THE BAPTISM IN THE SPIRIT
The baptism in the Spirit is the first step needed for the one new man, which has already been created, to come into existence. The creation of the one new man was accomplished on the cross prior to the day of Pentecost. Ephesians 2:15 makes this point very clear. But that was the creation of the new man, not the existence of the one new man with us. For the one new man to come into existence with us, there is the need of the baptism in the Spirit. After Christ created the one new man, He was resurrected from the dead. Then He ascended into heaven and was enthroned there, being made the Lord of all (Acts 2:36; 10:36), not only with His divinity but also with His humanity. After His ascension, there is a Man in the heavens as the Lord of all (Acts 7:56; 10:36). On the day of Pentecost and in the house of Cornelius He poured Himself out upon God’s chosen ones (Acts 2:4; 10:44). That was the baptism in the Spirit.
First Corinthians 12:13 says, “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.” As the Spirit is the sphere and element of our spiritual baptism and in such a Spirit we were all baptized into one organic entity, the Body of Christ, so we should all, regardless of our races, nationalities, and social ranks, be this one Body. Christ is the life and constituent of this Body, and the Spirit is the reality of Christ. It is in this one Spirit that we were all baptized into this one living Body to express Christ.
The Jews, the Greeks, the slaves, and the free have all been put into the one Spirit. Before this baptism all the differences between the races and the ranks in human society still existed. But through the baptism in the Spirit these different peoples were put into the one Spirit. We may have seen that our baptism into Christ Jesus was also our burial with Him into death (Rom. 6:3-4), but we need to see also that it was not only we ourselves that were buried. Our race, our rank in society, our natural background, and our natural position were all buried when we were baptized in the Spirit. The new man was created on the cross, but for the new man to come into existence there is the need of the baptism in the Spirit, which is to baptize the Jews, the Greeks, the slaves, and the free in one Spirit into one Body.
We may talk about the Body, yet the Body may only be a term to us. Have we ever seen the Body? As long as the racial differences, the different ways of living, exist with us, there is no Body. To have the Body in experience, we must trade in our racial backgrounds. Through the baptism in the Spirit all of us become one Body, and our races, nationalities, and social ranks are over.
DRINKING THE ONE SPIRIT
The second way that the new man comes into existence is also in 1 Corinthians 12:13. After being baptized into one Body, we were all given to drink one Spirit. The baptism in the Spirit was the first step for the created new man to come into existence. Now our drinking of the one Spirit is the second step. The baptism in the Holy Spirit has already been accomplished. The verb in 1 Corinthians 12:13 is in the past tense—“were all baptized.” The baptism of the whole Body of Christ in the Holy Spirit is something which is already accomplished and still exists. This baptism was accomplished on the day of Pentecost and in the house of Cornelius upon the Body of Christ. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is ours because we are members of this baptized Body. Many times when I speak, I get excited in the Lord because I am in the baptism in the Holy Spirit. We are enjoying the baptism in the Spirit and we are in the Spirit, but to drink of the Spirit is another matter. We all were baptized in one Spirit, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. Baptism is to put us into the water; then after being baptized, we have to get the water into us continuously all the time.
The Chinese who lived around Nanking and Shanghai along the Yangtze River had a slogan. They said that in the evening they had the practice of getting themselves enveloped in water. This meant that they took a bath and became immersed in water. Then in the morning their skin needed to envelop the water. This meant that they needed to drink much tea to get filled with water inwardly. In order to be healthy, in the evening the water should envelop the skin, and in the morning the skin should envelop the water. They said that if you would do this every day, you would be a most healthy person. To be baptized is to have the water enveloping us. To drink is for us to envelop the water. This means we have the water without and within. For the created one new man to come into existence there is the need of these two steps—to become enveloped in water and to envelop the water. If a person were to stay in a bathtub full of water for thirty days and never drink any water, he would be in serious trouble. This shows how much we need to drink. Medical doctors will tell you that it is healthy to drink much water every day.
To be baptized in the Spirit is to get into the Spirit and be lost in Him; to drink the Spirit is to take the Spirit in and have our being saturated with Him. By these two procedures we are mingled with the Spirit. To be baptized in the Spirit is the initiation of the mingling and is once for all. To drink the Spirit is the continuation and accomplishment of the mingling and is perpetual, forever. We should drink of the Spirit daily and even hourly.
(The One New Man, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)