Nate’s Notes: A Consuming Fire

Photo Source: Dr Timothy Haupt, Flikr used under CC BY-NC

25 See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? 26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27 The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:25-29 NIV

Once when I was a teenager, I placed a frozen pizza in the oven. As an easily distractible boy, I left the kitchen and forgot about it. This is the only time I have ever made this mistake because I remembered the pizza after forty minutes and witnessed the apocalyptic results. I returned to the kitchen, saw smoke pouring out of the oven, turned the appliance off, and stared at a black piece of volcanic rock eerily reminiscent of a sunburned pizza. I picked up the big piece of charcoal banging it on the counter. It didn’t budge! I annihilated my food with fire.  

In this passage, and in many others throughout Scripture, we notice that the Lord Almighty controls all the elements of nature. The winds and waves obey Him. He speaks from the burning bush consuming evil and the workers of iniquity. God is a roaring lion, a mighty warrior. We are to worship the King of Kings with “reverence and awe.” 

4 In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. 5 The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.  Psalm 95:4-5 NIV

Nothing can oppose the will of the Father. His strength is without measure; Yahweh’s voice commands the angels. The Triune God sustains the universe and “in His hand is the life of every creature. 

7 But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; 8 or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. 9 Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? 10 In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind. Job 12: 7-10 NIV

He will judge the world rewarding the righteous and judging the wicked. Christians are righteous because of Jesus’ sacrifice and not due to our own merit or virtue. Theologians call this imputed righteousness. Through his perfect life, death, resurrection, and ascension; Jesus took the punishment for our sins as a once and for all sacrifice for us. God has credited his righteousness to us. We are only holy due to the grace and mercy of the Lord. This is a reason to celebrate. If by grace through faith we accept the free gift of the Lord, then we will have forgiveness and peace with God. 

18 The nations were angry, and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your people who revere your name, both great and small— and for destroying those who destroy the earth.” 19 Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a severe hailstorm. Revelation 11:18-19 NIV

The good news of the gospel is that the Father loves us, and we will be with Him forever. We will walk in the light of Jesus and the fellowship of the Spirit. However, we cannot take the Lord for granted and live however we want. We are called to live righteous lives and to love both God and others.

Prayer: Lord, we recognize that you are perfectly holy and just. We praise You for your awesome power and majesty. May we never take Your grace and love for granted. Worthy are You for our unending praise with the angels and people from every age and nation. In the holy name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.