The baptism of the Holy Spirit; Who baptizes us in the Holy Spirit?

In the previous post we explored the first of two questions Karl Barth raises with respect to the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers.  We now address the second question, “Who baptizes us in the Holy Spirit?”. In the same section of Church Dogmatics he shares the thought that the one who baptizes us upon the start of our life of faith is Jesus Himself.  In John 1:33, John the Baptist says of Jesus, “this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit”.  Barth amplifies this point explaining that when specific men are confronted with the history, ministry and impact of the work of the resurrected and living Christ and He (Christ) enters this person’s life as savior and guarantor of God’s faithfulness, Jesus baptizes this same person with the Holy Spirit.  Barth then shares 5 key points of application to this truth.  1.  As/when Jesus enters a life of new faith, so too does the Holy Spirit, not a moment sooner and not a moment later.  He enters fully and completely (Ephesians 1) (my paraphrase).  2.  The Holy Spirit and His baptism through Christ “reconciles the world” to the new believer (ie creates in this new believer the desire to minister).  3.  This demands gratitude and obedience.  4.  This is the beginning of new Christian life in a “distinctive fellow humanity” whereby Jesus Himself attests Himself to the new believer as his Lord and imparts Himself to him as his brother (Hebrews 2:10-13) who then ceases to be self centered and builds relationships with other believers.  5.  This is a beginning and involves radical continuation and change (Titus 3:5, Galatians 5).  The Holy Spirit enters and seals once for all, but we are in need of renewing.  Barth says, we are in need of “daily renewal which we can never grow tired of subjecting ourselves to”…”the power of the life to come is the power of our life in this world”. 

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