March 18 - The Three Baptisms
The emergence of John the Baptist as a forerunner of Jesus Christ was a very important event in human history. Dr. Luke made it very clear that it had a worldwide significance, greater than the rulers of Rome, Tiberius Caesar; Pontius Pilate, the governor of Judea; Herod, the tetrarch of Galilee; Philip, the tetrarch of Ituraea and Trachonitis; and Lysanias, tetrarch of Abilene. The arrival of John eclipsed the importance of the high priests Annas and Caiaphas. All the important political and religious leaders of that day were only the backdrops in the most significant event of human history: the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Before Jesus came on the world stage, John the Baptist prepared the way for the Lord so that all flesh might see the salvation of God. The heart of the people must be ready to receive the King of the Kingdom of God. They must humble themselves, repent and believe in the Messiah. John preached a baptism of repentance so that the people could flee from the wrath to come. Water baptism is a baptism of repentance, signaling a U-turn from the past and sin, bearing the fruit of repentance and entry into the Kingdom of God. John explained it very clearly to those who came to be baptized by him. As those who were baptized thought that it was all they needed to do and that John might be the Messiah, John told them about his role and the role of Jesus.
Jesus was to bring another baptism to those who are repentant. Merely turning away from sin is not enough, one must turn to God for His complete rule and control. This is the baptism of the Holy Spirit. One must be born of the water and the Spirit in order to enter the Kingdom of God. Water baptism is turning from sin and from the world while Spirit baptism is turning to God for empowerment and control. One must be filled by the Holy Spirit in order to live the life of a Kingdom citizen.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is to prepare us for the baptism of fire. When one enters the Kingdom, enemy forces are at work to turn us back to our past sins. We are at war and the baptism of fire will come to us. It is to test the sincerity of our faith and commitment to Christ. The wheat is to be gathered into His barn while the chaff is to be burned with unquenchable fire. The baptism of fire is to save us from the unquenchable fire. God tests us to make us strong, not to destroy us.
Are you baptized in water, fully repented of the sins of the past? Are you baptized by the Holy Spirit, received His power to face every trial? Are you in a fiery trial now, sensing the baptism of fire? All three baptisms must happen if you are a genuine child of God. Keep repenting every day of all the sins in your life, asking the Holy Spirit to fill you and face trials with joy. God is with you to save you today.
Ps 40:11-17 Num 26:52-28:15 Luke 3:1-22 Prov 11:16-17