Water baptism is the shadow of Spirit baptism’s reality. Water baptism symbolizes the promise of God. Spirit baptism seals the promise of God: to cleanse us from sin, to unite us to Jesus and to empower us with the Spirit.
Spirit baptism has two primary aspects:
- Assurance (Spiritual Peace) – Rom. 5:5, “the love of God has been poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit” and Rom. 8:15-16, “15For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God”
- Ability (Spiritual Power) – the indwelling Spirit endows us with various gifts to be used for mission (teaching, giving, admin., helps, mercy…) – 1 Cor. 12 and Rom. 12
Theologically, the baptism with the Spirit happens at conversion and is a one-time event. However, we are intended to experience ongoing, continuous “fillings” with the Spirit as well. That actually is what we see in the book of Acts and it is still the pattern today. The question is not so much “have I experienced the baptism with the Spirit,” but “am I filled with the Spirit now?”
How am I filled? By consciously abiding/believing in Jesus as your sin-bearing, righteousness providing Savior (Gal. 3:1-5). Soli Deo gloria!