Most of us think of power when we think about the baptism of/in the spirit. We immediately think of praying in tongues and power to do miracles. While this is a byproduct of being baptized in the spirit there is another reason for the baptism. The main reason God immerses you in his spirit is to purify, cleanse and sanctify you so he can live in you and make you his eternal child. The baptism of the spirit is the adoption process we go through to be changed into righteous and eternal children of God.
John the Baptist said "...after me comes one who is more powerful than I...He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." Fire is the Greek word "pyr" which means to purify. The idea is this, when you place your faith in the sacrifice and resurrection of Christ as your righteousness, God then does a work in you. God, by his spirit, cleanses (sanctifies) you, changes you into a new kind of being that is eternal and then joins himself to you to live through you. This is the process of becoming born again.
Being baptized in the spirit is not a separate event. Experiencing the gifts, fruits and power of the spirit may manifest through you at a later time than when you actually received the spirit but receiving the spirit is not a separate event.
You don't remain the same kind of being you were, you actually become something different, a new creation. This new creation has been fully changed in spirit by this immersion or baptism in God's spirit. That baptism also has some residual effects, God's power can now flow through you since you have been changed. That power manifests as the fruits of the spirit, it manifests as the gifts/graces of the spirit and it manifests as whatever God wants to do through you to bring glory to his name.
I want to show you a few passages that all describe the same process of adoption through God's spirit.
Colossians 2:11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
Being buried with him in baptism is the baptism of the spirit.
1 John 2:27 But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.
You received this anointing that abides in you when you first believed and were born again.
Ephesians 1:13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
Being sealed with God's spirit is the baptism of the spirit, it's when you first believe and his spirit performs a circumcision of the old dead man of sin from you and gives you a new heart/nature. You are forever changed with a promise from God of eternal life. Not a chance at eternal life but a promise from God that you can now live forever with him in perfection.
I make these points to demystify the baptism of the spirit. It has been used to judge each other in the body of Christ rather than to affirm our unified identity as a family. Some people in the body believe they have the baptism but others don't because they don't pray in tongues. Some teach that it's demonic. Some that desire to pray in tongues and walk in miracles feel like they're missing something because it hasn't happened to them yet. It's time for the division to stop and the body of Christ to walk in its identity and in power to show the world the character and will of God.
I will discuss tongues as well as discuss the difference between being baptized in the spirit and being filled with the spirit in my next sermon and article.
Life Group Discussion
1. What did you get out of this message?
2. What does it mean to you to have been purified with God's fire/spirit?
3. How does this understanding change your view of being baptized in the spirit?
4. What does this do for your relationship with God and your identity as a child.