Mk.1:8 – TPT – I’ve baptized you into water, but he will baptize you into the Spirit of Holiness!
There is that holiness word again. When referring to the Holy Spirit we easily miss the implications. The Spirit is holy and the Passion Translation refers to Him as the Spirit of Holiness. Jesus baptizes or immerse us into this Spirit of Holiness. That brings us to that next question, what is holiness. Holiness is the description of the very nature of God. Jonathan Edwards called it excellency, we could call it goodness or moral virtue. So in a sense you could say that Jesus baptizes us into His goodness. Being totally submerged into the goodness of God has to effect us. We begin to experience radical transformation that will continue as long as we allow ourselves to be immersed again and again. It is essential to recognize that the Baptism in the Spirit is not a one time event. It is intended to be part of our continual Christian experience. Here is Dane Ortlund describing Jonathan Edwards’s spin on holiness.
“This is why, according to Edwards, to speak of God’s holiness is virtually the same thing as to speak of his beauty. Edwards refers in one 1730 sermon to God’s “beauteous holiness.” Whenever he refers to God’s beauty, a reference to his holiness is often not far behind. Beauty, to Edwards, is fundamentally a moral matter. One might still wonder, however—is not beauty an aesthetic (physical) matter, not a moral one? Yet here is the genius of Edwards’s understanding of God and of the Christian life….The holy is the beautiful. God does not happen to be beautiful and holy (for Edwards, you cannot have one without the other), but is beautiful in his holiness.“
Today’s scripture comes from the essence of the preaching of John the Baptist. He was the voice that stood between the Old and New Testament. The law revealed in the Old Testament showed us the holiness of God, we just did not have the capacity in our fallen human nature to walk in it. John introduces the solution, we need a total transformation that comes from the Spirit of God. John baptized in water as an illustration of the coming greater baptism. John preached that it was the immersion into the Spirit of Holiness by Jesus Himself that would change us into different people