Baptized with Spirit or Fire?

 

So, youíve been baptized. But, do you realize you have another baptism to come? A baptism much more dramatic and final than the one you have already experienced? This next baptism includes believers and non-believers alike. Let me read a little of what the Bible has to say about this next and final baptism.

 

(Mat 3:11-12 NIV)"I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. {12} His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

(Luke 3:16-17 NIV)John answered them all, "I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. {17} His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

John in these verses was referring to two types or modes of baptism. The first was those baptisms he performed. The essence of Johnís baptism was for the purpose of repentance and he used water as the baptizing medium. This continues to be the model for baptism to this very day. However, today baptism is done in the name of Jesus and leads to the receiving of the Holy Spirit in oneís life. In a minute we will look at the second type of baptism John referred to.But right now letís look at the meaning of the term Baptism.

 

Baptism in the Greek is ďBaptismoĒ and most commonly is understood to mean to immerse or submerse something. In our case this is the dipping of the one being baptized completely so they are totally covered with water. The action is symbolic of being buried and resurrected. The old man goes into the water and a new man comes out of the water. What has happened is a sudden change in the personís status has occurred. And, in fact, this is another understanding of baptism. We are suddenly changed when we are baptized. The full impact of the change may take a long time to be manifested but a dramatic change takes place with the action of being baptized. It might help to consider a woman becoming pregnant; a dramatic change takes place at the moment of conception. But, the results of that change will take a long time to be fully realized. So it is with baptism. This idea of dramatic change associated with baptism is important so keep it in mind as we continue.

 

Now letís go back to the second part of our sermon verse. Here we see Jesus at some time will baptize people. But, not with water but with Spirit and with fire! I am not a Greek language scholar. But I have noticed that the word, ďAndĒ is added by the translators. Perhaps it would make as much sense to use the word, ďOr.Ē Actually either word works if we use a little common sense when we try to understand the passage. Notice verse 12, two different things are being considered that are clearly analogous to Spirit and fire. This shows the meaning to be , ďOrĒ not ďAnd.Ē Jesus will baptize some people with Spirit and some He will be baptize with fire!

 

There is no record of Jesus baptizing anyone with anything. In fact the Bible indicates he never baptized at all but rather His disciples did the baptizing.

*†† (John 4:1-2 NIV)The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John, {2} although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples.

 

Letís also consider this verse.

*†† (Luke 12:49-51 RSV)"I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled! {50} I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how I am constrained until it is accomplished! {51} Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division;

Jesus seems to be referring to His crucifixion and resurrection here which was indeed a sudden and dramatic change. Also note that when Jesus returns again there will be more sudden and dramatic changes taking place resulting in a great division. That division results in some receiving eternal life and others eternal death! Some will be changed by complete immersion in the Spirit of God and they receive new bodies, spiritual bodies. And others will be changed by fire, which will burn up their body and leave nothing at all but ashes. These are completely consumed by fire and are eternally dead.

*†† (Heb 12:28-29 NIV)Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, {29} for our "God is a consuming fire."

*†† (Deu 4:23-24 NIV)Be careful not to forget the covenant of the LORD your God that he made with you; do not make for yourselves an idol in the form of anything the LORD your God has forbidden. {24} For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

Here is my point. When we receive baptism after repentance in this world it is only the beginning of our walk with the lord. It is a baptism administered by man that allows us to receive Godís Spirit, which in turns helps us to grow in the knowledge of God and to walk in His ways. Although we have the Spirit of God to help us we are still flesh and blood.

 

At the return of Christ we will again be baptized. But this time we donít simply receive the Spirit of God in our beings but are completely immersed in Godís Spirit The result is that we no longer are flesh and blood but actual spirit beings in a spirit body

*†† (1 Cor 15:42-44 NIV)So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; {43} it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; {44} it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

Or if we fall short in this life there is no other life, ever!

*†† (Gal 6:8 NIV)The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

 

So thatís it. Baptism is all about change. That change is indeed dramatic. The stakes are high so be always vigilant and never let your guard down. Make your second baptism even better than your first!