Water and Fire Baptism

“…let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of…the doctrine of baptisms,” (Heb. 6:1-2):  

There are 6 foundations laid out for Christians as are listed in Hebrews 6:1-2: “Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.”  The first 4 are for our Christian life on earth, and the last 2 bring us into eternity.  Out of all of these foundations, “the doctrine of baptisms” seems to be the most confusing for believers, however, as we will see, the Bible does mention and lay out three different baptisms (water, Holy Spirit, and fire).  

  • To understand what the word baptism literally means I am relying on someone who is a qualified philologist – Derek Prince. As someone else has pointed out: He [Derek] was educated in Britain as a scholar of Greek and Latin at Eton, and at King’s College, Cambridge. He held a Fellowship at Cambridge from 1940 to 1949 in Ancient and Modern Philosophy. He also studied Hebrew and Aramaic at Cambridge and at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Converted from philosophy to Christianity while serving in World War II, he has devoted his life to the study and teaching of the Bible. He has been, at various times, minister, educator and missionary in four continents —Europe, Asia, Africa and North America and is eminently qualified to help us at this point. The following quote is taken from his book entitled ‘From Jordan to Pentecost:
    • “Upon examination this word “baptize” proves to be a most unusual and interesting word. Actually it is not an English word at all. It is a pure Greek word, merely written in letters of the English alphabet. if we write out the original Greek word in English letters as accurately as it is possible to do, this gives us “baptizo”. Then, with the change of the final “o” to an “e,” we have the word in the form which has become familiar “baptize”. 
  • At this point someone may reasonably ask: “Why was this particular word never translated? Why was it simply written over from Greek to English letters? Was it because the correct meaning of the original Greek word was not known, and therefore the translators did not know by what English word to translate it?”

No, this is definitely not the explanation. As we shall see in due course, the Greek  word “baptizo” has a perfectly definite and well-established meaning.

In order to clear up the unusual circumstances connected with the use of this word “baptize,” it is necessary to glance for a moment at the historical background of Bible translation. By far the best known and the most influential of all the English translations of the Bible is that known as the “Authorised Version” – the version which was translated and published through the authority of King James, in the early years of the seventeenth century. It is through this translation that the word “baptize” has gained a place in the English language; and through this Authorised Version the word “baptize” has been carried over into the great majority of all subsequent English versions of the Bible, as well as into a great many translations of the Bible that have been made into the languages of many different tribes and peoples in various parts of the world. Yet this word “baptize,” both in its origin and in its form, is in fact completely alien to almost all those languages.

We may ask then: How did this unusual and unnatural form first find its way into the Authorised Version of the Bible? The answer lies in the fact that King James, though holding political power as an absolute monarch, was answerable in matters of religion to the bishops of the established Church of England. Now the relationship between James and his bishops was not always too cordial, and James did not wish the new translation of the Bible, published in his name and with his authority, to make his relationship with his bishops any worse. For this reason, he allowed it to be understood that, so far as possible, nothing was to be introduced into the translation which would cause unnecessary offence to the bishops or which would be too obviously contrary to the practices of the established church. Hence, the Greek word “baptizo”, which could easily have become, in translation, a source of controversy, was never translated at all but was simply written over direct into the English language.

In this connection it is interesting to remark that the very word “bishop” is another example of precisely the same influences at work. In actual fact the word “bishop” is no more an English word than the word “baptize.” “Bishop” is just another Greek word that has been taken over without translation, into the English language; but in this case it has come by a slightly less direct route, by way of Latin. If the Greek original of the word “bishop” had been translated, everywhere it occurs in the New Testament, by its natural and correct translation – which is “overseer” – the resulting version could have been interpreted as a challenge to the hierarchical order of government that existed in the established Church of England. Therefore, in various places, the translators avoided the issue, and simply left the Greek word to stand in its anglicised form – “bishop.”

However, let us now return to the word with which we are directly concerned in this study – the Greek word “baptizo”, and its English equivalent “baptize.” This Greek verb “baptizo” is of a special, characteristic form of which there are a good many other examples in the Greek language. The characteristic feature of this verbal form is the insertion of the two letters “iz” into a more simple, basic root. Thus, the simple, basic root is – “bapto”. The insertion into this root of the two extra letters – “iz” – produces the compound form – “baptizo”. We find then that the simple, basic root is “bapto”. The compound form, produced from that root, is “baptizo”.

Now the insertion of the additional syllable, “iz,” into any Greek verb normally gives the compound verb thus formed a particular kind of meaning. The insertion of this extra syllable produces a verb that has a special, causative meaning. That is to say, the compound verb thus formed always has the sense of causing something to be, or to happen. The precise nature of that which is thus caused to be, or to happen, is decided by the meaning of the simple root verb, out of which the compound, causative form has been built up.

With this in mind, we can now form a clear and accurate picture of the Greek verb “baptizo.” This is a compound, causative form, built up out of the simple, root form, “bapto”. Obviously, therefore, to get a proper understanding of the compound, causative form “baptizo?’, it is necessary first of all to find out the meaning of the simple root form “bapto”. Fortunately, there is no difficulty whatever in doing this. This simple root form “bapto” occurs three times in the Greek text of the New Testament which forms the basis of the English Authorised Version. In every one of these three instances the original Greek verb “bapto” is translated by the same English verb-and that is the English verb “to dip”.

The three New Testament passages in which this word “bapto” occurs are as follows:

First, Luke’s Gospel, chapter 16 verse 24. Here the rich man, in the torments of hell fire, cries out to Abraham; “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue . .

Second, John’s Gospel, chapter 13, verse 26. Here, at the last supper, Jesus identifies the traitor, who is to betray Him, by giving His disciples a definite, distinguishing mark: “Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when 1 have dipped it.”

Third, Revelation chapter 19, verse 13. Here John the Revelator describes the Lord Jesus Christ as he sees Him coming forth in glory, leading the avenging armies of heaven: “And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood.”

In all these three passages, both the English word used by the translators, and also the actual context of each passage, plainly show the meaning of the Greek verb “bapto”. In each case, it means “to dip something into a fluid, and then take it out again.”

In that standard work of Biblical reference – Dr. Strong’s “Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible” Dr. Strong gives the following as the primary meaning of the verb “bapto”; “to cover wholly with fluid’ – hence, “to dip.” We also find in the New Testament a compound version of the verb “bapto,” formed by prefixing the Green preposition “en”or “em” – meaning “in”. This gives the compound form “embapto. This compound form, “embapto”, also occurs three times in the Greek text of the New Testament. The three passages are as follows: Matthew chapter 26, verse 23; Mark chapter 14, verse 20; and John chapter 13, verse 26 (the second half of the verse). Any student who cares to check for himself will quickly discover that in all these three passages this compound form “embapto” is translated, just like the simple form “bapto”, by the English verb “to dip”.

We thus arrive at the following conclusion. The Greek verb “bapto” – either in its simple form, or with the prefix of the preposition ,”em” meaning “in’ – occurs six times in the Greek text of the New Testament, and in every instance in the Authorised Version it is translated “to dip”. In every instance, also, the context plainly indicates that the action described by this verb is that of dipping something into a fluid, and then taking it out again.

Having thus arrived with absolute definiteness at the correct meaning of the simple verb “bapto”, there is no difficulty whatever in going on from there to discover, with equal definiteness, the correct meaning of the causative compound form “baptizo” means “to dip something into a fluid, and then take it out again,” then “baptizo” can have only one possible, literal meaning. Logically, it must mean “to cause something to be dipped into a fluid, and then taken out again.” More briefly, “baptizo” – from which we get the English word “baptize” – means’ “to cause something to be dipped.”

This conclusion can be confirmed by tracing the word “baptizo” back into the earlier history of the Greek language. In the third century before the Christian era the extensive conquests of Alexander the Great had the effect of spreading the use of the Greek language far beyond the actual geographical confines of Greece herself, or even of the Greek cities and communities of Asia Minor. In this way, by the time of the New Testament, the Greek language had become the generally accepted medium of communication for most of the peoples in the lands bordering on the Mediterranean Sea. It is this form of the Greek language which is found in the New Testament and which traces its origin, linguistically, back to the purer form of classical Greek originally used by the Greek cities and states in the preceding centuries. Thus most of the words used in New Testament Greek trace their origin and their meaning back to the earlier forms of classical Greek.

This is true of the word with which we are at present concerned -the verb “baptizo”. This word can be traced back into the earlier, classical form of the Greek language as far as the fifth century B.C. From then on it has a continuous history in the Greek language right down into the first and second centuries A.D. (that is, throughout this whole period of the New Testament writings). Throughout this period of six or seven centuries, the word retains one unchanging basic meaning: “to dip,” ‘,to plunge,” “to submerge.” In this sense, it may be used either literally or metaphorically.

The following are some examples of its use throughout this period:

In the fifth or fourth century B.C. “baptizo” is used by Plato of a young man being, “overwhelmed” by clever philosophical arguments.

In the writings of Hippocrates (attributed to the fourth century B.C.) “baptizo” is used of people being “submerged” in water, and of sponges being “dipped” in water. In the Septuagint (the Greek version of the Old Testament attributed to the second or first century B.C.) “baptizo” is used to translate the passage in Second Kings chapter 5, verse 14, where Naaman went down and “dipped himself” seven times in Jordan. (In this passage “baptizo” is used in verse 14, but a different Greek word is used in verse 10, where the Authorised Version uses “wash.” In other words, “baptizo” means specifically to “dip oneself,” not merely to “wash,” without dipping). In the first century B.C. or A.D. “baptizo” is used by Strabo to describe people who cannot swim being “submerged” beneath the surface of water (in specific contrast to logs of wood which float on the surface). In the first century A.D. “baptizo” is used by Josephus, metaphorically, to describe a man “plunging” a sword into his own neck, and of the city of Jerusalem being ‘overwhelmed” or “plunged” to irremediable destruction by internal strife. It is obvious that such metaphorical uses as these would not be possible, unless the literal meaning of the word was already clearly established.

In the first or second century A.D. “baptize” is used twice by Plutarch to describe either the body of a person or the figure of an idol, being immersed in the sea.

From this brief linguistic study it will be seen that the Greek word “baptizo” has always had one clear, definite meaning, which has never changed. From Classical Greek right down into New Testament Greek it has always retained one and the same basic meaning: “to cause something to be dipped” – “to immerse something beneath the surface of water, or of some other fluid.” In most cases this act of immersion is temporary, not permanent.

I venture to say that any honest person, with adequate linguistic qualifications, who will thoroughly investigate this whole question, can come to only one conclusion: the correct meaning of the word “baptizo” – “baptise” – both in the New Testament and elsewhere, is “to cause something to be dipped”.


  • John’s Baptism…Matt. 3:1-11 shows that John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance.  Something to be noted is vv. 7, 8 in which it says: “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, ‘Brood of vipers!  Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?  Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance,”.  John turned them away for not truly wanting to repent.
  • John’s Baptism of Jesus…Matt. 3:13-15 shows that when Jesus approached John to be baptized, John tried to prevent Him initially, because Jesus had no sins to repent of, so John’s baptism seemed to be useless.  But Jesus said, “Permit it [baptism] to be so now, for thus it is fitting for US TO FULFILL ALL RIGHTEOUSNESS.”  Notice, Jesus used the plural “us” when answering.  Jesus, as our example, shows that His baptism was for “us to fulfill all righteousness”, and Acts 13:38-39 shows that through Jesus is preached forgiveness of sins, AND ALSO, “by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the Law of Moses.”  Baptism into Jesus’ name is what we physically DO to show the transformation and righteousness that we receive through Jesus.  
  • Jesus’ Baptism…Later, in John 4:1-2, we see that “Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples).”  In Jesus’ ministry on earth, He was first baptized by John, and then He made disciples and baptized them (to fulfill all righteousness).  In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus tells His believers at the Galilean mountain: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you…”  We can see that Jesus wanted His believers to make disciples by baptizing them and teaching them.  And in Mark 16:15-16, Jesus tells the eleven disciples: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.  He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”  This shows that belief on Jesus is what saves you from condemnation, but it also shows that baptism is part of the action plan that Jesus wishes for believers after the gospel has been preached.  Game plan from Jesus, according to Mark’s gospel: 1.  Preach the gospel.  2.  If people don’t believe it, they will be condemned.  3.  If people do believe it, baptize them (to fulfill all righteousness).  Peter shows that baptism is to follow belief, and also repentance, as he tells the believers at Pentecost what to do [after believing the gospel], when he says: “’Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins…” (Acts 2:38).
  • Romans 6:3-11 shows what baptism means.  V. 3 shows that you are baptized into Jesus’ death (see also 1 Cor. 15:29).  V. 4 shows that when you are submerged in the water, you are buried with Jesus in His death.  And “just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”  Baptism shows – through you physically doing the act – that you “walk in newness of life”.  V. 6 gives a description for what happens when you die with Christ: “our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.”  Vv. 7-10 show that “he who has died has been freed from sin” (v. 7), and “if we died with Christ…we shall also live with Him” (v. 8).  These verses show that your old man has died once and for all, and baptism is the acknowledgement that he has been buried (hence the need for submersion).  As v. 11 shows, the believer rising out of the water has emerged “dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (see also 1 Cor. 15:29).
  • Along with Romans 6:3-11, 1 Cor. 10:1, 2, 6, and 11 give us the same picture of what baptism does.  Vv. 6 and 11 tell us that these things are our examples.  As 1 Cor. 15:46 tells us that first comes the natural, then the spiritual, we know that although all of the events in the Old Testament happened just as they were recorded, they also meant something spiritually.  So, just as the Israelites were called God’s chosen people in the Old Testament, it says that he who believes in Christ is the Israel of God in the New Testament (Gal. 6:16).  The Israelites left Egypt [symbolizing sin: Rev. 11:8] by the blood of the Passover lamb [symbolizing Jesus’s atoning blood: 1 Cor. 5:7].  This symbolizes Christians repenting by the blood of Jesus.  After they left Egypt, the Israelites passed through the Red Sea, but the Egyptians following them were covered by the sea after the Israelites passed through (Exodus 14:21-28).  We see in Hebrews 11:29 that: “By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned.”  1 Cor. 10:1, 2, 6, 11 show us that the Israelites passing through the Red Sea is an example for Christians of baptism in water, and as we see in Hebrews 11:29, the Israelites could only pass through by faith, thus, it is clear that baptism only takes on meaning through faith (as we will see even more evidently later).  Just as the Egyptians (symbolizing sin) were completely covered and buried in the water, the believer’s sins are covered and buried in the water of their baptism.
  • Colossians 2:11-12 also show that baptism symbolizes the burial of your old man (or sinful nature) and resurrection through faith in God.  V. 11, however, adds another symbolism behind baptism.  Col. 2:11 says: “In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,”.  Baptism, therefore, replaces the circumcision of the Old Testament.  Genesis 17:8-14 shows that circumcision is “a sign of the covenant between Me [God] and you [Israelites].” (v. 11).  As people in the Old Testament became Israelites at birth, believers on Jesus become spiritual Israelites when they are born again (Gal. 3:29; 6:16).  So, just like circumcision followed the birth of Israelites, baptism follows the spiritual birth of Christians (when they are born again, see John 3:3).  Also, Romans 2:25-29 shows that circumcision done without keeping the law is not true circumcision, and, therefore using the analogy of circumcision and baptism, we can conclude that baptism done to someone who doesn’t have faith (which is our replacement for the law) is not true baptism.  An example of this would be if we were to drag a non-believer into a lake…he will leave the lake as a wet non-believer, not a baptized Christian (or Israelite of God).  Like circumcision, baptism is a sign of the covenant between God and believers (as our next bullet expounds upon).
  • Galatians 3:26-29 (specifically v. 27) tells us that through baptism we put on Christ.  Baptism is the one thing believers do to outwardly show that they have put on Christ, and, consequently, 1 Cor. 12:13 tells us that baptism shows that you are a member of the body of Christ.
  • 1 Peter 3:18-21 (specifically v. 21) completes the picture of baptism.  As it shows that water saved the world in the time of Noah by destroying all of those who were committing abominable deeds (which was everyone except Noah and his family), and says that this foreshadowed the fact that water baptism – which is the believers’ actual doing of the death and resurrection of Jesus – saves the believers of today, through the resurrection of Jesus.  The parenthetical words of v. 21 show exactly what is required of baptism: “THE ANSWER OF A GOOD CONSCIENCE TOWARD GOD”. 
  • Objection: If Peter says that baptism is only done as an “answer of a good conscience toward God”, how come entire households were baptized by the believers in the New Testament…wouldn’t infants who could not have had a good conscience toward God have been included in these households?

Answer: The four households mentioned in the New Testament that were baptized were Lydia’s household (Acts 16:15), the Philippian jailer’s household (Acts 16:33), Cornelius’s household (Acts 11:14), and Stephanas’ household (1 Cor. 1:16).  Upon closer examination of these instances, we will see that the households baptized were believers before they were baptized.  It shows in Acts 16:32, 34 that the entire household of the Philippian jailer had the word of the Lord spoken to them and believed it.  Acts 11:14, 15 shows that all of Cornelius’s household was saved and received the Holy Spirit before being baptized.  1 Cor. 16:15 tells us that the household of Stephanas “devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints”, and therefore, they were believers who were baptized.  After deeper study, there is only one household that doesn’t tell us what happened before they were baptized – Lydia’s household.  However, some commentators believe Lydia’s household were all the women present (Acts 16:13), or men servants as it mentions “brethren” at her house (Acts 16:40).  Also, the reluctance of Paul and Luke to stay at her house seems to indicate that she was the head of the house, and would not have had children (Acts 16:15).  On top of all of this, it shows that Lydia’s household was baptized in Philippi, and yet she lived in Thyatira, so anyone present would most likely be of an age that they could have made the journey, and not have need to be cared for (Acts 16:12, 14).  Regardless of whom Lydia’s household encompassed, it should at least be seen that the presumption that infants were baptized in the New Testament has little scriptural support, and therefore, there is no contradiction between what was practiced in the Bible with water baptism and what is taught in the Bible concerning water baptism.

  • Examples of water baptisms…Acts 8:26-40 is a very cool scriptural example of water baptism.  Vv. 26-35 show that Philip was evangelizing to a eunuch who was reading the book of Isaiah in his chariot.  V. 36 records the eunuch saying, “See, here is water.  What hinders me from being baptized?” when they came to some water while riding the chariot.  The key lies in v. 37, where it says: “Then Philip said, ‘If you believe with all your heart, you may.’  And he answered and said, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.’”  Philip would not baptize the eunuch until he knew that the eunuch believed that Jesus Christ is the Son of God with all of his heart.  Vv. 38-39 show that they “went down into the water” and “came up out of the water” for the baptism.  This example tells us:  1. Laymen can baptize (as Philip was just someone evangelizing).  2. You must believe before you are baptized.  3.  Baptism is done by submerging.
  • Acts 10:44-48 shows Peter telling Cornelius’s household about God, and then the Holy Spirit fell on the household while Peter was talking.  In v. 48 we see that Peter “commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.”
  • Acts 19:1-5 show that Paul asked the people at Ephesus what baptism they were baptized into, and they told him that it was John’s baptism.  Paul then explained that John’s baptism was of repentance, but that John had said to believe on Jesus, and so the people at Ephesus were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus after hearing this.  This also shows that they did not just translate the baptism they received when they were not believers into their baptism that takes on meaning after the believed, but rather, they were baptized again – but this time as believers being baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus….What I mean by this statement is that these particular verses seem to indicate that it is not adequate for a non-believer to be dragged into a body of water, and then if he becomes a believer later in life, to claim that he had already been baptized.  As I said earlier, the only thing that would change about him is that he would become a wet non-believer.  So baptism only means baptism when done in faith (as Acts 19:1-5 and 1 Peter 3:21 show).
  • By what authority are we baptized?…It must be remembered that you are only baptized “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19).  It is not the baptism of Brian Holda, or Tim Brown, or anyone who is dunking you in the water, but it is through God that it takes on its true meaning.  Paul stresses this in 1 Cor. 1:13-17, where he asks, “were you baptized in the name of Paul?”, and later says, “I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, lest anyone should say that I had baptized in my own name.”  Ephesians 4:5 tells us: “one Lord, one faith, one baptism.”  This shows that there is only one God, and only one baptism that is a response to your faith in the Lord!  It is not who you are baptized by, but Who you are baptized into!
  • So what are people waiting for?…Many Christians will say that they don’t plan on getting baptized, because it is faith that saves them alone.  This position seems foolish to me because of the wealth of Bible verses that support baptism, and no scriptures supporting not getting baptized.  I strongly believe that 2 Kings 5:1-15 shows exactly why such a reluctance to baptism exists.  In these verses, it is seen that Naaman was a leper, and sought a prophet to heal him.  When he finally came to Elisha, Naaman was told to “wash in the Jordan seven times” and he would be healed.  Naaman, however, was upset that such a simple command was given to him, but his servants spoke to him, and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it?  How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean?’”  Naaman’s prescription to be healed was too easy for him, but it is pointed out that if he had received instructions that were more complicated and great, he would’ve gladly done them.  I think the same goes for baptism.  It is too simple for people, so they don’t feel it necessary to do, but if God had told them they should do some elaborate thing, then they would be eager to.      


  • Matt. 3:11 and Luke 3:16 show that Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit and FIRE.  
  • What does Jesus say about baptism in Fire?…Luke 12:49-53 tells us that Jesus came to send fire on earth, and that there would be division because of his name.  V. 50 says: “But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished!”  In these verses it is seen that Jesus is distressed about the baptism He is about to be baptized with, and Jesus also says that believers are to expect hard times because of their faith.
  • Mark 10:38, 39 has Jesus saying, “You do not know what you ask.  Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?…You will indeed drink the cup that I drink, and with the baptism I am baptized with you will be baptized;”.  This shows that the baptism Jesus is referring to is not something that is easy, but is something that will be painful, and is something that believers should expect.
  • What does the Bible say about tribulation and persecution?…Acts 14:22 tells us that “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.”
  • Romans 8:16-17 says: “if indeed we suffer with Him [Christ], that we may also be glorified together.”  As Christians, we will be persecuted and suffer for the sake of Christ, but it is somewhat comforting to know that we have been warned ahead of time, and our suffering is in fact one of the foundations of our faith (see Hebrews 6:2).
  • Philippians 1:29 says that it has been granted to us to suffer for the sake of Christ.
  • 2 Tim. 3:12: “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”
  • What is the purpose of baptism in Fire?…Isaiah 48:10-11 gives a clear and concise answer to the purpose of this baptism, as it reads: “Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.  For My own sake, for My own sake, I will do it: For how should My name be profaned?  And I will not give My glory to another.”  The fire baptism is to refine us, to burn the crud in our life through the “furnace of affliction”.  God says that He does this, “For My [His] own sake”, to give us His glory (“I will not give My glory to another.”).  Just as silver is refined through fire until the one doing the refining can see his face in it, God does the same with us…He refines us in fire, so that His face can be more clearly reflected in us.
  • One of the 3 baptisms mentioned in the Bible is the baptism in fire.  Jesus says that the baptism that He was to endure, believers will also endure, and we’ve seen that it is through persecution/tribulation that we enter the kingdom of God and are refined.  The baptism in fire is suffering for the sake of Jesus (martyrs endure this baptism), and is something God uses to reflect His face (glory) more clearly in us.

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