John Piper on Baptism with the Holy Spirit

John Piper shares some interesting perspectives on the fullness of the holy Spirit in a sermon he gave last november. It is intruiging how he endeavours to sidestep the issue of identifying baptism with the Holy Spirit as either conversion or a second blessing. Piper seems keener that we are all open to more infusions of the Holy Spirit whatever our theological position. He is discussing John 1:25-34

Jesus immerses people in the Spirit. That’s what the word baptize means. There are pictures in the Bible of the Spirit being poured out. But when the idea of baptism (that is, dipping or immersion) is brought in, the point is that the Spirit is poured over us to such an extent that we are enveloped in him.

The point of this image is that the Spirit becomes profoundly and pervasively influential in our lives. When you are immersed in something, it touches you everywhere. So when John says that Jesus is going to baptize with the Spirit, he means that the day is coming when the lives of God’s people will be plunged into the life of the Spirit with profound and pervasive effects. . .

As I have tried to let John define for us what he means by baptism with the Spirit, it seems to me that the term is a broad, overarching one that includes the whole great saving, sanctifying, and empowering work of the Spirit in this age. I don’t think it is a technical term that refers to one part of the Christian life—say conversion, or speaking in tongues, or a bold act of witness. It is the continual, and sometimes extraordinary, outpouring of the Holy Spirit on God’s people. It immerses them not just in one or two, but in hundreds of his powerful influences.

In other words, if you are not born again, one way to describe your need is that you need to be baptized with the Spirit. That is, you need to be plunged into God’s Spirit with the effect that you will be born again and come to faith in Christ. If you are born again, but you are languishing in a season of weakness and fear and defeat, one way to describe what you need is to be baptized in the Spirit. That is, you need a fresh outpouring of his Christ-revealing, heart-awakening, sin-defeating, boldness-producing power. Every spiritual need that we have before and after conversion is supplied by Christ immersing us in greater and lesser degrees in the Holy Spirit.

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About Adrian Warnock

Adrian Warnock is a medical doctor, a writer, and a member of Jubilee Church, London since 1995, where he serves as part of the leadership team alongside Tope Koleoso. Together they have written Hope Reborn - How to Become a Christian and Live for Jesus, published by Christian Focus. Adrian is also the author of Raised With Christ - How The Resurrection Changes Everything, published by Crossway. Read more about Adrian Warnock or connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

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  • george

    you gave all the necessary info about being immersed in The Holy Spirit……BUT YOU NEVER DID ONCE MENTION ABOUT WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE TO BE IMMERSED IN THE HOLY SPIRIT……WHAT ACTION IS REQUIRED BY A PERSON WANTING TO BE BAPTISED….

    • Dan Wheeler

      Holy Spirit Baptism was a promise by John (Matthew 3:11) and Jesus (Acts 1.8–where the apostles were commanded to wait for the power–Luke 24.48-9– which gave them the ability to witness), not a command.

  • david

    Baptism with The Holy Spirit, is given via the laying on of hands, by someone themselves already baptized via the laying on of hands; it is always attested to with the gift of tongues.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/adrianwarnock Adrian Warnock

      David, not sure that word “always” can be supported in the Bible. “Usually” perhaps? But “always” not so much.

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