Baptism of the Spirit [Understanding Spiritual Gifts Pt.3]

Undertanding the Gifts of the Spirit

Baptism of the Spirit

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Just that phrase brings to mind for many the idea of ecstatic utterances and extraordinary experiences. But as we look at the text of 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 we see that there is no indication of this.

1 Corinthians 12:12-13 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.  13  For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body–whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free–and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.

As we consider these truths it is important to remember that we must take the Word of God as it is given and change our opinions if they are not in agreement with it. Interestingly, the letter was given to correct error and yet in our day has become the basis [through bad interpretation] of much more of the same error. Our text plainly says that the “Baptism of the Spirit” is the incorporation of diverse peoples, i.e. “Jews and Greeks, slaves and free,” into one unified body.  Thus, the Baptism of the Spirit is evidenced by an unnatural unity of diverse peoples. We see a more detailed description of this in Ephesians 2.

Ephesians 2:11-18 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh–who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands– 12  that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.  13  But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.  14  For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation,  15  having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace,  16  and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.  17  And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near.  18  For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

Here we have a more descriptive explanation of the same concept. Diverse people, Jews and Gentiles [or Greeks] who were by nature at variance with one another being brought into a state of “peace” (vs. 14) with one another. Jesus has taken away the ordinances of the Old Testament Ritual Laws that kept them apart; Ephesians 2:14-15  “For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation,  15  having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace,”

Next He took the two groups, Jew and Gentile and presented them both to God as ONE unified whole; Ephesians 2:16 “and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. ”

The thing that I like about this more detailed explanation that we find in the letter to the Ephesians is that it gives the “Purchase Price” of not only or salvation but also of our unity; Ephesians 2:13 “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. ” And vs. 16, “and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross,”

Therefore those who would divide the Church of Jesus Christ based on an incorrect interpretation of this idea of the Baptism of the Spirit (many claim a superior status to other believers whom they believe are not as spiritual because they lack the experience of what they believe to be a second work of grace, calling that the “Baptism of the Spirit”) are in violation of more than just bad interpretation, but also guilty of what Paul is correcting in the Corinthians.

Jesus shed His blood for our unity as much as He did for our salvation! For us to divide ourselves over a false doctrine is bad enough. For us to divide ourselves over a doctrine that stresses our incorporation is to deny the Blood that bought us.

I encourage you to listen to the audio of the message and see how important unity is to Jesus. Not to throw the baby out with the bathwater and believe anything so as not to offend anyone. Rather, to believe, the Person, Work and Word that gives us what we need to be a true Christian, and to unify around all of them.

Listen here; Baptism of the Spirit

In Christ!

Kevin

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2 Responses to Baptism of the Spirit [Understanding Spiritual Gifts Pt.3]

  1. Jim Van says:

    I appreciate your insight into scripture. Being an attender of A of G churches through the years, I do know what you mean. I never spoke in tongues (nor did I ever see tongues of fire over those who did), but I did feel the pressure and did feel inferior for not being able to receive this gift. Then when someone would scream out a message in tongues followed by an interpretation in English, I would think, “If I’d bring friends or family to church, they’d freak out to see this.” So when I did bring someone to church, I’d be a bit nervous & anxious.
    But I must say, the man who was most instumental to bringing me to Christ, and is one of the most sincere persons I know, had this unique experience. He went to the altar to pray and asked for this gift, then he began speaking in a foreign tongue. He tried to speak in English but could not. Knowing his heart towards God, I believe there was something to this and am reluctant to say this never happens today. I do think most of what occurs in the Pentecostal Churches may be of the flesh, and a small percentage may be of God.
    Kevin, I was in Share & Care in OH last week & picked up a used book – Will the Real Heretics Please Stand Up by David Bercot. It’s an eye-opener, and he substantiates much of the way I believe, which I feel I’m in the minority these days. Have you heard of him & his books? If so, what do you think?

  2. I would never say that God ‘cannot’ do things like He did in the early Church. He certainly can do whatever He pleases. I would, as you have acknowledged, argue that the modern Charismatic and Pentecostal movements have abused the gifts of the Spirit just as Paul had criticizes the Corinthians of doing. I do believe that there is a huge difference in God healing someone that we have prayed for and in His giving the “Gift of Healing” to an individual. Likewise, I have heard of occasions where the Biblical “Gift of Tongues” was manifested in a situation where the Gospel was presented on foreign soil in a situation where the language was unknown to the speaker. However, that person never spoke in that language again. It was a one-time event and the Gospel was proclaimed. Again, I would never say, “God cannot or would not do that.” But I would argue that most of what we see today is either mislead people or in the case of Benny Hinn, Kenneth Hagen, Ketteth Copeland etc. people misleading others.

    As for the book you found, I have not read it and am unfamiliar with the author, Based on the research I was able to do, I found this review of it to be fair, Biblically and historically accurate in its criticisms: http://www.churchhistory101.com/feedback/book-reviews.php

    In Christ!
    Kevin

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