Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit
– John 3 : 5-6
This is what Jesus said to Nicodemus, who was a religious teacher and a high ranking member of the religious council of the time. Nicodemus wanted to know how does a man enter the Kingdom of God. Jesus clearly indicates that there are two baptisms that are needed before a person is ready to enter the Kingdom. The baptism by water and the baptism by spirit, both of them have special significance and meaning in the life of a believer.
The Water Baptism
Baptism itself is a very old concept, it started way back when Moses baptised the Jews as they passed under the cloud across the Red Sea. The water baptism as we know it today was started just before Jesus was born, by a prophet known as John the Baptist. In the Bible, Jesus refers to him as the the greatest prophet that ever lived. He is unique in that he was born with the Holy Spirit.
The water baptism is an outward gesture of you being born again. It symbolises that you are dead to your sins when you get submerged and when you rise up you are a new creation. You publicly declare that you have repented of your sins and have accepted Jesus as your Savior and Lord.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit
– Matthew 28:19
It is very important to be baptized as an adult, even though some people receive it as an infant. Its essential to do it when you understand its significance and believe with your own heart that Jesus is the Savior. The water baptism is the first step in getting saved and becoming a follower of Jesus. Jesus himself specifically instructed his disciples to baptize all believers who accepted the Gospel.
The Baptism in the Holy Spirit
John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
– Luke 3: 16
The next baptism is given by Jesus himself, he blesses all those who believe in him with his own spirit. In the water baptism you are submerged in the water, but in the Holy Spirit baptism, Jesus pours out his spirit on you and you are immersed from above.
In most cases there are no visible outward manifestations, the Holy Spirit quietly enters your life and starts his work. Most people today receive the Holy Spirit silently. If you obey Jesus and get baptized, and accept him as your personal Savior then he promises to fill you with the Holy Spirit.
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.
– Acts 2:38
Having the Holy Spirit is a litmus test for Christians. It shows you that you have repented, been cleansed of your sins and Jesus himself has personally accepted you and baptized you with his Spirit.
You absolutely need the Holy Spirit to be able to live life victoriously as a Christian.
It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples. He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism.”
– Acts 19: 1-3
This is a story of how the Apostle Paul met a few disciples of the great prophet, John the Baptist. The irony is that these were disciples of a man whose most famous recorded line in the Bible is him telling the masses, that the Messiah is coming and he will baptize people with the Holy Spirit.
His whole life was dedicated to preparing the way for Jesus and throughout his ministry he made references to the coming of the Christ and his baptism with the Holy Spirit. It is sad that his own disciples were not aware of what the Baptism of the Holy Ghost was. Only when the Apostle Paul met them, explained to them, laid hands and prayed did they receive the Holy Spirit.
This is the same sad story playing out even today with many professing Christians, they call themselves followers of Christ but they don ‘t even know what the Holy Spirit is.
Getting baptized is a commandment of the Lord, its very important to obeyDon ‘t stop with the Water Baptism, go all the way ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit as he promised