of this prophetic promise in Ezekiel. It is the power of the Holy Spirit that “causes,” or empowers us to walk, and to continue walking in obedience to His statutes. The word “power” in Acts 1:8 has the same meaning as the word that is translated “cause” in Ezekiel 36:27. These are one and the same in their intent and purpose.
“But you will receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and you shall be witnesses to Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 1:8
The word “but” is a transitional word – from the old covenant, into the new. The Disciples had asked Jesus about the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel. He told them that it was not for them to know the time when this would take place, as there was something that first had to happen – “But you will receive power.”
The Greek word for power is “dunamis,” from which the words “dynamo” (ongoing energy) and “dynamite” (one big bang) are derived. The “power” in Acts 1:8 is far more than a onetime experience.
This “Baptism of Jesus into the Holy Spirit” (our being immersed) is an ongoing dynamo, which “causes” (empowers) us to both keep and do His judgments. Our “being a witness to Me” (Jesus) speaks of what we are, rather than what we do.
The Lord is going much deeper than saying that we will receive “power to serve.” Thus, we receive this enabling power so that we ourselves become the witness, or the expression of the life of Jesus (you shall be witnesses to Me) rather than just receiving power “to do witnessing.”
Jesus is saying that we ourselves are to become the substance and expression of His presence in the earth – after He is taken up from the earth. This experience of our being “immersed” in the power of the Holy Spirit will enable us to become this witness. We are to so die to our self-life, that we become the extension of the life of Jesus. The Greek word that is translated “witness” in Acts 1:8 is “martus,” or martyr.
Being a living martyr, we have so died to our self-life, that Jesus can express His life through our lives. Our being a “witness” then, is the expression of what we have “become” in Him. As we witness to Jesus, His life is reflected through the glory of His presence, and in that reflection, He can be seen by others.
“But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” II Corinthians 3:18 NASB
If we are “doing” witnessing, we are telling someone about Jesus. However, our “being” a witness means something far deeper. What we are “seen” to be, becomes very important, because we are saying or doing what Jesus would say or do, if He were here. We have become the “expression” of His life in the earth at this present time (a living martyr).
When Philip said, “Show us the Father,” Jesus’ reply was, “He that has seen Me, has seen the Father” (John 14:8-9). Jesus is saying, “My life is a witness of the Father to such an extent that if you have seen Me, you have seen the Father.”
We also are to be a “witness” (a sample) of Jesus Christ. Through the enabling power of the Holy Spirit, we should be able to say, “What I am saying and doing is a reflection of Jesus; thus, as you see me, you are seeing Jesus.”
Hopefully, each of us has received this “Baptism into the Holy Spirit” (our being immersed into His enabling power). Now, this power is potentially available to us, but there is something that is required of us before we can experience the outworking of this power. The King James translation gives the correct rendering of this verse, “You shall receive power after.”
When we rightly respond, the power will become ours.
“But you will receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you….” Acts 1:8
Notice that this “Baptism in the Holy Spirit” is a gift, but the “power” is conditional. It is only available to us, “after.” As we come apart to wait on the Lord and spend time with Him, we will receive this enabling power. Therefore, the time that we spend waiting upon the Lord is of utmost importance. This is why the power is only given, “after.”
“He gives power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall. But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength: they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:29-31
Notice the similarity in each of these: “Even the youths shall faint and be weary… but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength” and “But you shall receive power after.”
Herein is the secret: when we “wait” in His presence, the power of God will flow into our being. We may become weary, but “they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.” It is essential to our spiritual health that we spend quality time in His presence, waiting upon Him. Only then will we have the spiritual energy to face the challenges, testings, and problems of life.
During these times of “waiting in His presence,” we are brought into a closer union with Jesus. In the closeness of this communion, we receive of His life and strength, and along with this, we come into a deeper understanding of spiritual principles – the depths within His word will unfold before us, which will draw us yet closer. There is no end!
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me….” Galatians 2:20
To the extent that we die (become a living martyr) to our Adamic nature, His life will find expression through us (I live; yet not I).
Our strength will run down and we will fail, as Israel did. But, “they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.” The word “renew” is to exchange our weakness for His power, or strength (the heart of the new covenant). Thus, we receive the enabling power to become the expression of the life of Jesus only after we spend time “waiting” in His presence.
Now, we are ready to “be” a witness of Jesus (His life being seen through our lives), revealing and making Him known unto the uttermost parts of the earth.