Is God Really A Consuming Fire?
As we continue to build on the topic: Is God Really a Consuming Fire? Episode 2
The exact revelation of God was very much elusive in the generation that existed at the beginning and even in the Old Testament. Jesus said to them in the gospel that
“All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.” (Luke 10:22).
The total revelation of God is encapsulated in Christ; He has the sole monopoly of the knowledge of God. So the manifestation of Christ is the manifestation of God in human flesh.
And the implication of this is that the behavior of Christ is the behavior of God. This is because “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature.” (Colossians 1:15). Also this:
“Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;” (Hebrews 1:3). Notice that 2 Corinthians 4:4 also calls Jesus the image of God.
If Christ Didn’t Kill Then God Has Not Killed
This statement implies that if Christ didn’t kill while on this earth it means that God cannot kill. And if Christ didn’t consume anybody with fire; it means God cannot consume people with fire. God is unique in His character and He does not have a double-sided character or dual character. God is not schizophrenic in His character and nature.
He is always the same. The definition of God’s character cannot be by people’s character and behaviors; His character can never be a response to people’s character. He cannot do something because one has done. And most importantly God is not waiting for people to do wrong so that He can deal with them. That means God is not getting at people!
Read The Last Episode: Is God Really a Consuming Fire 1
God’s Master Plan:
The reality is that before the foundation of the earth God has set up a master plan. And this master plan has becomes His pattern. It shows that God cannot get angry because someone made Him angry. And in the same way God cannot be happy because someone made Him happy. If God can be happy or angry because someone made some gestures, it implies that humans can control His emotions. Therefore, God was never angry and He was never happy; He is just who He is before the foundation of the earth was laid. He is God all by Himself and no human attitude can affect His nature.
By standard, the only thing that can make God angry is sin. And because of sin His vexation can/should lead to total eradication of humans here on earth. Truly God abhors sin but His reaction to sin was not anger. So let’s see God’s reaction to sin;
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” (Romans 5:8-9).
We see from the above quotation that God commended His love not His anger. So where did He commend His love? Let’s see John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
God Is Not Angry Or Happy:
If there is anytime God should be angry and expressed His nature of ‘consuming fire’ is at this time of sinning. Notice that the acts of sin were still on and the response of God was not to consume people as a consuming fire. What God did in response was to love them.
In this sense, what God did was to rest His anger on Jesus and through Him brought salvation to the sinning world. So what we have is a situation that one can describe as “sinners in the hand of a loving God.” Let’s see;
2 Corinthians 5:19 “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.”
However, the question is, if God is not a consuming fire, why is it in the book of Hebrews like this: “For our God is a consuming fire” in Hebrews 12:29? Let’s examine this verse properly. Before we answer this question or clarify the intent of the verse quoted; we should understand the way and manner bible is written.
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Salvation Is The Focal Point:
The bible is not originally written in verses, chapters and there were no punctuation. In other words, the writing of the bible is in a flow of thoughts. The main focus of the book of Hebrews is salvation through Christ. Therefore, having this in mind will help us to understand that every statement in this book should be verified by the focal point. Now, let see Hebrew 2:2-3;
“For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward. How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him.”
The key word in this verse is “if we neglect so great salvation”. Here there is a provision of salvation on the platter of Christ’s sacrifice. This salvation is called so great and if there is neglect, there will be no escape. To escape the recompense of disobedience is to receive this salvation that has been offered on the platter of Christ’s sacrifice.
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Mount Sinai And Mount Zion:
Now comparing Hebrews 2:2-3 with Hebrews 12:26-27, one understands that the writer is confirming what he has said previously in chapter 2:2-3. The slight difference is that he has to use what happened at Mount Sinai to draw the attention of his audience. It is important to point out that these statements are not for those that have believed the Gospel.
This is because those that believed have already come into Mount Zion. So the believer and Mount Sinai has nothing in common. In Mount Zion, the lists of things found in Mount Zion, consuming fire wasn’t among them. Hence we don’t teach or frighten a believer with consuming fire because he has nothing to do with it.
The writer of the book of Hebrews has to remind his Hebrew audience who are conversant with the event at Mount Sinai. He made known to them about what will happen if they reject salvation from Christ’s sacrifice.
That, it is going to be a terrible thing for those who reject the gospel. So the term “For our God is a consuming fire” is a statement that is use to express the kind of punishment anyone who rejects the gospel will receive. And the best way to communicate that is by using Mount Sinai experience.
This implies that this statement is a futuristic statement that will take place in the future. This is not the time of consuming fire but the days of salvation.
“(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)” 1 Corinthians 6:2.
In conclusion, God is not a consuming fire, but as many that rejected and that will reject the gospel of salvation shall be consumed by fire not by God. Therefore, consuming fire is the reward of those that rejects the gospel!
Pastor Chukwuemeka Asiegbu is the pastor of Saved In The Lord Evangelical Ministry Inter’l. He has authored many books and he’s behind several online Christian articles.
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