Compared with Water Baptism
Look again at Acts 1:5 – “For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.”
As John baptized in the past, the Jews will soon be baptized not many days hence. What takes the place of the water in the second baptism? It is the Holy Ghost. The verse says that John baptized with water, but you are going to be baptized not many days hence with the Holy Ghost. The same preposition, with, is used in both. The Holy Ghost, or the Spirit of God, is the Medium in this second baptism. They were to be baptized with, or in, the Holy Ghost.
Who is the Administrator in this baptism? Go back to Matthew 3:11: “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:” The Administrator of the baptism with the Holy Ghost is Jesus Christ. He is the One who comes after John. He is doing the baptizing. Finally, who is he baptizing? He is baptizing the Jewish believers present in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost (as per Acts 1:6). These were Jewish people who had trusted in the Lord. Jesus took those believers and baptized them with, or into, the Holy Ghost. They were to be the Subjects of this baptism.
As a Historical Event
To understand the baptism with the Holy Ghost, you must understand that it was an event. Acts 1:6 teaches that the baptism with the Holy Ghost would occur “not many days hence.” We know that this baptism occurred in Acts chapter two on the Day of Pentecost. It was a special day. It was a unique day. It is not to be sought again and again. On that day, the believing Jews were brought into the baptism with the Holy Ghost.
Other groups were brought into the baptism with the Holy Ghost at a later date. But each group, after it was brought in, never had the baptism with the Holy Ghost again. The day of Pentecost gave the Holy Ghost to the Jews. The Samaritans received the Holy Ghost in Acts 8:14-17. After Acts eight, the Samaritans are never mentioned as receiving this again. The Gentiles were baptized with the Holy Ghost in Acts 10:44-48. But that is the last you hear of this experience with the Gentiles. Finally, one little side group who had been following John’s baptism received the Holy Ghost in Acts 19:1-7. The baptism with the Holy Ghost was an event that happened and after it happened it was over with. The indwelling of the Holy Ghost now comes at salvation through faith, but we will consider that later.
Look at Acts 2:33 – “Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.”
In Acts 1:6, Christ said that the baptism with the Holy Ghost would occur “not many days hence.” Now, on the day of Pentecost, Peter refers to it as “the promise of the Holy Ghost…which ye now see and hear.” Jesus told them the baptism was getting ready to come. Ten days later Peter told them that it had come. It was an event that happened on a certain day. It is not an experience for all believers since that time.
Our Reception of the Holy Ghost
Peter announced the shedding forth of the Holy Ghost. Some say we have to get that now. But we already have it. Romans 8:9 states: “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” We are “in the spirit”—that sounds like what happened to the Jews in Acts chapter two. The believer today is “in the Spirit” just much as the Jews were baptized into the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost. The Holy Ghost is the Medium of baptism into which they were placed. John basically said, I put you in water and He is going to put you in the Holy Ghost.
They were put in the Spirit. But we are in the Spirit too, “if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you” (Romans 8:9). Our being in the Spirit is directly connected to the Spirit being in us. The two occur at the same time. At the time the Spirit of God comes into you, you are put in the Spirit. All true believers are in the Spirit. We are all brought into the baptism with the Holy Ghost. However, it is done on a one by one basis. When you get saved you are placed into that plan.
You do not need to look for your own Pentecost. That happened when you got saved. Now read the last part of Romans 8:9: “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” If the Spirit is not in you, you do not belong to Jesus Christ. You are not saved. Being in the Spirit is the experience of all who are saved. Although you do not have a Day of Pentecost, you have received the benefits that were given to those Jewish believers on the Day of Pentecost. You are placed into that program.
Many people deny that there is more than one baptism. They go to the statement about “one baptism” in Ephesians 4:5. Let us look at this briefly.
Ephesians 4:4-6 says, “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”
People in different groups will emphasize different things in this passage. One group points to the “one body,” and another proclaims the “one baptism.” They often use the same passage to prove opposite doctrines. However, they miss the point God is making. They totally misinterpret the word one.
Paul is not using one as a number in this passage. We are not correcting scripture but only defining the word. You have heard the statement: “all for one and one for all.” This use of one refers to the idea of being unified. It refers to unity and is not a numerical count. The four musketeers did not cease to be four when they were one. A primary definition of one is to be unified, forming a whole, united, and undivided. In fact, the word unity means oneness.
It just so happens that the word unity is found only three times in the whole Bible. It is found once in Psalm 133:1 where it deals with brethren dwelling together in unity. Then, it is found two more times in Ephesians chapter four. Notice Ephesians 4:3. This is the leading verse to the passage we are studying: “Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” That is only the second time the word unity occurs in the Bible. The subject of the passage is the unity we have in the Spirit.
The third time the Bible mentions unity is in Ephesians 4:13 – “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” The “unity of the faith” in this verse is the “one faith” of verse five. There are many expressions of faith. There is the faith by which you get saved and there is the faith by which you walk as a believer. Yet God says it is all one. The word one in Ephesians 4:4-6 does not mean that each item listed occurs only one time or that it is used for only one thing. It means that it is united and undivided.