"Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them." Acts 2:2-3
Nicodemus was a Pharisee who believed there was something about Jesus that he lacked in himself. He came at night in secret to meet with Him. Jesus said to him, "You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again'. The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit" (John 37-8).
The wind is one of the symbols the Bible uses to describe the power of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. There were 3,000 new converts that day who had heard a sound like the blowing of a violent wind. No one saw it coming or knew where it was going. Like the wind, it goes where it pleases. No one knows when He will come or where He will go, but being born of the Holy Spirit and indwelt by Him is the very essence of Christian life. His presence in us is the essential ingredient that brings us into a living, active relationship with Jesus Christ.
The other symbol used to describe the power of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost is fire. When we read about fire in Scripture, it usually speaks of purity. There is a purifying work the Holy Spirit does in people's lives – like a refining fire. Malachi 3:2 speaks of the coming of the Lord and says, “For he will be like a refiner’s fire,” and in Matthew 3:11 John the Baptist says of Jesus, “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
We should not forget the Holy Spirit's title. He could have been called the “Spirit of Power,” the “Saving Spirit,” or the “Enabling Spirit,” all of which He is. But the title He lives by is the “Holy Spirit,” and fire is a symbol of purity and holiness. Holiness is not a pious stance. It means to be set apart for God, and is about our attitudes, the way we treat people and how we conduct ourselves. It is about the way we spend our money, our leisure time, our giving and how we go about our daily business.
Holiness is the purifying work that produces the fruit of the Spirit in our characters. It is Jesus working from the inside out, and doing a refining work by His Holy Spirit. If we are interested in the work of His Spirit, we need to be interested in holiness, for it is holiness that sets us apart for God. And being set apart for God is the eternal dimension that gives meaning and purpose to our lives.