Gleanings – Have Your Way with Me Lord!

Advent 3, December 19, 2012

Mark 1:1-8

“I have baptized you with water but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Water versus Holy Spirit? Known versus unknown, readily accessible versus mystery, comfortable versus anxiety producing, these are various ways of describing the difference in water and the Holy Spirit. And yet God wants both for us with emphasis upon the latter.

John the Baptist and by extension the church only baptize with water. Jesus, however, baptizes with the Holy Spirit (and with fire we learn elsewhere). His work is markedly different than ours as the Baptist makes clear. It may or may not be associated with what the church does. Water baptism may precede or follow a Holy Spirit baptism and in some cases never happen at all. The absence of water baptism does not preclude the work of Jesus. He is not bound by us.

So we are to be immersed or filled to the point of sinking or overflowing (baptized) with the Holy Spirit. What is he going to do for every single one of us? To eliminate the unknowns, let’s state clearly what is known. The Holy Spirit leads us to profess faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior (1 Cor. 12). Subsequently, aided by our submission, the Holy Spirit will make us more like Jesus (2 Cor. 3). Until we see the fruit of this labor, we need not be made anxious by anything else.

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