Other Baptisms

When John the Baptist spoke of baptism with fire and baptism with the Holy Spirit, what did he mean?

When John the Baptist spoke of baptism with fire and baptism with the Holy Spirit, what did He mean? Notice John's exact words: "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire" (Matthew 3:11-12).

The word baptize means to "put into" or "immerse" in something. John baptized in water by dipping people into the water of the Jordan River. But He was explaining that Christ would go beyond what he was doing. He immediately explained his reference to baptism with fire. Those who refuse to repent are to be regarded as "chaff" and, at the end of the age, thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15).

Jesus Himself explained the baptism with the Holy Spirit. He told His disciples that "John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now" (Acts 1:5). This was fulfilled a few days later on the Feast of Pentecost when the disciples of Christ "were all filled with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:1-4).

What does Paul mean in 1 Corinthians 12:13 when he says, "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body"? Later in the same chapter Paul explains what he is talking about. "Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually" (verse 27). That body is explicitly identified as "the church of God" in Acts 20:28. One who receives the Holy Spirit is immediately "put into" and made a member of the "body of Christ," the Church of God. (For more details on these other "baptisms" be sure to request your free copy of the booklet The Road to Eternal Life.)


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