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There are some things in Acts 2, regarding the coming of the Spirit, which we would do well to note. The first is the meaning of the word baptism as it is applied to what happened at Pentecost. The word is used six times with explicit reference to the activity of the Holy Spirit. Five of these uses refer to the Day of Pentecost. And the sixth use is explanatory: Paul tells the Corinthians that all believers are baptized by the Spirit into Christ’s body.21
Why is that important? It is important because in none of the six texts that speak about the baptism of the Spirit (or any other text) ever instructs people to get baptized in or by the Spirit. This baptism is not something we are told to seek nor is the terminology used here ever repeated of any other group of people. This is God’s work by which the Body of Christ was birthed and by which it grows as believers are joined to it.
But baptism in the Spirit is not the only thing that happened at Pentecost. We also see individuals “filled” with the Spirit. And that is something that does reoccur. We see people filled and refilled with the Spirit, and we are told to be filled with the Spirit.
The baptism of the Spirit brings us into Christ and unites us to his body, but the filling of the Spirit brings Christ into us. Warren Wiersbe put it this way: “The baptism of the Spirit means I belong to His body; the fullness of the Spirit means that my body belongs to him.”22 Hence Paul urges us, “Be filled with the Spirit.”23
There is something else here that we must understand. The baptism of the Spirit not only unites us to Christ, it unites us to each other. Following Christ is not a sonata written for a solo instrument, but a symphony. We live this life together. That fact is patently clear in the early chapters of Acts. The church met together, joined together, were together, ate together and prayed together. They met daily, took care of the needy daily, and studied Scripture daily. Christ was living through them in daily life, and they were living that life together.
May it be so with us.