Does Immersion In The Holy Spirit Save People From Their Sins?
Immersion in the Holy Spirit is mentioned by John the Immerser, the forerunner for Jesus. What was the purpose of John's coming? Mark 1:4,5 states: "John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. Then all the land of Judea and those from Jerusalem went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins." This water immersion was to prepare the Jews for the coming of the Messiah. Notice that the purpose of the immersion administered by John is "for the remission of sins." If John's immersion in water was "for the remission of sins," then it was essential for salvation. Those who underwent John's immersion (which was based on the future shed blood of Jesus on the cross) were retrospectively cleansed from their sins (Hebrews 9:15-17). No Jew could be saved without it (Luke 7:29-30; John 3:1-11). This is what the disciples (who would later be known as the apostles) underwent. Initially, there were disciples of John who then became disciples of Jesus (John 1:35-42; Matthew 3:8; Mark 1:4; John 15:1-4; John 17:11-12; John 4:1-2). [NOTE: Please consult our question on the Q & A: Did Those Persons Who Were Baptized Under John's Baptism Prior To The Day of Pentecost in Acts 2 Have To Be Rebaptized? for further information]. Mark 1:8(which mentions the promise of the immersion in the Holy Spirit) comes after Mark 1:4,5. This means that Jews had the "remission of sins" by being baptized in water administered by John before the immersion in the Holy Spirit was even promised. This shows that the immersion in the Holy Spirit did not have anything directly to do with being saved from sin.
Jesus mentions the promise of the immersion in the Holy Spirit in Acts 1:4,5 to His apostles (Acts 1:1-3): "And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father,' which,' He said, ‘you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.'" The apostles were being promised the Promise of the Father, which was the immersion in the Holy Spirit. They were already saved (as we have noted previously). Therefore, the purpose of the immersion in the Holy Spirit is not directly for salvation. The immersion in the Holy Spirit was certainly important, but it was not to save people from their sins. It had another purpose.
The purpose of immersion in the Holy Spirit is given in John 14-16. These are promises that Jesus would send another Advocate who would guide the apostles into all truth. They would be equipped with power from on high (the Holy Spirit - Luke 24:44-49) so that the apostles could rightly guide the church into all the truth (Acts 2:42) and teach lost sinners how to be saved from their sins (Acts 2:38), because they were inspired men from God.
Immersion in the Holy Spirit ---> Apostles ----> Revelation on Sin, Righteousness, and Judgment -----> Sinner
(Acts 1:4,5; Luke 24:46-49) (Acts 2:1-4) (John 16:8-11; Romans 3:23; 1:16; Acts 2:38; 17:30)
The immersion in the Holy Spirit is no longer necessary because it equipped the apostles to write down all the inspired words of God in the new covenant on what we must do in order to do all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).
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