January 3, 2017
John the Baptist described his baptism as one of “water unto repentance.” Those who received John’s baptism were publicly confessing their sin and committing themselves to a changed life. Yet, John’s ministry was preparatory. His main purpose was not to baptize, but to prepare the way for the Christ that was coming after him. Those that received Christ would be baptized “with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” Both water and fire are seen as symbols for the Spirit in the Bible. With the coming of Christ, a new covenant had arrived when believers would be washed in the cleansing water of the Holy Spirit, and purified within by the Spirit’s “refining fire” (Malachi 3:2).