In Hebrews 6:1-3 we read of the doctrine of baptisms. “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the DOCTRINE OF BAPTISMS, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit.” Hence, this passage suggests that more than one baptism is required if godly perfection is to be achieved. What are these baptisms?
First, a public confession of faith and commitment to Christ is demonstrates with a clear conscious toward God through Water Baptism, which typically follows saving faith or a salvation experience.
Next, we experience the anointing of His Spirit with the mighty Baptism of the Holy Ghost, in which we receive the power to witness to others and communicate the very oracles of God in an expanded prayer language.
Finally, a third baptism is recorded in Luke 3:16, “John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with Fire.” But what is the purpose of this Firey Baptism?
Historically, a warm fire has been understood as a universal symbol of love. Even in a love sonnet from Song of Solomon 8:6, we read:
Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm;
for love is strong as death,
passion fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
a raging flame.
Moreover, when Solomon dedicated the first temple, and the people saw fire from the Lord descending over it, they understood that it demonstrated the Lord’s love for them. This love is described in 2 Chronicles 7:3. “When all the people of Israel saw the fire come down and the glory of the Lord on the temple, they bowed down on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying, “For he is good, for his steadfast LOVE endures forever.” Likewise, when Jesus Christ baptizes us with the Fire of the Holy Spirit, it is a baptism of intense spiritual and divine LOVE that is truly overwhelming and transforming.
With the Baptism of Fire, Jesus Christ cleanses our hearts by changing our desires, and motives, so that we no longer even want ungodly pleasures or things. And if we are tempted, instead of being drawn to those old, ungodly pleasures we find the very thought of indulging in them intensely distressing and unpleasant.
Additionally, this baptism has historically been considered by most Christians to be an intense and long process of purification that does not occur easily. Rather than look to scripture, Christians have traditionally defined the experience by gravitating to the secular phrase, “trial by fire.” In other words, death to ungodly desires could take years of trial, temptation and tribulation. This long and exhaustive process is also often associated with another phrase not found in Scripture known as “Christian Maturity.” Although there may be some truth to these concepts, it is not likely the appropriate definition for the Baptism of Fire. Why?
Because from scripture we understand the advent of a fiery purification occurs suddenly. Indeed this is consistent with the whole notion of “baptism.” Reading Malachi 3:1-3, “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall SUDDENLY come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s FIRE, and like fullers’ soap: and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.”
Precious believer, if your walk with Christ is filled with a sense of failure and spiritual bankruptcy, then look to Jesus for victory. Ask Him to save you, deliver you, fill you and baptize you in the fire of the Holy Ghost. He longs to hear your heart’s cry even now.
Be blessed in Jesus name,
Brother Jerry Turk