The Baptism by the Spirit
January 23rd, 1966 @ 8:15 AM
THE BAPTISM BY THE SPIRIT
Dr. W. A. Criswell
1 Corinthians 12:13
1-23-66 8:15 a.m.
On the radio you are sharing the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas. This is the pastor bringing the message entitled The Baptism by the Spirit. This is a series of studies that have been going on in the pastor’s mind and soul for many, many months, and they are the fruit of final conclusions, studying God’s Word, and asking the Lord to speak words of final wisdom to my own soul. And the vitalness, the significance of the study can be seen everywhere. This last week, coming in yesterday afternoon, I have been preaching through an evangelistic conference in Ohio, where we have an increasingly flourishing work. And yesterday I ate lunch with a little group of leaders in the city of Columbus. And to my great sorrow, I listened to the group as they described their finest church torn apart, torn apart by the doctrine of the baptism by the Holy Spirit; just grieved my soul to listen to them.
In one of the most strategic areas of this nation, and in one of our great capital cities, and in a work where our people were growing and magnifying the name of the Lord, where we have such few evangelical churches of power, and this was one, then torn asunder over an altercation concerning the baptism by the Holy Spirit. So, we shall not only preach these sermons, but they will be published. And in the goodness of men in our church, we hope they can be scattered abroad all over the face of this earth.
Now the sermon today concerns, “What is the baptism by the Spirit?” And the text is 1 Corinthians 12:13:
For we are all baptized by one Spirit into the body of Christ, into one body,For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.
For the body is not one member, but many.
[1 Corinthians 12:13-14]
Then he continues, “The foot cannot say to the hand, I have no need of thee; nor can the hand say to the foot or the eye or the ear, I have no need of thee [1 Corinthians 12:15-17]. There is one body, and by one Spirit have we all been baptized into that one body of Christ” [1 Corinthians 12:12-13]. Now we’re going to take this message this morning and carry it in two ways: the first, what the baptism by the Spirit is not; and second, what the baptism by the Spirit is.
First, the baptism by the Spirit: “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into the body of Christ, into one body” [1 Corinthians 12:13]. The baptism by the Spirit is not regeneration. It is not our salvation. The disciples weren’t regenerated; they were saved before Pentecost. So the baptism by the Spirit is not our salvation. It is not regeneration. Regeneration, salvation, comes to a believing soul that trusts in Jesus. Regeneration is Jesus coming into our hearts, into our lives, into our souls. We are saved when we open our hearts to Jesus and receive Him into our lives in trust, in belief. That is salvation.
Revelation 3:20, the Lord says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if anyone hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in and sup with him, and he with Me.” That is salvation, regeneration.
If you are tired of the load of your sin,
Let Jesus come into your heart
If you desire a new life to begin,
Let Jesus come into your heart
Just now, your doubtings give o’er;
Just now, reject Him no more
Just now, throw open the door;
Let Jesus come into your heart
[“Let Jesus Come Into Your Heart,” Mrs. C. H. Morris]
That’s what it is to be saved. That is regeneration: opening our hearts, and receiving Jesus, and letting the Lord come into our souls.
Baptism by the Holy Spirit is placing us in Christ. We are placed in the body of Christ by the baptism of the Holy Spirit of the Lord. Look, Galatians 3:27: “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ”; enduo, you’ve gotten in your clothes. You are in your clothes, in your clothes. He uses that figure of being in your clothes to express what the baptism by the Holy Spirit is. The baptism by the Holy Spirit puts us in Christ, as you are in your clothes.
Regeneration, Christ comes in us: baptism by the Spirit, we become in Christ, we are put in Christ. Regeneration, Christ in us; baptism, we in Christ. You have a good illustration of that in one sentence here in the fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of John, verse 20: “I in you, and you in Me.” “I in you” is regeneration, salvation. When we open our hearts and Christ comes into us, that’s when we are saved. “I in you,” regeneration; “Ye in Me,” that is the baptism by the Holy Spirit. The baptism by the Holy Spirit places us in Christ. As we get in our clothes, as Paul uses the figure, enduo, in our clothes, we are placed in Christ.
All right, a second word of that: regeneration is our quickening from the dead. “We who are dead,” said Paul in Ephesians 2:1, “We who are dead in trespasses and in sins hath He quickened.” Regeneration is our quickening. We are spiritually made alive in trusting Jesus and receiving the Lord Jesus into our hearts. That is regeneration.
Baptism by the Spirit is the placing of the quickened life into the life of Christ. We’re not regenerated and left out there somewhere, or out there somewhere, or yonder somewhere, but by the baptism by the Holy Spirit the quickened and regenerated life is placed in Christ. We’re a member of the very body, and substance, and soul, and life of our Lord. That’s what it is to be baptized by the Holy Spirit.
Now again, in regeneration we are made a child of God. In our salvation, we become joint heirs with Jesus Christ [Romans 8:16-17]. By trusting the Lord as our Savior, we are regenerated. John 1:12:
But as many as received Him, but as many as believed on Him, but as many as received Him, to them gave He the right, the prerogative, the power, the privilege to become the children of God, even to them that trust in His name, that believe on His name.
That’s the way we become Christians, by trusting Jesus. And in trusting Jesus, we become children of God; as Paul would say, “an heir of God and a joint-heir with Jesus Christ” [Romans 8:17]. We become a member of God’s family. That’s regeneration. In baptism by the Holy Spirit, we become members of the body of Christ. By the Spirit we are baptized into the body of Christ [1 Corinthians 12:13]. So I’m not only a child of God, not only a member of the family of God, not only a joint heir with Jesus Christ, but by baptism by the Spirit I am made a very part of the life and substance and body of our Lord eternally.
Now we must hasten. Baptism by the Spirit is not anointing. I have said it is not regeneration. Baptism by the Spirit is not anointing. It is not the anointing of the Spirit. So many Bible teachers will say, “And when Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River, the Holy Spirit of God came upon Him, and He was baptized by the Holy Spirit.” So many teachers will say that: great and far-famed and worthy teachers, that Jesus was baptized by the Holy Spirit when John baptized Him in water in the Jordan River.
What about that? Oh no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no! Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit of God in the River Jordan when He was baptized by water for His great messianic ministry and for His high office as a priest, to offer a sacrifice unto God that shall wash our sins away [Matthew 3:16]. Baptism by the Spirit is an ascension gift after the Lord is dead, buried, crucified, and has returned back to glory [Acts 1:4-5]. The ascension gift of our Lord, at the right hand of the throne of God is the pouring out of the Holy Spirit. And baptism by the Spirit joins us to Jesus, puts us in the Lord [1 Corinthians 12:13]. The Lord didn’t need to be baptized by the Spirit. He doesn’t need to be joined to God. He and the Father are already one [John 10:30]. So what happened at the baptism of the Lord Jesus in the Jordan River, what happened was His anointing as He begins His messianic ministry, anointed a high priest unto God to offer a sacrifice that shall wash our sins away.
Now that is in keeping with the type and the program of the Word of God throughout the Old Testament. When a priest began to be about thirty years of age, he had to be anointed and consecrated and washed for his holy office of appearing before God with blood of atonement. For example, in the twenty-ninth chapter of the Book of Exodus, the Lord commands Moses and says, “And Aaron shalt thou bring into the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and thou shalt wash him with water” [Exodus 29:4] first. In the consecration of Aaron for a priest, he must be brought before the door of the congregation and washed with water first. Then second, “And then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head, and anoint him” [Exodus 29:7]. That was what happened at the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River. First He was washed! He identified Himself with sinners! He went down into the water and was raised up out of the water. He was washed first. And second, He was anointed by the Holy Spirit of God for the office of a priest, whereby He was to offer the sacrifice to cleanse us from our sins [Matthew 3:16-17].
Now I haven’t time to speak of these other things. The baptism by the Spirit is not the sealing whereby Christ stamps us as His forever. The baptism by the Spirit is not those marvelous things that are attendant to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, whereby Christ comes and makes His house in our souls forever. And the baptism by the Spirit is not the filling. And because there is so much to be said of that, that will be the sermon next Sunday morning, The Filling of the Holy Spirit. The baptism by the Spirit is not the filling by the Spirit. There is one baptism [Ephesians 4:5]. There are many fillings, many fillings.
There is no command ever to be baptized by the Spirit, but there is an injunction and mandate by inspiration in the Holy Book that we be filled by the Spirit [Ephesians 5:18]. Because the filling and the baptism occurred simultaneously at Pentecost and at Caesarea [Acts 2:4; Acts 10:44], many, many great Bible teachers have confused the two, and it has been a tragic error. The filling by the Spirit is altogether different from the baptism by the Spirit. And that will be the sermon next Sunday morning, The Filling of the Holy Spirit, the endowment, the empowering of the Holy Spirit of God.
Now we must turn to what the Holy Spirit baptism is. What is the baptism by the Holy Spirit? The answer to that question is found in Romans 6 [Romans 6:4]. It is found in 1 Corinthians 12 [1 Corinthians 12:13]. It is found in Galatians 3 [Galatians 3:7]. It is found in Ephesians 4 [Ephesians 4:5]. And it is found in 1 Peter [1 Peter 3:21].
Now if we had hours and hours we would just follow these things through. And when I am preaching to you, I have a sense of just kind of summarizing, and it takes more than a summary for us to enter into the depths of the truth and wisdom of God, what the Lord hath done for us. Now as briefly as we can, the baptism by the Holy Spirit: what is it? The key and the definition can be found in the text that I have read. “We are all baptized by the Spirit into the body of Christ” [1 Corinthians 12:13]. So when I begin talking about baptism by the Holy Spirit, immediately I begin talking about the church. I begin talking about the body of Christ.
You don’t have baptism by the Holy Spirit extraneously out there somewhere. When we begin talking about baptism by the Holy Spirit, we begin talking about the church, the body of Christ. For baptism by the Holy Spirit places us in the church of the Lord Jesus, places us in the body of the Lord Jesus.
There is no such a thing in the Bible as being baptized into the Holy Spirit. There is no such thing. The Bible never refers to our being immersed in, baptized in, placed in, the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is always the baptizer, the agent, the instrument. The one who does the baptizing is the Holy Spirit of God, and He baptizes us into the body of Christ, into the church.
Now the creation of the body of Christ, the creation of the church, was a mystery hid in the counsels and the heart of God from the beginning of the universe. Wasn’t that an amazing thing that Paul reveals in the third chapter of the Book of Ephesians? The musterion of God, the great secret that God kept to Himself that the prophets never saw, Moses never saw, the lawgivers never saw, the patriarchs never saw, no man in the Old Covenant, in the Old Testament, ever saw it. It was never revealed. It was a secret, a musterion hid in the divine counsels of God; namely, that there was going to be a body, an organism into which all kinds of men in this whole earth, Jew and Gentile, Greek and barbarian, Roman and provincial, male and female, bond and free, there is to be a body into which all are going to be united [Ephesians 3:3-12]. Now, that the Gentiles were going to be saved was no musterion. Why, my brother, Moses, and Isaiah, and Hosea, and Joel, and others spoke of the blindness that should come upon Israel and of the salvation of the Gentiles. That the Gentiles were going to be saved was no secret. It was revealed to the prophets and spoken of by them. But that there was going to be one body, and into that one body Jew and Gentile, bond and free, male and female, everybody who would turn in salvation and faith to Jesus, all were to be united into one living organism – that, says Paul in the third chapter of the Book of Ephesians, was a musterion kept in the secrets of God from the beginning of the world. And the creation of that one body called the church is the work of the Holy Spirit.
The work and the assignment of the Holy Spirit in this age, in this dispensation, in this era of grace is the creation of the body of Christ, the church of the living God. And we become members of that body by being baptized into it by the Holy Spirit. “For by that Spirit are we all baptized into the body of Christ” [1 Corinthians 12:13]. The body of Christ, the church, is a creation of the Holy Spirit of God.
Now in this Bible there are three figures used under which the many separate members are made one in Christ. There are three figures that are used. One: there is the figure of a bride, of a bride. “And the Spirit and the angels said to John, Come, come, and I will show you the bride of Christ” [Revelation 21:9]. And when John was taken to a great and high mountain, this is in the twenty-first chapter of the Revelation, and he was taken to a great and high mountain, there to look upon the bride of Christ” [Revelation 21:10]. And when he looked, what was it? It was a great city with thousands and millions of people in it, the bride of Christ. All of that great city is called the bride of Christ. You, and you, and you, and you, on this street, and that street, and at this address, we are the bride of Christ, and that’s where we’re going to live. That’s our home [Revelation 21:11-24].
The second figure that is used is that of a building, a building. We are likened unto so many separate stones in a great building. “Christ the foundation,” says Paul in 1 Corinthians 3 [1 Corinthians 3:11]; “And all of us as living stones,” in 1 Peter 2 [1 Peter 2:5]. We are as a building; there, there, there, all of these units put together into a building of God.
Third: and we are likened unto a body; a hand, a foot, an ear, an eye, a tongue, all of the many members of the body; and yet we are one, though with many members [1 Corinthians 12:12-31]. So with the body of Christ: many, many members, and yet we are one in Him. That is the baptizing work of the Holy Spirit; to make us one in the church, in the household, and in the body and building and bride of our Lord.
Now the way the Holy Spirit does that is, it is a taking out and a putting in; as the apostle Paul writes in the fifth and the sixth chapters of the Book of Romans, we are now by nature, we are in Adam, we are in death, we are in condemnation, we are in wrath and the judgment of God. And the Holy Spirit of the Lord takes us out of the old creation, and out of death, and out of Adam, and He puts us in Christ, in the living organism of the Lord Jesus Christ.
And Peter uses an imagery in that that is amazing. He uses Noah and the ark as a type of that separation, a taking out of and a putting into [1 Peter 3:20-21]. And in speaking of Noah, he says, “In those days, there were few.” How many are few? The Bible says eight; “Wherein there were few, that I, eight souls were saved by water, by baptism; the like figure whereunto baptism doth also now save us.” And lest somebody come along and say, “Well, baptism in water washes our sins away, and saves us.” He says, “No, I don’t mean the putting away of the filth of the flesh, in the washing in water; but I’m talking about the answer of a good conscience toward God, the regeneration of the Spirit, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” So what Peter does, he uses baptism by water as an illustration of that separation; taken out of death and this perishing world, and put in the ark and being saved in Christ, and the water is the separating agent in between. The water separated these that were perishing and the ark borne on the bosom of the deep.
So Peter uses that illustration that we’re out of this perishing world, taken out of death and condemnation, and we are placed in the ark of the covenant and safety of Jesus Christ our Lord. That is the baptizing work of the Holy Spirit: taking us out of death and judgment in this perishing world, and putting us in the blessed, precious arms of Jesus, into the bride, into the Holy City, into the building, and now a part of the temple of the Lord; into the body, made a part of the very life and organism of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Now – oh, oh, oh! Now for a last little summary: do you all know what I’m talking about? You just look. But there’s never anything more vital in your Christian life than what I’m preaching about, not anything you’ll ever listen to, not anything you’ll ever study, not anything you’ll ever meet in your practical life, more vitally significant than what I’m preaching to you these days.
Now, a third little summary: baptism by the Holy Spirit is a universal experience. It is a universal experience. It is one shared by all of the family of God. Now I want you to notice, Paul is writing to the church at Corinth, and the carnal, divided church at Corinth is one of the bywords of the whole Christian world. They were divided in every way. That church was carnal and divided in every way you can imagine. They were divided over personalities. Some said, “I’m for this preacher,” and some said, “I’m for the other one.” One said, “I am a follower of Paul,” and the other one said, “I’m a follower of Barnabas.” Another said, “I’m a follower of Cephas” [1 Corinthians 1:11-12]. They were divided over preachers and personalities. They were divided over the misuse of the Lord’s Supper and doctrine. Some held true doctrine, some held false doctrine. They were divided over disciplines. Some of them didn’t even want to say anything to a man who was living with his father’s wife. They were divided and went to courts of law against one another. There was no way that the church at Corinth was not divided. And Paul called it a carnal congregation. Yet he says, “All of you have been baptized by the Holy Spirit” [1 Corinthians 12:13].
He didn’t say to them, “Now in order to be spiritual, you pray for the baptism by the Holy Spirit.” He did not say, “The baptism by the Spirit is for the elect among you.” He didn’t even say to them, “Strive for it. Try for it. Seek it. Pray for it.” All Paul said was, aorist, aorist: “You have been baptized by the Holy Spirit of God, every one of you;” carnal and all, unworthy and all, backslidden and all, divided and all. Aorist tense, “You have all been baptized by the Holy Spirit of God.”
You’ll find the same thing here in the Book of Galatians: “For you are all,” and my, my, if there ever was a group of churches that were having troubles, and they were about to apostasize, it was the churches in Galatia, and yet Paul writes to them, “Ye all are the children of God by faith in Jesus Christ, and you all have been baptized into Jesus Christ, and put on Christ” [Galatians 3:26-27], every last one of them, every last one of them. Now isn’t that something? Isn’t that something? These carnal Christians, they’ve all been baptized by the Holy Spirit of God.
Then the baptism by the Spirit must be – – and this is the explanation of why there is no injunction in the Bible to be baptized by the Spirit. There’s no mandate. There’s no appeal. There’s no exhortation. The reason there is no mandate or exhortation to be baptized by the Holy Spirit is because all of us have been baptized by the Spirit of God when we were regenerated, when we were saved. That’s what it is.
When I let Jesus come into my heart and I am saved, the Holy Spirit of God places me in Christ, puts me in the church of the living God, makes me a part of the temple of the bride of the body. And that happens when I am saved. And all of us have been baptized by the Spirit into the body of our blessed Lord.
Now my trouble is not, and my weakness is not, and my impotence is not that God hath not wrought a marvelous work. But my impotence lies in me; my stubborn will and my unyielded soul.
I must close. In the days of the Old Testament, in the days of the Old Covenant, the Spirit was a mysterious and heavenly fire that flashed like lightning from the skies. We knew not whence or whither; sometimes falling in power upon a Moses, sometimes upon an Elijah. In the days of the Old Covenant, the Holy Spirit sometimes would flash out in the congregation of Israel the burning judgment of Almighty God. Sometimes the Holy Spirit in majestic wonder and awe would fall down in glory from heaven upon Mt. Carmel, and burn up the sacrifice, lick up the very dust of the ground [1 Kings 18:38]. Sometimes in the Old Testament the Holy Spirit of God would appear in a lambent flame, in the bush that burned in Horeb [Exodus 3:1-2], or become a shining shekinah in the temple of Solomon, bespeaking the holy mysterious presence of Jehovah God [1 Kings 8:10]; but not anymore.
Since Jesus returned to heaven and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God, He has poured out into this earth an ascension gift [Acts 1:4-5]. “For God gave not the Holy Spirit by measure unto Him” [John 3:34]; without measure, without measure, and He poured it out upon this earth. And I can have as much of the presence and power and Spirit of God as, by faith and by yielded surrender, I will accept. Get on my face before God, and I can yield to Him every key of my life, every room of my being, every thought of my mind, God helping me, if I just would. There’s no limit to the power. There’s no limit to the presence, there’s no limit to the coming, there’s no limit to the filling of God’s presence; only as my stubborn soul and my hard heart limits it.
I don’t know what might happen to us if we were really to yield ourselves to the Spirit of God; for He is here. Don’t have to seek Him, don’t have to go on a far journey to find Him. Here He is in us, and we in Him. O Lord, that He might have us really, fully, surrenderingly, gloriously. Lord, Lord, come upon us in power.
Now we must sing our song. And while we sing our song, somebody today open his heart to Jesus. Somebody today put himself in the arms and blessed love and tender mercies of our Savior. Somebody you, put your life in the fellowship of God’s church here in the earth. While we sing this song of appeal, while we extend this invitation, while we look to heaven, waiting for you, would you come? Would you make it now? “Here I am, preacher. Here I am. Here I come. I give you my hand. I give my heart to God. I’m coming into the fellowship of His church. I’ve been saved. I’ve been baptized, and here I am.” On the first note of the first stanza, on this cold, dreary morning, yet God has warmed our souls; you come. Make it now, while we stand and while we sing.
THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Dr. W. A. Criswell
A. The term “baptism of the Holy Spirit” is not in the Scriptures
B. Only mentioned in the prophecies of John the
C. The term “baptize” with reference to the Holy
Spirit is never mentioned at Pentecost, Samaria, Caesarea, Ephesus or anywhere
D. We are never commanded to be baptized by
the Holy Spirit
E. Doctrinal teaching of baptism by the
Holy Spirit not in the Gospels, the Acts, but in the Epistles; save in
reference to John’s prophecy
II. Who is
the baptizer, and into what does He baptize?
A. John the Baptist preached that Jesus is the baptizer (Matthew 3:11)
B. Paul preached that the Holy Spirit is the baptizer (1 Corinthians 12:13)
C. Two different baptisms?
D. Scriptural baptism is death, burial and
resurrection; water baptism is a symbol of the real, actual baptism (Romans 6:3-5, Colossians 2:12)
E. Jesus gives an ascension gift (Ephesians 4:8, John 16:7)
1. Jesus the primary agent in that He poured
out the Holy Spirit
2. Spirit of God is the immediate agent since
glorification of Jesus
did and when does the baptism occur?
A. John announced it as something beyond himself (Matthew 3:11)
1. Jesus spoke of it as a future event (John 14:16, 21, Acts 1:5)
B. Clearly occurred at Pentecost and thereafter (Acts 11:15-16)
C. It is an ascension gift
1. Came at a definite place and date (Luke 24:, Joel 2:28-32)
2. Came in a divinely ordained type (Leviticus 23:15-22)
3. Here with us now and forever (John 14:16-17)
a. Our wrestling is with ourselves (Isaiah
59:1-2, Genesis 32:22-32)