“ . . . for our God is a consuming fire!” Hebrews 12:29
We ended the message on Sunday, February 12th (found here) with this startling declaration from Hebrews 12:29 describing God as a “consuming fire.” What do you think it means? Or better yet, how should we respond to such words? I think we should respond in two ways: one is terrifying, the other is encouraging.
First, We must understand that God is a terrifying fire of judgment to unbelievers.
He is a raging fire of holiness that burns against all sin. He’s not to be trifled with! He is Who He is, and He will do what He will do! And what He will do in the end is judge and destroy all sin! As Hebrews 10:31 says, “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” It’s no surprise, then, that hell’s judgment is often pictured as a raging and unquenchable fire (Matthew 25:41; Mark 9:43). If you are outside of Christ you should fear this fire!
But Second, we should understand that the fact that God is a consuming fire is a comfort for believers.
It means that He is a raging fire of holiness and love at work in our lives! This is the consuming fire of sanctification. His presence in the life of the Christian consumes and burns away all the dross of remaining sin as He works to purify our lives for Christ. Malachi 3:2-3 says that God sits like a refiner at work to purify the gold and silver of our lives. That is, He is at work in us daily to reduce the presence of sin and increase the presence of Christ in us! His presence in our lives burns away all that does not glorify Him, while at the same time purifying and increasing all that does! Leading us more and more to glorify HIm. Not only that, but His presence in us also brings the fire of His purity for living into our lives. Never forget that He is present in us through the Holy Spirit! That means the fiery purity of His love and holy character are in us and are being burned into our lives as we are daily submitted to be molded and shaped into His image. Just as metal, when held in the fire, begins to glow with the light and heat of the flame, so the Christian who has been in the fiery presence of a holy God will begin to glow with the light and heat of His character! (Think of Moses coming down from the mountain of meeting with God and how his face glowed in Ex 34:29). So must our lives be aglow with his presence. In other words, something of His radiance should begin to fill and shine through our lives as we spend time with Him. And that reality gives us hope! It demonstrates that we are being re-made like Him!
Oh to be filled with the flame of His presence daily!
In His Love