The Ministries of God the Holy Spirit Today: Baptism
Ephesians Lesson #116
August 8, 2021
Dr. Robert L. Dean, Jr.
“Our Father, we’re thankful for Your Word. We’re thankful that You have revealed it to us and that in Your plan You did that through the ministry of God the Holy Spirit. That He revealed Your Word to the writers of Scripture, and He oversaw the way in which they wrote and how they wrote to guarantee that it would be without error.
“But You the Father used Him to bring about this process. For that we are grateful. You have also given the Holy Spirit to us, that He indwells us, and He fills us with Your Word, and it is through His ministry that we are able to understand the Word that He has revealed through the apostles and prophets.
“Father, we pray that now as we study these things and reflect upon them that You may give us a little greater insight into the ministries of the Holy Spirit in our lives today. We pray this in Christ’s name, amen.”
We are continuing our study in Ephesians 4:3–5. As we come to this short section of verses, there is an emphasis on the role of God the Holy Spirit. So I am taking a little time to review us on what these ministries of God the Holy Spirit are for us today.
In Ephesians 4:3–4, we are told literally to be diligent or make an effort to keep or maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. “The unity of the Spirit” refers to the fact that there is a unity that is established by God the Holy Spirit at the instant of salvation because of what He does in placing us in the body of Christ.
That is the foundation of our unity. It is not something that we create on our own or that we have to produce on our own, but we are mandated to make an effort to maintain that unity, to be diligent to maintain that unity.
The idea of unity is significant throughout this section of Ephesians. For example, if you go to Ephesians 4:4–6, there is an emphasis on our unity; seven things are mentioned:
“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” Unity.
Move your eyes down the page to Ephesians 4:13, which is completing an explanatory clause in Ephesians 4:12 stating that these spiritual gifts of Ephesians 4:11 are given for the purpose of “equipping the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till—that indicates a progression—till we all come to a unity of the faith.”
We have a unity the instant that we are saved, but the way in which we are to maintain that unity is by growing together in our “knowledge of the son of God, to a perfect man—not perfection in terms of sinlessness, but perfection in the sense of maturity—to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, that we should not be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine.” Ephesians 4:13–14
What does that produce? Disunity! We certainly see that on every street corner where there are many churches who are basically practicing some form of heresy or another in our world today. This is the focus.
Ephesians 4:15, the way in which we grow is “speaking the truth—what the Bible teaches—in love—that we—may grow up in all things unto Him who is the head.”
The thing going on here is positional unity that we have automatically, but we have to grow. We have to learn the Word and study the Word in order to be able to keep that unity and not be tossed about by winds of doctrine which destroy the unity. And that we are to grow up in all things to be like Christ.
That gives you the broad structure of what is being said here in this part of Ephesians 4.
Last time we looked at Ephesians 4:3–4, “There is one body—the body of Christ, which is formed by God the Holy Spirit—and one Spirit—the Holy Spirit—just as you were called in one hope—that one hope is related—to your calling.”
That is this new position we have in Christ that is focused on hope, but it is related to this one body God the Holy Spirit is forming and His other ministries. It’s important to understand these various ministries of God the Holy Spirit. Frankly, as I mentioned at the introduction to the Lord’s Table earlier, that that’s one area of doctrine about which there has been so much confusion over the centuries.
The role of the Holy Spirit is yet another. And while some church historians would label the 20th century “the time of the Spirit” because of the rise of the emphasis on the Spirit, and there’s some truth in that.
But unfortunately, it led to the confusion of the Charismatic and Pentecostal movements of the 20 th century, which really follows a pseudo-spirit and has led to a lot of division and a lot of dis-unity because of their misunderstanding of the role of the Spirit today.
But that’s not unusual; most Christians throughout the Church Age have misunderstood that. When I was in Dallas [Theological] Seminary in the late 1980s working on my doctorate, one of the courses that I took was a seminar on pneumatology, the study of God the Holy Spirit.
One of the requirements for the course was to read at least a thousand pages in external reading that would be related to the course content. I had read here and there that there were two books written in church history that were considered the best, that you were not educated in the ministries of God the Holy Spirit unless you read these two books, which I decided to do.
The first one was a volume out of a 15-volume set by John Owens, a Puritan pastor and also the chaplain to Oliver Cromwell during the time of the protectorate in England, simply called The Holy Spirit. Then the second volume, written at the end of the 19th century, The Work of the Holy Spirit by Abraham Kuyper.
Both were very reformed, very Calvinistic theologians, and the one thing that struck me was what was not covered in either one of these massive works on the Holy Spirit. One was the baptism by the Spirit and the other was the filling by the Spirit. Neither topic was even mentioned in these massive works that were supposed to be the definitive works on the Holy Spirit.
That is one reason that you had such an absence of teaching at the end of the 19th century that led to such heresy. Heresies are usually born of ignorance, and ignorance of the Word developed around the Holy Spirit during the 20th century.
Last time we talked about the Holy Spirit, introducing the baptism by the Spirit, and its relationship to the body of Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:13, “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.”
This is a crucial central passage, and we will spend a little more time on that.
When we think about what we have in Christ, our exalted position in Christ, we break it down into two categories:
- Eternal Realities that are ours because we are in Christ. They can never be taken from us, and these are all given to us at the instant that we trust in Christ as Savior.
- Temporal Realities relate to our day-to-day experience. Some days we walk with the Lord, some days we walk on our own, and hopefully, we recognize that more and more frequently and deal with the sin in our life.
Because we are, as Paul says and as we will study in Ephesians 5, children of light. So we have a white circle for our position in Christ. We enter into Christ through the baptism by God the Holy Spirit at the instant of our salvation. That is our legal position before Christ, and there are significant vital aspects to the baptism by the Holy Spirit that shape our entire spiritual life. Yet so often, Christians are ignorant of these things.
In terms of our daily walk, we walk by the Holy Spirit and we are to be filled by the Holy Spirit. He fills us with His Word, so as we are children of light in our position, we are to walk in the light, the circle on the right. We are to be walking by God the Holy Spirit.
In Christ we are “the called.” This is our exalted position. We have to understand this in light of these ministries of God the Holy Spirit today.
Last week we looked at two aspects that are related to unbelievers.
First, the restraining ministry of God the Holy Spirit, identified in 2 Thessalonians 2:6–7 where Paul tells the Thessalonians that at this present time there is a restraining going on, “And now you know what is restraining—the neuter there indicates Holy Spirit because ‘Spirit,’ PNEUMA in the neuter gender—that He may be revealed in His own time.”
You have a neuter shifting to a masculine, which often happens when talking about the Holy Spirit because of the Personhood of the Holy Spirit.
2 Thessalonians 2:6–7, “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work …” Have you noticed that lately—this mystery of lawlessness?
The other day I read an article. I think it was written by a congressman, making the comment that that we don’t need new laws. We have thousands of excellent laws on the book, but we have become a nation that no longer believes in the rule of law.
Because we have judges, congressman, state leaders, and federal leaders who ignore the laws of the land—left and right. Liberals and Conservatives are ignorant of the law of the land, especially the basic law of the land which is the Constitution. This is the definition of lawlessness.
Paul is saying that the mystery of lawlessness is a major characteristic of this Church Age. “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.”
I don’t want your thinking to get too distracted, but just imagine what it would be like if God the Holy Spirit weren’t restraining Congress … okay, stop thinking about that!
This is the role the Holy Spirit; it is part of God’s common grace that God the Holy Spirit restrains evil and lawlessness during this Church Age in order to provide stable environments for evangelism, spiritual growth, and missions.
I know this is going to break some hearts, but it is not to provide a stable environment, so you can take good vacations and travel everywhere. It is always about evangelism, spiritual growth, and the expansion of the church through witnessing.
The Holy Spirit restrains through government, through the presence of the church, through thwarting Satan and his designs, and through individual consciences and providential prevention of the evil plans of human beings.
Evil is being restrained so that there is stability for the proclamation of the gospel. But there are many nations in this world where that is not happening. There are numerous countries in Africa where there is such chaos and turmoil that everyday Christians’ lives are at risk.
As a subcontinent, India once had a thriving solid expansion of Christianity with missionaries there, but that has been blocked a lot lately. It is #10 on the list of the nations most hostile to Christianity.
Then you have wonderful places like Saudi Arabia, Iran, China, and North Korea. Those are horrible, horrible places of spiritual darkness. But God the Holy Spirit is restraining evil, so that it is not nearly as bad as it could be—or will be in the Tribulation.
The Holy Spirit is convicting unbelievers.
John 16:8–11, our Lord said that when the Holy Spirit comes—in the Church Age; the Holy Spirit came on the Day of Pentecost in AD 33, “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment—then He explains—of sin, because they do not believe in Me.”
They don’t believe in Jesus, so they have not had the imputation of Christ’s righteousness. That’s the only way that sin is personally dealt with or covered; Christ paid the penalty at the Cross.
But in order for that to be applied to us in terms of being transformed from spiritual death to spiritual life and from being unrighteous to having the imputation of Christ’s righteousness, that is all based upon belief. They must “believe in Me.”
John 16:10, “… of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more …” by what He accomplishes on the Cross. Then we will study later in this chapter His ascension to the right hand of the Father. That is related to the present work where His righteousness is imputed to us for salvation.
John 16:11, and then “of judgment, because—at the Cross—the ruler of this world—that is Satan—is judged.”
The first work for believers is regeneration.
I’m getting ready to talk about regeneration, indwelling and baptism by the Spirit, the sealing by the Spirit and the filling by the Spirit—while that is temporary, all of these things happen simultaneously at the instant of salvation. We talk about them in a certain logical order, but they all happen simultaneously at the instant of salvation.
We are “born again” because we are born spiritually dead—dead in our trespasses and sins, Ephesians 2:1.
Spiritual death is separation from the life of God, Ephesians 4:18. We are alienated from the life of God from the instant we’re born. But the instant we’re saved, God gives us eternal life, His life, so we are made alive again.
Jesus said this to Nicodemus, John 3:3, “… unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
John 1:12–13, “But as many as received Him—a synonym for trusting in Christ—to them He gave the right to be called the children of God, to those who believe in His name.”
“Believe” is never qualified in the Scriptures. It’s not “true belief,” “genuine belief,” “sincere belief,” it is simply belief. You either believe or you don’t believe. Once we trust in Christ—we believe, we understand that He died on the Cross for our sins and we believe that that is true—then at that instant God regenerates us.
It is God Who does it; it is not something that we can do. It’s not based on where we’re born, it’s not based on our ethnicity. John 1:13, “who were born, not of blood, nor the will of the flesh, nor the will of man, but of God.”
We can’t will it. Our volition’s involved in that we believe Christ died on the Cross, but we can’t will ourselves to be born again. It is all the work of God.
Titus 3:5, it’s “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit.”
What the Bible Teaches about the Baptism by the Holy Spirit
I pointed out in the introduction that this is something that has generated a lot of confusion for a lot of Christians in the 20th century.
I went through this material for the pastors’ group that I lead on Friday mornings, because I knew that there were several pastors who were struggling with some of the finer points related to Greek grammar and others.
One of the suggestions that I thought was good, was it would be helpful to give the definition at the beginning instead of at the end, and that’s important. I like to read the last chapter in a book to understand where the author is going and his summary of what he said, so that as I read through it I can get it. So we’re going to start with the definition.
The baptism by means of the Holy Spirit is the work of Christ whereby at the moment of faith alone in Christ alone, Christ uses the Holy Spirit to identify the believer with His death, burial, and resurrection, and places the believer into the body of Christ, the Church, as the Holy Spirit builds a new temple which is the body of Christ.
That’s the short form. We see from the Gospel passages that John the Baptist says the One who comes after me will baptize you by means of the Holy Spirit. So it’s very clear that he states—and it is recorded in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts 1—that Christ is the One who performs the act of baptism.
Christ performs the act of the baptism by using the Holy Spirit to identify the believer with his death, burial, and resurrection, Romans 6:3–6. The Holy Spirit places the believer into the body of Christ. So we’re identified with Christ, we’re placed into Christ. That, as the hymn says, “breaks the power of canceled sin.” That short phrase is a brilliant summation by the hymn writer.
Sin was canceled at the Cross, but we still have a sin nature, and throughout all of the Old Testament, it was still a tyrant for every believer. It was not until the baptism by the Spirit that tyranny is stopped. Doesn’t mean the sin nature’s gone, that we don’t still struggle with the sin nature. That’s obvious, we all do. But it’s only a tyrant in our life if we choose to let it be, and unfortunately, we all choose to let it be way too often.
That happens with the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and it’s integral to the Holy Spirit’s work, as we studied in Ephesians, in building a new temple which is the body of Christ. It’s called a new body, a new man, a new building, and a new temple. He uses all of those different metaphors to express it.
Back to our chart: we are placed in Christ through the baptism by the Holy Spirit. The central passages are Matthew 3:11 and 1 Corinthians 12:13. There are in all seven passages that are significant for understanding this.
1 Corinthians 12:13, “For by one Spirit we’re all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.”
“Baptism,” BAPTIZO in the Greek, was not translated, it was simply transliterated into English. This is very interesting because you have people that as soon as they see the word “baptism,” they immediately think of water.
They also define it as immersion, but it is not necessarily immersion. Immersion is not at the center of its meaning. The technical term for that is “not part of its core, semantic value.” That means it’s an additional idea picked up in context; it’s not part of what BAPTIZO means.
It is true that it comes from BAPTO, which means to dip or plunge or immerse, but the verb has different applications. We recognize that, because as we study Scripture, we recognize that there are eight different kinds of baptism.
There are three wet baptisms:
1. John the Baptist’s baptism where people came down because they heard his message, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” and so they wanted to be identified with repentance, and that’s pictured as a cleansing, so the role of the water is as a picture of being washed or cleansed in preparation for the kingdom. So there’s John the Baptist’s baptism.
2. Jesus’ baptism. Jesus came to John the Baptist, and John said, “I ought to be baptized by You,” and Jesus said, “No, you are to baptize Me.” Because this was not a baptism for repentance; Jesus had nothing to repent of. It was a baptism to show the identification of Jesus with the plan of God and the inauguration of His ministry.
3. Christian baptism, when a person who has trusted in Christ is ready to be baptized. That means he has to understand its significance, and sadly, it is not explained very well in most churches.
What I’m teaching on the baptism by the Spirit is an abstract doctrine that is difficult to understand, and it is to be simplified by the imagery of water baptism, and should be explained that way. The two are integrally connected. That’s why Paul really refers to both of them when he says “one baptism” because the water baptism teaches positional truth, which is what the real baptism of the Holy Spirit is.
Last week I read this quote; it shows the difference between the word BAPTO and BAPTIZO; it’s talking about making pickles or pickled vegetables.
“First, the vegetable should be dipped into boiling water,” BAPTO. Clearly dipping it is necessary, but it doesn’t change the nature of the vegetable.
Secondly BAPTIZO is used when he says, “and then baptized in the vinegar solution.” That’s what changes a cucumber to a pickle in English. There are lots of other things you can change: a jalapeno from a raw jalapeno to a pickled jalapeno, and many other vegetables as well. That’s not the main idea, not the focal point. The focal point is it becomes something new. It is changed.
We see how that’s related in these dry baptisms. 1 Corinthians 10:2 says that the Israelites were baptized by means of the cloud and the sea.
When John baptized, he said, “I baptize you by means of water. The One who comes after me will baptize you by means of the Spirit.” “By means of water” doesn’t mean that they were placed into the water, which is what a lot of Baptists will do to translate that. The preposition is not “into,” it is “by means of”—showing the instrument that is used to effect that ritual baptism.
1. Baptism into Moses: they were baptized—same Greek preposition EN—by the cloud and the sea. They didn’t get wet because they got into a foggy cloud, they didn’t get wet because they got into the Red Sea.
They didn’t get into anything. It doesn’t have to do with immersion, and it doesn’t have to do with getting wet or damp or just slightly foggy. It is critical to understand that you can’t build doctrines off of words by abusing their semantics.
2. Baptism into Noah: the only ones that got wet were the people who didn’t get in the ark. They’re identified with the ark, they are identified with Noah, so they are saved.
3. The baptism of the Cross: Christ doesn’t get wet. He is identified with our sins and pays the penalty for sins.
4. The baptism by the Holy Spirit, which is dry
5. Baptism by fire, also dry
There’s no immersion in these.
- BAPTO denotes dipping, plunging, or immersing something into a liquid.
- BAPTIZO suggests a more figurative sense that one thing is identified with something else to indicate a change.
We become, at that instant, a new creature in Christ; we are in Christ. The baptism by the Holy Spirit makes us a new creature in Christ.
We often use these phrases:
- Baptism of the Spirit, which is never expressed that way in the Greek. The “of the” would be expressed by a genitive, and that never happens in the Greek with the word “baptism.”
- Baptism with
- Baptism in and
- Baptism by the Spirit.
All translate the exact same phrase in the Greek.
One of the reasons for that was the Gospels were all translated “with,” which indicates either association or instrument. One group of translators translated all the Gospels and Acts. But then Ephesians and 1 Corinthians, the Pauline Epistles, were translated by another group.
In 1 Corinthians 12:13 they use “by,” which also indicates instrumentality, but the English “by” and the English “with” have other issues, which we will talk about.
Some of them translated it “in,” which is a locative, meaning location. It’s the idea of putting something into something, into a new location, and that’s a bad translation.
In our opening statement in 1 Corinthians 12:13, there are two critical prepositions. EN is translated “by one Spirit” correctly, indicating “by means of.” Then “into one body,” our destination, that new body in Christ.
Notice here Matthew 3:11 also has the same preposition, but he translates it as “with” in all three cases. So the question is, are there two baptisms, one with the Spirit and one by the Spirit?
English readers at the end of the 19th century in what is known as the “Holiness Movement”—of which some morphed into the Pentecostal Movement—said there are two baptisms. There’s a baptism for the unity of the church, 1 Corinthians 12:13, for every believer.
Then there’s a baptism that Christ performs in the Gospels and Acts, which is for power, and not everybody gets that. They’ve got two baptisms. That’s part of the problem.
Through all of the other Gospel passages, you see that the Greek preposition EN is translated uniformly using the English preposition “with.”
We have to understand what’s going on here.
John the Baptist said, Mark 1:8a, “I indeed baptize you with water—then he said in Luke 3:16b, “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire,” who performs the action of baptizing? Think about this question.
In the phrase “I indeed baptize you with water,” the action is performed by “I”, which refers to John the Baptist. The second time it is “He shall baptize you,” John the Baptist is speaking, and he is talking about Christ.
Let’s break this down just a little more.
Matthew 3:14: I use this for specific reason. John the Baptist sees Jesus and says, “I need to be baptized by You.”
The verb is a passive verb like in 1 Corinthians 12:13. In the English it’s followed by the preposition “by,” “I need to be baptized by You.”
To just break it down simply, in this sentence who performs the baptism, the “I” or the “You?” It’s “You.” It’s a passive construction. The grammatical term we use for that is “the agent,” the one who performs the act in a passive verb.
Slide 35 Skipped
Matthew 3:13, “Jesus came to be baptized by him …” by John the Baptist.
Matthew 3:14, “I need to be baptized by You,” John is saying that Jesus needs to be the one to baptize him.
In both cases it’s a passive verb. The one who is performing the action is indicated with the English preposition “by.” Let me tell you where I’m going with this.
1 Corinthians 12:13 says we have all been baptized by one Spirit. You see the problem? When we look at “by one Spirit,” in English it is typical that to indicate the one who performs the action of a passive verb is expressed with the preposition “by”. So people thought that according to 1 Corinthians 12:13, the Holy Spirit does the baptizing. Wrong! It’s a misunderstanding of grammar.
Grammatically the one who performs the action of a passive voice verb is the agent. The one who performs the action even of an active voice verb is still the agent, but there it is the grammatical subject.
In English we use the preposition “by” when there is a passive verb to indicate the one who performs the action, so it looks like we’ve all been baptized by one Spirit—that the Spirit performed the action.
When Matthew writes “Jesus came to be baptized by him,” “him” would perform the action of baptism. When that’s compared to 1 Corinthians 12:13, it looks like the “by” indicates the one who does the baptizing.
The problem is when you have a passive verb in Greek, the agent is indicated with the preposition HUPO, not with the preposition EN. Therein lies the problem: a failure to understand the Greek grammar correctly.
1 Corinthians 12:13 “by means of one Spirit” is the same language that John used in Matthew 3:11, that the one who comes after me will baptize you EN PNEUMATI, by means of the Spirit.
Paul doesn’t change the verbiage. He uses the exact same verbiage, but doesn’t mention who’s performing the action. It’s Christ. You have to keep all the white eggs together, all the blue eggs have to go together, all the red eggs go together. By that I mean all of the phrases EN PNEUMATI have to mean the same thing and have to be translated the same way.
When they’re not translated the same way, you miss the point that they’re all talking about the same thing—that is, that the Holy Spirit is used to bring about this change, as stated in Matthew 3:11. It is stated the same way in Mark and Luke and Acts.
John said, Matthew 3:11, “As for me, I baptize—active voice verb—I baptize you by means of water—the preposition EN plus the dative of the word for water. Then he says, in a parallel sentence—He—meaning Jesus—will baptize you—in the future. Jesus performs the action. ‘He’ is the subject. ‘He’ is the agent of the verb—He will baptize you—then the exact same preposition EN PNEUMATI—by means of the Spirit.”
If you’re going to translate it “by means of the Spirit” in the Gospels, you have to translate it “by means of the Spirit” in 1 Corinthians 12.
It’s like a formula:
The performer of the action
The action which is baptism
The means stated by an EN clause, and
The destination the change related by an EIS clause.
In Matthew 3:11 the subject of the active voice verb is “I,” that is John the Baptist in the first instance. The second time it’s “He,” Jesus Christ, so it is Jesus Christ who performs the action of baptism by means of the Spirit.
John’s statement, Matthew 3:11 should literally be translated, “I on the one hand, baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit—‘with’ being a synonym for ‘by means of.’ ”
Acts 1:5 has the same language, “for John baptized you with water—that is, by means of water—but you will be baptized by means of the Holy Spirit …” Same preposition, same language, always keep it consistent.
The control passage is 1 Corinthians 10:2 where it’s talking about the Israelites, because there’s no water involved.
Paul writes, “and all—that is, all the Israelites coming out of Egypt—were baptized—it’s a passive, so it’s just like the word in 1 Corinthians 12:13, a passive voice. It doesn’t tell you who does the baptism—all were baptized into Moses—just as we are baptized into Christ or as John the Baptist said he baptized by means of water into repentance. They are—baptized into Moses by means of the cloud and by means of the sea.”
But they never get into the Red Sea and they never get into the cloud. It’s their identification. The cloud represents the shekinah glory of God that is leading the Israelites through the desert, and the water represents the Red Sea. So by identifying themselves by following God’s plan, following the cloud and by going through the dry land that God created separating the waters of the Red Sea, they’re identified with Moses and Moses’ faith.
Just one more time, we will get into English grammar, a simple sentence.
“John hit the ball with the bat.”
“John hit the ball by the bat—active voice”
“John” is the subject.
The verb is “hit.”
The instrument that used to hit the ball is the bat.
If you write it with the passive voice verb, “the ball” is the grammatical subject.
It was hit by John. He’s the performer of the action; and therefore, he’s the agent.
“The ball was hit by John with the bat.” “The bat” is the means. The bat doesn’t perform the hitting, except as the instrument used by the agent.
In Greek “by John” would have HUPO or maybe DIA as the preposition, but never EN. So you cannot translate or interpret 1 Corinthians 12:13 as indicating that it is a baptism performed by the Spirit. It is a baptism performed by Christ, where He uses the Spirit.
All this is important just to make sure we understand what’s going on, the significance of which I will get to.
Two more charts to help you understand this.
The one who performs the action in the first column, the means in the second column, and the destination or the new state (identification) is the third column.
The subject John (the Baptist) baptizes by means of water (instrument), and the identification (new state) is repentance in Matthew 3:11.
In regard to Jesus, the parallel is Jesus will baptize by means of the Spirit, and it doesn’t state into the body of Christ (identification), so you don’t have to have all the elements there.
In 1 Corinthians 10:2, they were baptized into Moses, but it doesn’t tell us who did the identification (the agent), but it does give us the means, which is by the cloud and the sea, and the identification (destination) is into Moses.
In 1 Corinthians 12:13 it doesn’t state who performs the action (agent), but the means is by the Spirit, and the identification is into the body.
Three categories: the Agent, the Means, and the Identification. This is a parallel, like a formula. There are four parts to the formula, but not all parts have to be stated in order to recognize the role. So when the one who performs the action isn’t stated, the means is still stated the same way, and that’s by the EN clause.
John the Baptist uses water to identify the person with repentance.
Jesus Christ uses the Holy Spirit to identify the individual with Himself, with His death, burial, resurrection into His body.
That shows the parallel.
- There’s one baptism by means of the Holy Spirit.
- Christ performs the baptism.
- The instrument He uses is the Holy Spirit.
That doesn’t mean the Holy Spirit is impersonal. If I said God used my parents to train me as a child, “parents” would be in the instrumental case. Some would call it the impersonal [case], but they’re persons. God used them that way. I will show you a couple of passages.
- The new condition is into the body of Christ, where we are identified with His death, burial, and resurrection, and the result is we’re made a new creature in Christ.
In John 14:16 Jesus told His disciples, “I will pray to the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever.”
In John 14:26 He identifies the Helper, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things.” God the Father is using the Holy Spirit as the instrument for teaching us.
John 15:26, Jesus expands on this, “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father.”
Jesus is sending the Holy Spirit to accomplish certain things. The Holy Spirit here is seen as the instrument that Jesus is using in maturing and sanctifying believers.
John 16:7, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you, but if I depart, I will send Him to you.”
Jesus is using the Holy Spirit to accomplish many different things in our lives.
Back to our definition:
The baptism by means of the Holy Spirit is the work of Christ whereby at the moment of faith alone in Christ alone, Christ uses the Holy Spirit to identify the believer with His death, burial and resurrection, and places the believer into the body of Christ. At that instant, we’re a new creature in Christ, and through this God the Holy Spirit is building a new temple, which is the body of Christ.
Galatians 3:27–28, Paul talks about this, “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”
The result is that there now are no spiritual distinctions based on ethnicity, based on sex, based on economic status, bond or free. We all have equal access in contrast to the fact that under the law, only male Jews could have access close to the Holy Place in the temple.
Women could go no further than the Court of the Women. Gentiles could go no further than the Court of the Gentiles. Only the priests, and ultimately only the high priest, had access to God, but now we all have access to God because we are in Christ.
The point of this, Romans 6:3–4, Paul says, “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore, we were buried with Him through baptism into death—the EIS clause—that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
That’s the point of all this; it breaks the power of canceled sin. We can now walk in newness of life understanding what happened at that instant of salvation where we are identified with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection.
It’s at that moment that when we are identified with Christ, which happens simultaneously with regeneration, that we’re identified with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, so that we become a new creature in Christ.
If that doesn’t excite you, then you need to wake up spiritually! The first three chapters of Ephesians is about understanding all of these wonderful blessings that we have. Getting into the details is important so we don’t make mistakes.
The problem with a lot of dispensationalists and a lot of the people that you and I heard growing up and in our spiritual life is they knew there was only one baptism, but they couldn’t figure out how to express it.
The other day with the pastors, I went through quotes from several … Ryrie, Walvoord, Pentecost, you name them, I quoted them. Because they always reasoned theologically, they never understood the role of the prepositions. I didn’t come up with this. I got this from one of my Greek professors at Dallas. I’m not smart enough to come up with this.
But it really solves the problem. There’s one baptism, and now we understand that. And it enables us to avoid getting caught up into various winds of doctrine and the false teaching about two different baptisms, one for power, one for unity, and learning how to biblically express it.
Because if you were an original Christian who spoke Greek, you saw all five uses of that phrase as meaning the exact same thing, and you weren’t confused. But we get confused because English translators used different prepositions, making it sound like they were different acts.
“Father, thank You for this opportunity to study these things. It’s not always easy to grasp some of these fine details about grammar, but it’s important to understand exactly what is said and what it means. And for us to understand what a glorious thing it was at that instant that we trusted Christ as Savior that we were identified with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection.
“That Christ as the head of the body used the Holy Spirit to identify us with His death, burial, and resurrection to bring us into union with Him in His body, one with Him that we might have so many, many other blessings as a new creature in Christ.
“Father, we pray that if there is anyone listening to this message, perhaps never truly understood the gospel, not sure if they’re saved, that by going through this they will understand that there’s a lot that happened at the instant of our trust in Christ.
“Part of that is the giving of eternal life, not because we’re good, not because we’ve done good things, but because Christ paid the penalty for our sins, and we have simply accepted that as a free gift, and this is all part of that package.
“We pray that we might understand this as we continue to think about it and talk about it, that it may become clear to us. We pray this in Christ’s name, amen.”