A Consuming Fire

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”

Hebrews 12:28

The writer of the Book of Hebrews also recalled the words of Moses from Deuteronomy 4:24

“For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.”

It is true; God often manifests Himself in fire!

Recall when Moses met with God in the desert . . .

Exodus 13:21-22

“By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.  Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.”

Fire describes a characteristic of God, and it continues into the New Testament.

You may recall John the Baptist, who would become one of the greatest prophets of God that ever lived. Here is what he declared to the people who came to see him in the desert. . .

Matthew3:1-12

 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord,  make straight paths for him.’” John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?  Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.  And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.  The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

So there it is; our God is a God of fire . . . a consuming fire, and those who would come to Jesus, WILL BE BAPTIZED BY FIRE!

Biblical fire does three things; it provides light, purifies and consumes.

Light

God manifested Himself in a pillar of fire, so that the Israelites could see in the darkness. The fire of God, illuminates us, and reveals darkness. Jeremiah 23:29 declares to us . . .

“Is not my word like fire,” declares the Lord, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?

The fire of God, His Word, searches our heart, revealing darkness and sin; it is His way of showing us where we need cleansing and help.

God does not reveal these things to make your life miserable; He is showing you why your life is miserable already, and He stands ready to apply the remedy!

Purification

Secondly, fire purifies. When bacteria gets into the water, the only sure way to cleanse it, is to bring the water to a boil, killing all the bacteria.

 

God’s word is like fire and when it reveals those dark places in us, it will purify us. Recall the often quoted Scripture in 1 John 1:9; we quote this passage when we recognize sin.

“If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgives us our sin and purify us from all unrighteousness”

 

John the Baptist was speaking of this baptism of fire. Jesus reveals all of the rubbish in our heart that has been keeping us away, standing at a distance, if you will.

As He reveals this to us, we are now faced with a golden opportunity, one in which we agree with Him that it is truly rubbish, it is sin!

This revelation by Him to us and our agreement with HIM, that sets up this remarkable purification of the heart. The fire of God cleanses us. There is an old hymn I love . . .

 

The Crimson Wave

Oh, now I see the cleansing wave!
The fountain deep and wide;
Jesus, my Lord, mighty to save,
Points to His wounded side.

Refrain

The cleansing stream I see! I see!
I plunge, and oh, it cleanseth me!
Oh, praise the Lord! It cleanseth me!
It cleanseth me—yes, cleanseth me.

I rise to walk in Heav’n’s own light,
Above the world and sin,
With heart made pure and garments white,
And Christ enthroned within.

Refrain

I see the new creation rise;
I hear the speaking blood.
It speaks! Polluted nature dies!
Sinks ’neath the cleansing flood.

Refrain

Amazing grace! ’tis Heav’n below
To feel the blood applied,
And Jesus, only Jesus know,
My Jesus crucified.

Oh to be purified by the Baptism of Christ through Fire!

 

Judgment

Lastly, fire brings judgment. As John the Baptist declared earlier . . .

“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.  His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

For those rejecting Christ’s offer of unconditional love, grace and mercy; the fire of God will consume them and they will be utterly lost forever; destined to an eternity of fire; a place prepared for the devil and his angels.

 

Revelation 20:11-15

 

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them.  And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done.  Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

 

So . . .  what will you do?

 

I heard someone once say; “God is a come as you are God, but not a stay as you are God”

 

If the Refiner of your soul is revealing anything that needs to be purified and cleansed, do not hesitate; allow Him the freedom to do the work only He can do!

 

 

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