“If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.” Romans 8:9b
If you have believed in the Son of God, you have been baptized by the Spirit of God. You didn’t have to wait for it, long for it, seek it, pray for it, or agonize over it because the moment you believe in the Son of God you are baptized by the Spirit of God. In fact, it is impossible to receive Jesus without receiving His Spirit. And it is impossible to receive the Spirit without receiving Jesus, because the Holy Spirit is simply the presence of Jesus living in you. You don’t get Jesus at one time in your life and then get the baptism of the Holy Spirit later in life. Jesus and the Spirit are one. When Jesus comes into you, the Holy Spirit puts you into Jesus.
Believing in Jesus and being baptized by the Holy Spirit happens at exactly the same time and they always go together. Romans 8:9 tells us that the Holy Spirit is how we know we belong to Christ. You cannot be a Christian without receiving the Holy Spirit. The Son of God and the Spirit of God are never separated in the life of a believer. It helps to understand the meaning of the word “baptized” as it is used in 1 Corinthians 12:13. Here we read, “For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body…” The word “baptized” here is the Greek word baptizo; and it means, “to dip repeatedly, to immerse, to cleanse by dipping or submerging, to wash, to make clean or bathe.” In other words, upon belief in Christ, we are immersed into Christ by the Holy Spirit. We are completely submerged, forgiven and made clean.
Why is it important that we understand the difference in water baptism and baptism of the Holy Spirit? It is important because you can be a member of a church through water baptism, but still not be a member of God’s family through spiritual baptism. It is possible to act like a Christian and look like a Christian, but it is impossible to fake having the Holy Spirit – and He is the mark of a true believer. If you are a true follower of Jesus, you may not always be aware of the Spirit’s presence, but you would not even be a Christian in the Spirit’s absence.
Application: Have you experienced the presence of Christ through His Spirit living in you?