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Baptism of the Spirit

1 Corinthians 12:12–13 (ESV) … “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.”

It is unfortunate that the term “baptism of the Spirit” has been divorced from its original New Testament meaning. God has spoken to us in Spirit-given words which we must not confuse (1 Cor. 2:12–13). The baptism of the Spirit occurs at conversion when the Spirit enters the believing sinner, gives him new life, and makes his body the temple of God. All believers have experienced this once-for-all baptism (1 Cor. 12:13). Nowhere does the Scripture command us to seek this baptism, because we have already experienced it and it need not be repeated.

The “filling of the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18ff) has to do with the Spirit’s control of our lives. (In Scripture, to be filled bysomething means “to be controlled by.”) We are commanded to be filled, and we can be if we yield all to Christ and ask Him for the Spirit’s filling. This is a repeated experience, for we constantly need to be filled with spiritual power if we are to glorify Christ. To be baptized by the Spirit means that we belong to Christ’s body. To be filled with the Spirit means that our bodies belong to Christ.

The evidence of the Spirit’s baptism at conversion is the witness of the Spirit within (Rom. 8:14–16). It is not “speaking in tongues.” All of the believers in the Corinthian assembly had been baptized by the Spirit, but not all of them spoke in tongues (1 Cor. 12:30). The evidences of the Spirit’s filling are: power for witnessing (Acts 1:8), joyfulness and submission (Eph. 5:19ff), Christlikeness (Gal. 5:22–26), and a growing understanding of the Word (John 16:12–15).

Because of the gift of the Spirit, which is received at conversion, we are all members of the body of Christ. Race, social status, wealth, or even sex (Gal. 3:28) are neither advantages nor handicaps as we fellowship and serve the Lord. [1]

[1] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, pp. 608–609). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

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