Baptism Into Reality

Question.  How did the children of Israel get into the Promised Land?

Answer.  They were baptized into the Promised Land.  The Jordan baptism was, as it were, a death and a resurrection: twelve stones representing the twelve tribes were left in the bottom of the Jordan, and twelve stones were set up on the Canaan side of Jordan.  Having come through this baptism the children of Israel were “in the land.” Although they had yet to discover the length and the breadth of this land, and what possessing it involved, they were actually in the land.

Fast forward.  Now consider those who were baptized in Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost—not just the initial 120, but the 3,000 who were added to them the same day.  The 120 had some understanding of what was coming (Acts 1:8), but what about the rest?  How much did they comprehend of all that this baptism meant—the breadth and the length and the depth and the height of it all?  Perhaps very little.  Nevertheless, those who had been baptized in Holy Spirit were actually “in the land” of their inheritance in the heavenlies.  It was not till later that the apostles would have opportunity to teach them what this baptism was all about, and not till much later that the New Testament, in which the significance of baptism in Holy Spirit is spelled out (mostly in Paul’s epistles), was available to the believers.

What is my point?  I am saying that one may be baptized in Holy Spirit and not yet comprehend what this is all about.  It does not negate the reality of the baptism.  It was of people who had been baptized in Holy Spirit that Paul asked, “Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” (Rom. 6:3).  It seems they did not realize this.  “Know ye not…?”  They had been baptized into Christ, but did not yet comprehend the significance of that baptism—that as a result of it they too were dead to sin… and (the natural consequence of being baptized into His death) also partakers of His resurrection life and walk.

In Acts 19 Paul asked certain Ephesians if they had received the Holy Spirit when, or since, they believed.  They had not, and so he baptized them in water in the Name of the Lord Jesus, and then after Paul had laid his hands on them, Jesus baptized them in Holy Spirit.  It was to these saints that Paul later wrote the following words, including himself as one who was in Christ as a result of the Spirit baptism:

But God, who is rich in mercy for His great love wherewith He loved us,
Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ (by grace ye are saved);
And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus;
That in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus… (Eph. 2:4-7).

More literally that would be “with-quickened,” “with-raised,” and “with-seated.”  Christ being made alive and raised from the dead and enthroned in the heavenlies became the present heritage of the Ephesians.  They were quickened (made alive) with Him, raised with Him, seated with Him in the heavenlies.  When?  When did this happen?  It happened when they were baptized in Holy Spirit—baptized into Christ.

And so it is with all who are baptized in Holy Spirit.  Baptism in Holy Spirit is baptism into Christ—into His death, resurrection, and ascension.  It is not “positional truth.”  It is the present reality of those baptized into Christ, that is, made one with Christ, joined to Christ, by His Spirit.  Just as the Israelites were in the land as a result of the Jordan baptism, those baptized into Christ are quickened together with Him and raised together with Him and enthroned together with Him in their heavenly heritage.

It is not positional truth hopefully to be gained in a future day, it is actual and present truth for those in Christ, and so can be walked in by faith.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

34 responses »

  1. Thanks for sharing this!

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    • Thanks, Robert, it’s understanding that has meant some realignment in my own thinking. Hopefully I am always ready to do so! Please feel free to share this if you like.

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  2. Hi Allan – I think there must be two separate teachings operating under the name “position.” I have been learning about positional truth for the past 35 years. What I learned can be summed up by this statement: “In Christ a Believer has (already) died, been buried, resurrected, ascended to heaven, been seated in the heavenlies, and hidden in Him.” In other words, whatever is true of Him (apart from His Divine nature) is true of us in the eyes of God because we are hidden into Him. Our position is not for the future only, but for our walk through this wilderness journey on earth. God longs for us to learn, and make use of, our position in His Son. So we are:

    Reconciled, Redeemed, No longer Condemned; Crucified, dead, buried and raised with Christ to walk by a new life principal; Free from the Law; a Born Again child of God (quickened, New Creation); Adopted (as an adult ‘son’); Made Acceptable to God; Brought near to God; Delivered From the Powers of Darkness: Translated into the Kingdom; Partakers of the Holy and Royal Priesthood; Having Access to God even as His own dear Son has access; The object of His love, grace, power, faithfulness, peace, comfort, personal care, and intercession; Born of the Spirit, Baptized by the Spirit, Indwelt by the Spirit; Complete in Him and possessing every spiritual blessing. Part of the Family and Household of God — and a Heavenly Citizen.

    There’s more – all because we are IN CHRIST and He is in us. As a babe in Christ, of course, we do not realize all these aspects and must grow to know what He says about us and then to believe Him (through learning His Word with the help of the Holy Spirit). Paul wrote of these things in his letters to the churches, and John also in his epistles. I didn’t begin to learn about my ‘position’ in Christ until I was a believer for 10 years.

    “Here, then, we have one grand aspect of the Christian’s position. It is defined by the position of his Lord. This makes it divinely simple; and . . . divinely settled. The Christian is identified with Christ. Amazing fact “As He is so are we in this world.” It is NOT said, “As He is, so shall we be in the world to come.” No; this would not come up to the divine idea. It is, “SO ARE WE IN THIS WORLD.” The position of Christ defines the position of the Christian.” ~C.H. Mackintosh (who wrote in the 1800’s)

    I have been so grateful over the years to understand (a little more every day) and to live in the good of my position ever since I heard and began to grasp this principle. Still learning and growing — as a believer who’s CONDITION is ever trying to catch up to everything the Lord is making available to me because of my heavenly position. So – do you see why I say there must be two different teachings on this?

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    • Hi Lori. The “positional truth” teaching I had in mind is the one in which being quickened together with Christ, and raised together with Him, and seated together with Him in the heavenlies is a “standing” that is ours in Christ, but is not our present state. I used to think that way myself, but it cannot be true of those baptized into Christ. Now I see that being baptized into Christ means that what is true of Him is true of me also—the instant I am baptized into Him. This lines up with what you said: “In Christ a Believer has (already) died, been buried, resurrected, ascended to heaven, been seated in the heavenlies, and hidden in Him.”

      Some express positional truth as follows— that when God looks at me He sees Christ, although actually I may be far from being like Christ. That may be true in the sense of justification by faith, but it misses the mark as to what Paul is teaching about those who are baptized into Christ. Those baptized into Christ are quickened with Christ, and raised up with Him, and seated together with Him in the heavenlies. This is not merely their “position” in Christ as though this is something separate from their present state, and they gradually arrive to this “position.” The state of those baptized into Christ is that they are dead as He is dead, and alive as He is alive, and enthroned as He is enthroned.

      I believe what it really comes down to, then, is a matter of revelation— light— the kind of New Covenant light which enables one to walk in it by faith.

      And so I agree with what you wrote: “Our position is not for the future only, but for our walk through this wilderness journey on earth. God longs for us to learn, and make use of, our position in His Son.” I agree, although I would emphasize that “our position in His Son” is more than just a “position.” Perhaps the word “heritage” is better. In Christ we are in our heavenly heritage. Let us walk therein, then, by faith. This is the way Paul put this in Galatians. As one baptized into Christ he said, “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” But he did not stop there. He went on to add, “and the life which I now live in the flesh (as opposed to the one he previously lived under the Law) I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). Faith, then (which implies a ceasing from our own works) is the divine provision that enables us to walk in the spiritual reality that is ours in Christ.

      …My thoughts, Lori, as a fellow explorer who continues to “grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”

      By the way, I will just point out that what you said, “Baptized by the Spirit,” should say, “baptized in Spirit.” The Holy Spirit never baptizes anyone. It is Jesus who baptizes, and He baptizes in Holy Spirit.

      I like the C.H. Mackintosh quote.

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      • Greetings Allan – I’ve been turning over your comments here about “standing,” and and those regarding the word “heritage” in place of “position.” I think I do recall hearing, early on, something about position being a standing before God—maybe that’s why I had some confusion for a long time and couldn’t grasp it. But eventually the Lord provided two mentors who directed me toward really good authors (Macintosh being one) and taught me to tell the difference between ‘good’ deeper life (growth) literature and ‘the best’ literature. However I ever remain the Berean who verifies everything with Scripture. Good writers include some jewels in their works but require some sifting. I do refer to them, but spend most of my time marinating the stuff that I can sink into without sifting. I’ve been marinating in “positional truth” for a long time and cannot make the switch to “heritage” although I can certainly see why/how you would. Being ‘positioned in Christ’ speaks to me of the richness of His life as it is meant to be lived out in the believer. And I have been greatly helped knowing that He is the vine and I am the branch, positioned into Him so that His life outflows and produces the fruit of the Christ-life. I do find it helpful in some contexts, though, to substitute the word ‘heritage’ – not something I’d thought of before.
        Also, noticed your reference to ‘reckoning’ – what a day it was when I finally caught that one! I struggled to understand the full intent behind that principle for a very long time. Oh the freedom in knowing that He has done it all and I just have to see it, believe it and receive it (count it as mine)!! Paul used one dazzling superlative after another to communicate the glory of the risen, seated-in-heaven, Christ. Oh the depths of the riches . . . . !!
        It’s always good to hash out the Word of God with a fellow explorer . . .

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        • Lori, you said, “I think I do recall hearing, early on, something about position being a standing before God…” And then you said, “Being ‘positioned in Christ’ speaks to me of the richness of His life as it is meant to be lived out in the believer. And I have been greatly helped knowing that He is the vine and I am the branch, positioned into Him so that His life outflows and produces the fruit of the Christ-life.”

          I think I understand now the way you view this– that being “positioned” in Christ is more than just a theological standing which eventually may be arrived at. This latter idea is what I meant by “positional truth,” and what is ours by way of baptism into Christ is far, far more than that.

          As to reckoning, I read an explanation of this that hit home with me. By way of reckoning myself a squirrel, I may climb a tree, chatter away on the branch, and crack nuts with my teeth. But all I will end up with is sore teeth, and most likely broken bones when I fall from the tree. That is not reckoning. The only way I can reckon myself a squirrel is if I am a squirrel. The only way I can reckon myself dead to sin is because, being baptized into Christ and into His death, I am dead to sin as He is dead to sin.

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          • Well Allan, I’m glad I was able to communicate what I understand positional truth to be. I think it’s always a good idea to explain these things since words can mean different things to different people. Personally, I love theology, but only as a vehicle to understand the heart of God and all He is to us.
            I love the squirrel illustration — that makes it good and clear. It’s so hard to realize that we are dead to sin when we are 1) called “saved sinners” by so many well-meaning teachers and 2) confronted with our own failures so many times a day. I recently heard someone say “God wants to get sin out of the way so He can have fellowship with us – and we with Him.” He has done it! Our biggest failing now is that we don’t live in the good of who we are as His beloved children — as those Baptized into the Son of His love and seated with Him in glory. We are so often directed to look at Christ as the humble man on earth and to “imitate Him.” But, hallelujah! Paul tells us to know Him as our glorified, victorious source of New Creation Life. There is no other way that self can be set aside so that we can grow to into His likeness.
            Are you familiar with Watchman Nee’s “The Normal Christian Life?” That was the game-changer for me. I have revisited it many times over these past 35 years – it is always a ‘peeling the onion’ experience for me.

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          • Lori, Amen. I just want to copy what you have said so I can Amen it at the end also. You wrote, “I recently heard someone say ‘God wants to get sin out of the way so He can have fellowship with us – and we with Him.’ He has done it! Our biggest failing now is that we don’t live in the good of who we are as His beloved children — as those Baptized into the Son of His love and seated with Him in glory. We are so often directed to look at Christ as the humble man on earth and to ‘imitate Him.’ But, hallelujah! Paul tells us to know Him as our glorified, victorious source of New Creation Life. There is no other way that self can be set aside so that we can grow to into His likeness.”

            Amen, sister, and thank you. I much appreciate your perception into truth.

            I have a very worn copy of The Normal Christian Life. What a revelation it was when I first read it, and began to realize that the average Christian life was not normal. I still read it from time to time. I love the last chapter of it– The Goal of the Gospel. The fragrance of Mary’s outpouring from the broken alabaster flask must accompany the Gospel wherever it is proclaimed– or there is a very important Something missing. We can have our theology down pat, but if that is missing, it is all in vain.

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  3. Great post, Allan! Very helpful for me, particularly that part where you explained the Jordan baptism being death and resurrection at the same time. I was just thinking of Jesus’ baptism with water AND with the Holy Spirit immediately afterwards… A sign for us that we need both baptisms as well, just as the wilderness and the temptations following the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Eventually, we must die to sin as Jesus died for our sins on the cross. And only then we can live a (spiritual) resurrection life. But not before…

    Thanks so much for your thought-provoking entry! 🙂

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    • Hi Susanne, thanks for your comment. The implication of baptism in Holy Spirit, which is baptism into Christ, is that just as Christ is dead to sin, so too are those baptized into Him “dead to sin, and alive unto God” (Romans 6:11). We are to “reckon” it so, account it to be a fact. It is not a matter of struggling to die to sin, it is a matter of spiritual Light breaking upon us causing us to know that we are dead to sin as He is dead to sin. I realize, of course, that this is a battle ground, but “thanks be unto God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” The victory is in Him– and is enjoyed by those baptized into Him.

      Oh, then– this is much on my heart these days– how we need to be awakened to what the Spirit baptism is all about– the implications of baptism into Christ! What a heritage is ours– in Him! “Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.”

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  4. Allan and Susanne, I was thinking about your exchange again in light of some key verses that God has made stand out to me in the last couple of years…

    “for ye are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus; for as many of you as were immersed into Christ, did put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:26-27 WAS)

    For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. (Acts 17:28 KJ2000)

    Therefore from now on know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet from now on know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
    (2 Corinthians 5:16-17 KJ2000)

    Through our faith in Christ we are immersed INTO Christ (not just water) and thus we have “put on” Christ and are filled with His Spirit. We now have our lives IN HIM, not in ourselves. IN HIM we live and move and have our being. The problem is in the reckoning (see Romans 6:11). Do we continue to know ourselves and others after the flesh? Focusing on ourselves as in ourselves instead of IN Him and knowing ourselves after the flesh and not forgiving ourselves for what we see is a real problem that holds many people back. BUT if any man is IN Christ he is a NEW creation and the old things are passed away and all things are become NEW. Thank God it is all about HIM and not about us.

    Love you both IN the Son,
    Michael

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    • Yes, Michael, reckoning. As Watchman Nee pointed out in The Normal Christian Life, reckoning (accounting) follows knowing. He used the example of a man who withdrew money from his bank account because he knew the money was in the account. He could not reckon it was in the account if it was not in the account. And so, I reckon myself dead to sin because, being baptized into Christ, I know I am dead to sin because He is dead to sin.

      The verse you quoted is very pertinent to this: “If any man be IN CHRIST, he is a new creation…” I read somewhere that Paul’s use of those words “in Christ,” or “in Him,” or similar constructions, appears hundreds of times in his epistles. Meaning that baptism into Christ (which is accomplished by baptism in Holy Spirit) is central to the New Covenant. People are either in Christ, or in Adam. There is no gradual transition from one to the other.

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      • I agree, my brother. Part of the problem is in how the salvation verses that should have been translated, “into” instead of “in” or “upon” were mistranslated. According to Greek in all those verses that speak of our initial act of believing, such as John 3:16, they make salvation sound like a mere mental exercise, “…that whosoever believes in Him…” The word translated “in” in the Greek is the preposition “eis” which is INTO not “en” or in. We believe INTO Christ and we put on Christ if we truly believe with saving faith. From then on we are IN Christ and we are a NEW creation.

        Again, it is where we focus our hearts, “In Him we live and move and have our being” or looking unto ourselves that makes the difference in whether we live victoriously or in defeat. For the one IN Christ, the independent self is a lie to be rejected. “When He appears we shall be like HIM for we shall SEE HIM as He is.”

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        • Another part of the problem, Michael, is in thinking we are baptized in Holy Spirit when we initially believe, whereas, according to Acts Ch. 19 and other places, baptism in Holy Spirit is subsequent to believing. You said, “We believe INTO Christ and we put on Christ if we truly believe with saving faith.” I believe this is right, but only when there has been a subsequent baptism in Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit baptism that is baptism into Christ. Having said that, the more I read the writings of the apostles, I see that they viewed these separate things as part of one whole, and when speaking of them separately, often had the whole in mind.

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          • Alan and Michael — I see that I was writing that last response while you both were posting these last exchanges. Good stuff!! I’m not at my home right now, and cannot look this up to verify, but I have always taken the Acts baptism in Holy Spirit to be part of the transitional nature of the Acts — in other words this was all new to those people and they hadn’t heard of these new things, therefore they were not receiving them — therefore the Baptism was “subsequent”. (Poor explanation, not sure how to exactly say this). This could be why Paul spoke of believing “into Christ” and the receiving of the Holy Spirit as part of one whole. What do you all think? I’ll be looking into this when I get the chance.

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          • They are part of one whole, Lori, but are distinct components in it. This of course runs contrary to the teaching that to believe in Jesus and receive the Spirit are one and the same thing.

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      • I agree, Allan. I just do not see saving faith as possible without having the Holy Spirit in us. Real life IN Christ starts when we have received the Spirit in us.

        “But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” (Romans 8:9 KJ2000)

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        • Yes, Michael, that’s how I see it too. It’s one thing (and a wonderful thing) to be “justified by His blood,” and “reconciled to God by the death of His Son” (Rom. 5:10) by which those who believe are justified; but “much more, being reconciled,” to be “saved by His life.” It’s when we receive the Spirit (are baptized in Holy Spirit) that being “saved by His life” begins. “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus freed me from the law of sin and death.”

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          • Allan, I see a great problem among those in the churches who are people claiming to be saved, but not believing that they need to be born of and lives ordered by the Spirit. Like Jesus told Nicodemus who had this same problem…

            “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto you, You must be born again. The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound thereof, but can not tell from where it came, and where it goes: so is everyone that is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:5-8 KJ2000)

            One cannot be “born again” without being born of the Spirit of God. The fact that the churches are filled with born of the flesh only Christians that would never dream of being moved by the wind of the Spirit, is exactly why Christianity is in the mess that it is in, under the rule of the flesh instead of God. Only as we are moved by the Spirit of God is God’s spiritual temple being built. This situation is why it is so easy for the enemy to sow tares among God’s wheat.

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          • Michael, you mentioned that, “churches are filled with born of the flesh only Christians that would never dream of being moved by the wind of the Spirit…” Many, I think, would love this kind of walk but have never been taught it’s their heritage in Christ. That’s the way I see the picture– that many of these love the Lord and are precious to Him, and are walking in the light they have. Their need is for greater light… devastating though it be!

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          • Well said, my brother. Yes! We are saved by HIS life in us. I was one such as these without the Spirit in me, attending an evangelical church when I first started to pursue Christ, God finally brought me into the truth of what you are sharing, that I was lacking the Holy Spirit and that was why I had no power over sin in my life and neither did the Bible and the Spirit speak to me like like they do now. That happened in 1970 and my life has not been the same since.
            God bless you, Allan!

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          • Thanks, Michael. And God bless you as well.

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  5. Okay Allan — let’s see if we are saying the same thing, because I’m not sure if we are..

    You said people are either in Christ or in Adam. So far so good, I’m on the same page. So now — what does a person actually know or believe when he gets “saved?” That all depends on what he has been told and/or where he is in the process of spiritual growth.. I became a Christian the day I heard that I could have a personal relationship with Jesus (the first time I ever heard the gospel of salvation). The Spirit of God had been preparing me for two years to hear this. Raised as a Catholic — I knew about heaven and hell and sin. I knew Jesus died on a cross but had no idea what that was really about. But I was searching for the Lord because something (Someone!) deep inside me gave witness to the idea that God was knowable. So I became a Christian knowing very little about anything other than relationship. At that moment, even though I did not know it — I inherited all the riches of Christ — sonship, freedom from the law, freedom from the Old Man (Adamic nature), and the Holy Spirit indwelling — all of it. But I had no idea about any of it. True growth in Christ gradually brings all of it into focus over time if the believer is taught correctly and is willing to hear it. The Lord was my VERY LIFE from the beginning, but I did not know that. In fact I spent the better part of 10 years struggling and defeated until I was worn out from trying to live the Christian life in my own strength. When I was ready to lay it all down, I heard about “identification with Christ,” sonship and Position (as I explained before). This is the same process many believers go through (struggling, doing it on their own until they realize they cannot) before they finally open their hand and heart to receive it all from Christ glorified.

    One cannot have the Son without the Spirit — so why the use of the phrase “subsequent baptism in Spirit”? Distinct components — yes, no problem. But subsequent?

    By the way (on a different topic) — God help us all, the Supreme Court of the United States is Satan’s tool! And while the “Christian church” is busy fighting against Gay marriage — they will not be seeing their own need for a deeper relationship with the One who deserves all their attention.

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    • Lori, you asked, “So now — what does a person actually know or believe when he gets ‘saved?’” My testimony is much the same as your own; it is not necessary to know a lot in order to have a genuine experience of being “saved.” But it is tragic when “being saved” is limited to that first experience. There is “much more,” in the main, receiving the Spirit.

      I agree that believing and receiving may happen at what seems to be the same time—or so close together that they seem to be the same thing—but that they are different components. I should have used the word “consequent” rather than “subsequent.” God never justifies anyone without intending to baptize them in Holy Spirit. Many, however, settle for justification. But justification by faith is only one step in the salvation process. Much of evangelical Christianity maintains that this is the only step, and that to believe in Jesus, and therefore to be justified by faith, is the same thing as to receive the Spirit. Scripture is clear. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mk. 16:16). I have a hunch that Jesus is speaking of Spirit baptism here. Baptism in water does not save; it is a “figure” of the one baptism—Spirit baptism. And our Bible record shows that receiving the Spirit became the experience of all those who first believed. Paul confirms this, reminding the Ephesians that, “after ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise…” (Eph. 1:13).

      Here is something by F.F. Bruce that you might find helpful: “…It was the impartation of the Spirit in response to faith that made the convert a new creation. We must beware of forcing Paul’s thought and terminology into the mould of twentieth-century Christian rationalism, but if it be realized that repentance and faith, with baptism in water and reception of the Spirit, followed by first communion, formed one complex experience of Christian initiation, then what is true of the experience as a whole may be predicated of any element in it. We may make logical distinctions between this and that element, but such distinctions need not have been present to the minds of Paul’s Corinthian converts who knew that they had been “washed… sanctified… justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:11). It is unlikely that they dissociated the washing from their baptism in water, but it was the divine action in their lives that gave their baptism effective meaning and caused Paul to use what has been called the language of sacramental realism.” (F.F. Bruce, Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free, Chapter 25, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper in Pauline Thought)

      I think I see that in the New Testament epistles. The apostles often speak of one component, but have the whole in mind.

      As to your last thought: “And while the ‘Christian church’ is busy fighting against Gay marriage — they will not be seeing their own need for a deeper relationship with the One who deserves all their attention.”

      You are speaking out from my own heart here, Lori. For those with ears to hear, this is a call to repentance—to those in the “Christian church.” It is only out from our own “deeper relationship” with Jesus that He Himself will shine forth in a way that opens the eyes, and the prison, of those in this darkness.

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      • “Consequent” — that works for me, Alan. Good discussion! Thanks

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      • One more thing Allan — I want to Amen your comment about Mary’s alabaster flask. I studied that several years ago and came away with a beautiful picture of Mary walking around with that enticing fragrance filling the air around her as she went about her daily business. Now that you have mentioned it in our context here — my picture is even more detailed. Now I see the love of her Savior going out to everyone around her; they are stopping their own work, lifting their heads to see what it is, and asking her about it. Okay, so now my picture is a video. COOL!

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      • Allan, you wrote, ” For those with ears to hear, this is a call to repentance—to those in the “Christian church.” It is only out from our own “deeper relationship” with Jesus that He Himself will shine forth in a way that opens the eyes, and the prison, of those in this darkness.” I agree. And what is that “deeper relationship” that Jesus will use to shine forth and open eyes in this dark world? It is found in His final prayer…

        “that they may all be one, even as Thou art in me, O Father, and I am in Thee; that they also may be in us; that the world may believe that Thou didst send me. And the glory which Thou hast given me I have given them, that they may be one, just as we are one: I in them and Thou in me; that they may stand perfected in one; that the world may come to understand that Thou didst send me and hast loved them with the same love as that with which Thou hast loved me.” (John 17:21-23 WNT)

        ONE! That we who believe into Christ may ALL be ONE just as Jesus and the Father are one. We must be one in the Father and the Son for there to be a witness to the world that Christ is the Son who the Father loves and that the Father loves the world as He loves His Son. From what I have seen, what calls itself “the church” with its 41,000 different denominations and sects based on opposing doctrines, will never be a witness to this world of God’s love when it can’t even love itself! This is why I no longer put my faith in sectarian Christianity as having any positive effect on saving his world from self-destruction. Thank God He has always had His remnant whom HE has called outside the camps of religion unto an intimate relationship with Himself. May we find our unity in the love of the Father and the Son and in not mere doctrines of men as they interpret scriptures by their carnal minds.

        “A new commandment I give unto you, That you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another.” (John 13:34-35 KJ2000)

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        • Yes, Michael, that is the testimony the world needs to see, and will yet see, for this prayer shall surely be answered. Jesus concludes, “I have made known unto them Thy Name (while He was on earth) and will make it known (by the Holy Spirit after His ascension) that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

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