Empowering the Church: Spiritual Immersion

This is part four of empowering the church, a key principle for the church as a whole and individual Christians in particular.



Key Principle #1: EMPOWERED part 4

"...for John truly baptized with water,
but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit
not many days from now."
Acts. 1:5

The Power of Being Immersed By His Spirit

        We often are not empowered as a church and as individuals because we don’t understand what it means to be immersed with the Holy Spirit. I like the translation of “immersion” better than the word “baptized” in verse 5 because the word baptized is not actually translated from the Greek, it’s transliterated. What I mean is, the Greek word, baptizo, was not translated into an English word when the Bible was put into our language hundreds of years ago. When the Bible was first put into English, the most common form of water baptism was not immersion (that is, totally putting under water) but rather by sprinkling or pouring water over, in many cases, a baby as a form of Christening.

        In fact, the Anabaptists were persecuted not because they were against baptism, but they were against the practice of sprinkling or pouring water over babies who were not at an age to understand and become Christian believers. These Anabaptists practiced total immersion in water and it was only those who had truly professed faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior.

        The persecution of these believers was so severe that if anyone ever chose to get immersed, the established church would even condemn the believers to death by drowning. They essentially said, “So you want to be immersed, do you?”

        So in that historical setting, imagine the translators rendering Acts 1:5 like this: “For John truly immersed with water; but ye shall be immersed with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” Rather than face the wrath of the established church, the translators opted to simply transliterate the word and thus coined a new English word, but it obscured a central doctrine not just on the Biblical mode of water baptism, but the theological truth of Immersion with the Holy Spirit.

        Whether you believe that water baptism should be through sprinkling, pouring, immersion, or should be taken figuratively, the church today has lost the understanding that the Holy Spirit of God is to be immersed in the believer.

        When a person is immersed in his work, or a person is immersed in a book, it means to be absorbed. A ship that sinks into the sea is absorbed by the sea and a person who is immersed or baptized in the Holy Spirit is a person who is absorbed and saturated with God’s Spirit. That’s what is so special about the second chapter of Acts and the Day of Pentecost. For the first time in human history, God’s Spirit became fused into the very body, soul and spirit of a human being. Prior to that, the Holy Spirit came upon people, only to leave when God withdrew His empowering presence from that person, generally because of sin in the life of the person.

        Since Pentecost, the immersion of the Holy Spirit is permanent. Paul said that Christ in you, Christ’s Holy Spirit immersed in you, is the hope of all glory. You can no more un-immerse God’s Spirit within you any more than you can unscramble an egg or unmix your sugar and cream from your coffee. Some people think that salvation is like vinegar and oil, you have to keep it active or else it will separate. That’s not immersion, that’s cohesion; that’s not salvation, that’s salad dressing.

       So ask yourself. Are you a friend, a lover of God, so much so that you want to be a "Theolphilus" type person? Are you waiting, even actively tarrying, for God's presence and power? Are you obeying God in all things? Are you immersed in God's Spirit? If so, God’s power will abide in you.

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