Skip to main content

The Cross & the Baptism in the Holy Spirit


Christ is the centre of the Christian faith. More specifically, according to the apostle Paul, it is Christ crucified who is at the centre (1 Cor. 1:23; 2:2). This means that Christ and His Cross is the source of all the blessings of the Christian life. Every aspect of the Christian life links back to Christ and the Cross. This is certainly true of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Afterall, the role of the Holy Spirit is to glorify Christ (Jn. 16:14), and Christ is glorified in multiple ways by the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, both in its giving and its receiving.

Christ is the Giver

On the Day of Pentecost, not only were Christians baptized in the Holy Spirit for the first time, but a theological explanation was also given for the events that were witnessed that day. In his sermon, Peter declared:
This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear’ (Acts 2:32-33).
It was the Lord Jesus Christ Himself who was responsible for the day’s events. Christ received from His Father the authority to pour out the Holy Spirit on believers, and this He did, beginning on that day of Pentecost. In fact, this is exactly what John the Baptist had prophesied (e.g. Jn. 1:33). So Christ is the giver of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit!

Of course, as we have seen, the ultimate source of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is God the Father. The Father has given to the Son, who now pours out the Spirit on us. So the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is a work of the Triune God: each of the three persons of the Godhead is involved. Yet the focal point in our receiving of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is that we receive directly from Christ. That means that in seeking and receiving our attention is turned to Christ; Christ is glorified in His very pouring out of the Holy Spirit on His people.

Peter’s speech does not only tell us that Christ has ‘received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit’ (Acts 2:33) to pour out, but also why the Father has given this authority to Him. In the preceeding verses (Acts 2:22-32) Peter has spoken of the death and resurrection of Christ. He then continues: ‘Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit …’ (Acts 2:33). This authority which the Father has given to Christ is linked with His exaltation to the right hand of God, which in turn is a consequence (note the word ‘therefore’) of Christ’s death and resurrection. So, it's because Christ had died as the atoning sacrifice on the cross and had risen again that the Father gave Him ‘the promise of the Holy Spirit’. This means that the fact that we can be baptized in the Holy Spirit rests firmly upon the fact of Christ’s death on the Cross. The Baptism in the Holy Spirit is only possible because of the Cross! All the blessings of God’s grace come to us through Christ alone, and they all come because of the Cross.

Popular posts from this blog

These are the Bones of Elisha (Declaring the Word of the Lord)

One of the most curious events in all of Scripture is found in a single verse in 2 Kings 13. That chapter records the death of the prophet Elisha, and yet, there’s still one more story of Elisha here some time after his death. 2 Kings 13:21 tells us:
So it was, as they were burying a man, that suddenly they spied a band of raiders; and they put the man in the tomb of Elisha; and when the man was let down and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet. Elisha was dead. And yet when a corpse was thrown into his tomb hastily in an attempt to hide from marauding bands of Moabites, the man came back to life simply by his corpse touching Elisha’s bones. Even as miracles go, that one’s quite impressive.

On the Church and On Sin: With a (former) Tory MP and a Catholic Priest

What with the Extraordinary Synod going on in Rome this week, the Roman Catholic Church has been in the news a bit of late. And as a result of all this pre-synod hype in the media, two Roman Catholics wrote two of the best articles I read last week. One was an article in the Catholic Herald by a priest. The other was an article in the Spectator by a former MP. You should read both of them. (But if you're not going to read both, then please at least read the second one!)

Now, maybe that seems a bit odd. I am, after all, both a Pentecostal pastor and an Ulster Protestant. And as such, I'm convinced that very significant aspects of Roman Catholic theology are seriously wrong. I still believe that justification by faith alone is the article on which the church stands or falls. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't read, and even learn from, Roman Catholics. Although we are justified by faith alone, it is by faith in Christ alone, not faith in the right formulation of the doc…

Money, Money, Money (Must Be Funny, in a Rich Man’s World!)

‘Not the Pentecostals! Watch out – they’ll be trying to get all your money.’
     – The reaction when a new Christian told her Muslim uncle that she’d got saved and           started attending a Pentecostal church. ‘Hello, I’m calling from [“Christian” TV channel]. We have some great deals on advertising during our broadcasts and wondered if the church would be interested.’
     – A phone call yesterday. ‘$11,150’
     – the amount one American church is appealing to raise to produce a worship album $750 plus expenses
     – an American amount recommended as a gift for visiting preachers ‘US pastors paid up to $300,000 - are Church of England vicars getting a raw deal?’
     – recent Headline in Christian Today

£5.75 million
     – the amount of money an evangelical church down south is trying to raise for               building improvements.$25,000
     – the amount two American pastors are raising to produce a six minute teaching video Money has been on my mind a bit of late. Not my …