Monday, April 10

Two kinds of fire 

Scripture: Luke 3

Luke 3:16–17 John answered them all, “I baptize you with water, but one more powerful than I am is coming—I am not worthy to untie the strap of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.17 His winnowing fork is in his hand to clean out his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his storehouse, but the chaff he will burn up with inextinguishable fire.”

Observation

Jesus will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. Scholars are divided on the meaning of the baptism with fire. It could mean purification or judgment. 

If it is purification, it means the Holy Spirit will burn away the sin and evil in our lives. 

If it is judgment, it means that the message of Jesus which brings life to those who believe will also bring death to those who reject it. (The word “fire” is used two other times in the surrounding verses, both of judgment.)

Since scholars are divided and there is plenty of Scriptural support for either view, it might be best to take it both ways.

Application

I want to welcome the purifying fire of the Spirit in my life. Identify what is wrong and burn it out of me! All of this is set in the context of John the Baptist preaching repentance that bears fruit (change). The Spirit leads us to repent, to change. What in my life does Jesus want to change? Fill me with the Spirit and purify me!

I want this for others as well. I’m thinking of a friend who is living in rebellion against God. I’m praying for repentance and the cleansing fire of the Spirit so that he can avoid the fire of judgment. Welcome the one fire to avoid the other!

Prayer: Lord, I love You. Baptize me, fill me with the Holy Spirit and with the Spirit’s purifying fire. I want that—not the fire of judgment. I want that for those I love as well. 

More: Joshua 9-10, Romans 13