Background: Ever since the Reformation and the “birth” of the Protestant churches there has been an unsettling development- centuries of protesting! Even the Catholics have various sects within, but they have the advantage of a singular name to keep the appearance of unity. All use the Scriptures to both advance and defend their doctrines, and this one is certainly well worn.
Baptism means immersion. So the BHS is the immersion INTO Him. This is the key to unlocking the entire understanding. People should be hungering to know God, and to know Him deeper each day. We should not be content to just stay as we are because there is so much more of Him to know and experience. And yet this doctrine seems to divide, as people use it to establish the “haves” and the “ have-nots.” This is certainly NOT what the Holy Spirit is doing.
Jesus Christ is the Baptizer, not man, not clergy, of any “level.” Only Jesus. His promise to us was that we would not be alone, and He sent His Holy Spirit as promised. He also promised that we would have power, and by that I think He meant certain gifts. Not natural gifts, but supernatural gifts. Gifts that we would have to recognize were from Him, causing us to be in constant awe of Him as He distributed them.
These gifts were not just for the apostles of His day, and clearly the Scripture speaks to their ongoing use, even as His “great commission” to us was not just for that time, but an assignment for us through the ages. We need help in doing what He calls us to do, so He gives us these spiritual gifts to advance the Gospel. Jesus decides who receives them, when, and to what degree. Our job is to accept them and use them. We should be so excited by this possibility that we seek more guidance from Jesus Christ, releasing the faith to acquire and use His gifts.
They say that, to a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail. This is a human problem, not a hammer problem, not a nail problem. If you aren’t doing anything FOR God you don’t need His supernatural tools. Think about that. This isn’t meant to condemn or demean, but to reveal. What excites an athlete? Sports. What excites an author? Writing. What excites a mom? Children. Etc. For the Christian, the excitement comes from following Jesus Christ and being a vessel He uses to accomplish incredible things! We are the clay pot, and He fills us as we are immersed in Him. Work that out in your own words, but work it out.
The gifts of the Spirit are not ours to own. They are His. They are not ours to take pride in, for that leads to a fall. They are not ours so they don’t make us superior to one another. Just as the Bible is the sword OF THE SPIRIT, so the gifts of the Spirit are OF THE SPIRIT. Many people use the Bible as their own personal sword, and carve one another up in dreadful ways. Same with the gifts of the Spirit I’m sad to say. Why not say “no” to a further degradation of the use of God’s gifts? Starting today, why not open ourselves to an infilling, an overflowing, an outpouring- such that we get back to serving Jesus and one another instead of demanding that He follow us?