Fire is a wonderful picture of the work of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is like a fire in at least three ways: He brings God’s presence, God’s passion, and God’s purity. The Holy Spirit is the presence of God as He indwells the heart of the believer (Romans 8:9). In the Old Testament, God showed His presence to the Israelites by overspreading the tabernacle with fire (Numbers 9:14-15). This fiery presence provided light and guidance (Numbers 9:17-23). In the New Testament, God guides and comforts His children with the Holy Spirit dwelling in our bodies—the “tabernacle” and the “temple of the living God” (2 Corinthians 5:1; 6:16).
The Holy Spirit creates the passion of God in our hearts. After the two traveling disciples talk with the resurrected Jesus, they describe their hearts as “burning within us” (Luke 24:32). After the apostles receive the Spirit at Pentecost, they have a passion that lasts a lifetime and impels them to speak the word of God boldly (Acts 4:31).
The Holy Spirit produces the purity of God in our lives. God’s purpose is to purify us (Titus 2:14), and the Spirit is the agent of our sanctification (1 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2). As the silversmith uses fire to purge the dross from the precious metal, so God uses the Spirit to remove our sin from us (Psalm 66:10; Proverbs 17:3). His fire cleanses and refines.