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Baptism in the Name or the Person of Jesus

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Baptism in the Name or the Person of Jesus  Empty Baptism in the Name or the Person of Jesus

Post  Admin on Thu 16 Dec 2010, 12:46 pm

Share This Devotional:
Day 87: Baptism in the Name or the Person of Jesus
Daily Impact
Small and compact, our unique John Reference Guide is tiny enough for your pocket or purse, but folds out to reveal many powerful references from the Gospel of John. Includes verses about how to become a Christian, verses that answer objections to Christianity, verses to help strengthen Christians, John's 14 portraits of Jesus and more. Order now!
Acts 8:14-17
"When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit."
Thoughts for Today:
One of the more controversial subjects throughout the history of the church, which is still debated to this day, has to do with when a believer receives the Holy Spirit. It would appear from this Scripture that baptism and receiving of the Holy Spirit come at different times. This is not only one of the source Scriptures for the Pentecostal and charismatic teachings on baptism with the Spirit (which would be evidenced by extraordinary spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues and prophesying) ; but also for the Roman and Anglo Catholic teaching on confirmation (the Apostolic laying on of hands to convey the Holy Spirit).
Many Christians and churches believe that the gifting of the Holy Spirit is the birthright of every Christian -- and is received at conversion (not necessarily at baptism). This view is also supported by Scripture, including Acts 2:38 and 1 Cor 12:3, 13). But I don't want to derail this study by debating that issue. The point is that if the Holy Spirit is given through faith in Christ, why was it necessary for Peter and John to go to Samaria? I think the answer is verse 16 "they [the Samaritans] had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus." It was a simple baptism into a name rather than the "person" of Jesus.
We see this all the time in our experience. Someone hears the Word, believes and is baptized. But the next morning they wake up and nothing has changed. You run into that person in six months, and they still believe in Jesus (more perhaps as a historical figure than a savior), but they were never changed as a result of their belief. They did not make Jesus their personal Savior and Lord of their life -- they just took the beginning steps of Christianity and left the path. (Jesus speaks of this in the Parable of the Sower, see Lk 8:8-15.)
In other words, outward signs and symbols do not necessarily indicate or represent an inward change. Conversion therefore is the goal; not belief and baptism. I think when Peter and John arrived in Samaria they realized that true conversion and transformation had not occurred -- which is why "they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit" (verse 15).
Questions to Ponder:
In my own conversion experience, I do not believe I received the Holy Spirit until two years after my baptism. Was I saved at my baptism? Yes -- but my inward man was not changed until years later (I had no idea what "making Jesus my Lord and my Savior" really meant when I was baptized). I had to fall back to my old ways, be tested, and then make a decision once again about what it means to follow Jesus. It was then and only then that the Holy Spirit came upon me, and Jesus resided within me. If you haven't changed -- haven't been transformed (and continue to be), then you might want to examine your understanding of who Jesus says He is and what He is to you. Is He Lord of your life? Is He your personal Savior? If you have any doubt -- what needs to change?

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