Tuesday, February 7, 2012

110. - The Spiritual Baptism

110.0 - The Means Of Newness: We can no more experience the true newness of God's redemptive plan in our own strength, than we can pull ourselves up by our own boot straps. So, where does the power for such newness come from?

The power for our transformation comes through a divinely arranged merger with Christ. It is a merger that literally brings together the human nature of the believer with the divine nature of the Savior. In this merger, the Holy Spirit becomes the conduit to connect the Savior with the believer in a very intimate way. We commonly call this merger the Baptism of the Spirit."

110.1 - The Target: This Spiritual Baptism is the pivotal event in the believer's life. In fact, this merger of natures is the Target Event of the New Testament. Our ultimate success absolutely depends on this opportunity to tap into the vitality of the resurrected Christ. So, all else, including the moment of conversion, is arranged around and pointed toward this subsequent event in the redemptive process.

110.2 - The Point: We are accustomed to most things in life having a point. Well, this is the point of this Spiritual merger with Christ. It is to bring us to newness in the energy of Christ.

110.3 - The Final Piece: This is the secret, the mystery, the part of the redemptive puzzle that has been held in reserve by God from the beginning. But now, in these New Testament times, it has been revealed as the ultimate resource for the believer.

Paul says as much in Colossians, chapter 1, where he makes these comments to the Church, "I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."

110.4 - True Renewal: This personal merger with Christ is today exactly the same as it was for the disciples of Christ 2000 years ago. It is an integration with Christ. Literally, the Holy Spirit becomes a living conduit to convey the essence of the Living Christ to the believer. In this way, the divine essence is made available to the believer as the primary resource for renewal. Thus, through this spiritual merger, the frail and failing human creature is made strong again.

It is this event that makes the redemptive plan come to life in the physical reality. This personal baptism into Christ is the power to move past mere forgiveness to a profound personal renewal, in real terms.

From this event springs the potential to actually become "a new creature in Christ." From this event springs a true hope for freedom from the inherent and chronic waywardness of the self-determined heart. It provides the real hope of personal elevation and fruitfulness.

Now, it becomes clear what Jesus meant when he said in John, chapter 15," ...I am the true vine, and My Father is the vine dresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit... Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

" I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing..."