Print Friendly

Physical vs. Spiritual Baptism


We received this note:

Dear Victor, oh what a beautiful testimony. I was greatly encouraged as my conversion had similar events.

After I received the gift of the Holy Spirit and spoke in tounges, the scriptures opened up to me and I wanted nothing to do with other books[othe peoples interpretations of scripture] at this time.

Shortly after this experience[to make a very long story short], it was revealed to me through scripture that I needed to be also born of the ‘water’, not just the ‘Spirit’. Most of the ‘books’ I had read told me this had occured when I ‘said the sinners prayer’, and ‘asked Jesus into my heart’. But I could find this nowhere in the scriptures.

After a short time I saw the revelation of being baptized in the ‘name of Jesus’, and not just repeating titiles ‘father, son and holy ghost’.

"Repent and be baptized, everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sin and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost"

The "name" of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost is JESUS ! And it was first in this verse that I saw the ‘water and Spirit’ rebirth Jesus commanded !

God is One, not three people.

I am writing to you to thank you for you testimony, and to ask you if this also was your conversion of water and Spirit, as was first preached in Acts 2:38.

Sincerely, Teri

Victor’s and Paul’s replies:

Greetings in the Wonderful Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Teri,

I am thankful that my testimony has encouraged you. That says something for you.

I am not particularly excited to have to admit this, Teri, but I was first “baptized” by sprinkling or anointing with oil as a Catholic infant, which, of course, is not baptism at all. Then when converted at age 27, I submitted to water baptism by immersion at the Alliance Church, to which I was introduced by the man who led me to the Lord. That was “in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”

I left there shortly after to attend Bible school, which was run by Southern Baptists ninety miles away. These believed that water baptism is not valid unless it is done with their understanding, that being that one is baptized into a “local church.” They pressed on me. I thought, “I don’t see it, but it is no big deal to me. I will submit. God knows I believe Him.”

While in that school, a co-worker (my future wife) and I were reading the Bible while out on “a mission,” and our eyes fell on this verse:

“For also by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free, even all were made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13 MKJV).

Of course, that speaks of Spirit baptism, though I did not know it then. I knew that, somehow, the Baptists were in error in their doctrine, but being a young convert, and not yet having received the Spirit, I did not understand or debate it. Then, with this verse, I was beginning to realize that the Lord was showing me what I had been feeling, that my spiritual experience needed to be much bigger than that of being joined to a local church.

During those days, people had been sharing with us about the receiving of the Holy Spirit until, finally, we received. Then, several months later, we were expecting company and asked the Lord why they were coming. He told us that these people had things to share with us, which we needed to hear and believe. When they came, they told us three things that stuck out to me:

One, God is one, not two or three (which the Lord had already been showing us).

Two, His Name is “the Lord Jesus Christ,” and if water baptized, we must be baptized in His Name; titles were not legitimate. Yes, as you pointed out, Acts 2:38 is one verse, and there are others.

Three, conversion (repentance) is not the new birth, but the baptism in the Holy Spirit is the new birth. This we also knew, right after receiving the Spirit, and we were thankful to hear that others also understood it this way.

We found the nearest lake in late autumn of 1975, and for the fourth and final time in my life, I was baptized, this time “in His Name.”

At none of these baptisms did I experience anything emotional, spiritual, revelatory, or extra-sensory, as I did after my conversion or when we received the Spirit, when my life was sharply, dramatically changed. I have come to know that the internal is what is important, and the external is not. The Lord baptized me into His Body the moment we received His Spirit, and that is what counts. I know this both by experience and by the Scriptures. As Paul wrote:

“I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, lest any should say that I had baptized in my own name. And I also baptized the household of Stephanas. Besides these, I do not know if I baptized any other. For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel; not in wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. For the preaching of the cross is foolishness to those being lost, but to us being saved, it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:14-18 MKJV).

As John said, “I baptize you with water, but He Who comes will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”

I disagree with you on the meaning of being “born of water.” Logic speaks of water baptism, depicting resurrection from the dead. But Jesus spoke of two births when He said, “You must be born again.” The first birth is of the flesh (water) and the second is of the Spirit.

I have never seen any transformation in anyone as a result of water baptism. Several we have baptized (totally immersed) in water in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ have gone their way, never having been changed. When genuine conversion and repentance occur, or when one receives the Spirit, however, there is a newness of life that cannot be mistaken or doubted. There is a dramatic difference between what they were like in the first birth and what they were like after the second.

While Nicodemus did not understand even earthly things, he did understand being born the first time, and wondered how it could happen again.

Perhaps you also came to knowledge of the three above-mentioned doctrines by the United Pentecostals, who were what our visitors were. Now, Teri, I encourage you to read the writings on our site and consider what we will be sending out to you in the next days [The Issues of Life]. We must go on in faith and obedience, through the waters and the fires, overcoming to the end, coming out of all religious works, identifying with the Lord Jesus Christ in this world, which feigns faith in Him. He is faithful, and there is nothing to fear. On the contrary, there are great consequences if we do not obey Him, but great reward to which to look forward if we do.

Victor

Teri, Paul here.

I thought it might be helpful to hear my experience as well. I came to believe, or first acknowledge God in Christ, at the beginning of 1978. I had lived as a heathen in all my ways until this time. I met Victor in Israel in August 1979 and was water baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ in October of that year. I went through several difficult years without much apparently happening, yet the Lord was leading and keeping me by His will, grace, and mercy.

In 1987 there was prophecy that there was a breakthrough, and that the Lord had brought me to a place of repentance. He began to bless me and new things began to happen after that time, yet still with many difficulties. It was not until several years later, in 1994, that He gave me His Spirit. I was born again, but the fires still needed to do their work, to deliver me from the sin nature, and the supremacy of the flesh, so that I would become a son of God, and it would be Christ, not I, Who ruled over me.

After I failed, I came to the place where I could, by His power, take up my cross and follow Him in earnest. These things have taken place over the past 10 years. Now I have that life which Paul wrote about. Who but God can understand and do these things? Yet, being in Him, I do understand, as I walk by faith, and not by sight.

I also want to add that the revelation of Jesus Christ as God is wonderful. That is what God revealed to Peter, and which the Lord Jesus said was the Rock upon which His church would be built.

Know this:

"Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip" (Hebrews 2:1 MKJV).

Paul

Teri’s reply:

Paul and Victor, Oh, thank you for taking the time to respond and expound on your thoughts so clearly. I know this took of your time from your families, to a total stranger, and I pray you are again blessed by this labour of love and obedience. …

I would like to say that I agree with you about not seeing anyone ‘changed’ by water baptism, even in His name….but I do see , that obedience has been done and our walk can only deepen if obedience is continued [and rightly divided], as we learn and are lead by His Word and His Spirit, the Spirit of Truth.

Please let me refer to just a few of these well known verses[I am trying to learn more here, not teach so please bear with me as I try to express my thoughts and gain more understanding, through yours. I am desparate for more of Him too]

1 Peter 3 :21The like figure to this, even baptism, doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ

Romans 6:3Know ye not that as many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death?
4Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, so we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection

"Men and brethren, what shall we do?" Acts 2 38 Then Peter said unto them, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Ok this is what I see[I am very eager for your reply and knowledge of revelation on this and other things I am dealing with] His Gospel-

Death– Repentance [death to self will and righteousness]

Burial– Water Baptism [in His name only] for the remission of sin }Acts 2:38

Resurrection– The infilling of His Spirit[our resurrection power]

I was first taught in the church I came out of[Baptist], that the ‘water’ part of the command to be born again of water and Spirit, is our natural birth. Now I see a bigger picture of this…..such as this….The first time we are born, we are born to this life, of water and spirit-water from the natural birth, and spirit-when we take our first breath. Both of these required for survival in this life. The water can only be done once at birth, but we must continue daily to breath[spirit] to live.

Now Jesus says ‘do it again’, this time into His kingdom, of ‘water and Spirit’ again. Again, the ‘water’ only once, but the Spirit daily, to stay alive in His kingdom. Scriptually, leaving out either one would be and incomplete ‘birth’. [as He uses the ‘natural’ to show us the ‘spiritual’]

All of nature seems to work this way…a seed must die, then it can be buried, watered, the ‘sun’ shines on it…and it resurrects!

These are some of the reasons I believe the scriptures in what it says about the necessity of both the ‘water and Spirit baptism’

Not may verses are as clear and as complete as in the first message from Peter on the birthday of the church. But we know that God has hidden from the ‘wise’ and relealed unto the’ babes’…….

Isaiah 28: 9-13 "Whom shall he teach knowledge? And whom shall he make to understand doctrine? Them that are weaned from the milk and drawn from the breasts.

10For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little and there a little.

11For with stammering lips and another tongue will He speak to this people,

12to whom He said, "This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest," and, "This is the refreshing" — yet they would not hear.

13But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little and there a little, that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken and snared and taken.

I am so anxious to hear back from the both of you Paul and Victor. I am so pleased I have seen this site, and have much to learn…and I am excited.

Sincerley, in the name of Yashua, Teri.

ps, I am more than excited to find believers that do not make our God into ‘three people’. This revelation, to me, has brought me the most blessings that I cannot even find the words to utter, and if I tried, would not do Him justice for the pure joy that accompanies.

Blessings to you for blessing me with your writings.

Victor’s reply:

Hi Teri,

As you say, the Baptists see all those verses as pertaining to water, yet let us address some of these:

1 Peter 3 :21The like figure to this, even baptism, doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ

Peter was speaking of the flood, which cleansed the earth of all the mixtures and violence. The flood, however, did not take away the inherent sin in man. Noah ended up being despised by his son Ham and cursed his generations to come, and we have what we have today. Yet the flood on the earth depicted one being baptized in water. Note that the earth is the same percentage of water as we are and there are other similarities, because we are physically of the earth. Our first father, in the flesh, was Adam (red, earthy).

Water baptism, as you see and know, does not change us, and Peter was not alluding to water baptism, but Spirit baptism. When I was first converted, my life changed dramatically, yet while the Baptists were saying to me that I was saved because converted, the Lord was saying to me, “Go on; you are not there yet.” I did not yet have that “answer of a good conscience toward God by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

That finally happened, not at any water baptism, but when I finally received the Spirit. At that point, my life took another quantum leap. I was sealed in another world to this day.

Romans 6:3Know ye not that as many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death?
4Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, so we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection

This again speaks not of water baptism, but of Spirit baptism. You can’t tell Baptists that, but that is because they do not have the Spirit. They have known nothing else. Those words speak of a higher reality, which you yourself (and rightly so) have acknowledged is not experienced in or by the physical ordinance.

Burial– Water Baptism [in His name only] for the remission of sin }Acts 2:38

While water baptism depicts a burial, it also depicts the death (you go down) and the resurrection (you come up out of the water), yet the reality does not occur in that act, and it does not cause that crucifixion within or the receiving of the new life, except indirectly, as an act of obedience to God. Without obedience in anything, whether it be water baptism, eating organic, or combing one’s hair, if God directs, how can God take up residence in us? As it is written:

“And we are His witnesses of these things. And so also is the Holy Spirit, Whom God has given to those who obey Him” (Acts 5:32 MKJV).

Note, for example, the Ephesian disciples, who had been baptized unto Christ through John’s ministry, yet they needed to receive the Spirit many years later. (I see that you refer to the receiving of the Spirit as the resurrection, not the water baptism. My point is that those verses speak of the spiritual reality, which the Baptists have not experienced. If they had, they could no longer call themselves “Baptists,” focusing on the earthly.)

Now you say some interesting things, and I wanted to mention them in the former letter, and wondered if I should have spoken. Now is the opportunity. I am glad you brought this up:

Now I see a bigger picture of this…..such as this….The first time we are born, we are born to this life, of water and spirit-water from the natural birth, and spirit-when we take our first breath. Both of these required for survival in this life. The water can only be done once at birth, but we must continue daily to breath[spirit] to live.

Now Jesus says ‘do it again’, this time into His kingdom, of ‘water and Spirit’ again. Again, the ‘water’ only once, but the Spirit daily, to stay alive in His kingdom. Scriptually, leaving out either one would be and incomplete ‘birth’. [as He uses the ‘natural’ to show us the ‘spiritual’]

There are two two’s. As you have pointed out, there are the “water” and the “spirit” in our earthly birth, and there are both in our second birth. When first receiving the Spirit, I began to wonder what happened. Everyone had told me that I was born again before receiving, and indeed, my life was transformed, beyond my understanding or power. So had I been born again before or not? If so, what happened at receiving the Spirit?

In praying and seeking, the Lord gave me a picture. At conversion, I was quickened (made alive). Depicting that, I saw myself sitting up from laying on my back on the ground or in a grave, dead. Then rising up, I was enveloped by, or immersed into, His Spirit, as though a cloud had descended on me and enveloped me completely. That was the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Is that not what is spoken of here?:

“For also by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free, even all were made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13 MKJV).

So, as you pointed out, there are two at our first birth, and two at our second. There are two “born agains” so to speak. The conversion is the water, yet not physical water, but the water of the Word (“The Law of Jehovah is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of Jehovah is sure, making the simple wise” – Psalms 19:7 MKJV), and the baptism in the Spirit is the Spirit.

You continue:

All of nature seems to work this way…a seed must die, then it can be buried, watered, the ‘sun’ shines on it…and it resurrects!

It is not physical water that causes our resurrection, but the water of the Word (Ephesians 5:26). He speaks, and there is life. If it were water, God would have had to flood the Lord’s sepulchre. I do not say this to be smart or silly, and I do not suppose you to be so foolish in your thinking, but I am bringing home the message to you that it is nothing of this earth that causes, promotes, or facilitates anything of the Spirit. Indeed, the resurrection from the dead is all about the spiritual ruling the carnal or earthly, to which we have been made subject for a time (Romans 8:20).

Finally, you say:

ps, I am more than excited to find believers that do not make our God into ‘three people’. This revelation, to me, has brought me the most blessings that I cannot even find the words to utter, and if I tried, would not do Him justice for the pure joy that accompanies.

There is no greater or more wonderful a truth or revelation than that Jesus Christ IS God come in the flesh. He is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 9:6). Read these Diabolical Doctrines:

The Spirit of Christ and the Holy Spirit Are Two Different Entities
The Trinity (God Is Three Persons)

And our section, Jesus Christ Is God.

Perhaps you have red The Baptism in the Holy Spirit?

We receive your blessings, Teri, and may the Lord give you all the understanding you need for His sake. Don’t hesitate to write.

Victor Hafichuk

Click HERE to go back to “Water Baptism.”

 

Print Friendly