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What Scripture Says About Salvation

A Bible Study by Fred Kenison

 

Monograph 22:  Ye Shall Be Baptized En

                            Pneumati


 

 

Summary Highlights of Monograph 22

 

 

There are only seven scriptures in which the word "baptize" and "spirit" are used together.  In each, the term is "baptize in spirit."  There is no article which places the emphasis on quality or characteristic of spirit.  The term is also dative, en, which makes it locative or sphere of quality.  In other words, one is not baptized "in the holy spirit," but "in spirit," or a quality of spirit, or truth.

 

The scriptures describe a baptism of repentance but never a baptism of the holy spirit, even though this term has become part of the jargon in many churches.  However, it is not a scriptural term and it can lead to great misunderstanding.  One may be baptized in spirit, but there is never a baptism of the holy spirit; neither is there a baptism with the holy spirit.

 

The scriptural term used is "in spirit,"  and there are never any requirements for being baptized in spirit.  Spirit is a gift of God, another of His graces; it cannot be earned.  It is a gift from God to Jesus and through Jesus to us.  It is not given as a result of prayer, pleading, cleansing, or anything else.  It is a gift.  Period.

 

In Matthew 3:11, John, the Baptist, said,

"I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire."  

 

In both uses of "baptize" the word en was used:  baptize en water, baptize en spirit and fire.  The word baptize, baptizo, means to be immersed in.  When men are baptized in spirit, in truth, in some quality of spirit, they should stay immersed within it.

 

The quality in which Jesus immersed us should be the overriding concern of our lives.  If you have been given any gift to be used for the testimony of God and Jesus Christ, you should remain immersed in that quality, whatever it is, whether it be visiting the sick, teaching, preaching, giving, praying, or any other activity.

 

John, the Baptist, said that Jesus would baptize in spirit and fire.  Green (p. 265) reminds us that this is not two baptisms, but one baptism with two aspects.  Notice, too, that this baptism was still in the future, something yet to come.  It could not take place because holy spirit was not yet given (because Jesus had not yet ascended).

 

Luke 1:16 is essentially the same as Matthew 3:11.  Likewise,  Mark 1:8, except that Mark says nothing about puri, fire.  It might be well to note that John, the Baptist, was speaking to all the crowd.  No one was singled out as being worthy of being baptized by Jesus.  It was something to be done in the future for everyone.

 

When John, the Baptist, said that the Lord would baptize in spirit and fire (Matthew 3:11 and Luke 3:16), the verse immediately following says:

"Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." (Matthew 3:12). 

 

Those who are baptized in spirit and fire are also referred to as either grain or chaff.  The grain will be kept, the chaff will be burned.

 

Being baptized in spirit and fire will be a blessing if spirit is received and allowed to dominate our lives.  But if we are not receptive to spirit and do not allow it to dominate our lives, we will become worthless chaff.  As the sun shines upon ice and clay, it melts the former and hardens the latter.  So it is with the pouring out of spirit.  Upon those who believe it is a blessing, but upon the rebellious it is a judgment.

 

Remember, those who believe are the ones who receive spirit.  Unbelievers do not exhibit spirit even though it has been poured out upon all flesh.  Faith activates the gift; it is the means of receiving spirit.  Unbelievers are rightly judged as chaff because God has given them the faith to believe.  However, by choosing not to believe their lives are a wasted testimony to the cause of Christ.  Since holy spirit was poured out upon all flesh, everyone could receive (submit to) spirit by simply not rebelling against the purpose of God in their lives.

 

Perhaps this is what John was thinking about when he wrote John 3:18-19: 

"He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light." 

 

There are those who will receive (believe) and those who will not (unbelievers).  The believers are submissive to God, while the others are rebellious.  Receiving is conditional upon the volition or will of the person.  God is always willing, and he has already bestowed the gift, or poured it out upon all flesh.

 

John, the Baptist, is quoted again in John 1:33: 

"And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost." 

 

The word baptize is written in the present tense which means continuous action.  God is continually, through Jesus, pouring out his spirit; it is a constant flow.

 

So far, these scripture all have one thing in common: it is Jesus who baptizes in spirit.  It is he who, by the grace of God, gives whatever gift is allotted to every person.  That gift or ability is to be used for a testimony to the truth about Jesus and the truth he revealed about God the Father.

 

The setting for Acts 1:4-8 was still looking forward to the time when Jesus said he would baptize in spirit. 

"And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.  For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.  When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?  And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.  But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."

 

Jesus told them to wait for the promise of the Father in Jerusalem and not to depart.  But waiting was not a condition for being baptized, even though some preachers claim it was a condition from God.  They were to wait, not as a requirement for getting baptized, but because they were unfit to testify until holy spirit had been poured out.  Spirit had not yet been poured out because Jesus was still here on earth and had not ascended.  When he ascended, the holy spirit could come. 

 

In these verses, the definite article is used because it is a renewed mention which points back to verse 5 in which it was stated as holy spirit.

 

So, the disciples waited, and they prayed, and they chose another apostle to replace Judas.  The stage was set for the events of Acts 2.  Holy spirit came upon them in visible form so they might know it had come; they were then filled and began to speak in languages understood by those who heard them.  They gave learned discourses about the things of God as a testimony. 

 

And Peter explained that,

"this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;  And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh." (Acts 2:16-17). 

 

Not some, but all.

 

In I Corinthians 12:13, Paul said,

"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." 

 

Since Paul was writing to the Corinthian church, many believe that this applies only to believers.  But of all the apostles, Paul was the one who consistently maintained that Jesus died for the whole world, believers and unbelievers alike.  Because of this, God justified the whole world, and reconciled the whole world. 

 

Paul also taught that while God had previously worked through only the Jews, what he was doing now included the whole world.  We were all baptized in one spirit into one body.

 

So, what does it mean to be baptized in spirit?  Perhaps the question can best be answered by stating what it is not.

 

●  Being baptized in spirit is not receiving holy spirit as this is an act of will, a matter of whether or not they wish to allow the gift, or ministry, bestowed upon them to be predominant in their lives.  Some will receive this gift, or ministry, and rejoice in it and consider it as the main purpose of their lives.  Others may reject their gift, or ministry, because they perceive it as thwarting their own will and wishes.  Exercising the gift is a person's ministry to God.  In other words, believers act as a priest ministering their gifts before God.

 

●  Being baptized in spirit is not receiving because holy spirit was poured out upon all flesh.

 

●  Being baptized in spirit is not that of "falling upon" because this was limited to those believers who were first witnessed to by the apostles.

 

●  Being baptized in spirit is not to be  sought because we were all baptized in one spirit into one body.

 

●  Being baptized in spirit is not "be ye filled with spirit" as this was for the purpose of empowering someone for testimony of Jesus Christ.  Although we were all baptized, not everyone will allow their minds to be completely occupied or utterly engrossed in the ministry bestowed upon them.

 

Of the terms commonly accepted as being the "baptism of the holy spirit," we may delete the ones above.  This leaves two terms: "come upon" and "poured out."

 

In Acts 1:5-8, Jesus said that spirit would come upon those waiting in Jerusalem.  Often, the words "come upon" were used in those instances when the event could be observed by men. 

 

For instance, John, the Baptist, beheld the spirit "come upon" Jesus.  And, Jesus used this term to tell about men hearing a sound as of a mighty rushing wind and seeing tongues like of fire sitting upon each of those present.  Jesus wanted people to be absolutely sure that spirit had come upon them, even as God wanted men to know by observation that the spirit had come upon Jesus, his beloved son in whom he was well pleased.

 

Is "come upon" by spirit the same as being "baptized in" spirit?  Yes, we think it is, at least from our earthly view.  It was the earthly manifestation of a heavenly event.  Jesus had promised that after he ascended he would send the spirit of truth. 

 

Peter, after observing the "coming upon" of spirit, recognized it as being the prophecy of Joel who said that God would pour out some of his spirit upon all flesh.  Peter preached this message from his earthly observation of an heavenly event.  God, in heaven, had "poured out" some of his spirit upon all flesh which was observed by men on earth as a "coming upon."

 

When the event of being "baptized in spirit" is perceived from God's side, it is referred to as a "pouring out."  When the event of "baptized in spirit" is perceived from men's side, it is referred to as a "coming upon."  The "coming upon" and the "pouring out" are both one event from two different viewpoints, and together they constitute "being baptized in spirit."

 

In I Corinthians 10, Paul wrote of how all the Israelites were baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea.  Later, after the coming of Messiah and his crucifixion and ascension, Paul understood that God now made no distinction between Jew and Gentile, that Jesus had died for all, and that what God did now he did for the whole world. 

 

In I Corinthians 12:13, Paul said that we were all baptized into one body, and in verse 12:7, he  stated that every man is given a manifestation of spirit (truth) for ministry to men.  This is being baptized in spirit.

 

God poured out some of his spirit upon all flesh.  This was observed by some to be true, and they were sent to testify that the promise to the seed of Abraham, Jesus, had received the spirit of truth and that it had been poured out upon all flesh.  Abraham through his faithfulness had become the blessing to all nations as promised.  The spirit of truth had truly been "poured out," had "come upon" men, and constituted being "baptized in spirit."

 

John gave the lie to those who look upon emotional experiences, or speaking in tongues, as proof of having been baptized by the spirit.  Emotional experiences do not constitute proof of anything except personal emotionalism.  Emotions spring from men; truth comes from God.

 

Requiring emotional experiences as proof that people have "received the spirit" is simply spiritual gnosticism.  John dealt with this is in I John 4:7-13: 

"Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.  In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.  Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.  No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.  Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit."

 

Love, not emotional experience, is the sign that we have the holy spirit.  We should focus less on our "emotional experiences," and exhibit more love for one another by immersing ourselves in the spirit which God has given us.  If we did, then our testimony would be what God wants it be, and Jesus Christ would be shown as the one who died for the world.

 

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Summary Highlights of Monograph 22

 

#  We are not baptized "in the holy spirit," but "in spirit," or a quality of

     spirit, or truth.  

#  The scriptures describe a baptism of repentance but never a baptism of

     the holy spirit, even though this term has become part of the jargon in

     many churches.  However, it is not a scriptural term and it can lead to

     great misunderstanding.  

#  The scriptural term used is "in spirit," and there are never any

     requirements for being baptized in spirit.  Spirit is a gift of God,

     another of His graces; it cannot be earned.  

#  The quality in which Jesus immersed us should be the overriding

     concern of our lives.  

#  Upon those who believe the pouring out of spirit is a blessing, but upon

     the rebellious it is a judgment.  

#  Those who believe are the ones who "receive" spirit.  Unbelievers

     cannot receive spirit even though it has been poured out upon all flesh.

#  Faith activates the gift of the spirit; it is the means of receiving spirit.  

 

#  By choosing not to believe our lives are a wasted testimony to the cause

     of Christ.

#  Since holy spirit was poured out upon all flesh, everyone can receive

     (submit to) holy spirit by simply not rebelling against the purpose of

     God in their lives.  

#  There are those who will receive (believe) and those who will not

     (unbelievers).  The believers are submissive to God, while the others are

     rebellious.  

#  Receiving is conditional upon the will of the person.  God is always

     willing, and he has already bestowed the gift, or poured it out upon all

     flesh.  

#  It is Jesus who baptizes in spirit.  It is he who, by the grace of God,

     gives whatever gift is allotted to every person.  That gift or ability is to

     be used for a testimony to the truth about Jesus and the truth he

     revealed about God the Father.  

#  Paul consistently maintained that Jesus died for the whole world,

     believers and unbelievers alike.  And that because of this, God justified

     the whole world, and reconciled the whole world.  

#  Paul also taught that while God had previously worked through only

     the Jews, what he was doing now included the whole world.  We were

     all baptized in one spirit into one body.  

#  Being "baptized in" spirit was the earthly manifestation of a heavenly

     event.  Jesus had promised that after he ascended he would send the

     spirit of truth.  Peter, after observing the "coming upon" of spirit,

     recognized it as being the prophecy of Joel who said that God would

     pour out some of his spirit upon all flesh.  Peter preached this message

     from his earthly observation of an heavenly event:  God, in heaven,

     had poured out some of his spirit upon all flesh which was observed by

     men on earth as a "coming upon." 

#  When the event of being "baptized in spirit" is perceived from God's

     side, it is referred to as a "pouring out."  When the event of "baptized

     in spirit" is perceived from men's side, it is referred to as a "coming

     upon."  The "coming upon" and the "pouring out" are both one event

     from two different viewpoints, and together they constitute "being

     baptized in spirit."  

#  Paul said that we were all baptized into one body, and that every man

     is given a manifestation of spirit (truth) for ministry to men.  This is

     being baptized in spirit.  

#  Emotional experiences do not constitute proof of anything except

     personal emotionalism.  Emotions spring from men; truth comes from

     God.  

#  Requiring emotional experiences as proof that people have "received

     the spirit" is simply spiritual gnosticism.  

#  Love, not emotional experience, is the sign that we have the holy spirit.

 

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© 2009, Fred Kenison and Merrill Douglass. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.