How Can We Receive the
Baptism of the Holy Spirit?
To understand what the baptism of
the Holy Spirit is, we need to first understand why Jesus was baptized
by John and died on the Cross. As Romans 3:23 states, “all have
sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” every human being
is born as a sinner who cannot but commit iniquities before God,
and according to Romans 6:23, which tells us that “the wages
of sin is death,” each and every one of mankind therefore cannot
avoid but be punished to death as the wages of sin.
But God the Father, who loves mankind,
has prepared a way by which we can be cleansed of our sins, judged
for and saved from them, all through Jesus. God the Father sent
His only begotten Son, Jesus, and poured the punishment, which we
had to receive ourselves, on Jesus instead through His baptism and
crucifixion. In our place, Jesus took upon our sins and was punished
to death by God the Father. However, Jesus, who is unblemished,
pure and righteous, then overcame death and triumphed over it. He
rose, in other words, from the dead again.
How, then, are these works of atonement
fulfilled by Jesus connected to mankind? By believing His works
means for us to receive the remission of all our sins. Jesus, who
bore all the sins of mankind by being baptized by John at the Jordan
River, received all the punishment that He suffered on the Cross
to give us the remission of our sins. When we believe that Jesus
was baptized by John and suffered His death as the vicarious bearing
of our own punishment of sin, the righteousness of God is fulfilled
in our hearts.
Furthermore, the righteousness of
Jesus is passed onto us as our own righteousness and we are clothed
in it, and we therefore come to be considered as the perfectly righteous
ones before God, become His children, and partake in eternal life.
Galatians 3:27 states, “For as many of you as were baptized into
Christ have put on Christ.”
John 3:16 states, “For God so loved
the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes
in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Like this
verse, we become righteous the very moment when we believe that
all our sins were passed onto Jesus with His baptism received from
John, and believe in the punishment of the Cross.
The word baptism carries several meanings,
one of which is to cleanse away sins, and another is to unite. As
such, we must realize that “to be baptized by the Holy Spirit” is
to know and believe with what method Jesus the Son has solved the
problem of the iniquities of sinners, and that it is by this faith
that we receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
That the Holy Spirit has come into
our hearts, dwells in us and unites with us, means that we have
believed in the baptism of Jesus. This ministry of the Holy Spirit
is well described in the passage from Matthew 3:13-17. Jesus said
that the reason why He was baptized by John was to fulfill all the
righteous of God with the method of this baptism that He received
from John. Therefore, to receive the Holy Spirit, we must first
believe that Jesus took upon all the sins of mankind by being baptized
by John. This is how we can unite with the Holy Spirit, and the
Bible also tells us that we receive the Holy Spirit by believing
in the grace of the remission of sin, that Jesus was crucified and
shed His blood because He had accepted all the sins of mankind passed
onto Him with His baptism. The Holy Spirit dwells in the hearts
of those who have been cleansed of their sins with the baptism of
Jesus and the blood of the Cross.
This is shown in the conversation
that Jesus had with Nicodemus. To Nicodemus who came to see Him,
Jesus said that only those who are born again could see the Kingdom
of God. Being born again means that a soul that had died because
of sin is regenerated as new, and partakes in the eternal life of
the Kingdom of God. Hearing about the truth of being born again,
Nicodemus was unable to understand what it meant, and so he asked
Jesus how such a thing could be happen.
At this time, Jesus answered, “Most
assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit,
he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). Only by believing
the ministry of Jesus that eliminates all our sins and even the
root of our sins, can we be born again as new, and such a wonderful
work was fulfilled when He was baptized and died on the Cross. When
we believe it, the Holy Spirit dwells within us. No effort, work,
achievement, ability, or character of mankind whatsoever is involved
in this. We need the faith that believes in the truth that only
the baptism of Jesus and His death on the Cross have thus cleansed
away the sins of mankind.
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We need to pay attention to what Jesus
continued to say in His conversation with Nicodemus. Jesus emphasized
the importance of the Word that we must be born again of water and
The Holy Spirit’s ministry of regeneration
that makes our souls born again—that is, the baptism of the Holy
Spirit—is not only a transformation that occurs in the profound
depth of a person’s heart, but it is also an extremely mysterious
ministry. Because of this, the ministry itself cannot be seen through
our own reason or consciousness. What we can know is that receiving
the baptism of the Holy Spirit comes together with the remission
of sin that we received into our hearts when we believed in the
baptism of Jesus and the blood of the Cross. We realize that we
have become God’s children when we receive the Holy Spirit as a
gift (Romans 8:15).