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The Role of the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Baptism - Essay Example

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The Role of the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Baptism

The general use of purification in the pagan manner of worship means cleansing before entering the temple, after engaging in warfare, before handling of idols which they considered sacred, and to put oneself in a spiritual position. Christian baptism basically is for the purpose of cleansing the person so that they may receive the Spirit of God (Thomas, 2008). Washing which was done by immersion in some pagan religions was the first step in the ceremony of initiation and it was concluded with a meal (Edward, 1994). This seems to resemble the cleansing done before the Eucharist or communion service, and even though the two are not presided by an immersion, the purposes of the cleansing seem to resemble each other. There was also a myth surrounding the idea of immersing that the god Thetis immersed people completely to make them invulnerable holding them only at the heel but having all other parts of the body immersed. John13:9 narrates about John asking Jesus not to only wash his feet, but also his whole body. John the Baptist baptized Jesus at Aenon where there was much water which implies that it was an immersion whereby the whole body needed to be covered by the water. In the beginning of all of the four Gospels, the phrase “baptize with the Spirit” is found eight times and John the Baptist promises that the one coming after him was to be baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire. The symbolic meaning of fire was judgment, since Mathew3:12 and Luke 3:17 narrate, “His winnowing fork is in His hand, He will clear His threshing floor and gather His wheat into His granary, but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire”. Fire and judgment were associated, for example, by prophets as they preached, as shown in Amos7:4 and Malachi 3:2 (Killian & Montague, 1994). Other prophets, like Jeremiah and Isaiah, also mention fire and judgment in their prophesies, denoting God’s judgment. Commentators then argue that the Holy Spirit mentioned by John during his ministry of baptizing in the Jordan was the Spirit of repentance and preparation so as to receive the Messiah and escape the fire of God’s judgment, and also to be prepared for ministry, when one underwent the ritual with true repentance. The baptism of Jesus in the river Jordan, the subsequent descent of the Holy Spirit, and the confirmation by God that He was God’s beloved son are the same steps today that a Christian follows, being purified or being initiated, being empowered by being filled by the holy Spirit to perform ministry in the Kingdom of God as a son in the Kingdom (Edward, 1994). Jesus also calls His suffering and death on the cross baptism, as found in Mark 10:38 -39. The reason for this use of the term “baptism” is because the suffering is looked upon as a bath into which Jesus was to be immersed. The view is that the death of Jesus was God’s way of dealing with mankind’s sin; a judgment gives more reason where the passion of Christ is referred to as a baptism (Killian & Montague, 1994). This inclusion of this aspect in St Marks Gospel also demonstrates that the Holy Spirit’s baptism of believers is not only for ministry empowerment to heal and cast out demons, but also to enable them to have the Grace to offer their lives as a ransom for many, due to the fact that Jesus is their role model and that he stated they were to drink the same cup He drank. The ...Show more


Name Institution Date The Role of the Holy Spirit in Sacrament of Baptism Baptism, which means to immerse, was presided by purification washings in the Greco-Roman world which, though done in pagan rituals, had many striking similarities to the Christian Baptism as known and practiced today (Thomas, 2008)…
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The Role of the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Baptism essay example
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