“He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Matthew 3:11)
It is more than noteworthy that Jesus baptizes us with the Holy Spirit and fire. To put it mildly, this is indeed a very dramatic baptism. It’s one thing to immerse a man into a pool of water; its quite another to plunge him into a spiritual inferno! But that is exactly what the Lord Jesus does. He baptizes us with the Holy Spirit and fire.
This means at the very least our lives are going to be consumed by the Spirit of God; by the work He does in our souls.
The Message puts it this way, “He’s going to clean house–make a clean sweep of your lives. He’ll place everything true in its proper place before God; everything false he’ll put out with the trash to be burned” (Mat 3:12).
That which is wood, hay and stubble will not make it through the flames. But that which is gold, silver, and precious stone will be refined and have a deeper luster, and more resplendent glow than ever before. Self will die; and, like in the story of the fiery furnace, the new man will come forth “without the smell of smoke” (see Daniel 3:27). Indeed, the only thing the flames burned away were the bonds placed on them by the world!
We can cooperate with the Holy Spirit in this purge. The Bible says, “If you stay away from sin you will be like one of those dishes made of purest gold – the very best in the house – so that Christ Himself can use you for His highest purposes” (2 Timothy 2:21 Living Bible).
When we seek for those signs that insure we are being led by the Spirit, PURITY in one sign we dare not miss. Indeed, if we fail at this point then the Peace we have known thus far in our journey will be short-lived.
Andrew Murray said, “There can be no guidance that is not perpetual. The advantage of a year may be lost in an hour. If we act independently of the Spirit in little things, we shall look for Him in vain in great things.” It is here where quenching or grieving the Spirit are at issue.
Our principal focus throughout this devotional study is upon a single verse of Scripture – “As many as are led by the Spirit, these are the children of God” (Romans 8:14). However, in order to correctly interpret a verse of Scripture, one must always view in it context with the passage in which it is found. With that in mind, let’s look once more at exactly what Paul said. “For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit, these are the children of God” (Romans 8:13,14).
So you see that being led by the Spirit and purity of life go hand in hand. Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). And John the Beloved tells us that “every man who has this hope in him will purify himself, even as He is pure” (1 John 3:3).
I leave you today to weigh carefully this calling upon your life; a calling to walk daily with the Lord Jesus — who is, in the words of Scripture, “a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29). It is a walk that will change everything about you.
The dove descending breaks the air
With flame of incandescent terror
Of which the tongues declare
The one discharge from sin and error.
The only hope, or else despair
Lies in the choice of pyre or pyre —
To be redeemed from fire by fire.
Who then devised the torment? Love.
Love is the unfamiliar name
Behind the hands that wove
The intolerable shirt of flame
Which human power cannot remove.
We only live, only suspire
Consumed by either fire or fire.
Tomorrow we will look for the Third Sign along our way.