Baptism of Fire Type 2

5 Dec

Can I ask you how many types fires are mentioned in the Bible, specifically God’s fires with divine purpose? This excludes references to camp or cooking fires or lighting a lamp. I’ve identified seven, and I believe each of them are parts of the Lord’s promised baptism of fire. Now, look at your list (if you wrote them down). Where did the fires of judgment place?

I’m going to guess that many if not most thought of it first. There’s good reason for that. God has said an all-consuming fire will destroy the earth in his final judgment. Peter described it with great imagery. John wrote in Revelation three times that Satan, his demons and lost souls will be cast into the lake of fire. Jonathan Edwards’ famous sermon “Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God” depicts man as a spider held by its thread over a fire. Evangelists over the centuries often employed such word pictures to scare people into Christianity.

We must not fear the fire John the Baptist prophesied. The promised baptism of fire from Jesus is for our good. Don’t lose hold of that fact—even when the fire includes judgment.

Several years ago, a friend of mine and I built me a garage. We did all the necessary paperwork with the city (plans, permits, inspections, etc.). In spite of the care we exercised, one extra measurement to doublecheck our work got skipped. As a result, the foundation was one-half inch out of square. We had two choices: tear out the concrete foundation or try to adjust as we went along. I chose the least costly approach, but that half inch niggled us through the entire structure, even to the last shingle.

Apostle Paul used a construction analogy in a letter to the Corinthian church. He drew a parallel to individual believers building Jesus into their lives and also corporately building up the Church.

1 Corinthians 3:9-15 “For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. 10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”

Before I jump into the fiery judgment aspect, first note the foundation is perfect. No one can add to it. We can’t add a wing for our spiritual mancave. What we build must be on the foundation—no cantilevers allowed, either. We build upon (upward on) our foundation Jesus.

The building materials we use will have to go through the fire. Gold, silver, and precious stones refer to God’s righteousness, truth, love, grace, and mercy in all their forms including the Law and the prophets. The wood, hay, and straw (or stubble as some translations have it) are what we add and allow in our own tendency to err. Jesus spoke of them to the Pharisees as traditions of men. Peter mentioned them as private interpretations. In short, human imaginations that fulfill natural wants. New churches continue to be created over them, further dividing the Church.

Paul wrote this letter to end the schisms starting in the church in Corinth. Verses 12 and 13 above spoke as a clarion, warning them of the direction they were heading. Their work will be judged. I think most look at these verses—at least I know I have—and think this fire will test our work at the judgment seat. However, I believe now the Church in the last days will experience this as part of the baptism Jesus gives to his Church. The corporate man in the last days will not be deformed by the whims of men. It will stand erect as a true representation of Jesus to the world. We will see this more clearly as we examine the overlap with the fire of purification.

One Response to “Baptism of Fire Type 2”

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  1. America in Bible Prophesy | Boosterclub Blog -

    […] fire, but not burning up; Fire in God’s hands; Fire destroys the bad is a good thing, right?; Baptism of Fire Type 2; Purification adds by taking away; When is a fiery trial not one?; Protected by fire; Burning fire […]

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