Hank Hanegraaff, host of the Bible Answer Man broadcast continues his study through Matthew 3. In baptism, the Lord Jesus transforms believers in such a way that they repent and are forgiven. They’re washed and cleansed, and incorporated into Christ — united to the church and their temple becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit. To be baptized by fire (Matthew 3:11) is emblematic of the Energies of God Himself — fire is emblematic of participating in the very life of God, which Hank writes about in his book Truth Matters, Life Matters More. The Energies of God manifest in our lives and are the divine life itself — “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live,” says the apostle Paul, “but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). In the 14th century St. Gregory Palamas likened the deified life to the vivid image of an earthen pot in a kiln: “When a pot is in the kiln, it shares in the very life of the fire, taking on its hot and burning qualities, becoming capable of transferring that very ‘energy’ to something else. When removed from the fire, the pot still participates in the fire’s effects…but it no longer participates in the “energies” of the fire itself. The participation in the ‘energies’ of the fire is the truer participation than the participation in the effects. Thus, while all creatures participate in the effects of their creator, not all participate in God’s very life; that is reserved for the saints, who have God not only as ‘maker,’ but also as ‘Father,’ through divine adoption.” Christians participate in the divine nature, while unrepentant sinners participate, as it were, in the nature of Satan. St. Peter talks about this in terms of becoming more like brute beasts (2 Peter 2:12–15). So you either can become more like God or you can become more beastly. And this is an eternal transformation—a transition that takes place for all eternity because the Christian faith is not just punctiliar — not just a moment in time — it is a progression. So we are we are not just involved in a transaction, rather we are being transformed by the Holy Spirit and fire
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