"I'm baptizing you here in the river, turning your old life in for a kingdom life. The real action comes next: The main character in this drama - compared to him I'm a mere stagehand - will ignite the kingdom life within you, a fire within you, the Holy Spirit within you, changing you from the inside out”. Matthew 3:11 (Msg)
John’s baptism is a picture of what every follower of Jesus continually experiences in their Spirit and heart. But, it is not up to us to make it true by our religious performance. Our only choice is to let this explosive, abundant, Holy Spirit led, Kingdom life out. Why would we knowingly quench and grieve His life?
“Who would, after seeking the King’s palace, be content to stand in the door, when he is invited to dwell in the King’s presence and share with Him in all the glory of His royal life? Certainly, all would assume that no one would so foolishly give up a royal life to merely stand in the doorway, separated from all the pleasures of living in the King’s presence,” adapted from the wisdom of Andrew Murray, from his classic “Abide in Christ.”
Our baptism is perpetual-into Jesus, Holy Spirit and Body of Christ life! They are inherently intertwined and relational. Our privilege is embracing this dynamic and intimate presence within. Paul put it this way, ‘be filled and keep on being filled’. So we can remain filled to the point of being explosively ablaze in them! Am I? Are you?
This infilling is the wellspring of joyful belonging, relational connection, faithful trust, rest, peace, grace, power and all other spiritual virtue. If you are a follower of Jesus you are part of His Body. And every part of Christ’s Body must willingly make space and opportunity in their life for continuous infilling. The intentional sharing of our life in Jesus constitutes Body Life. And as such we share an individual and a corporate life and identity.
Our daily joy is to become acquainted with and get to know our personal identity, which is who we are “in Christ”. Paul describes this as our “new life”. Our “new” life is hidden (safe and secure) in Christ with God. He characterizes this as a mystery with us simultaneously being in Christ and Christ being in us. And second, equally as real and vital, we are also daily ‘baptized’ (placed by virtue of faith) into His Spirit and Body. Therefore we are forever, moment by moment intertwined with Jesus, His Heavenly Father and his Holy Spirit!
“But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won't know what we're talking about. 10 But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells - even though you still experience all the limitations of sin - you yourself experience life on God's terms. 11 It stands to reason, doesn't it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he'll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ's! 12 So don't you see that we don't owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent? 13 There's nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. 14 God's Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go! 15 This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It's adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike "What's next, Papa?" 16 God's Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. 17 And we know we are going to get what's coming to us - an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we're certainly going to go through the good times with him” (Romans 8:9-18, Msg)
Filled and Belonging, Ron Ross