Monday, February 27, 2006

Our God is a Consuming Fire (Part Two)

"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." - Hebrews 12:28-29

If we would consider the sacrifice God made upon the cross to redeem us of our sins, we would live profoundly different lives. If we could understand the Kingdom of marvelous light to which Christ saved us into we would then see what shame and foolishness it is to wallow once again in the shadows of this world. If we could see in the spirit just how exceedingly sinful sin actually is, we would love God, and so hate wickedness with a deep and heavy conviction. If we lived by the principle that God is a consuming fire, we would brace ourselves for our personal encounter with His refining flames. Many Christians are unprepared to face our Lord Jesus Christ on the Judgment Day. The Bible tells us to be ready.

The veil to the Holy of Holies was rent in two from top to bottom when Jesus died upon the cross. Powerful happening! This veil represented hundreds of years of God's dealings with His people, from Moses until the time of Christ: a constant separation between God and man because of sin, uncleanliness and impurity. Thank God for His only begotten Son! The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin... now we can come in. Oh, privilege of privileges! Christian, have you considered your position in Christ? But remember, the Holy of Holies is still holy, but it is no longer behind a thick and elaborate curtain.

Imagine, if you will, a private club, members only, and the one way in is via invitation from the leader of the club. The club is the envy of the earth, and only the elect are welcome. Now image if you receive an invitation to this club. Thrilled, you attend your very first meeting. How will you act while you are there? Your resolve will be to express gratitude toward the leader for inviting you, doing your best to show everyone he did not make a mistake in choosing you, otherwise your carelessness will make the leader look bad. You, being invited, do not want this to happen.

This example is nothing compared to what Jesus did for us. What else would our response be then to do everything we can to thank our Savior? Wouldn't the last thing we would want to do is disrespect and shame our Lord by our behavior? Yet sadly, I am afraid many us do this very thing, by the way we live and by the way we represent Christ to the world.

I am convinced more than ever today that our number one priority in life (and death) is to magnify Christ in our bodies (Philippians 1:20). Not in our minds... not in our churches... in our bodies. The body is the one thing that we have this side of eternity to glorify God with before a fallen world, a boiling hell and a holy heaven.

"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."
(2 Corinthians 5:10)

That we would meditate on this Scripture day and night... the Judgment Seat ever before us. Paul wrote: "Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is." (1 Corinthians 3:13) What fire? Holy Ghost fire? Hell fire? (Have you ever noticed how fire is such a huge part of our faith?) What exactly is Paul talking about here? It is the fire spoken of in Hebrews. It is God, the consuming fire.

Consuming fire burns all things and bares all things. We will all be put through the fire, and let me say this: Only that which brought glory to God will survive. Only those things which magnified Christ will survive. Do you want to tell me that your pride will endure the refining fire of God? Or your vain ambition, greed or lust? Will you pass through only as one who escapes through the flames, bringing nothing with you? How much of who you are right now will survive the purging of consuming fire? 50%? 20%? 10%? 5%? Oh, God... may it be 100%!

Whatsoever I am and do,
Oh that it may endure!
Whatsoever I labor for,
Oh that it may endure!
Whatsoever I treasure dear,
Oh that it may endure!
May everything I do
Bring glory to You,
Oh God, Thou all consuming fire.

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