The baptism of the Holy Spirit is often thought of as something that is only true of a ‘holier’ subset of believers. , but that is not true. The Corinthian believers were still in many ways immature and even sinful and needed strong exhortations on godliness, but they were still considered as saints who had been baptised by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:13). The baptism of the Holy Spirit occurs in the context of conversion and justification, and not of sanctification. The Bible never teaches that the baptism of the Holy Spirit needs to besought after and pursued as should daily spiritual growth and sanctification. The baptism of the Holy Spirit then, is, primarily, identification with Christ, not identification with certain spiritual gifts of spiritual standing before God or others. Not all have the same gifts, but still all are part of Christ’s body, which happens through the baptism of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:27-30).

Here is a good, yet simple, definition of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

The baptism of the Holy Spirit happens when you get saved, and makes your ministry as a Christian in a Church fruitful.

The emphasis of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is unity. The Holy Spirit is the unifying factor for the inclusion of Gentiles as the people of God (Acts 11:16). In Ephesians 2 Paul argues that the dividing wall between the people of Israel and the Gentiles is now broken down. The reason for the removal of division is given in verse 18: “for through Him we both [Israelite and Gentile] have our access in one Spirit to the Father.” As such, the various groups in the church in Ephesus were exhorted in chapter 4:3 to be “diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Church unity therefore, is the unity that pertains to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the glue of unity in our otherwise clear diversity.

A quick scan through the New Testament regarding the relationship between the unity of the church and the work of the Holy Spirit yields the following significant terms. 2 Corinthians 13:14 talks about the fellowship of the Holy Spirit that extends to all in the church; as mentioned before, Ephesians 4:3 exhorts all believers to preserve the unity of the Spirit; and Galatians 5:20 mentions some of the fruit of the flesh which includes divisions and factions that are diametrically opposed to being led by the Spirit and exhibiting the peace of the Spirit when walking and living in the Spirit (Gal 5:18-26). The emphasis of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is therefore the unity of the body of Christ and not a
more-spiritual state or more prolific exercise of the spiritual gifts.

We are obliged to walk by the Spirit and no longer use the Holy Spirit for fleshly indulgences (Gal 5:16). Let us maintain the unity of the Holy Spirit, and not use His perfections for creating levels of spirituality among ourselves (Eph 4:3).

For more detail on the baptism of the Holy Spirit, especially also the verses that indicate that some time occurs between coming to faith and being baptised by the Holy Spirit, read the following: