By one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
–1 Corinthians 12:13
In 1 Corinthians 12:13, Paul explained how every Christian is indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God: “By one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.”
The word “baptized” in this verse is a transliteration of the Greek word “baptizo,” which means “to immerse.” In fact, it was used in the textile industry to describe the process by which you would change the color of a piece of cloth. Let’s say you wanted to dye it purple. You would take that piece of cloth and “baptizo” it in a vat of purple dye. You would not sprinkle the purple dye over the cloth. No, if you wanted to change its color completely, you had to immerse it. That is what the word “baptize” means.
Now, water baptism is important, but it is important because of what it symbolizes. Water baptism is a symbol of what the Holy Spirit of God does for you when you trust in Christ as your Savior. At that moment, the Holy Spirit changes your spiritual color completely. He pours over you. He transforms you from a guilty, rebellious enemy of God into a forgiven, obedient disciple of Jesus Christ. Your spiritual color is changed forever.
But your baptism with the Holy Spirit not only changes you but also joins you to Jesus Christ, the head of the body, and to other Christians who are already part of the body of Christ. Baptism changes us individually but also joins us together to Jesus Christ and other believers.
The Corinthian Christians to whom Paul was writing were divided over their favorite pastor. Their political philosophies. Their beliefs about the role of women in the church. Their beliefs about spiritual gifts. But notice that Paul did not call for them to be just alike. He said in verse 12, “Even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ.” The church is made up of all kinds of people from all different backgrounds joined together for one purpose.
How in the world can you have such unity in diversity? The only answer is a supernatural work by the Holy Spirit. That is what Paul said in verse 13: “By one spirit we were all baptized into one body.” The diversity of the church is one of the greatest testimonies to the power of God. And the way the church comes together is through the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “You’re Richer Than You Think” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.