24 “Baptized by the Spirit into One Body”

A. T. Jones 

People receive the Spirit of God when they are baptized with the Holy Spirit. They are by Him baptized into divine unity—the unity for which Jesus prayed.

“For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:13). And this unity is one of both individual and mutual helpfulness and dependence.

It is the unity of individual and mutual helpfulness; because the Holy Spirit is given alone to fit us for service. And so it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound” (Isa. 61:1). And, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him” (Acts 10:38).

It is also the unity of individual and mutual dependence; because the gifts of the Spirit are many, and are divided “to each one individually as He wills” (1 Cor. 12:11). These gifts are given “for the edifying of the body of Christ,” “which is the church.” Each gift is essential to the church. But as no one person has all the gifts, each one is dependent upon all the others for the benefits which each gift imparts to the church.

Therefore it is written: “God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty” (1 Cor. 12:18–23).

Just as the human body is composed of many members, and each member in its place is essential to the symmetry of the body; and just as each member of the human body, however small and feeble, or however great and strong, is dependent on every other member of the body, in order to the proper action of the body as God designed it; so is the body of Christ—the church. And as under “the inspiration of the Almighty,” there is a divine unity in the human body, so under the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the inspiration of the Almighty, there is divine unity in the body of Christ, which is the church.

Under the reign of the Holy Spirit, no member of the church can say of another, “I have no need of you;” even the head cannot say to the feet, “I have no need of you.” How much less, then, can any member of the body say to another member, “I have no need of you.” For “God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it” (1 Cor. 12:24–26).

“Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually” (v. 27). And Christ is now baptizing His people with the Holy Spirit into this divine unity of the church of Christ. Thank the Lord! Are you baptized into this divine unity? or is there division where you are? Is Christ divided?—No, no! “By one Spirit we were all baptized into one body,” as certainly as we are baptized with the Spirit at all. Are you baptized with the Holy Spirit?

“Ask, and it will be given to you.” “Receive the Holy Spirit.” “Be filled with” “the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” 

The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, January 3, 1899