The Ministries of God the Holy Spirit Today: The Baptism of the Holy Spirit
Ephesians Lesson #078
August 9, 2020
Dr. Robert L. Dean, Jr.
“Our Father, we’re thankful that we can look at Your Word, that we can put things together and understand Your Word. And that God the Holy Spirit works in our thinking and through our studying, through our reflection, through our listening to the teaching of Your Word to help us to understand all that we have in Christ and all that You have given us in that foundation.
“Father, as we study this so important topic, we are reminded that this is the foundation of our understanding of our union with Christ, our identification with Him in His death, burial and resurrection, and it is unique to this dispensation.
“Father, as we study these things help us to be challenged and respond to the challenge that Paul presents there in Romans 6:4 that it is on this basis we should live in newness of life, and we pray this in Christ’s name, amen.”
One of the most significant things that ever happened to us happened the instant we were saved. We didn’t feel a thing; if you felt something it had nothing to do with the baptism by the Holy Spirit. There are a lot of people who think that the baptism by the Holy Spirit is an experience, that this is something that happens after you are saved, although some think that it may happen when you’re saved. Their view is that this happens after you’re saved; that it will be indicated by speaking in tongues—the Pentecostal view.
There is so much confusion about this. Each of the ministries of God the Holy Spirit that we’re studying today are unique to the Church Age and in the way they take place. I add that qualifier because in the Millennial Kingdom, Israel, Jews, under their New Covenant will be indwelt by the Holy Spirit. A lot of theologians confuse that. They think that because we’re indwelt by the Spirit and they’re indwelt by the Spirit, that we, the Church, must have some relationship to the New Covenant.
The fact is that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the Church Age, as we saw in Ephesians 2:18, 22, doesn’t characterize the indwelling of the Spirit with any of the characteristics that are found in Jeremiah 31:31–33. Nor any of the other parallel passages in Jeremiah, Ezekiel or the Minor Prophets that relate to the New Covenant to Israel.
By making the indwelling in the Church and the indwelling in the New Covenant for Israel in the Millennial Kingdom the same, they create much, much confusion; and this is part of the problem that we face today, as we study these doctrines. It might surprise you that as you peruse a number of systematic theologies, sometimes there’s not even a category of pneumatology in those systematic theologies.
I took the opportunity just to take some extra time to study and see what was said in different systematic theologies. Even those who were written by premillennial dispensationalists have no category of pneumatology. They say very little about the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It’s overlooked.
I read one of the most popular systematic theologies today; he talks about the baptism of the Spirit, but he never defines the baptism of the Spirit. Because he’s not a dispensationalist, he doesn’t understand that it’s the distinctive sign of the Church Age, and it’s only for the Church Age. So it’s important for us to go through this.
Although many of you have gone through this before, each time I try to do things a little differently and add a few new insights here or there. But we need to understand this because Paul spent so much time talking about it. And understanding Romans 6:1-4 is really the foundation for our Spiritual life.
As we studied in Ephesians 2:18, “For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.”
In Ephesians 2:22, Paul concludes the section that we studied Ephesians 2:11–22 “in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God by the Spirit.”
“In Christ”—that indicates our position in Him—you also are being built together for a dwelling place …” That “being built together” is the Church—that living, spiritual organism that we are all a part of. That includes every believer in Christ from the Day of Pentecost in AD 33 up to the present, and will include all those who trust in Christ up to the Rapture.
Because the Rapture removes the Restrainer—last time we talked about the restraining ministry of the Holy Spirit—and because the seven years of the Tribulation are the last seven years in the vision that he was given in Daniel 9 those years were designated for “you and your people”—for Daniel and Daniel’s people, Israel—it’s not part of the Church Age.
There’s no baptism by the Spirit nor indwelling of the Spirit as we have experienced it in the Church Age. I say that because there are some dispensationalists who don’t believe that the Restrainer passage deals with the Holy Spirit. They place the baptism of the Spirit and the indwelling of the Spirit in the Tribulation. Which really contradicts the whole idea of that period being set aside for the conclusion of the seven years related to Israel.
By way of review, “… for through Him we both have access by one Spirit,” the Greek preposition EN indicates means. Notice that in the English, it is translated as “in,” “with,” “by” or “to.”
If you like precision in your English, you know that those four prepositions don’t mean the same thing: that if you’re “IN the house,” it’s different from being “BY the house,” either spatially or locally. Or if you’re doing something by using some tool, that’s an instrumental idea, that’s a different sense to the preposition “by,” so it gets very confusing.
This has impacted the Church because of statements like Matthew 3:11; John the Baptist says, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
“With” in both those places is a translation of the Greek preposition EN. That’s consistent in the King James Version and New King James Version in all the Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—and in Acts. While 1 Corinthians 12:13 says, “For BY one Spirit,” it’s the same preposition in the Greek.
At one point over 100 years ago, in the Holiness Movement, and as that developed into the Pentecostal Movement—they didn’t know the Greek—they looked at the English and thought, “Ah! It’s ‘with’ over here in the Gospels, it’s ‘by’ over here in the Epistles … there are two baptisms by the Holy Spirit.”
That started getting into a lot of confusion. And by not properly understanding how this preposition is used in Corinthians—that it’s the same preposition as in the Gospels—people were talking about the Spirit baptizing. I’m saying non-charismatics believed that the Spirit baptized; but it’s the same preposition.
We will learn that there’s no place in the Bible that says that the Spirit baptizes anyone. So, you have to pay attention till we get to the end to understand what it really means.
In looking at the ministries of the Holy Spirit from our passage in Ephesians 2, we understand that there are two ministries of the Holy Spirit to the world at large. The first is a restraining ministry; and the second is His convicting ministry.
I have listed six different ministries that take place at the instant of our salvation, and this is for the Church Age.
- We are regenerated; that has occurred in all dispensations.
- The baptism by the Spirit and the personal indwelling by the Spirit are unique to the Church Age.
- Illumination took place prior (we will get to that),
- The filling, and the
- The sealing are also unique to the Church Age.
We looked at what the Bible teaches about the ministries of God the Holy Spirit today.
1. His restraining ministry, which is before salvation and His ministry to the world, according to 2 Thessalonians 2:6–7,
“And now you know what is restraining that he may be revealed in His own time—‘he’ there refers to the Antichrist in the future Tribulation—for the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.”
The one who is taken out of the way is the Holy Spirit at the time of the Rapture, so He is restraining evil. You think that there is significant evil in some places today, but when you look at the descriptions of what happens in the Tribulation, “we ain’t seen nothing yet.” It gets really, really bad.
2. What the Bible Teaches about the Convicting Ministry of the Holy Spirit.
John 16:8, Jesus says, “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin—He is talking about when the Holy Spirit comes. He came on the Day of Pentecost in AD 33—He will convict the world of sin—which has the idea of convicting them or setting forth the case on these three things—convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.”
John 16:8: I like the NET translation, “And when He comes, He will prove the world wrong.” That’s what He does. He is not convincing them that it’s true, He is making clear these three elements when we are witnessing to people.
1. John 16:9, “of sin, because they do not believe in Me.”
That’s the basis for condemnation in John 3:18, that, “He who believes in Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he is not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
God the Holy Spirit will convict them that they are sinners because they have not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
2. John 16:10, “of righteousness—that is, they don’t have righteousness.”
This deals with the doctrine of the imputation of righteousness to us at salvation.
We are all born without righteousness. Isaiah 64:6, “all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment.”
God is perfectly righteous and perfectly just; and therefore, cannot have a relationship with those who are fallen, those who are unrighteous
He has to do something about that, and He did it at the Cross.
All our unrighteousness is put on Christ at the Cross—imputed to Him—so that when we believe in Him, His righteousness is then imputed to us. We are declared righteous. God is free then to bless us and to save us.
3. John 16:11, the Holy Spirit convicts us “… of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged…”
Colossians 2:15 confirms that at the Cross “Christ disarmed the rulers and authorities, and made a public display of them having triumphed over them through Him.”
We concluded with “What the Bible Teaches about Regeneration.”
We saw that at the instant we trust in Christ as Savior, we have two realms of relationship with God. The one on the left is our legal position; it’s an eternal reality. The one on the right is a temporal reality; it is our experience. When we trust in Christ we are regenerated.
The reason we have to have regeneration is clearly stated in Scripture: Ephesians 2:1; we are “… born dead in our trespasses and sins …” Meaning we are alienated from the life of God, according to Ephesians 4:18. We are, therefore, spiritually dead. We can think, we can do many things, we’re physically alive, but we cannot have a relationship with God, nor do we have real life.
Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:3 that “unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” We must be born again or regenerated.
This is most clearly stated in Titus 3:5, “it’s not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.”
The conjunction linking them is probably best translated as “even: “through the washing of regeneration EVEN the renewing of the Holy Spirit” Or an explanatory sense, “by the washing of regeneration—that is, explaining what regeneration is. It is the washing—or the cleansing—the renewal of God the Holy Spirit.”
“What the Bible Teaches about the Baptism by the Holy Spirit.”
Matthew 3:11: I’ll give you 10 introductory points about the baptism by the Holy Spirit.
First of all, we see from what we just looked at:
- Our eternal realities, that which is true for us throughout all of eternity from the instant we’re saved
- Our temporal realities are our experience.
The left circle is white because we are called “children of light” in Ephesians 5. Paul says, “walk in the light for you are children of light,” we are in Christ.
With the baptism of the Holy Spirit we are identified with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. We are placed in Christ, in the body of Christ. The two central passages are Matthew 3:11 and the parallels in the other Gospels, and 1 Corinthians 12:13.
A summary of the significance of the baptism by the Holy Spirit:
1. The baptism by the Holy Spirit is uniquely the work of the Holy Spirit for this present age.
It’s uniquely for this Age. It’s not in the Old Testament, it’s not in the Tribulation; it is not in the Millennial Kingdom. It is unique and distinctive to this Church Age.
We have to understand what the word “baptism” means, because this again is loaded with confusion. Because there are so many people who think when they hear the word “baptism,” they immediately think exclusively of water baptism, either immersion or.
Whenever some they see the word “baptism” in the Bible, they immediately think of water baptism—believers’ baptism. But that’s only one of eight different baptisms that we find in the Bible. There are only three wet baptisms:
- The baptism of John the Baptist, where he is calling people to repentance in preparation for the coming kingdom that he was announcing. When they repent, he takes them to the Jordan River and he uses the water of the Jordan River to identify them with repentance and with the kingdom
- The baptism of Jesus Christ. It’s not the same as John’s, even though John does it. It’s unique because John’s baptism involved people repenting. Jesus has nothing to repent of, but it is an identification with the kingdom because His message is the kingdom.
Both of those examples are about identification.
In the Greek, BAPTO means to dip, immerse or submerge. We transliterated as “baptize” because in the Reformation there was a failure to literally translate it, because up to that time baptism had been completely distorted. It was a sign of entry into the Church, but also entry into citizenship because church and state were united.
So if you said you didn’t believe in baptism, you were rejecting infant baptism which also identified the person as a citizen of the state. If you said that was wrong, you were not only committing theological heresy, but an act of treason against the state. Rather than getting into all of that, they were cowards, and instead of translating it, they just transliterated it to avoid the whole issue.
That is its literal meaning, but it has a figurative meaning—that He represented identification with a new condition or new state. It was often seen as an introduction into a new state or an initiation into a new situation. It has this idea of identification, and if we translate it as identification, a lot of these passages make a little more sense.
The significance of the baptism by the Holy Spirit is that we are identified with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. That’s our new legal position in Christ and our new identity in Christ—we have a whole new identity.
Before you were saved, you thought you were something. Whatever that was, that was your image of yourself, your idea of yourself, and what you wanted. Everything was wrapped up in that identity.
But at the instant that you’re saved, you get a new identity in Christ and you spend the rest of your life as a growing Christian, figuring out how to make this new actual legal identity part of your daily identity. Instead of thinking of yourself the way the world thinks of itself, you think of yourself as Christ thinks of you, which is why a study of Ephesians is so important.
Acts 1:5, Jesus repeating the words that John had said. Remember John, at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, said there is somebody coming after me who will baptize in the future. In Acts 1:5 it’s still future. Jesus is seconds away from ascending to heaven at this point, and His last words to the disciples are:
Acts 1:5, “For John truly baptized—EN again translated ‘with’—with water, but you shall be—that’s future tense. You shall be in the future—baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now,” telling us that this is going to happen in a few days.
We know that Jesus ascended to heaven 10 days before the Day of Pentecost. On the Day of Pentecost Luke records the following. He doesn’t use the word “baptism:
Acts 2:2–4, “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
Here are two different Greek words for “filled.” We will get to the filling of the Spirit later, but this sort of primes the pump. In the New Testament, two different Greek words are translated “filled.” A lot of people have made the mistake of identifying them as synonyms, as talking about the same thing, but they do not. I taught this when we went through Acts.
The first, PLEROO is the word used in Ephesians 5:18 for the believer when the command is to be filled by the Spirit. A command like that indicates that there’s only two options; you either are doing it or you’re not doing it.
It has nothing to do with a positional reality. It’s an experiential command, and it’s this kind of filling. The idea here is a good illustration—that the whole house is filled with noise and with wind—so they all have it; it fills up something.
The second example, “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit,” uses PIMPLEMI, a different word used a number of times in the New Testament:
- Of Zachariah, the father of John the Baptist. He was filled, PIMPLEMI; what happens? He utters something, followed by praise to God, Luke 1:63–79.
- Of Mary, after she learns of the fact that she’s going to be the mother the humanity of the Messiah. She is filled with the Spirit, PIMPLEMI, then she speaks the Magnificat—her praise to God—that He has chosen her to give birth to the Messiah.
- In numerous places where this verb is used, it is almost immediately followed by the people who are filled speaking, talking about something.
It doesn’t have anything to do with the sanctifying ministry of the Holy Spirit in Ephesians 5:18.
The apostles are the only ones; nobody else receives it this at that point, but the apostles. The Eleven that are left in the upper room who have now come together on the Day of Pentecost were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages that they had not learned as the Spirit gave them utterance.
This sets up all the confusion with the tongues issue, which I’ve taught many times and won’t spend time on that here. It’s only important in that you have some people who jump to the conclusion that, therefore, speaking in tongues or with other languages is the sign of the filling of the Spirit and baptism of the Spirit; they just confuse the two together.
It’s very clear that this word for filling, in describing what’s going on here, is the fulfillment of the Acts 1:5 baptism statement. In reality they are baptized by the Spirit, indwelt by the Spirit, and filled by the Spirit all at the same time.
Why? They’re the very first ones. It’s the beginning of the Church; the first guys get everything in one shot.
2. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is the unique mark of the Church. Thus, all Church Age believers are baptized by the Holy Spirit.
Since they all have the baptism by the Holy Spirit, they are set apart; distinctive to the Church Age.
3. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is distinct from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the filling of the Holy Spirit, though all three occurred simultaneously there on the day of Pentecost.
The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is never commanded, but the filling of the Holy Spirit is. You have to draw that distinction since the filling by the Holy Spirit in Ephesians 5:18 is a command; therefore, it’s distinct from the other two.
4. In the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements this is a second work of grace after salvation and is necessarily evidenced by the speaking in tongues.
I know this gets confusing, but the Pentecostals confused us, so we have to straighten this mess out. Pentecostalism was what happened on January 1, 1901, when a student at a Bible Institute in Topeka, Kansas, spoke in tongues and claimed she was speaking in Chinese. Later they realized it wasn’t Chinese, but gibberish, so they said it’s a prayer language to get around the problem.
That became known as the First Wave of the Holy Spirit. In Pentecostal theology, you have salvation at one point, then at some point when you’re really dedicated, committed to Jesus, then you’re going to get this second work of grace that they identified as the “baptism of the Spirit.”
It’s necessarily evidenced by speaking in tongues, and if you haven’t spoken in tongues, you’re not baptized by the Spirit, you’re a second-class Christian. That’s basically what they meant. So they all separated from whatever churches they were going to, and went and started their own denominations.
Then in the late 50s, an Episcopal priest in Van Nuys, California, spoke in tongues in the church service at St. Mark’s Episcopal, but he didn’t leave the church or the denomination. So they became Charismatics.
See, Pentecostals left and formed their own churches; Charismatics stayed, so now you have Charismatic Baptists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians and Catholics. But they still believed that the baptism by the Spirit was a second work of grace that made you more spiritual than everybody else, and it was necessarily evidenced by speaking in tongues.
Then in the 70s a guy named John Wimber, and Peter Wagoner, one of the fathers of the church growth movement, which is why the church growth movement is so bad, got together and come up with a new twist on things.
Wimber’s was the Vineyard Church. It is also called the Signs and Wonders movement, but they called it the “Third Wave” of the Holy Spirit. They said you may or may not be baptized by the Holy Spirit after you’re saved. You might be baptized with the Spirit when you’re saved, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to speak in tongues.
A lot of people from Bible churches thought, “Okay, this is better. I’ll get involved with that.” Three professors at Dallas Seminary got involved with the Wimber Movement in the mid-80s, and lost their jobs because of it.
I was working on my doctorate in church history then, and thought it might make a good dissertation topic. So I went out to a Spiritual Warfare Conference in Southern California at the mother church, at the Vineyard Church, and boy was that an experience.
They had these little workshops, breakout sessions, and I went to one. Mike Bickel, who now heads up a really wacko prayer ministry called IHOP. (It’s not pancakes! It’s the International House of Prayer.) It’s just way, way out of bounds; but he was an assistant to Wimber.
I went to this workshop on the baptism by the Holy Spirit, and he said, “You know, people have trouble understanding the baptism by the Spirit, and there is all kinds of controversy. People just don’t want to speak in tongues, and they’re afraid this will happen and that will happen, so we never talk about it.
We use the word “overwhelmed,” and we ask people, “Have you ever been overwhelmed by the Spirit? They say no, and then we go FRRH! And they get overwhelmed by the Spirit and go, ‘Golly! Getting baptized by the Spirit wasn’t so bad, was it?’ ”
I thought, “Gee! That’s a bait and switch con-artist tactic.” That has nothing to do with the Bible. They’re just lying; they’re creating fraud, and that’s the least of the sins of that movement.
That was how they handled the baptism by the Holy Spirit, so there’s lots of confusion out there about this. And it’s only when you really get into the Word and see how everything ties together that you understand these things.
5. The major passages. We will go through most of them, so you don’t have to scramble to write them all down at one time:
- Matthew 3:11. That’s the key one.
- Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16, and John 1:33 are parallels, they are all quoting John the Baptist.
- Acts 1:5 is the passage we just looked at.
- Acts 11:16, the only other place where the baptism by the Holy Spirit is mentioned in relation to what happens when Peter gives the Gospel to Cornelius and the Gentiles. Peter says in Acts 11:15, “the Holy Spirit came on them, as He did with us at the beginning.” He’s specifically saying what happened to the Gentiles is what happened to the apostles in Acts 2, so are all part of the same thing.
- Romans 6:1–4, 1Corinthians 12:13.
- Galatians 3:27 describes that we are all one in Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, bond or free, male nor female. We’re all one in the body of Christ.
- Ephesians 4:5
- Colossians 2:12
6. The baptism of the Holy Spirit occurs for every believer at the instant of salvation. It’s not experienced; it’s only learned by studying the Bible.
If you felt better, that’s great! There are people who don’t feel better. There are people who get saved, and they’re down in the dumps, they’ve got a cold, or they’ve got the flu, or they’ve got cancer, and they don’t feel so great.
1 Corinthians 12:13, “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body...”
Notice that Paul’s talking to carnal Corinthians. He’s not even sure they’re ever in fellowship, they are so committed to their carnality. Yet he tells them in 1 Corinthians 12:13:
“… we—you and I; all of us; all you carnal, rebellious, arrogant, antinomian Corinthians—we were ALL—without exception—baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.”
There’s one body for Jew and Gentile; what he is explaining in Ephesians 4, when he says “one baptism.”
He means (a) there’s one baptism, not multiple baptisms. (b) He’s really saying in context, we are both one —as we’ve seen before where he talks about the fact that we are made alive together, we are raised together, and we are seated together. All of which I’ve been emphasizing. When he says there’s one baptism, he’s also saying there’s one baptism for Jew and the same baptism for Gentiles; it all has to be referring to the baptism by the Holy Spirit.
7. There’s no command to be baptized by the Spirit.
There is no command to be indwelt by the Spirit, because it automatically happens at the instant of salvation. There’s no command to be baptized by the Spirit. It automatically happens for everybody.
There’s a command to be filled by the Spirit, which makes it very obvious that the filling by the Spirit in Ephesians 5:18 is something different from either the baptism by the Spirit or being indwelt by the Spirit.
8. The baptism by the Holy Spirit is what places us into the body of Christ by identifying us with His death, burial and resurrection. Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12
The essence of it: we are legally put in Christ and identified with His death, burial and resurrection. Romans 6:4 says that understanding that is the basis of living a new life.
9. Tongues only accompanied it at Pentecost with all of those present; with the Gentiles in Acts 10:46 and with the disciples of John in Ephesus in Acts 19.
But tongues wasn’t present with the Samaritans in Acts 8, so it’s not always there. It was there in three instances, but not in the one with the Samaritans, and there are reasons for that. That shows that tongues aren’t necessarily connected to it.
10. The only two times the baptism the Holy Spirit is mentioned in Acts is in Acts 2 and Acts 11:15–16. Paul said, “And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them—the Gentiles—as upon us at the beginning. 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.’ ”
Matthew 3:11. John the Baptist is baptizing those who want to be identified with the kingdom, those who are repentant—those who are responding to his message, “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance—the preposition there is important.
The baptism doesn’t make them repentant; it is into the state of repentance, identifying them with repentance—but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you by means of the Holy Spirit and fire.”
Notice there are three baptisms mentioned in that verse: the baptism of John, which is by water—that’s a wet baptism for repentance. Then two other baptisms are dry: the baptism by the Holy Spirit and the baptism by fire. Five of the eight baptisms in Scripture are dry.
Go back to Genesis; the first baptism is Noah. The people who got wet are the people who weren’t on the ark, so it’s a dry baptism.
Next in Exodus when the Israelites crossed the Red Sea. 1 Corinthians 10:2, they were baptized into Moses in the cloud. They’re identified with Moses, and the cloud is God. They’re identified with God, they cross over the river, and they’re dry. The people who got wet died, so baptism isn’t necessarily wet.
The baptism by the Holy Spirit, which is dry; and the baptism of fire, which is the judgment that comes at the end of the Tribulation Period is obviously dry.
Jesus asked Peter, “Can you be baptized with the baptism I’m going to have, which is the baptism of the Cross?”
In Matthew 3:11, John is making a comparison between what he does with water and what Jesus will do with the Holy Spirit. (Also, what He will do with fire, but we’re going to leave the fire out of it for now.) “As for me, I baptize—it’s a present indicative. It means I am now baptizing—you with water for repentance—what he is using as a means of identifying them with repentance is water.”
Using the same structure he says, “He—Jesus—will baptize you—in the future. Jesus does the baptizing in the future. He will do so—by means of—EN PNEUMATI—by means of the Spirit.”
He’s saying “Christ is going to use the Spirit like I’ve use the water to identify you with the new state.”
Luke 3:16, “John answered, saying to all, ‘I indeed baptize you with water—present tense; I use water to identify you with the state of repentance—but one mightier is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit—He will baptize, future tense—He will baptize you—in the future—with the Holy Spirit.”
Also, Matthew 3:11, “He will baptize you by means of the Spirit and fire.”
1. To make this clear, John compares what he does with water to what Jesus will do with the Holy Spirit. It’s viewing the Holy Spirit not as a Person, but as a Person who’s being used to bring something about.
2. Just as John used water as the means to identify the repentant person with the coming kingdom.
So Jesus in the future will use the Holy Spirit to identify the new believer with His own death, burial, and resurrection, and place the believer into the body of Christ and in Himself.
Christ is always the subject of the verb. He always performs the action of the verb. Even when His name isn’t mentioned, the grammar’s clear.
Acts 1:5, “for John baptized—John did the work; he performed the action of baptism—but you will be baptized—the same phrase in the Greek, so we have to translate it the same way—you will be baptized by means of the Holy Spirit.”
Who does the baptism in Acts 1:5? Who performs it? It’s got to be the same person as in all the other verses. It’s always Christ who does it, even when He’s not mentioned. “… you will be baptized.” Christ is the One who is going to do the baptism because He’s been prophesied as the One who does the baptism. The end phrase in Acts 1:5 indicates the means.
This is why we have to be specific on 1 Corinthians 12:13. In the English it looks like the Spirit is the One doing the baptism because of the way we express the agent of action with a passive verb. But it’s the same preposition all throughout.
1 Corinthians 12:13, “For by means of one Spirit—that is, EN PNEUMATI, the same phrase we have in all the Gospels that Christ will baptize you EN PNEUMATI—by means of one Spirit we were all baptized—passive voice.”
It’s a past tense, passive voice; Paul is saying “all of us were in the past baptized.” That means that all the carnal Corinthians were all baptized. It’s a passive which means they received the baptism, but it doesn’t specify who does the baptism. But in English it looks like it’s the Spirit, but that’s wrong based on the Greek grammar.
This is like a formula. In 1 Corinthians 10:2 the Israelites “… all were baptized—aorist passive—into Moses and by means of the cloud and by means of the sea.”
The instrument that’s used is the cloud and the sea, but who does the baptizing? It’s got to be God. He’s is not stated.
Let’s have an English grammar lesson. In this simple phrase, “John hit the ball with the bat,” the bat is the instrument he uses to hit the ball.
John performs the action. He is the subject of the verb, an active voice verb. He hits the ball. The ball is the object of his action, and he uses the bat to do it.
If we change it to a passive construction, “The ball was hit by John with the bat,” “with the bat” is still the same; it expresses means. But the subject of the passive verb is “the ball,” and John is the one who performs the action. But now it’s stated as “by John;” that’s how we use it in English.
But in Greek “the ball” is the subject, “was hit” is a passive verb, “by John” is the performer of the action. He does it by means of the bat.
Greek always uses the preposition HUPO to indicate the one who performs the action. So it is really clear, very precise. HUPO indicates the one who performs the action with a passive verb.
In Matthew 3:6 where it says, “they were baptized by him—that is, by John the Baptist—in the Jordan,” the preposition isn’t EN; it’s HUPO.
Matthew 3:13-14, “Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him—it’s not EN it’s HUPO. … I need to be baptized by you—Jesus uses the word HUPO.”
HUPO indicates the one who is going to perform the action of the verb. That is very important because EN always indicates the instrument, so the Holy Spirit is not the One who’s baptizing anybody. The Holy Spirit is the One Jesus uses to baptize people.
How He does that I don’t know, but I don’t know how we are in Christ either, so at some point we just get beyond our finite comprehension. But it’s important to understand this. We don’t have two baptisms. We don’t have one by the Spirit and one with the Spirit. We don’t have one where Christ baptizes, and then in I Corinthians 12:13 the Holy Spirit baptizes. We have one baptism period, which is exactly what Paul says in Ephesians 4.
We can compare all of these different passages and we see the means is always indicated by the phrase EN. It’s almost always translated with the English “by;” in the Gospels, it’s “with.” The state is indicated by the EIS preposition. It’s a really precise formula.
John the Baptist uses water to identify the person with repentance. Jesus Christ uses the Holy Spirit to identify the person with Himself in His death, burial, resurrection, and into His body.
John compares what he does with water to what Jesus will do with the Holy Spirit. Just as John used water as the means to identify the repentant person with the coming kingdom, so Jesus in the future will use the Holy Spirit to identify the new believer with His own death, burial and resurrection. Of course there, by “the future” was future to that time; but it is “present” in the Church Age.
Galatians 3:27-28, “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”
We have put on Christ; we are in Christ. In Christ it’s no longer significant spiritually whether we’re Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female because we’re all one in Christ. There’s no basis for racism or sexism whatsoever. We’re all one in Christ.
Romans 6:3-4, “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” We’re identified with Christ; we’re identified with His death. Romans 6:4, “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
That’s the punchline, the action plan. We have to understand what the baptism of the Holy Spirit is because if we’re confused on that and we don’t get it right, we don’t understand its importance. The importance is that the power of the sin nature is broken. The presence is still there, but the power is broken.
So that now for the first time in history, starting in AD 33, Christians, because they have been identified with the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, the tyranny of the sin nature is broken, can walk in newness of life. No one prior to AD 33 ever could do that.
They were regenerated, they had new life, but they didn’t have the sin nature power broken because that’s the result of the baptism by the Holy Spirit. And if we don’t get that right, we can’t get anything else right in the spiritual life. The spiritual life then just becomes another form of legalism—it’s morality, not spirituality and walking by the Spirit.
This is why I take the pains to go through this, is we have to understand what it says before we can understand what to do. If we don’t understand what it says right, then we will do the wrong thing. Now we know that’s the foundation for the spiritual life.
“Father, thank You for this opportunity to study these things, to reflect upon them, to take what appears to mean one thing on the surface of an English translation and realize it has a different significance based on the Greek. Christ has done so much for us; that because of Him, we are blessed with so much.
“And we have this new identity, this new position, these new blessings which have never been experienced by any Christian before in all of human history. No believer has ever had these privileges, but we are because we have been baptized by the Holy Spirit, and it’s a new reality, and we don’t live like it.
“Father, we pray that You’d help us to understand this more and more, that we would just be wowed by all that You have done for us; just astonished.
“Father, we pray for anyone who’s listening to this message who’s never trusted Christ as Savior. They don’t have any of this; neither did we before we were saved. But this is a free gift. All of this is part of the package that we all get by trusting in Christ in this Church Age.
“We don’t have to do anything to get this package. Christ did it all. It’s given as a gift. The Holy Spirit is a gift. It is something that is freely given. We trust in Christ, and it’s ours. That’s it. We pray that anyone not saved would recognize they need to be saved, they need to trust in Christ as Savior, and then they are a new creature in Christ and all things are new.
“We pray this in His name, amen.”