What is Baptism?
Baptism is a religious rite that marks the initiation of a believer to salvation. So important it is that Christ underwent it. He was baptized by John in river Jordan. For the first time since Jesus was born, God acknowledged Him in public during baptism.
There are two types of baptism; one by water and another by fire. The most common one is that of John – baptism by water. This religious rite has been passed down to generations and is marked by Christians worldwide as an important event in their lives.
The other kind of baptism is that of fire. John the Baptist introduced the concept of baptism with fire when he was talking about Jesus. He said that he was baptizing with water but someone else mightier than he was coming after him of whom he was unworthy to untie His shoelaces. He would baptize them with fire and the Holy Ghost.
John the Baptist was referring to Jesus. He would baptize believers with fire even after John had baptized them with water. Since the latter was preparing the way for the Messiah, his baptism was for the forgiveness of sins in preparation for an encounter with the Lord.
Baptism with Fire
It is a path that God has destined for every believer. As gold passes through the furnace to purify it so does a believer pass through the fire to mature in Christ.
Even before the coming of Christ, God subjected His people to fire and He crowned those who were successful. Shedrack, Meshack, and Abednego were bound and thrown into a furnace by order of the King for choosing to worship God instead of him.
The Bible recounts how they defended their faith and expressed their confidence that the Lord would rescue them even from the hand of the King. God came to their rescue much to the amazement of the King who saw four men walking freely unbound in the fire. When they walked out of the fire, not a hair on their head was burnt.
The baptism of fire of the trio showed their unwavering faith in God and they would not deny Him for anything. Why would God allow His people to face such difficult experiences? He does not love us any less even when he permits temptations our way.
3 Reasons for Baptism with Fire
1. Initiation into the hardships of life
The journey of life is not smooth throughout. There are some rough patches and bumps on the road but they can only derail our journey not stop it.
Life is a conveyor belt that has many experiences. Some are the happiest and others are the saddest. We have proud moments that we would like to recur and moments of regret we wish could never happen.
God does not wish any harm upon us even when we pass through the fire. His intentions are purely to let us experience the realities of life and it does not make Him any less loving towards us.
Consider how God instructed Joseph in a dream to take baby Jesus and Mary to Egypt because Herod was looking to kill the child. God was able to protect the family from Herod even if they remained in Bethlehem but He wanted them to have the experience of persecution.
Baptism with fire is necessary for every Christian because it helps them adapt to worldly hardships even as they expect eternal life in heaven.
2. Mentoring your spirit into the deep mysteries of the Kingdom of God
God baptizes His people with fire to teach them spiritual lessons. Some mysteries of the spirit are not understood through worldly approaches. God initiates mechanisms that will make His people understand Him differently from how they used to initially.
He overhauls our perspective of Him through baptism with fire and the Holy Ghost. The spirit of God understands things from Him and only He can reveal them to us.
a) A lesson about pride.
God used Apostle Paul in a mighty way to spread the gospel. Despite his accomplishments in the gospel and writing almost two-thirds of the new testament, God put a thorn in His flesh. During his ministry, Paul prayed for the sick and cast out demons yet the thorn in his flesh remained. By his admission, he prayed to God thrice that he may be healed but the thorn remained.
The Lord was teaching Paul about humility. He wanted him to be humble even if he was being used mightily for the glory of God. His baptism with fire took the form of physical pain to regulate his pride and remind him that God is superior to him.
b) A lesson about trusting in God.
Apostle Paul was abandoned by all his friends except Onesiphorus when he was imprisoned in Asia. God had not abandoned him though his friends did. He allowed Paul to be baptized in the fire of solitude for him to learn to fully trust God. When a believer often finds comfort in his friends, he is likely to forget about God.
The Lord did not want Paul to trust friends over Him. He created a situation to prove to him that only He would stand by Him when his friends deserted him.
c) A lesson about despair.
God allowed Paul to experience despair and discouragement yet He was still close to him. Apostle Paul writes to the church in Corinth about his tribulations in Asia and how he did not want them to know that he had given up on life.
Paul needed to be at his lowest moment that God might manifest Himself at that time. Baptism with the fire of despair did not aim at leading Paul to abandon the faith but to strengthen him in the Lord.
3. God is seeking a platform to be proud of you
There are people that God is proud of. When the sons of God presented themselves before God, He confidently asks Satan if he has seen Job. He was a righteous man and God had blessed him.
God was proud of him that he allowed the devil to test his loyalty. Job was baptized with the fire of poverty for God to prove to Satan that He was an upright man. He lost everything he owned and even his children perished but he maintained his faith in God.
God restored everything Job lost after he survived all the tribulations he faced. The Lord was proud of him and his testimony of Job was upheld.
In conclusion, baptism with fire is not enjoyable. It is painful and requires a lot of sacrifices. As Christians, we should be ready for it when our turn arrives.