The one baptism of Ephesians 4:5 is not the baptism of fire: “I indeed baptize you with water unto 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. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”  (Matthew 3:11,12)   

 

The meaning of the “baptism of fire” is best ascertained by examining the context wherein it is mentioned. When the Pharisees and Sadducees came to John’s baptism, he rebuked them and warned them to repent (Matthew 3:7,8). He also reminded them that “Every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Matthew 3:10). He concluded by informing his hearers that although he baptized with water, the mightier One coming after him would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire.  On the Judgment Day Jesus will say unto these on His left hand, “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”  (Matthew 25:41). The “unquenchable fire” and the “everlasting fire” are one and the same.  Therefore, the baptism of fire is obviously a future baptism when Jesus will administer punishment to the wicked by placing them in the final abode of the wicked “hell fire.”    

The purpose of the baptism of fire will not be met while the earth stands; it is yet future, and thus, cannot be the “one baptism” of Ephesians 4:5 which is in force on earth today.