John the Baptist was sent to his people to carry a message:“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:2) His purpose was to prepare the way for Jesus the Messiah, the promised Savior. As John cried out to the people along the Jordan, the Spirit of God came with conviction to many, who responded by coming to John to be immersed in the waters, cleansed and changed.
“As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Matthew 3:11)
Baptism in water is a sign of cleansing, and baptism in the Holy Spirit and fire signifies purification. Each day, we physically collect bits of dirt from the landscape around us, on our bodies, even in our clothing. Likewise, our hearts collect debris from the activities of life. Stray thoughts, residue of frustration and anger, disappointments and discouragement from the day can remain with us. Just like we need to daily wash away the debris from our physical bodies, we also need a bonfire in our hearts that sets us free from the lifeless weights of the world.
Jesus brings the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire. Unlike water that washes our exterior, the Holy Spirit enters us with a fire that changes us from within. His fiery habitation is meant to transform our hearts, making us less and less inclined to sin, compromise, and mixed intentions, and more and more inclined to purity.
The fire of the Holy Spirit transforms our hearts into gold, a substance that resists mixture as a natural property. Revelation 21:21 speaks of a precious metal that does not appear on the periodic chart, a refined substance that is found only in heaven:
“…And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.”
The heavenly tabernacle of God contains transparent gold, the type that is purified to such an extent that it has become see-through. There is nothing impure in this substance. Transparent gold allows light to radiate straight through, withholding nothing from the viewer.
Being baptized with the fire of the Holy Spirit is transformative. It melts away the desires of our flesh and purifies our hearts. Ask for this fire in your life, a fire that cannot be put out and that will only be satisfied by the presence of God. Ask Holy Spirit to help purify you until there is no longer mixture in your heart, until you also become a pure vessel, radiating light and truth.