11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
Many today have so overdosed on the love of God and their misconception of that love that they have become blinded to the fact that Jesus Christ is also the coming judge of this world. John here uses the illustration of a farmer who is separating the wheat from the chaff. The wheat is brought into the barn and the chaff is burn in the fire. His point in his declaration about Jesus teaches us that those who have come to faith in Christ, those who have repented of their sins and received forgiveness and the gift of God’s salvation in Christ they are like the wheat which Christ will bring into the barn, but those who remain unrepentant, who remain in their rebellion against God, who remain in their willful disobedience they will be like the chaff burned in fire. Because the world and many in the church have distorted the definition of love to mean the absence of anything judging we have come to believe that we should not mention the coming judgment of God. Yet, the very loving thing we can do is warn people. We know this to be true because we warn are children of the dangers of crossing the street, of placing their hands on a hot stove, or walking to close to an open flame. If we love our children to warn them of these dangers and the consequences that result from not heading the warning, how could it not be just as loving, if not more loving, to warn people of the danger of the judgment of God. John the Baptist did it, Jesus did it, Paul did it, and so did Peter. To understand the glorious love of God in the gospel we must first understand the wretched condition of our heart and the consequences of our sins. When we see the darkness we will more glory in the light. So don’t be afraid to mention the coming of God’s judgment along with his loving offer of salvation, because both are required to present the gospel fully.