Our Sovereign King
A perfect seven word verse! This is one of those verses that stands alone. We have no need of a contextual approach, for this verse will not be misunderstood if we pause over it. And yet, as I pause and meditate over its implications, I am frozen by the weight of its guillotine-like precision to instill instant fear into my being! If as the verse says, “God is a consuming fire”, what is he consuming?
Beginning in verse 22 (Heb. 12:22), the writer makes a great comparison with vivid description of the eternal paradise waiting for every believer in Christ, and that which needs no description i.e. the world we live in. This comparison should be engraved in the minds of every Christian, for it is one of the clearest pictures of what awaits us and why we should be concerned.
The scene unfolds with Mount Sion, the place we have come to and in that heavenly place we see what is present…
The city of the living God.
The heavenly Jerusalem.
To an innumerable company of angels.
To the church of the Firstborn (recorded in heaven).
To the Judge of all.
To the spirits of just men made perfect.
To Jesus-the mediator of the New Covenant.
To the blood of sprinkling-that speaks better things than of Abel.
In verses 25-27 (Heb. 12:25-27), there is a promise of destruction of the world and everything that represents it. It is after this comparison that He delivers a charge to all to live righteously (Heb.12:28); where He says, “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and Godly fear”.
“For our God is a consuming fire”.
We see then that this mighty Sovereign will…
I. Consume everything outwardly that exalts itself against God.
The time frame being irrelevant, some will be consumed now and some later. The scripture speaks clearly of the physical elements (II Peter 3:10), which shall all come to an incinerated end! Peter speaks of the heavens. The same heavens God created in Genesis and where it is said that when God saw what He had created He said, “It is good”. The same heavens in which celestial stars and planets hung will be consumed with the fire of God. The sun and the moon also, for those that worship still the constellations will be gone. The earth as we know it, its forests and vast wildlife, even the yellow-spotted salamander, will all be consumed! Those that loved these more than God will also see them eradicated. There will be no more rain, clouds, sunsets, lakes, streams, national parks, mountains, etc. But there will also be no more works of this world. No more lying, cheating, stealing, killing, etc. There will be no more lying lawyers, corrupt judges, pedophiles, homosexuals, transsexuals, transvestites, or universalists, humanists, or atheists. There will be no more adultery, fornication, or idolatry, and there will be no more ungodliness! It will all be consumed! Yes, this world and everything it holds will burn and be consumed by God!
But there are also spiritual elements that this world holds and these too will be burned. The demonic forces shall be consumed. Matthew 25:41 says, “Then shall he say…depart…into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels). Theirs is an eternal burning just like the souls of mankind! “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire, and whoever was not written in the book of life” (Rev. 20:14-15).
We also understand that our Mighty Sovereign will…
II. Consume everything inwardly that exalts itself against God.
We need only look at our own sinful behavior (Heb. 12:4-6: 12:13).
The idea behind verse 4 is that of a boxer, who though is knocked down again and again, returns to his feet in spite of the sight of his own blood. We strive against sin in the same way. Therefore, we do not despise the chastening hand of the Lord; for it is here that much of our everyday sinful behavior is consumed. If there is no heat, there is no chastening, and you know what that makes us?!
There is also another side to this. As God’s children, we are plagued with ungodly, unproductive, rebellious thoughts that deter us from our God-given service. These must also be dealt with or God will deal with them. The things we hold in our minds will become the fuel for our behavior. God will cast these out. He will change our circumstances, and render our machinations futile. They will come back to bite us like a viper!
“For our God is a consuming fire”, and will not tolerate our insolence. He will have His way in our lives. He will bring us to the brink of madness if he needs to. There is no true Christian, bought by the blood of Christ, that can live to himself without feeling the heat of God’s burning wrath! You may argue that this leaves out God’s love .You are forgetting that God loves us Pastor! Ah! And I say that it is God’s love that will consume every undesirable thing in our lives. Only a fool would think that the love of God allows His precious child to carry on in such sinful living! Are you a fool? Do you not know that He chastens those whom He loves? Stop making God fit into your theology and start fitting into His!
But then there is this last thought; that God will…
III. Consume everything that falsely represents itself.
There may be one here today who will say, “Well, I have my salvation and I have my assurance of a heavenly home. I have humbled my heart and received Christ as my Savior. He does not care what I do! He never disciplines me and I don’t even feel sorry!” Oh, my poor misguided, blind, vile soul. You have felt no chastening because God only chastens those whom He loves. He does not discipline children of the Devil! You will assuredly feel the consuming fire of God when you are cast into hellfire! You may be fooling us, and even yourself, but you will never fool God! You have thought Jesus to be only a Savior, but as Peter states in Acts 2:36, “That God hath made that same Jesus…both Lord and Christ”. You are in need of conversion, you need to be born again!
Yes, our God is a consuming fire because He is Sovereign! He is not a God that reacts to man. He is not a God who is passive or indecisive. He is an Almighty Sovereign whose master plan will be accomplished in this world and in our lives; and everyone and anything that gets in His way will be consumed!