Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, or our “God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:28-29
The imagery of God as consuming fire emphasizes divine perfection and the Almighty’s expectation of holiness for His creation. God created humanity to reflect His glory. He made us in His image and equipped us with His divine breath as His prized possession. The Lord purposed us to reign with Him in eternal glory forevermore. But the sin of Adam of Even shattered our relationship with God and subjected us to the wrath of our creator. However, “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Because of God’s love, He is determined to consume sin so we could be reunited with Him in heaven. The God who predestined us for eternal glory is a holy God who called us to be holy as He is. It is for holiness’ sake that God’s consuming fire burns up anything unholy. God’s consuming fire makes the sinful righteous. It burns up iniquity so we can be transformed into God’s “chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that we may declare the praises of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9
In today's text, the writer invites believers to worship God with reverence and awe because of the heavenly kingdom they have inherited through Christ Jesus. The kingdom we have inherited is holy and untainted by human sinfulness. For, the Lord's consuming fire has purified through the shed blood of Jesus.
God’s consuming fire refines sinners by removing the dross of sin from our souls. Believers are made righteous through Christ Jesus who was consumed by the righteous fire of God for the redemption of humanity. Through Christ Jesus, we were spared the just wrath of God and became instruments of righteousness.
God’s consuming fire remains a constant ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of every believer. Every sin committed by the believer is burned up by God’s consuming fire and thrown into the sea of forgetfulness so we can cultivate a relationship of loving union with God. When we are tempted to disobey the word of God or are prone to walk in the ways of the world, God’s consuming fire chastens us.
The chastening of God enables us to walk humbly and reverently before our God. God chastises everyone whom He receives so they can be perfected unto holiness. It affirms the unfailing love of God for those who accept the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ and enables them to do the great commission work of Jesus Christ as ambassadors of righteousness.
In Hebrews 12:11, we are reminded, the chastening of God may seem painful rather than pleasant when we are being conformed to the image of Christ as our sins are consumed by God’s holy fire, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have acquiesced to God’s discipline. Therefore, we are to rejoice when we go through trials knowing that “suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5
Questions for Personal Reflection
How is God consuming fire at work in your life?
What are the benefits of God consuming fire for the believer?
Prayer- Blessed Lord, may your consuming fire sanitize and sanctify my soul. Remove the dross of sin from my spirit and purify me from all unrighteousness. Lead me in the path of righteousness for your namesake and help me to walk holy in your presence. Amen!