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Baptism of the Spirit

Dr. Grant C. Richison


The word “baptism” occurs with the prepositions of “in,” “with” and “by.” The phrase “baptized in the Spirit” occurs in Mt 3:11; Mark 1:8; Lu 3:16; Jn 1:33; Acts 1:5, 11:16 and 1 Cor 12:13. The concept is spiritual union with Christ and all believers.

The Greek word baptizo is not translated but transliterated (the Greek word is just dropped into English without translation). If translated, the idea is to identify.

At this event Christ does the baptizing, He places the believer into the Spirit. Thus, the believer is placed in union with Christ (Ga 3:27,28; Ro 6:3,5) and with the body of Christ (1 Co 12:13).

All Christians are baptized with the Spirit at the moment of salvation. There is no command to seek Spirit baptism; there is no subsequent second baptism of the Spirit.

Water baptism is the outward symbol of Spirit baptism.

The Bible teaches seven different baptisms.

Four are not literal:

–The baptism of Moses (1 Co 10:1,2). This is an identification with Moses in passing through the Red Sea. Israelites went through the Red Sea on dry land upon parting of the waters of the Sea.

–The baptism of the cross (Mt 20:22). This is the judgment of God whereby the penalty for sins of the world was placed on Christ.

–The baptism of fire ( 3:11,12; Lu 3:16,17; 2 Th. 1:7-9). This is judgment at Christ’s Second Coming. All unbelievers will be taken from the earth and are subject to judgment.

Fire is symbolic of judgment in the Bible.

–The baptism of the Holy Spirit (1 Co 12:13). When a person becomes a Christian God places him into the body of Christ. He is identified as a believer. The baptism of the Holy Spirit did not occur in Old Testament. The first occurrence was on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit placed the new believers into the body of Christ.

The baptism of the Holy Spirit is the basis for positional truth. Believers are placed “in Christ”, and in this position have access to positional identification with Christ (Note the use of “in Him,” “in the Beloved One,” etc. in Ephesians one.

John the Baptist predicted the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16) as well as Jesus (John 14:16,17; Acts 1:5).

The baptism of the Holy Spirit is for all believers in the family of God (Gal. 3:26-28).

Christians are identified with Christ by the baptism of the Spirit in Rom. 6:3,4 and Col. 2:12.

The baptism of the Holy Spirit is not experiential. It is an action by the Holy Spirit.

Three are with literal water:

–Baptism of John (Mt 3:6-11). This was identification with Christ’s coming kingdom and with Christ as Messiah.

–Baptism of Jesus (to identify Him as the Messiah)

–Baptism of believers (to identify them with the death, burial and resurrection of Christ).