Matthew 3:12 Grain and Chaff
Matthew (3:12) follows the phrase "and fire," (He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire) in verse 11, keeping things in context, with the story of winnowing fork and threshing floor, and chaff being burned off. Is this to describe what he means by "baptism by fire?" A winnowing fork is like a pitchfork used to toss wheat into the air to separate the grain from the chaff. The grain is useful, but the chaff is the worthless outer shell around the grain. Grain is gathered and chaff, which is of no value, is burned. The coming judgment of God will separate those who are saved and go to heaven from those who go to hell. Everyone will be baptized, by God's Holy Spirit or by the fire of his judgment. This is an "or" situation and verse 11 uses the word "and." Why does it not say "He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit or fire?" However, John was speaking to the Pharisees and Sadducees so in that context John may have been referring to the fire of the coming judgment (Revelation 19:20). Acts 2:3 states "divided tongues as of fire." KJV (cloven tongues, a cloven being a split hoof) Sometimes when I feel worthless like chaff. I have to remember that God gives me my worth. I have no value and will burn up like worthless chaff unless I am rooted in God. It is the sin that is within me that is worthless chaff.
Almighty God, be merciful to me, a sinner. Burn my chaff, but quench my sinful passions in the daily washing of Holy Baptism. Amen. (LSB)