We have all heard about baptism, but not everyone is aware that there are three types of baptism mentioned in the Bible. These are the baptism in water, in Spirit and in fire. There is a whole lot to be said about these three types of baptism, but in this study we will just stick with the basics. But if you want to know more, we always encourage you to study the Bible yourself and to ask God to reveal more of His wisdom to you, which He will gladly do to anyone who is searching with a sincere heart.
Baptism in water
The first and most familiar sort of baptism is the baptism in water. This is the only sort of baptism that only happens on the outside, yet it represents what already happened on the inside. It is an act of showing that you have changed your way of thinking in regard to Jesus Christ, from a state of unawareness or rejecting Him to:
- Accepting Jesus Christ as the Son of God
- Accepting (the need of) His sacrifice for you
- Surrendering your life to Him
The word “baptize” comes from the Greek word “baptizo”. This word has several meanings. Sprinkling isn’t one of them. That has been made up by the church, throughout the centuries. But what is does mean is to “dip”, to “immerse” or to “plunge”. In other words, all possible meanings are showing that one disappears in the water, to rise again from it afterwards.
At the moment you’ve accepted Jesus Christ as your Messiah and as the Son of God, you’ve received new life. That new life doesn’t start when your life on this earth is over, it already started at that moment and it shall continue when you leave this earthly body, to receive a new eternal body in heaven. At the moment you’ve decided to follow Jesus, your own life ended, to make room for the life of Jesus. The baptism symbolizes that. When you go down into the water, being completely immersed in the water, it symbolizes that your old life is then buried. The moment you rise up from the water, it symbolizes that you are raised from the dead with Christ.
Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
“…buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.”
Your baptism is a public testimony of the change that took place in your life. More than that, it is part of the great commission that Jesus gave to His disciples. He told them to go over the whole world and to preach the gospel to every creature. Then He added:
He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
Maybe you’ve received the desire to become baptized before, during or after reading this, wondering what would be the conditions in order to be baptized. The same question once was asked to Philip. His answer was very simple and is an answer that still stands today.
Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
If you truly believe with all your heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, then you’ve met the only condition to be baptized. If you’re part of a Church, then ask your pastor to baptize you. If you’re not yet part of a Church, then we encourage you to become part of Church or house group.
Baptism in Spirit
Although the first sort of baptism (water baptism) is a physical one, the other two are not physical. The other two baptisms are spiritual. While Jesus was still walking on earth, just before His public ministry started, it was John the Baptist who spoke about the other two sorts of baptism.
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.
The first thing that sticks out is that no one else can baptize in the Holy Spirit and fire then Jesus. At one point Jesus spoke to His disciples about the fact that He was going back to His Father in heaven. In this conversation He mentioned the baptism in the Holy Spirit, when He promised to send the Helper to His disciples and to all His followers.
“If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
Here it becomes clear that this precious Holy Spirit is our Companion, our Teacher and He will bring to our remembrance all the things Jesus said to us. But later Jesus pointed out that He is way more than that.
And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.
It is the Holy Spirit Who makes us aware of sin. Without Him we’re not even able to see it. He needs to open our eyes for it. He is the One Who helps us into repentance (changing our way of thinking) in regard to Jesus Christ and in regard to sin, righteousness and judgment. Not with the aim to get us condemned, but with the aim to bring every area of our life back in line with the Word of God. Not only does He convict us that that needs to happen, He’s also the One Who helps us accomplish that, for on our own power we can never reach that state. In other words, we really need Him! He is our connection with Jesus Christ and with the Father. If you want to know what Jesus has to say to you, you need the Holy Spirit. For it is the Holy Spirit Who can and will tell you what Jesus says. It is the Holy Spirit Who releases the power of God in us. It is the Holy Spirit Who works together with the Word of God, to change us from the inside out. We need Him! He is the substitute of Jesus on earth.
Like John the Baptist already said, it is Jesus Christ Who baptizes in the Holy Spirit. No one else can do that for you. So if you want to receive this baptism in the Holy Spirit, then ask Jesus to do it for you and to baptize you in His Holy Spirit. It doesn’t always happen right away. Sometimes you have to wait for it. But if you know a worthy man of God in your area, who serves the Lord in true humility, then you can ask him to lay hands on you and to pray for you that you may receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
Baptism in fire
John the Baptist not only mentioned the baptism in the Holy Spirit, but also the baptism with fire. This is also a sort of baptism that can only be done by Jesus Christ. But when we’re talking about fire, it often scares people. The idea of going through fire or of even being baptized in it sounds painful and not as something someone should want. And of course there is also the thought of hell fire. But let me ensure that this kind of fire was never designed to harm you.
The baptism in water stands for laying down your life and rising up with Jesus. The baptism in the Holy Spirit stands for the power of God in you, the power to change and to grow in faith. The baptism in fire stands for holiness, cleansing and purification. This fire is not a literal fire as we know on this earth. It is a sort of fire that cannot harm us.
To God we are so very precious and valued. If you would compare it to something in this world, you could say that we are more valuable than gold. Yet I do want to use the example of gold. When a gold smith receives his ‘new gold’, he always starts with the purification process. And there is only one way to get that gold purified: by fire. Not just by fire, but by extreme hot fire. The gold is heated to extreme temperatures, until it starts to become liquid and weak. When that happens a remarkable process takes place. While the gold sinks to the bottom, all the dirt inside comes up to float on the surface. At that point the gold smith can simply but carefully remove the dirt from the surface, until there is no dirt left. The most beautiful part of it all is that the gold smith knows when he is ready, when he can see a clear image of himself in the gold.
The fire of God works in the same way. Although it cannot and will not harm us, it is designed to purify us. When the fire of God comes, it brings all the dirt of our lives to the surface. And I have to be honest, that is not a pleasant feeling or awareness. Like I’ve said, it will not harm us, but it will damage and harm everything else that isn’t supposed to be in our lives. If we respond well and move along with this process, it will completely and utterly cleanse and purify us. The Holy Spirit knows when He’s ready when He can see a clear image of Jesus Christ in you. Yes, this process can be painful. By painful I mean that we come at a point where we realize how far we were living from God and how much areas of our lives remained unchanged, while God wanted to have nothing less than all of us. That is the moment we realize how we’ve neglected His love and help on so many areas of our lives, without even being aware. But it’s not a pain that stays, it’s temporary. Because it’s the aim of the Holy Spirit to get us out of that position, into our destiny. It is not His aim to rub it in, He wants nothing but the best for us. So you go through it, to come out of it as a purified and cleansed son or daughter of God.
If this is what you want as well, then you can ask Jesus to baptize you in His river of liquid Holy Fire. He is the only One Who can do that. And if you are sincere in your desire for it, He will do it. Maybe not always right away, and sometimes it’s a slow process, but if you ask, search and wait for the Lord, He shall not disappoint you.