Are events of the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” in the NT corporate?
Calling the various workings of the Holy Spirit in Acts “the Baptism of the Spirit,” is something which the book of Acts never does. Just because people call it that does not make it one and the same thing. The book of Acts is a transitional book where we have the beginning of the work of the Spirit and His indwelling. Because of that we would expect this to involve groups of people, but this does not mean it would always occur this way. Based on other passages like Jn 7:37f; Eph. 1:13-14 which associates the giving of the Spirit based on personal faith in Christ, it is clear receiving the Spirit normally occurs when an individual believes in Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:13 explicitly tells us what “The Baptism of the Holy Spirit” is and consists of. Also, the baptism of Romans 6 is clearly a work accomplished by the supernatural identification of the Holy Spirit which unites believers into Christ’s death and resurrection. What else can it be but the work described by Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:13? In Colossians 2:11-13, Paul makes a comparison between circumcision and baptism that shows us the baptism of the Spirit (what the HS does supernaturally) is what unites us into union with Christ. If the circumsision done by Christ is one accomplished, not by human hands, then certainly the baptism mentioned is also one accomplished by the Spirit to do exactly what is described in 1 Corinthians 12:13. The point in both Romans 6 and Colossians 2 is the new identification or union that brings the benefits of the death and resurrection and session of Christ into our lives. We need to let the Bible speak for itself rather than force our own ideas on Scripture.
2:11 In him you also were circumcised—not, however, with a circumcision performed by human hands, but by the removal of the fleshy body, that is, through the circumcision done by Christ. 2:12 Having been united with him in baptism, you also have been raised with him through your faith in the power of God who raised him from the dead. 2:13 And even though you were dead in your transgressions and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, he nonetheless made you alive with him, having forgiven all your transgressions. The NET Bible, (Dallas, TX: Biblical Studies Press) 1998.
Related Topics: Pneumatology (The Holy Spirit)