I think it interesting to remember that we are to be born again of water and fire...water, which is one form of purification...fire, which is another form of purification.Our God has often been called a fire--at times completely consuming sacrifice, water, dust and stone. But God is especially remembered for once being heard from the midst of a fire that did not consume--The Burning Bush. For me, this is a wonderful example of how I see God restrain his power for the sake of relationship.
This "water" gently washes away that which has caked onto the outside, but does not dissolve the yet-recognizable form of the "cracked Eikon", as Scot McKnight says.
The fire, on the other hand, consumes that which is unseen--inside us, in our heart and soul and mind--which is impure, transforming us, reshaping us into the image of Christ, revealing the "true Eikon" that we are already-not yet becoming.
Interesting timing, since my reading through the Bible with the little boys has arrived at Job. It is challenging to process this book with them, but Job has always been one of my favorites (misery does indeed love godly company) and his story is very timely for boys who focus on whether something is fair or not...as is God's eventual rebuke of the "wisdom" of Job's friends. I think some of the health/wealth crew should come along and take a clear look at the foil God has provided us in Job's story!
The post-resurrection Holy Spirit is usually represented by fire--one that ignites the hearts of those who draw near to God through Christ. This fire is meant to produce white-hot coals once the "tinder" has gone up in flames...providing steady warmth and energy. And, when necessary, those coals can be fanned back into flames.
Yet, like that famous bush, we are not consumed by the Holy Spirit's fire...we are purified. All the "flamables" (the impurities my father summed up as the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life) are used to produce those white-hot coals. These purified coals, produced by Holy Spirit's fire, are meant to burn eternally.
The power of the Purple Martyrdom is seen anew....providing energy to the Body of Christ as she participates in Christ's Kingdom work. Lord, help me to offer up to you every bit of kindling still stashed in me, that your Holy Spirit would turn it into energy that brings warmth and light to a cold and dark world.