God is referred to as a consuming fire in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Have you wondered why? According to some theologians when scripture refers to God by this term it is in reference to His holiness.
Purification or Destruction
Fire can both purify and destroy. It can purify metal by burning away the impurities thus refining the metal, but fire ravages homes, cities, and forests.
God loves mankind with an intense passion so that those who surrender to Him will be purified. Those who disregard God’s holiness will ultimately be destroyed, separated from God for eternity.
A landscaping experience offered me a good analogy of my need for God as a “consuming fire.” I cut down some shrubs in my yard. In spite of their being cut almost flush with the ground and large holes drilled into each stump and root killer applied, they continued to sprout unwanted new growth. The final solution was to burn out the stumps.
Without the consuming fire of Christ, the roots of sin will persistently sprout again and again just like my shrubs. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23, CSB). Without Christ, sin is impossible to eradicate. Whatever our propensity is, be it pride, greed, lust, envy, bitterness, or any other transgression against God, we may have the appearance it is no longer present (cut down). We may even fool ourselves into thinking we have dealt with the offense (applied root killer). Then just the right circumstance or event causes the unwanted sin to sprout again.
There is Hope
Jesus Christ came as our Redeemer. He took the penalty for my sins and yours but we must repent and ask Him to forgive us. Then He will purify us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. In Malachi chapter 3 the writer asks, “And who will be able to stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire and like launderer’s bleach.”
What joy to know that I am being refined. Launderers’ bleach is used to remove stains. What an exquisite image of my Lord. He refines me and removes the stain of my sin. Hallelujah! Those who have put their hope in Christ can stand.
A friend shared another perspective with me. God is a consuming fire of love. When we permit His grace in our lives, we will be set on fire with the Holy One’s love for us and burn with the love of God. Fire like this is visible, noticeable, and felt by others.
For Further Study
Review Deuteronomy 4:23-26, 9:3, Hebrews 12:28-29, and Malachi 3:1-5. Are there areas of your life that need the fire of purification? Have you allowed the Consuming Fire of Love to inflame and burn in your heart? Do other people see the light of His flames and feel the warmth emanating from you?
Father God, thank You for burning away the impurity of my sins. When rogue offenses sprout up make me quick to repent and trust You through the refining fires. Thank You for removing the stain of my sin.
Lord, I desire to live a life full of joy and with the radiance of Your spirit in me. I want to diligently serve You with a loyal heart. Thank You for making that possible and doable, not by my efforts, but through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Father, I pray people will feel the warmth of Your consuming fire through me. May they smell the aroma of Your presence and carry it with them, just like we smell the lingering scent of a bonfire long afterward. Lord, cause me to burn with such pure love that others become ignited with hope, forgiveness, redemption, and everlasting joy that You have given me. All glory to You my Savior and Redeemer.
I am a follower of Jesus Christ, grandmother, great-grandmother, foster care parent, and trauma survivor. I enjoy sipping tea, writing devotionals, prayers, short stories, and unburdening my heart to the Lord. Check the About page if you want to read more of my story.
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Image of silver smith by Annika Knicker from Pixabay.
Image of Lion of Judah’s fiery judgment compilation created by Manette Kay, using:
Bonfire image by Suhas Rawool from Pixabay and
Lion image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay.