“For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
Acts 1:5 NKJV
There are two main passages that describe what we call a “baptism in the Holy Spirit.” In addition to Acts 1:5 above, there is also Luke 3:16–17: “John answered, saying to all, ‘I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather the wheat into His barn; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.’”
Do you think you are ready for this fiery kind of baptism? It might be the most painful experience imaginable. But the result that is produced is pure and holy––and imprinted with the character of Messiah.
Jesus’ baptism is not merely going under water, but undergoing an overwhelming purging and purifying. We call this the process of sanctification. This is part and parcel of what Jesus accomplishes when He truly baptizes us in His Holy Spirit. He baptizes us not only to make us bold witnesses, but believable witnesses.
The prophet Malachi prophesied of the coming of John the Baptist to prepare the way of the Messiah. And what would the Messiah be like? He will be a refining fire. “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire, like a launderer’s soap” (Malachi 3:2).
We can never be a fully acceptable “offering in righteousness” (Malachi 3:3) to God until we have been baptized in the “refiner’s fire.” Only after refining can we be remade and reshaped into the image of God that we were first created to be.
This fire is not a fire that burns once and then goes out after your personal Pentecost is over. No, this baptism of fire is a personal Pentecost–type experience that is meant to keep on burning for a lifetime. Jesus’ baptism of fire is an ongoing process of refining and purifying––separating the chaff from the corn, the dross from the silver.
What is the Holy Spirit saying to me?
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• Have you been baptized by fire? Do you sense the refining process in your life? Thank God for His unquenchable fire that purifies you and makes you fit for service to His Kingdom.
• Surrender to the process of sanctification and gladly let go of anything the Refiner wants to remove from your heart.
Malachi 3:1–3; Psalm 66:10; Isaiah 48:10; Matthew 5:8; James 3:17