If you’ve ever wondered about baptism by fire, or what it means, read on for a spiritual journey of discovery. Baptised by fire is the experience of being baptised with the holy spirit. This baptism occurs when a person first accepts christ as their lord and savior. Baptism of the holy spirit is the experience of being filled with the holy spirit and given the power to speak in other tongues.
Baptism of fire is a spiritual experience that many people report during their bible studies or confirmation ceremonies. Whether you believe baptism of the holy spirit is an actual baptism with holy water, or merely a sign of receiving the holy spirit, read on to learn more!
Before we continue our discussion, we have an article about baptizing with fire on our blog. Go to: Baptizing with Fire: A Guide to the Christian Anointing
What Does Baptism by Fire Mean
A challenging shift is frequently described as a “baptism by fire.” It might be used to describe a brand-new recruit going through boot camp, someone who has received a promotion or who recently moved careers or organizations, or even a guardian looking after several of a loved one’s children.
Like many popularly used expressions, we frequently use this one without comprehending its origin or the original meaning. It’s okay that way. However, what does the expression “baptism of fire” actually imply and where did it come from? Is this a biblical idea, and if so, what does it mean?
The words of John the Baptist in Matthew 3:11 are the source of the expression “baptism by fire” or “baptism of fire.”
Matthew 3:11 "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire" King James Version 1611
The Holy Spirit and fire baptism seem to be the same thing if we read that verse in isolation, but scripture must be interpreted in the context in which it was written.
What does this spiritual journey mean for you? It’s up to you to find out!
Baptised by Fire in the Bible
Except for one instance during John the Baptizer’s outing to baptize new followers in the days before the start of Jesus’ public ministry, we don’t actually see the phrase “baptism of fire” emerge in the New Testament.
John mentioned another who would come, whose ministry would be greater than his own, as he urged the people to return to their faith in God.
As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ, John answered them all, saying, "I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire." Luke 3:15-17
Whether “fire” and “the Holy Spirit” are portraying two different baptisms that Jesus would bring, or if John is merely using two terms to represent the same thing, is a question that frequently arises from John’s words. Examining the reports of John’s words in the other gospel accounts can be helpful in determining the answer to this query.
The same John’s statements are almost verbatim described in Matthew 3:11–12. However, John is quoted as saying that the Messiah would baptize them with the Holy Spirit in Mark 1:8, omitting any reference to fire. This appears to suggest that John just used the word “fire” to describe the Holy Spirit. Mark probably didn’t include the term “fire” in his version to keep the account brief despite presenting the same notion because his gospel is much shorter.
The message of John the Baptizer is that, while he is immersing the people in water as an outward symbol of their repentance and confidence in God, Jesus will come with a baptism of the Holy Spirit, which would engulf his believers in the Spirit of God himself.
This would determine whether his disciples would experience eternal salvation or judgment after being filled with the Holy Spirit. The baptism in the Holy Spirit acts as a winnowing fork, separating the grain from the chaff. Water baptism is significant, but the essential sign of saving faith is the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
What Baptism of the Holy Spirit Means
When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. Acts 2:1-4
The disciples are first visited by the Holy Spirit, who appears to them as a tongue of fire that settles on each of them. They receive power, authority, and unique gifts at that time, which they utilize to proclaim the gospel of Jesus.
Even though Pentecost was a unique event, everyone who accepts Jesus as their Savior gets baptized in the Holy Spirit and is given spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:4). The purpose of these abilities is to assist the Church in carrying out the mission of Jesus.
Life transformation is also facilitated by the Holy Spirit. According to the apostle Paul, if we follow the guidance of the Spirit, we will exhibit the characteristics of the Spirit, which include love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
Learn more about baptizing with Holy Spirit in this article: Baptise with Holy Spirit and Fire: What Does It Mean and What Are the Benefits?
Do you Believe in a Second Baptism
Some Christian leaders frequently refer to a second baptism in the Church’s more charismatic circles, which is typically when you obtain the spiritual gift of languages. This second baptism is more about using charismatic gifts like prophecy or tongues than it is about confirming your salvation.
There is a lot of disagreement among Christians on whether or not these gifts of the Holy Spirit are still active in the Church. Cessationists claim that the apostles’ first-generation church marked the end of the rightful application of these abilities. Conversely, continuationists contend that all spiritual gifts are still in use in the church today. Jesus’ devoted, Bible-believing followers fall on either side of this argument.
However, there is little biblical evidence to back up the notion that you must experience the Holy Spirit’s immersion once again before you can use all of your spiritual abilities. Every operative gift is available to you from the moment of your salvation because you are in Christ from that point forward.
Does the Holy Spirit Baptize the Believer with Fire
According to the Bible, the Holy Spirit “baptizes with fire.” The following statements were made by John the Baptist in reference to the impending arrival of Jesus the Messiah.
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. Matthew 3:11 NKJV
Does this imply that the Christian is purified through a fire baptism by the Holy Spirit? Or does it imply that He will baptize the unbeliever with judgmental fire? What does “baptism with fire” actually mean? To whom does it go? Is it beneficial to them or harmful to them?
This Promise Refers to Believers
Some feel that this promise of the “baptism of fire” only applies to Christians. They connect it to the Holy Spirit’s baptism, which was a unique experience available only to believers. According to the Bible, the Holy Spirit baptized the Christians with the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, as promised by Jesus. Jesus had reaffirmed John the Baptist’s earlier promise a few days prior.
John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:5 NLT
He assured the disciples that they would soon be baptized by the Holy Spirit.
The promise made by Jesus was realized some days later. In the Book of Acts, we read about what took place. It reads.
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. Acts 2:1-3 NRSV
On the Day of Pentecost, there was a baptism with the Holy Spirit and a baptism with fire. Thus, it is a historical act from the past.
Did the Tongues of Fire fulfill the prophecy?
Are the tongues of fire the result of this prophecy being fulfilled? The tongues on the Day of Pentecost were described as “like” fire. However, there is no mention of the Holy Spirit’s “fire” on this specific day.
It Speaks of Judgment on Unbelievers
According to another interpretation, this prophecy applies to non-believers. It alludes to the punishment for their transgression. Fire did indeed refer to purification for the righteous and condemnation for the wicked in the Old Testament. The following is what Malachi says about this.
The Holy Spirit will cast the unbelievers into the flames of judgment. It should be avoided, in other terms.
This seems to be supported by another statement made by John the Baptist. The response of John to a query about his identity is recorded in the Bible.
John answered and said to them all, “As for me, I baptize you with water; but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. “His winnowing fork is in His hand to thoroughly clear His threshing floor, and to gather the wheat into His barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire” Luke 3:16, 17 NASB
But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the LORD in righteousness. Malachi 3:2, 3 NRSV
These prophecies seem to point to the coming of Jesus Christ, who is said to be mightier than John the Baptist and will baptize with fire. It is clear that judgment will fall on unbelievers as a result of their transgression.
The future Messiah, according to John the Baptist, would “baptize with fire.” There is debate over whether this happens to believers, atheists, or even both. Is the baptism of fire something to be looked forward to or feared?
Those who believe it happens to believers interpret it to mean a process of refinement. In fact, the Bible uses fire as a symbol for the thing that purifies us from our sins. As a result, a baptism with fire would allude to the believer being absolved of their sins.