…for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. Acts 1:5
The word ‘baptism’ in the New Testament is always associated with death and resurrection. It indicates a dying to self by faith. This is not a negative death – it is an entrance into life; it is the death of everything that is negative. The cross is like an operation to remove cancer – the patient may fear the surgeon’s knife, but he is also grateful for it. By it, the poison and sickness is removed from his life. So, too, the baptism with the Spirit is an experience of the cross. There is loss and there is gain. This is because God will not mix His Spirit with sinful flesh. In the Old Testament there are examples of sinful people, such as Samson, who received an anointing of power – which is never described as ‘the baptism with the Spirit’. From this we can understand that God’s Old Testament servants experienced something similar to the baptism with the Spirit, but with the important difference that there was no power of the cross in their experience. God’s greatest gift is to impart, not merely the cleansing power of the cross, but also the nature of the One who was crucified. The baptism with the Spirit is not an anointing of a carnal person; it is the transformation of a weak, carnal person into the image of God’s Son. The most important aspect of that Son is that He shows the love of God manifested in the cross.
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