Baptism real

Early writers on the general theme of baptism distinguished between real baptism, which is wrought by the Holy Spirit, and ritual baptism, which is administered with water. These terms well serve to distinguish between the two forms of baptism which are so clearly identified in the New Testament. Great significance should be attached to the fact that the same term, PanriZ«, is used in defining each of these baptisms, and it follows that any definition of this great New Testament word, if it is to be true, must be as applicable to the one form of baptism as to the other. The root word, ^ant«, which is used but three times by the New Testament—cf. Luke 16:24; John 13:26; Revelation 19:13—occurs in the first two passages with its primary meaning, which is to dip, while the use of the word in the third passage—Revelation 19:13—illustrates its secondary meaning, which is to dye or stain (cf. Isa. 63:1-6). This evolution of the word from its primary meaning to a secondary meaning is reasonable. That which is dyed or stained by dipping—^ant«—persists as ^ant« when dyed or stained by any other method. In like manner, the word ^antiZ« in its primary import means to immerse or submerge; but in its secondary meaning, which is a development from the primary import, it refers to an influence which one thing may exercise over another, or as Dr. J. W. Dale defines it "to bring into complete subjection to an influence or to imbue with virtues." As an immersion serves to bring the thing immersed under the influence of the element into which it is submerged, so in the evolution of the present word a thing becomes baptized by another when even without physical intusposition or envelopment one thing exercises a positive influence over another. Apart from the recognition of this distinction, little understanding of many uses for this word will be gained. A

complete baptism is recognized in the New Testament, for example, when without an intusposition or physical envelopment an individual is baptized into the remission of sin, into repentance, into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, baptized by drinking the cup of suffering, or as Israel was baptized into Moses by the cloud and the sea, or when one is brought under the power of the Holy Spirit, or when by the Spirit all believers are baptized into Christ's Body. The term secondary as related to the latter sense or use of ^antíZ« does not imply inferiority; it is secondary only so far as one meaning is derived from the other. The secondary import of this word is employed in all passages which refer to real (the Spirit's) baptism and the relative importance of this baptism over every other is immeasurable. No less an authority than Dr. J. W. Dale, who with great scholarship and sincerity spent much of his lifetime in preparing four large volumes on the subject of baptism, has asserted that in his opinion ^antíZ« is used only in its secondary meaning in the New Testament.

Baleful neglect of the doctrine of the Spirit's baptism is reflected in lexicons and theological works on baptism. Definitions are given and statements made which seem not to recognize the special use of ^antiZ« in relation to the Holy Spirit or the Body of Christ. Men may differ, as they have, over the meaning of this word in ritual baptism, but there is no room for a difference of opinion over the use of the word or its meaning and implications when employed to indicate that baptism which the Holy Spirit accomplishes. Some writers, indeed, have assumed to discuss this word without reference to its use in relation to real baptism.

Much has been written earlier in this work (Vol. VI more especially) on real baptism or that baptism which the Holy Spirit accomplishes, and it has been pointed out that, according to the definition assigned the secondary meaning of this word, the gift of the Spirit by Christ is a baptism (cf. Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33; Acts 1:4-5), and since the Holy Spirit is received by every believer at the moment he is saved, he is thus baptized by the Spirit, having been brought under the influence of the Spirit. However, as true as this interpretation is, it should be distinguished from the erroneous teaching which contends that the Spirit is received as a second work of grace, which teaching confounds the Spirit's filling—that which is unto an empowered life—with the Spirit's baptism into Christ's Body, that which is unto position and standing before God.

What is termed the baptism by the Spirit—not, in or unto the Spirit—is His mighty undertaking by which He joins the individual believer to Christ's Body and thus to Christ Himself as the Head of the Body. Because of this great achievement on the part of the Spirit, the believer is from that moment in Christ and is thus brought under the influence of His Headship. No influence could be more transforming, more purifying relative to position, or more vital in its outworking than that engendered by a removal from the fallen headship of Adam into the exalted Headship of Christ. No other transformation is comparable to this. Though there is no physical intusposition when one is brought under the influence which the gift of the Spirit provides and though there is no physical intusposition when one is brought by the Spirit into the Headship of the resurrected Christ, the New Testament designates these influences as baptisms and sets them forth as vital and real above all other baptisms. Especially is union to Christ seen to be distinctive in point of far-reaching transformations. It is thus properly designated the real baptism. This vast theme has its due consideration under Pneumatology (Vol. VI).

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