General Sketch of the New Testament in the Light of Christ and the Church, A - Part 1: The Gospels and the Acts, by Witness Lee


Many Christians today have a wrong understanding concerning the baptism in the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5). The real meaning of the baptism in the Holy Spirit is that we as human beings are immersed in God. When we are baptized by immersion, we are put under the water and buried in it to be terminated. In the same way, to be baptized in the Holy Spirit is to be immersed in the Spirit, so that whatever we are, whatever we do, and the way we live and work are not out of ourselves but by the Lord Christ as the Spirit.

There are two aspects of the Holy Spirit. On the one hand, the Holy Spirit enters into us as the indwelling Spirit; this is the inward aspect. On the other hand, we are baptized into the Spirit; this is the outward aspect. In other words, we are filled with the Spirit inwardly and immersed in the Spirit outwardly. First Corinthians 12:13 speaks of these two aspects, saying, “For also in one Spirit we were all baptized into one Body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and were all given to drink one Spirit.” To drink water is to take the water into us, and to be baptized is to get into the water. To get into the Spirit and to take the Spirit into us is to be completely mingled with the Triune God. The Triune God fills and occupies us within, and He covers us without. Within and without, everywhere and in everything, there is the Triune God.

In Luke 24:49 the Lord likens the Holy Spirit as power to clothing, saying, “And behold, I send forth the promise of My Father upon you; but as for you, stay in the city until you put on power from on high.” To put on the Spirit is to be clothed with the Spirit. On the other hand, in John 7:37-39 the Holy Spirit within us as life is likened to water for drinking. We must be filled with the Holy Spirit as the water of life. If we are thirsty, we need to come to the Lord Jesus to drink of Him as the Spirit. Water is something we take in, while clothing is something we put on. We have to be filled with the Triune God within, and we must put on the Triune God without. The Triune God within is our drink, and the Triune God without is our uniform.

With the uniform comes the authority. If a policeman stands on the street without a uniform, who will respect his authority? His authority rests in his uniform. If anyone puts on a police uniform and stands on the street, he can command the same respect; everyone will obey his orders. Even for doctors and nurses to carry out their responsibilities, they must wear their respective uniforms. The uniform carries with it the power, the position, and the authority. We need the baptism in the Holy Spirit because the Spirit is our uniform. We may drink something and be filled within, but if we have no uniform, no one will respect us or listen to us. People do not recognize our infilling; they only recognize our uniform. However, if we have only the uniform without the inward life supply, we are weak and have no strength to stand.

Both the inner filling and the outer clothing are God Himself. All those disciples mentioned in the book of Acts were filled with God within and clothed with God without. Everything within them and upon them was God Himself, and they were lost and buried in God. Later on in the New Testament, the apostle Paul tells us, “I am crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). The secret and principle of the disciples’ living is found in this verse. They did not live, work, or do things in themselves. Rather, they lived and did everything by another life, by Christ Himself. They were filled with Christ within, and they were clothed with Christ without; that is, they were clothed with the Spirit.

The real meaning of the baptism in the Holy Spirit is that we are immersed in God and put God on as our clothing. As Christians and members of Christ, we must be filled with Him inwardly and clothed with Him outwardly. This is what we need, and this is exactly what He is doing with us. We must be clear about this, claim it by faith, and receive it. Then we have it; we are filled within and clothed without, and in this way we are persons who are fully mingled with Him. We can live and walk by Him as life, as power, and as everything.

(General Sketch of the New Testament in the Light of Christ and the Church, A - Part 1: The Gospels and the Acts, Chapter 6, by Witness Lee)