Read an Excerpt
The Indwelling Spirit
By Andrew Murray
Bethany House Publishers
Chapter OneThe Baptism of the Spirit
And John bore witness, saying, "I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.'" -John 1:32-33
There were two things that John the Baptist preached concerning the person of Christ: First, He was the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, and second, He would baptize His disciples with the Holy Spirit and with fire. The blood of the Lamb and the baptism of the Spirit were the two central truths of his creed and his preaching. They are, indeed, inseparable: The church cannot do her work in power, nor can her exalted Lord be glorified in her unless the blood as the foundation-stone and the Spirit as the cornerstone are fully preached.
This has not always been done, even among those who wholeheartedly accept Scripture as their guide. The preaching of the Lamb of God, His suffering and atonement, pardon and peace through Him, is more easily grasped and more readily influences our feelings than the spiritual truth of the baptism, indwelling, and guidance of the Holy Spirit. The pouring out of Christ's blood took place on earth; it was something visible and outward, and by virtue of the types, not altogetherunintelligible. The pouring out of the Spirit took place in heaven, a divine and hidden mystery. The shedding of the blood was for the ungodly and rebellious; the gift of the Spirit, for the loving and obedient disciple. It is no wonder that the church, often lacking in love and obedience, finds it harder to receive the truth of the baptism of the Spirit than that of redemption and forgiveness.
And yet God would not have it so. The Old Testament promise speaks of God's Spirit within us. The forerunner (John the Baptist) took up the strain and did not preach the atoning Lamb without telling us to what extent we were to be redeemed and how God's high purpose was to be fulfilled in us. Sin brought not only guilt and condemnation but defilement and death. It incurred not only loss of God's favor but made us unfit for divine fellowship. Without fellowship, the Love that created man could not be content. God wanted us for himself-our heart and affection, our inmost personality, our true self-a home for His love, a temple for His worship. The preaching of John included both the beginning and the end of redemption: The blood of the Lamb was to cleanse God's temple and restore His throne within the heart. Nothing less than the baptism and indwelling of the Spirit can satisfy the heart of God or man.
Jesus would give only what He received. Because the Spirit rested on Him when He was baptized, He could baptize with the Spirit. The Spirit descending and abiding on Him meant He had been born of the Holy Spirit; in the power of the Spirit He had grown up; He had entered manhood free from sin, and now had come to John to fulfill all the law of righteousness by submitting to the baptism of repentance, even though He had not sinned. As a reward of His obedience, He had the Father's seal of approval. He received a new communication of the power of the heavenly life. Beyond what He had already experienced, the Father's indwelling presence and power took possession of Him and equipped Him for His work. The leading and the power of the Spirit became His more consciously than before (Luke 4:1, 14, 22); He was now anointed with the Holy Spirit and with power.
Though baptized himself, He could not yet baptize others. First, in the power of His baptism, He had to face temptation and overcome it. He had to learn obedience and suffer, and through the eternal Spirit offer himself a sacrifice unto God and His will-only then would He receive the Holy Spirit as the reward of obedience (Acts 2:33) with the power to baptize all who belong to Him.
Jesus' life teaches us what the baptism of the Spirit is. It is more than the grace by which we turn to God, are saved, and seek to live as God's children. When Jesus reminded His disciples of John's prophecy (Acts 1:4-5), they were already partakers of grace. Their baptism with the Spirit meant something more. It was to be the conscious presence of the glorified Lord come back from heaven to dwell in their hearts. And it was their participation in the power of His new life. It was a baptism of joy and power. All that they were to receive of wisdom, courage, and holiness had its root in this: What the Spirit was to Jesus when He was baptized, the living bond with the Father's power and presence, He was to be to the disciples. Through the Spirit, the Son would manifest himself, and Father and Son would make their home with them.
"Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit" (John 1:33). This word is to us as well as to John. To know what the baptism of the Spirit means and how we are to receive it, we must look at the One upon whom the Spirit descended and rested. We must see Jesus baptized with the Holy Spirit. He needed it, was prepared for it, yielded himself to it. It was through the power of the Holy Spirit that He gave His life and then was raised from the dead. What Jesus has to give us, He first received and personally appropriated; what He received and won for himself was all for us. Let Him make it yours.
In regard to this baptism of the Spirit, there are questions that arise. Everyone will not have the same answer. Was the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost the complete fulfillment of the promise? Was that the only baptism of the Spirit, given once for all to the newborn church? Or is the coming of the Holy Spirit on the disciples (Acts 4); on the Samaritans (Acts 8); on the heathen in the house of Cornelius (Acts 10); and on the twelve disciples at Ephesus (Acts 19) also to be regarded as separate fulfillments of the words: "He will baptize with the Holy Spirit"? Is the sealing of the Spirit, given to each believer in regeneration, to be counted as a baptism of the Spirit? Or is it, as some say, a distinct, individual blessing to be received at a later date? Is it a blessing given only once or can it be repeated and renewed? In the course of our study, God's Word will shed light on these questions. But at the outset we should not allow ourselves to be overly preoccupied with them. Rather, we should fix our hearts on the great spiritual lessons that God would have us learn from the preaching of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. There are two in particular.
The first is that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is the crown and glory of Jesus' work, and we must acknowledge this if we are to live the true Christian life. Jesus needed it. Christ's obedient disciples needed it. It is more than the working of the Spirit in regeneration. It is the personal Spirit of Christ present within us, abiding in the heart in the power of His glorified nature. It is the Spirit of the life of Christ Jesus making us free from the law of sin and death and bringing us, by personal experience, into the freedom from sin for which Christ redeemed us. To many it is perceived as a blessing given on our behalf, though not actually owned by the believer. But it is this power that fills us with boldness in the presence of temptation and gives us victory over the world and the enemy. It is the fulfillment of what God meant when He said, "I will dwell in them and walk among them" (2 Corinthians 6:16).
The second lesson is that it is Jesus who baptizes us. Whether we look upon this baptism as something we already have and of which we only need a firmer grasp, or something we still must receive, all will agree: It is only in relationship with Jesus, in faithful fellowship and obedience to Him, that a Spirit-filled life can be maintained. "He who believes in Me," Jesus said, "out of his heart will flow rivers of living water" (John 7:38). We need a living faith in the indwelling Jesus. Faith is the instinct of the new nature that recognizes and receives divine nourishment. Let us trust Jesus, who fills us with His Spirit, and hold fast to Him in love and obedience. Let us look to Him to know the full meaning of the baptism of the Spirit in our lives.
And let us remember: He who is faithful in the least will be made ruler over much. Be faithful to what you already have and know of the Spirit's working. Regard yourself with deep reverence as God's holy temple. Wait for and listen to the gentlest whisper of God's Spirit within you. Listen particularly to the conscience that has been cleansed in the blood. Keep it clean by simple, childlike obedience. In your heart there may be involuntary sin over which you feel powerless. It is the root of selfishness that must be brought to the cross. Bring every sin to be cleansed in the blood.
With regard to your voluntary actions, day by day say to the Lord Jesus that everything you know to be pleasing to Him you will do. Yield to the reproofs of conscience when you fail; but come again, have hope in God, and renew your vow: What I know God wants me to do, I will do. Ask humbly every morning and wait for guidance; you will come to know the Spirit's voice, and you will know His strength and power to overcome. Jesus had His disciples three years in His baptism class, and then the blessing came. Be His loving, obedient disciple and believe in Him on whom the Spirit rested. Then you, too, shall be prepared for the fullness of the blessing of the baptism of the Spirit.
* * *
Blessed Lord Jesus! with my whole heart I worship you, as exalted on the throne to baptize with the Holy Spirit. Oh, reveal yourself to me in this your glory that I might know what I may expect from you.
I bless you that in yourself I have seen the preparation for receiving the Holy Spirit in His fullness. Even in your work in Nazareth, the Spirit was always with you. And yet when you surrendered yourself to fulfill all righteousness and to enter into fellowship with the sinners you came to save, in partaking of their baptism, you received from the Father a new inflowing of His Holy Spirit. It was to you the seal of His love, the revelation of His indwelling, and the power for service. And now you, on whom we see the Spirit descend and abide, do for us what the Father did for you.
Lord, I bless you that the Holy Spirit is in me, too. But I ask you to give me yet the full, overflowing measure you have promised. Let Him be to me the unceasing revelation of your presence in my heart as glorious and as mighty as on the throne of heaven. Lord Jesus, baptize me with the Holy Spirit. Amen.
1. All divine giving and working is in the power of an endless life. And so we can look up to Jesus each day, the blessed Light of this world: He baptizes with the Holy Spirit. He cleanses with the blood and baptizes with the Spirit according to each new need.
2. Let us keep inseparably connected in our faith the double truth John the Baptist preached: Jesus the Lamb takes away sin, Jesus the anointed baptizes with the Spirit. It was only in virtue of His shedding His blood that He received the Spirit to pass on to us. It is as the cross is preached that the Spirit works. It is as I believe in the precious blood that cleanses from all sin, and walk before God with a conscience sprinkled with the blood, that I may claim the anointing of the Spirit. The blood and the oil go together. I need both. I have them both in Jesus, the Lamb on the throne.
Excerpted from The Indwelling Spirit by Andrew Murray Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.