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and do not presume to say to yourselves [as a defense], ‘We have Abraham for our father [so our inheritance assures us of salvation]’; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children (descendants) for Abraham.(A) 10 And already the axe [of God’s judgment] is [a]swinging toward the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

11 “As for me, I baptize you [b]with water because of [your] repentance [that is, because you are willing to change your inner self—your old way of thinking, regret your sin and live a changed life], but He (the Messiah) who is coming after me is mightier [more powerful, more noble] than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to remove [even as His slave]; He will baptize you [who truly repent] with the Holy Spirit and [you who remain unrepentant] with [c]fire (judgment).(B)

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Footnotes

  1. Matthew 3:10 Lit laid at.
  2. Matthew 3:11 The Greek here can be translated in, with, or by.
  3. Matthew 3:11 Another view of “fire” purports that the text refers to the fiery baptism of the Holy Spirit, not judgment. According to this view the fire indicates that the believer is purified as in the refining of gold. Fire burns up the impurities and the gold (the believer) survives (cf 1 Cor 3:12, 13; James 1:3). The Holy Spirit promised here has been associated with Pentecost, purification, testing, and judgment. Each person who accepts Jesus is filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5-8).

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