John the Baptizer, the forerunner of Jesus, declared, “I baptize you with water for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is more powerful than I. I am not worthy to remove his sandals. He himself will baptize you with the Holy Spirit...” (Matthew 3:11, CSB). I’m sure that his audience wondered at these strange words: The Coming One would baptize them with His Spirit?
Three years later, in the days following His crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus echoed this promise. “He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for the Father’s promise. ‘Which,’ He said, ‘you have heard Me speak about; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit in a few days’ ” (Acts 1:4–5, CSB).
Fifty days after Passover, “When the day of Pentecost had arrived, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like that of a violent rushing wind came from heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were staying. They saw tongues like flames of fire that separated and rested on each one of them. Then they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them” (Acts 2:1–4, CSB).
What John prophesied, and what Jesus promised, happened at Pentecost. The Holy Spirit came visibly. Those that were gathered saw the signs and symbols of the Omnipresent Spirit of God. Just as the waters of the Jordan River had enveloped those who were baptized by John, the Spirit came to immerse and envelope every believer with the Holy Spirit’s presence.
From that day forward, every new-born believer, at the moment of their conversion, is given the gift of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence. Paul wrote, “For just as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body—so also is Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and we were all given one Spirit...” (1 Corinthians 12:12–13, CSB). Completely immersed in the Spirit of God, every believer is united and identified with Christ.
Every Christian is baptized and indwelt by the Spirit of Christ. “Don’t you yourselves know that you are God’s temple and that the Spirit of God lives in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16, CSB). Jesus promised, “He remains with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans” (John 14:18, CSB). That’s God’s promise! He will never leave! Never!
So why don’t I always feel like I’m immersed in the Spirit, that I have the Spirit dwelling in me? Why am I less than enthusiastically faithful to the Spirit’s leading in my life?
Here it is... we are always indwelt by the Eternally Omnipresent One, but God commands us to “be filled by the Spirit” on a daily basis. (Ephesians 5:18, CSB). It’s a choice we must make every day... every hour... moment by moment.
So here’s my New Year’s prayer: Lord, please fill me daily with Your Powerful Presence, make me aware of the Faithful and Gracious Spirit, and direct my attitude and my actions so that Jesus can be glorified.