Read: Matthew 3
“I baptize with water those who repent of their sins and turn to God. But someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not worthy even to be his slave and carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” (Matthew 3:11, NLT)
Some people get stuck at pardon and never move beyond it. God wants us to move forward in power and join him in the great reclamation project of redeeming mankind and restoring creation to his rule.
Now don’t get me wrong, forgiveness is a wonderful thing. What a gift of mercy and grace to be cleansed from sin and pardoned from guilt, but that is just the beginning! God wants to do so much more in us and through our lives than just forgive us and remove our guilt.
Unfortunately, some Christian’s don’t get that and are content to live just righteously enough to stay out of hell. In a sense, they live on the edge of the promised land of power in the holding pen of pardon. What low expectations!
John the Baptist’s work in preparation for the arrival of Jesus was simply to call people to repentance of sins. To prove their willingness and demonstrate their obedience, John baptized them in water. That was a very significant marker in the life of the believer; a public statement to the initial commitment they had made in response to God’s invitation to salvation. So important was this act that Jesus himself submitted to it (Matthew 3:15, NLT), and then told his disciples that their commission was to lead other people into it (Matthew 28:19, NLT).
But John didn’t stop with baptism unto repentance. He preached that Jesus would take people to the next step; Jesus would take them way beyond by baptizing them with the Holy Spirit and with fire. In other words, Jesus would baptize his followers with the very same power that enabled him to be the Agent of creation, the Lord of life, the Savior of the world, the Master over sin, sickness, death, all the powers of the unseen realm and all of the physical elements of the seen world, and the King of Kings for all eternity. Yes, Jesus would impart to all who would follow him that very same power in the Person of the Holy Spirit.
It would be through the person of the Holy Spirit, fully dwelling in the believer that Jesus would empower his followers to do the same works he performed and proclaim the same words he preached, calling the rest of un-redeemed mankind to repentance and restoration as God’s very own children. Furthermore, through the same empowering of the Spirit, Jesus would baptize with fire. Fire represented cleansing, purity and judgment in the Bible. The baptism of fire that Jesus would bring would purify God’s people to be his very own family, and would bring those who refused under the righteous judgment of God at the proper time.
Now isn’t that so much more than just forgiveness? Isn’t that far better than simply living in the holding pen of pardon? Jesus has a life of purpose for you far beyond what your university degree or your current career or your bank account or anything else can give you. Through the Holy Spirit, he will empower you to do God’s work on Planet Earth!
That sounds so much more exciting to me than merely living my life just so I avoid hell. I don’t know about you, but I want Jesus to baptize me again today in the Holy Spirit’s power and fire. I want to be emboldened and purified to do God’s work for him today on this planet.
How about you?
“There is no better evangelist in the world than the Holy Spirit.” ~D.L. Moody
What If God Took Over:
Jesus said in Luke 11:13, “how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.” Why don’t you ask for a fresh baptism today—Jesus the baptizer is ready to inundate you with the Holy Spirit!