Have You Been Baptized?

Of course that question can sometimes bring a knee jerk response from a Quaker. “We don’t believe in baptism in our Society”. Of course this is completely opposite to what Friends have always held throughout the years.

When I am asked this question by people from other Christian sects, my answer is an affirmative yes. One can’t be a Christian without being baptized. Of course, it all depends on what a person means by being baptized. When I speak of baptism, I am referring to the Baptism of Christ. This is also referred to in Scripture as the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. In Romans 8, Paul tells us that “anyone who does not have Christ’s Spirit, does not belong to Christ”.

I have had many people tell me that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is not for us. It happened on the Day of Pentecost and that it never happened again. They say it was an initial sign but that we don’t need it today. This theory would seem to go in direct contradiction to what Paul taught us.

The problem I see is that while all believers have experienced this holy and spiritual baptism at the moment of their conversion, we don’t fully understand what has taken place in our lives. 2 Corinthians 5: 17 tells us that “For anyone united to Christ, there is a new creation: the old order has gone; a new order has already begun” (REB).

What does this mean? The Scriptures tell us that everyone needs to be “born again” or as some translations put it “born from above”. Most of us are pretty familiar about our physical birth. We celebrate our mothers on a special day. Many of us however are a lot less familiar with our spiritual birth. Among Friends, we have terms like “birthright” and “convinced”. Of course, in the days of George Fox, there was no such person as a birthright Friend. They were starting from scratch. Everyone who joined this rag-tag group of Holy Spirit led prophets and preachers were convinced that Jesus was Lord. They went all over the place and told others the good news of salvation.

We need to understand just who the Holy Spirit is and what His function is in our lives as believers. The Holy Spirit is not some cosmic energy flow. The Holy Spirit is God, the third Person in the Godhead. This concept has been termed the Holy Trinity. We need to see this Baptism in the Holy Spirit as more than just a spiritual awakening but as a real Baptism into Christ. The term “God in us” thus takes on a whole deeper meaning.

The next time someone asks you if you have been baptized, let them know that you have indeed been baptized into Christ and are walking in the Spirit. The outward ceremony with water will not satisfy what our souls need. “Let us rejoice in Him who is the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2).