The Holy Spirit as Fire.
The last post began to to get to the heart of what I was hoping I would unpack from this series. One of my favourite quotes from Dr Wayne Grudem's "Four View; Are Miraculous Views for Today?" comes from Grudem's summary. He wrote; "I think what people really want is to be in the Presence of God. They want to have a deeper personal experience of God". This 'being in the Presence of God' is accomplished by the Holy Spirit. On the day of Pentecost it was totally significant that "tongues as of fire rested on their heads". Why fire? I want to know why! It is essential to the series statement; "The Kingdom of God only becomes reality by the Holy Spirit".
Establishing the Symbol.
- Isaiah 4:4 - " ... the Spirit of BURNING ... ".
- Revelation 4:5 - " ... and there were seven lamps of FIRE BURNING before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God".
- Acts 2:3 - " ... cloven tongues like as of FIRE ...".
1. Fire Purifies.
- Isaiah 6:7 - "And he laid it (a live coal) upon my mouth and said, Lo this hath touched thy lips; and thine inquity is taken away and they sin PURGED".
- Numbers 31:23 - "Everything that may abide the fire, ye shall make it go through the fire, and it SHALL BE CLEAN".
Malachi 3:2, 3 - " ... He is like a refiner's FIRE ... He shall PURIFY the sons of Levi ... that they may offer ... in righteousness".
2. Fire Illuminates.
- Psalm 78:14 - "He LED them ... all the night with a light of FIRE".
Despite man's boasted culture, the Word of God declares him to be "darkness" (Eph 5:8) and all his deeds to be the "unfruitful works of darkness" (Eph 5:11). God declares the world to be dominated by evil beings called the "rulers of the darkness of this world" (Eph 6:12). How necessary then is light in the midst of all this darkness! The Holy Spirit will light our way safely through the blackness of this world's night.
i) He will lead in the events of daily life - Matt 4:1 - "Then was Jesus LED UP of the Spirit into the wilderness".
ii) He will lead you in the acquistion of truth - John 16:13 - " ... the Spirit of truth ... will GUIDE you into all truth".
iii) He will lead you into the experimental privilidge of sonship - Romans 8:14 - "as many are LED by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God".
iv) He will lead you out of law bondage - Galatians 5:18 - "If ye be LED of the Spirit, you are not under the law".
3. Fire Warms.
- Isaiah 44:16 - "Aha I am WARM, I have seen the FIRE".
To ascertain the symbolical meaning of WARM we will consider it's opposite COLD. Cold has at least two meanings; i) Being without love (Matt 24:12 - "the love of many shall wax cold"). ii) Spiritual lethargy (Revelation 3:15 - "Thou art neither cold nor hot").
We may conclude then, that warmth is a symbol of christian love and SPIRITUAL FERVENCY. The Holy Spirit alone can produce this. The Colossians were commended for their "love in the Spirit" (Col 1:8). The Apostle urged the Romans to be "FERVENT" in spirit" (Romans 12:1). The word "fervent" means "to boil, be hot, fervid". We read of Apollos being fervent in spirit (Acts 18:25). Peter combines both thoughts by saying, "Love another with a pure heart FERVENTLY" (1 Peter 1:22).
4. Fire Unites.
- Luke 24:32 - "Did not our heart BURN within us while He talked with us by the way?".
It does not say "hearts" but "heart". As we "hear Him" the Holy Spirit can fuse our hearts. Not freeze but fuse! There are denominational unions, and social unions etc but the only union God wants is the "unity of the Spirit" (Eph 4:3). "Fuse" means to "melt with intense heat, blend into a whole by melting". All hearts must be melted to have a "Fusion". One melted heart may attempt to unite to a cold heart and the result will be what is called "adhesion which is not near as strong as fusion.
"The verb 'to baptise' is 'baptizein' which ordinarily means 'to dip'. There is a vivid picture here! The Christian is a man who is dipped in the Holy Spirit! The verb 'baptizein' can be used of dipping garments to dye them. A Christian is a man who is dyed through and through in the Spirit! He is a man whose whole life is soaked in the Spirit, a man the colour of whose life is changed by the Spirit. The Christian is a Spirit anointed, Spirit dipped, Spirit saturated, Spirit dominated man. And the drabbness of life, and the inadequacy of life, and the futility of life, and the earthboundness of life which characterises so many of us all come from the failure to submit to that baptism of the Spirit which Christ alone can give". - William Barclay