I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” Mark 1:8
Baptism of the Holy Spirit is not a popular or even common doctrine that is discussed much in many churches. Perhaps it is because many Christians do not understand what it means to be baptized by the Holy Spirit. Too often, baptism of the Holy Spirit is thought to be a doctrine from the Pentecostal tradition. Thus, many from the more conservative or non-charismatic denominations (Presbyterian, Lutheran, Episcopalian, etc.) do not know the signs and evidence of spiritual immersion.
Being immersed in the Holy Spirit is necessary for spiritual maturity and mandatory for walking in victory as an ambassador of Jesus Christ. Before Jesus began His ministry, He was baptized by the Holy Spirit. The word baptism comes from the Greek word “baptizo,” which should be translated as “immerse.” Baptism of the Holy Spirit is not some supernatural experience only reserved for those from the Pentecostal/Charismatic traditions. Rather, it is an integral part of the conversion experience of every believer.
Believers are immersed in the Holy Spirit through faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the “immerser” who guarantees the completeness of our spiritual regeneration through immersion in the Holy Spirit. When a sinner comes to Christ, their sins are washed by the blood of Jesus who immersed us in His Holy Spirit so we can become a new creation.
The believer who is baptized of water is also baptized of the Spirit. Indeed, water immersion is also Holy Spirit immersion. This is one of the reasons believers in the New Testament were immersed in the water and not sprinkled with water. According to the Synoptic gospels, when Jesus entered the Jordan River to be baptized by John, the Holy Spirit also came upon Him as a dove. Indeed, throughout the gospels, Jesus used water to symbolize the Holy Spirit. Thus, in John 3:5, Jesus told Nicodemus, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.” The rest of the New Testament, also, uses water as a figure of the new spiritual birth. “Regeneration is called a “washing” brought about by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God at the moment of salvation (Titus 3:5; cf. Ephesians 5:26; John 13:10). Christians are “washed . . . sanctified . . . justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11).”
Before Jesus ascended to heaven, He told His disciple not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for the Holy Spirit. Then He said, “For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” On the day of Pentecost, the disciples were baptized/immersed in the Holy Spirit. Then, they shed their fears and launched the Christian movement that would revolutionize the world.
To be immersed in the Holy Spirit is to be equipped by the Triune Godhead to do God’s kingdom work. Those who are immersed in the Holy Spirit are gifted by God to bear spiritual fruits and make disciples of Jesus Christ. They have been given spiritual power and authority to be witnesses of the miracle-working powers of God through Jesus Christ all over the world.
Glossolalia (speaking in tongues) is not the only evidence of “baptism/immersion of the Holy Spirit.” Many believers who cannot “speak in spiritual tongues” are immersed in the Holy Spirit. Evidence of our spiritual immersion is in the life we live, the love we demonstrate to others, our passion for evangelism, and our commitment to helping those in need.
Questions for Personal Reflection
What is the evidence of your spiritual immersion?
What is your understanding of being immersed in the Holy Spirit?
Prayer- Blessed Lord, I thank you for the gift of your Holy Spirit. Please help me to live a life that is saturated by your Spirit so I can bear spiritual fruits for your kingdom.