I’ve heard that the word “baptize” means “covered with water,” and that you cannot go to heaven if you have not been physically immersed into a body of water. We’ve heard the word “baptize” all of our lives and immediately associate it with water. However, “baptize” does not mean “immersed in water,” it simply means “immersed.”
Jesus said those who believe, and are baptized will be saved, but he did not say those who are baptized in water. In Acts 1 and again in 11, the Lord says “John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” There’s a difference, and it must be made clear. If there was not a difference, and if “baptize” means “immerse in water,” Jesus would not have needed to say “baptized with water.” Thinking that this physical water baptism is a box you need to check in order to receive salvation is a dangerous deception. I make a bold claim in saying that it is a dangerous deception, but I am finding out how this ritualistic water baptism may take the place of a more meaningful, long-lasting experience.
In John 20:22, Jesus says, after his resurrection, “receive the Holy Spirit.” Later, in Acts 1:8, Jesus says “The Holy Spirit will come upon you.” In John, we are actively accepting the Holy Spirit. Further, in Acts Jesus declares “you will receive power, when the Holy spirit has come upon you.” Jesus very clearly revels the timeline of this action of the Holy Spirit. Whereas, in John, he says “(you) receive the Holy Spirit,” not in future tense. This all becomes very confusing, especially to me, but allow me to summarize the points from the perspective of what Jesus says concerning the Holy Spirit.
First, Jesus says in John to his disciples to receive the Holy Spirit which I believe is the born again experience which was not available until Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected. Likely, neither can this be the Holy Spirit (or advocate) that Jesus spoke of in John 16, because Jesus is still on the Earth, and remains for some time, into Acts.Then, in Acts 1:8, Jesus tells his disciples that the Holy Spirit will come upon them, in future tense, meaning it has not happened yet. If in these two instances Jesus is speaking of the same interaction with the Holy Spirit, then he is contradicting himself. We know this cannot be the case.
You must make it known to yourself, that there is more to the idea of baptism beyond that with water. Read Acts 1:5 and ask God what that means for you. I know for myself how important the baptism of the Holy Spirit has been in my life. And while I have been baptized in water, that experience has not changed my life in the way that the immersion in the Holy Spirit has.
I will continue to explore what this Holy Spirit baptism means, in the mean time, consider it for yourself with purpose.