“Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’”
Acts 11:16 NKJV
Have you ever written a mock exam? In this part of the world, mock exams are written to gauge how prepared the students are for the real exam. But guess what? No teacher will take the mock scores as the real exam scores, no matter how well you do. The exam scores need to speak for themselves.
In the same vein, the Bible contains certain symbols, types and shadows that point to the real things. In the Old Testament, we see lambs being offered as atonement for sin; a symbol that foreshadows Christ, the lamb of God (Hebrew 1:1-3). And just like a mock examination, symbols are important for teaching believers.
Water baptism was also a symbol. Jesus’ baptism was symbolic not only to identify Him as the Messiah but also to paint a picture of salvation. The Greek word for baptism, ‘Baptizo’ means to immerse. At the baptism of Jesus, immersion signified death and burial and the emergence from the water signified the resurrection. God speaking forth signified justification for all men and the Spirit descending, the true baptism.
True baptism is that which is not carried out by human hands. It is the immersion in the Holy Ghost. John the Baptist, Christ’s forerunner, only baptized people in water (John 1: 26) but when Jesus came on the scene, He promised us the Holy Spirit. More than that, He instructed the Apostles and by extension all believers, to baptize the new disciples in the Holy Spirit by teaching them (Matthew 28:19-20, Acts 11:15-17).
Baptism is a supernatural operation by which we all become beneficiaries of Christ’s work. Through baptism, we are buried with Christ, raised with Him and now live eternally in Him (Colossians 2: 12). We are baptized by one Spirit into one body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12: 13, Ephesians 4: 5).
It is not something only a few people are meant to experience. It is for all who believe in Jesus because it unionizes us with Christ and the brethren. A clear example of this is Pentecost. The Spirit came upon all who were in the upper room and none was left out (Acts 2:1-3, Joel 2: 28-29).
Like what happened after the Pentecost, baptism empowers us to do ministry here on earth (Acts 2: 38-41). Think about it. How can we cast out demons or trample on scorpions if not by the Spirit (Mark 16:17-18)? But more than that, because we have experienced true baptism, we can teach the world about it, baptising them into this message (Matthew 28: 19-20).
We have something more potent than the Jordan River. What we have solidifies our adoption, keeps us above sin, and is the mechanism for our resurrection on the last day. Brethren, walk in the consciousness of what you carry and who you are in Christ.
When Jesus died, I died
When He was buried, I was buried
When He rose, I rose
I am seated with Him in Heavenly places
I am baptized by the Spirit!
Bible Reading Plan: Joshua 7-8