5. Rebirth : Baptism in water and in the Holy Spirit.
The Apostle Peter had said to the gathered crowds on the day of the Pentecost:
“Repent, and let each of you be baptized….and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”. [Acts 2:38,39]
God gives the Holy Spirit to His adopted children, as the Apostle Paul says:
That you are sons, (is revealed by the fact that) God sent the Spirit of His Son to your hearts, crying out “Abba, the Father”. [Galatians 4:6]
Even before His Crucifixion, Jesus Christ had clarified to Nicodemus how one can become a child of God:
“...unless one is born above, (again), he will not be able to see the kingdom of God ... unless one is born from water and Spirit, he will not be able to enter the kingdom of God… That which is born of the Spirit, is a spirit.” [John 3:3,5,6]
Having been born “above” (in other words “again”) by God, he comes His child. Rebirth, therefore, is achieved with water and the Holy Spirit. This is the Christian baptism.
´´For, all of you are sons of God, through faith in Jesus Christ.... whoever of you is baptized in Christ, has donned Christ...you all are one, in Christ Jesus... If you are of Christ, therefore you are Abraham's seed, inheritors according to the promise" . [Galatians 3:25-29]
Therefore, when a person partakes of the Christian Baptism, he "wears" Christ. After the "old person" dies, a "new person" is born, from within the "liquid grave" of water:
"Whosoever of us has been baptized in Christ Jesus has been baptized unto His death. We have therefore buried ourselves with Him through Baptism, to the death, so that just as Christ rose from the dead through the glory of the Father, so shall we too walk, in a newness of life". [Romans 6:3-4]
"In Whom (Christ) you have also been circumcised with a circumcision not hand-made, having discarded the body of the sins of flesh through the circumcision of Christ, "burying" yourselves with Him with the Baptism and through Whom you are also co-resurrected through faith in the energy of God, Who raised Him from the dead." [Colossians 2:11-12]
The "new person" who is born of the water and the Spirit has now donned Christ - the Son of God - by having made himself a part of His Body, a member of His Church. But by being a member of the body of the Son of God, that person himself also becomes a son of God. And that he is a son is made apparent (as we have seen) by the Holy Spirit, Whom God gave to every son of His to call out to Him as "Abba". Rebirth does not occur by only being steeped in the Holy Spirit or by only being immersed (baptized) in water, but as the Lord had said to Nicodemus: "In water and in the Spirit" - simultaneously.
But why doesn't the Holy Spirit speak in the hearts of all the baptized? Why does He speak long after some people's Baptism, and to others from the beginning or to yet others, not even at all?
As we have seen, the heart of every baptized person must normally call out"Abba the Father", according to the exemplar of the Holy Bible. However, for certain reasons that we shall examine further along, this is sometimes delayed, and then in others, it may never happen. We shall see those reasons. after first examining a few more things regarding the Baptism by the Holy Spirit.
Article published in English on: 18-3-2010.
Last update: 18-3-2010.