By One Spirit

"For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit." (I Cor. 12:13)

I do not believe that there is any one scripture in the new testament writings that says as much as our text scripture, nor could any one scripture be as integral to the healing of the breach in the body of Christ today. There is just so much to be realized and understood by the power of this one statement from the Apostle Paul. In one sentence we are told how it is that anyone does and must get into the one body of Christ that God has ordained, and for which Jesus suffered and died, that it may exist. To risk seeming overly simplistic, we are plainly told by I Cor. 12:13 that it is the baptism of the holy Ghost that puts me, you, and anyone else who receives it, into God's only congregation of believers in the earth! Praise God! What deliverance and freedom is in this profound, straight forward statement of truth! What soundness and solidity! And the flip side of this pivotal scripture says just as much as the scripture itself. That being that unless and until someone receives this glorious
spiritual baptism from the hand of Jesus, they simply are not in the body of Christ; or at least not yet.

Baptism Is The Key

There are only two other scriptures in the new testament writings that tell us definitively how one gets into the body of Christ. Romans 6:3,4 says "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." And it's certain that no one can walk in newness of life in Christ, except by the power of God's Spirit, which only comes through the Spirit baptism (Acts 1:8). And in confirmation of that we are told in II Cor. 5:17 "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things have passed away; behold, all things are become new." And in Galatians 3:27,28 we are told, "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." We see the same things written in this passage as in our text scripture, so again we see that the baptism being referred to here is the baptism of the Spirit; not water baptism. And the only way anyone can "put on Christ" is to baptized with the Spirit, for II Cor. 3:17 says that "the Lord is that Spirit." So when we receive the Spirit of God into ourselves, we literally put on Christ. You see friend, this gospel that Jesus died for is a literal, powerful gospel; not a symbolic, powerless gospel (Rom. 1:16; II Tim. 3:5). As these scriptural passages plainly show, the baptism that literally puts us into Christ, is the one He had to suffer and die for before we could have it: the baptism of the holy Ghost.

The Spirit Baptism Is The New Birth

Now the purpose of this writing is not to deal with the issue of speaking in tongues when one receives the baptism of the Spirit. We have other articles that you can read on this site that deal with that topic. But the reality is that everyone who truly has the baptism of the Spirit, knows that one speaks in tongues upon receiving the experience. But the more integral issue here is that many, even most people who have been baptized with the Spirit, have been taught that one receives the Spirit and is born again before they are baptized with the Spirit with the witness of speaking with other tongues. The common school of thought throughout much of the body of Christ is that one receives the holy Ghost when they "get saved," or "accept the Lord," etc. These things are proclaimed  to be the born again experience while the Spirit baptism is considered to be a further empowering of the born again believer's experience. But there are a few problems with this school of thought which quite frankly negate it altogether. Firstly there simply is no record in the Bible where anyone ever "got saved" or "accepted the Lord." Secondly we are faced with this insurmountable question: How can someone not be in the body of Christ if they are saved or born again? For we have already seen very plainly that the Spirit baptism is the only way that anyone can get into the body of Christ. The only possible answer to this question friend, is that receiving the Spirit and being baptized with the Spirit with the accompanying witness of speaking in tongues, is one and the same experience. And in Rom. 8,9 we are soberly informed; "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."

We are told in I Cor. 6:9 that it is the Spirit that washes us from our sins, sanctifies us, and justifies us in the sight of God. And again, II Cor. 5:17 plainly states that only by being in Christ can we become a "new creature." Now a new creature obviously comes about through a new birth, which new birth Jesus said was about receiving the Spirit of God (Jn. 3:5). And the new birth experience is surely about us receiving the remission of our sins and being thereby sanctified and justified. So again we that it is evident that the baptism of the holy Ghost is absolutely the one and only new birth experience because it is the one and only way into Christ, or the body of Christ; whichever way you prefer to say it. Amen. There is nothing in the Bible that shows that we can be born again and have remission of our sins before or apart from the baptism of the Spirit. This is not to say that we cannot have an experience with the Lord before being baptized with the Spirit. In fact everyone does experience something by faith in Jesus before being baptized with the Spirit, but it's not the new birth. Even as a child is conceived in the womb of a woman before birth takes place, so it is with the new birth process. And even as a baby in the womb has life experiences, such as moving, receiving nutrition, etc.; even so a person who is conceived spiritually also has experiences through faith before the new birth experience.  In Jn. 16:21,22 Jesus likened His disciples to a woman ready to give birth, which birth He said would take place after He went away (Jn. 16:7; Acts 1:4,5; Acts 2:4). 

The Damage Done By Erroneous Teaching

The failure to recognize and embrace this simple truth has resulted in manifold division within the congregation of God, and as a result confusion has reigned among God's people instead of peace (Eph. 4:3; Col. 3:15). If we call something the born again experience before or apart from the holy Ghost baptism, then we are immediately and invariably thrown into a spiritual state of mass disarray. This enormous doctrinal error has resulted in the worship and service of God among His people to be bogged down and choked immeasurably due to our not even knowing who are brethren and who are not. Our "fellowship" is crippled because we have to become carnally minded to be joined together with "brethren" who have not even been baptized by one Spirit into one body. And on top of that we see an overwhelming amount of sickness and affliction in the body due to our weakened spiritual condition resulting from our not truly discerning the body of Christ (I Cor. 11:29,30). Due to this blatant oversight of the scripture, God's people also attribute godly respect to so called ministers who are not even in the body of Christ, and are misled further thereby. And one of the greatest spiritual calamities that has resulted from this confusion of the truth is that many dear children of God have mistakenly married someone who is not truly a member of the body of Christ, and have thereby put themselves under a spiritually unequal yoke (II Cor. 6:14-16). Marrying outside of the faith (the one body) has always been strictly forbidden of God, and has always resulted in spiritual disaster for those who have erred in this manner; whether they realize they have done it or not (Deut. 7:3,4; Ezra 9:10-14; II Cor. 6:14-16; I Cor. 7:39).

The Hope Of Unity And Victory

The ancient prophecy of Hosea sadly fits our state in the body of Christ today: "Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not" (Hos. 7:9). We simply cannot prosper in Christ if we are wrongfully joined together with those who are not in Christ, whether in worship or in marriage. Neither can we prosper if we place godly respect on religious teachers who are not a part of the body of Christ, or are not acknowledging the one body for what it is and who it is. If we can begin to recognize and uphold the truth of the new birth together, then we can begin the road to recovering our love and our power in God, which things are dependent on our being in one mind and one accord in the one body that we have all been baptized into by the holy Spirit of God  (Jn. 17:22; I Cor. 1:10; etc.). May God have mercy on us all that we might come to that place. Amen.

"For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, ..."
(I Cor.12:13)

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