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.