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Spiritual Reading

What Is The Difference Between Being Baptized In Water And Being Baptized In The Holy Spirit?

“The water does not do anything except get you wet,” says Matt, 8. “When you get baptized in the Holy Spirit, you get cleansed by God, and he will come into our hearts. Getting baptized means you’re telling the whole world that God has come into your heart.”

On the baptism of the Holy Spirit, Bible scholar JC Ryle wrote: “It consists of the implanting of grace into the inward man. It is the same thing with the new birth. It is a baptism, not of the body, but of the heart. It is well to be baptized into the visible Church; but it is far better to be baptized into that Church which is made up of true believers.”

“The difference is when you get baptized in water, it is a symbol of being purified by God,” says Caleb, 8. “When you get baptized by the Holy Spirit, God has brought you into his kingdom.”

As one who received baptism by immersion as a professing Christian who was trying to work his way to heaven, I can affirm that being baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ is far better. At my first water baptism, I mistakenly thought that salvation was Christ plus my dedication. I thought that salvation was a joint venture. Christ would do part, and I would do part.

As I stood in the church, wet from water baptism but confused from the mixed message, a girl sensed my bewilderment. She invited me to another meeting where a pastor showed me from the Bible that salvation is a free gift that can only be received by faith alone in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9).

In Old Testament times, the Holy Spirit came upon a few believers for special tasks. The prophet Joel foresaw a time when God would pour out his Spirit on all believers (Joel 2:28-29). Jesus predicted that his disciples would receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit “not many days from now” (Acts 1:5).

When the disciples received the Spirit’s baptism, they began to praise God in foreign languages they had not learned. Jews from foreign countries who had gathered at Jerusalem for the Pentecost feast understood the disciples in their own languages.

In his sermon, the Apostle Peter said this was the fulfillment of what the prophet Joel predicted. The time had come when God would pour out his Holy Spirit upon all believers. About 3,000 Jews trusted Christ as their savior that day and were baptized in water (Acts 2).

The baptism of the Holy Spirit is an historic event that ushered in a new age. It occurred for the Jews on the day of Pentecost, but came later for Gentiles (non-Jews). The Apostle Peter took the gospel to the house of a Gentile named Cornelius. Like the Jews at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came upon them. They spoke in foreign languages and were baptized in water (Acts 10-11:18).

Think about this: The baptism of the Holy Spirit is not an experience to be sought, but a truth to be believed. Even though every Christian has been baptized by the Holy Spirit into union with Christ, not all are enjoying the fellowship with Christ that comes from being filled with the Spirit.

Memorize this truth: “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18).

Ask this question: Have you been filled or controlled by God’s Spirit today?

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Bible quotations are from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.


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