If you’ve been following our series on the Holy Spirit, you know this week on the Everyday Jesus podcast we discussed three reasons you may not want more of the Holy Spirit. If you haven’t listened to our latest episode, you can do so by clicking on the player below:
The third reason given was that the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin. I’d like to look at this closer. To put it another way, we could say that the Holy Spirit purifies us or makes us holy and this would make sense considering we call him the Holy Spirit. So one of the jobs of the Spirit is to make us more like Christ, which is to say holy.
Wayne Grudem in his book, Sytematic Theology, says that “this cleansing and purifying work of the Holy Spirit is apparently what is symbolized by the metaphor of fire when John the Baptist says that Jesus will baptize people ‘with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”
This idea of the Holy Spirit being like a fire is popular in today’s culture. Churches sing songs about “sending the fire” or “let your fire fall”. And while most people can easily sing these songs and not think much of it, what we are actually asking is pretty severe. Fire consumes.
God is described in the book of Hebrews as being “a consuming fire.” This should give us pause. Have you ever seen a house that was destroyed by a fire? This past year, California was hit with a series of deadly wildfires. They destroyed everything in their path. Fire isn’t friendly, it’s destructive.
And as believers, that is what we need. We need the Lord to tear down the strongholds we have built in our lives. These fortresses of sin keep us from growing close to Him. The Spirit comes to destroy these strongholds. So when we pray and sing for God to send His fire down, we are praying for Him to purify us. That is both a great and terrifying thing.