Living the Christian Life – Chapter 3: Jesus Christ Is Our Example

Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries5 Minutes

One of the most amazing moments in the Bible is when Jesus humbled himself and asked John to baptize Him in the Jordan River. Remember, John’s baptism was for repentance of sin. But Jesus lived a sinless life, so there was no need for Him to be baptized.

So why did He do it?

In the last chapter, we spoke about how our goal is to become like Christ. Most theologians believe that Jesus submitted to baptism as an example for the rest of humankind to follow. God places such a value on water baptism that Jesus makes it the first act of His public ministry. Then God the Father validates Jesus at the same time that the Holy Spirit, in bodily form, descended on him like a dove. In a voice from heaven the Father said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy” (Luke 3:22 NLT).

There is Only One Baptism

The apostle Paul writes to the Ephesians that there is in a sense only one official baptism from God’s perspective.

“There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:4-5 ESV).

This verse has caused some confusion over the years because the Bible also speaks of other baptisms—including the baptism of John, the baptism by Jesus’ disciples, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. So which baptism is THE baptism that Paul is speaking of? The words of John the Baptist give us clarity on this question: “I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (Mark 1:8 NASB).

John is making it clear that to be baptized with the Holy Spirit is the most important thing. John baptized with water, but through Jesus, we are baptized with the Holy Spirit at the time of our salvation—where the Holy Spirit comes into our lives and makes His residence in our hearts.

While water baptism is an important outward sign, the ONE baptism that Paul speaks of is the baptism of the heart at the time of salvation. Once again, water baptism is a powerful ritual, but it is not required for salvation.

There is a difference, however, between this baptism of the Holy Spirit at the time of our salvation and the infilling of the Holy Spirit for power to be God’s witnesses in the earth. Some have also called this a “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” or the “filling with the Holy Spirit.” This clear distinction is shown when Paul arrived in Ephesus and he found some disciples. He asked them:

“Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we
have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what
then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John’s baptism” (Acts 19:2 ESV).

So the Bible makes it clear that these people are already believers and disciples of Jesus, but they had not “received” the Holy Spirit. They had only been baptized “into John’s baptism.” Paul then more fully explained the gift that was available to them—and the gift that is also available to you:

“And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the
people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” On
hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when
Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they
began speaking in tongues and prophesying” (Acts 19:4-6 ESV).

This act of the filling of the Holy Spirit is subsequent to the Holy Spirit dwelling with us at the moment of salvation. This is a wonderful gift that gives the disciple access to the power of God. It also gives us the strength and courage to walk out the plan God has for our lives. We will talk about this in depth in chapter 4, “The Work of the Holy Spirit.”