On Pentecost the Apostles received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-8; 2:1-6) and, as a result, signs were done through them (2:43). No one else that day were so Baptized with the Holy Spirit. But the Spirit was speaking through Peter when telling convicted sinners what they must do (Acts 2:36-41). There was one baptism that would be common to ALL disciples of Christ. What was it?
1. It was baptism that disciples could perform on others "in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit" to ALL NATIONS. Matt.28:19
2. It was baptism that every creature could submit to and be saved. Mark 16:15-16.
3. It was baptism in the name of Jesus Christ (which was done in "water"-Acts 10:47-48) "for remission of sins" (Acts 2:38).
4. Those that gladly received the word "were baptized"(Acts 2:41).
Thus, there was one baptism that was common to all disciples. Baptism in water in the name of the Lord for remission of sins.
When one is baptized in the name of the Lord, the Lord adds to the church (Acts 2:47). The Spirit led (through Peter's gospel preaching) 3,000 to be baptized into one body (1 Cor.12:13). The Spirit did not Baptize the 3,000 with Himself, but He was the influencing cause by which they gladly received his word and were baptized into one body (Acts 2:41).
Baptism of the Holy Spirit was not a salvation experience. It was an empowering experience for the Apostles who were already saved (John 15:3; 1 Cor.12:28; Eph.2:20) to equip them with divine assistence to their eyewitness testimony (Acts 1:8; John 14:26;15:26,27). It did not come upon them to save them and thus to show us how we have to be saved by such an experience.
Baptism of the Holy Spirit was not a salvation experience that itself saved Cornelius and his household. But, it was an undeniable experience that allowed the Jews to see that they could not forbid Gentiles the one baptism in water in the name of the Lord for the remission of sins so that they too could be added to the one body (Acts 10:44-48). But, once again, as on Pentecost, the Spirit was the cause (through Peter's preaching and this miraculous confirmation) that led the Gentiles to be baptized into one body (1 Cor.12:13).
Baptism of the Holy Spirit was not a salvation experience for Paul. He was saved when he "arose,and was baptized, washing away his sins, calling on the name of the Lord"(Acts 22:16). The Spirit instructed Paul through Ananias to do this. Thus, once again, "by means of One Spirit were WE ALL (Jews and Gentiles and Paul himself) baptized into one body"(1 Cor.12:13). Baptism of the Holy Spirit for Paul was an empowering experience for signs that would attend and assist him as an Apostle of Jesus. Everyone did not get this empowering Baptism of the Holy Spirit. So, it was not the "one baptism" that was common to all disciples.
On other occasions, AFTER believers submitted to the ONE baptism, the Apostles would impart the Spirit representatively in gifts of power through the laying on of their hands (2 Tim.1:6). They were not doing this to save people, but to share gifts of power AFTER they were already baptized into Christ. For example, the gospel brought the Samarians to belief which led to them submitting to the ONE baptism. After being saved and added to the body of Christ, the Apostles came and laid hands upon them to impart the Holy Spirit for empowering purposes, not to save them in that act. (Acts 8:12-18). Again, this happened in Ephesus. Twelve men were given baptism in the name of the Lord, the ONE baptism, and then after their salvation Paul laid hands on them to give them the Holy Spirit powers that would assist in their growth and edification as Christians.(Acts 19:6f). Paul did not lay hands on them because they were lost and needed to be saved. They were already saved and in fellowship with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. He laid hands on them to give them gifts of power from the Holy Spirit to empower their testimony to the lost (1 Cor.14:22) and to assist in their edification and growth (Eph.4:11-16; 1 Cor.14:12).
There is ONE baptism (Eph.4:4). It is the one that is common to all nations. It is not the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. It is baptism in the name of the Lord for remission of sins. False teachers try to confuse people about which baptism is to be the one common baptism among all. Don't let them confuse you.
By Terry W. Benton
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