Baptism in the Holy Spirit | Mark 1:8
“I have baptized you with water,
but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
It may surprise you to think that John’s baptisms changed nothing spiritually within a person. It’s true that they represented repentance, but they didn’t wash away sins and make people new. John points us to the true, saving baptism—the one we must be plunged into—the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
The followers of Jesus waited the length of Jesus’ ministry for this to be fulfilled. Nearing Pentecost after His resurrection, He told His disciples that they would soon “be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:5). After Acts 2, the term “church” appears to describe believers. Pentecost is thus remembered as the time when the church began.
Some can claim membership in the church and not be baptized in the Spirit. In Acts 8:16, we see that that someone can only be “baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus” without the baptism of the Spirit. Only a true believer has the Holy Spirit indwelling him.
Have you been born of the Spirit? In John 3, Jesus says that no one can see the kingdom of God if he is not “born again” (Jn 3:2), if he is not “one is born of water and the Spirit” (v. 5). He explains, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (v. 6). This excludes commandment-keeping, church-attendance, and good works; unless you are born in the Spirit, you are not saved.
If you have been born again, you have also been baptized in the Spirit. John’s baptism foreshadowed salvation through Christ in the Spirit, and those who place their trust in Christ have been baptized into Him. Writing to Christian believers, Paul says, “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body” (1 Cor 12:13)—this is how one enters the body of Christ. Ephesians 4:4–5 says, “There is one body and one Spirit… one baptism.” One washed clean of his sins at the same time he is baptized into the Holy Spirit.
Praise God for His ever-present Spirit!