John says, “I indeed baptize you with water unto Matthew 3:11, 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.
The Holy Spirit and fire: Grace and truth
To show the difference between the Holy Spirit and fire, we can say that the Spirit is grace and the fire is truth. Grace covers and keeps us until the fire has done its work.
Righteousness will become manifest only where the fire has raged; the new earth will come forth where righteousness dwells. The intention of grace is not to cover and hide, but to preserve for the fire. God’s wrath is not satisfied with grace; His burning wrath requires that the fire do its work. A criminal can be pardoned, but by bearing his punishment, he has paid for his crime, and is righteous in the matter according to the law of the land.
It is the same in the spiritual realm. God requires us to bring spiritual sacrifices in Christ Jesus. You can avoid making those sacrifices by saying that Christ is the sacrifice in your place. That is true, of course, but it is not the truth that leads to sanctification. Sanctification requires our agreement and our obedience to God’s will. If we suffer with Him, we will also be glorified with Him. If we do not suffer with Him, we will not be glorified with Him. The cross is a weapon in our hand. It will keep self-life and fleshly pleasures from taking control. Satan cannot thrive unless you “spare yourself.” The world nourishes the flesh in every possible way, and all sorts of evil spirits flourish in and around worldly people.
How to satisfy God
The cross drives Satan out. Jesus overcame on the cross, and there we overcome with Him. There is power in the word of the cross; it gathers and unites. The church becomes one when the word of the cross is effective, but when people give themselves to sweet feelings, evil spirits thrive.
For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God—with us. (1 Peter 4:17.) God has come forth from His sanctuary for judgment, and He begins with the saints—with us. The judgment was carried out in Christ and is now being carried out in those who have been baptized with the Spirit of Christ. Thus the way, the truth and the life are revealed. All of God’s burning demands toward mankind were satisfied in the Spirit of Christ. Therefore, if a person is to satisfy God, he must have this Spirit.
11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance. but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.
18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.