Tuesday, December 22, 2015

consuming fire

Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,
for our God is a consuming fire.
Hebrews 11:28-29

I find this admonition to be one of the strongest calls to worship in the New Testament. It balances grace with warnings, thankfulness with the fear of the Lord. And the awareness that it commands is a necessary reminder. The reverence it promotes is something my heart can lose if I am not careful to heed to the type of worship it demands.

First, the passage calls us to thanksgiving. It commands Christians to be grateful. Specifically, we are called to be grateful that God has given us a kingdom that cannot be shaken  in judgment. Jesus has taken all of that upon Him already on the cross for the church. Judgment comes for those outside Christ, but in Christ we are unmoved by the fear of the judgment and moved by the grateful thankfulness that Christ has taken all of it.

That moves us to worship, but it also keeps a healthy respect in our minds. Even though Jesus takes all our judgment, our God is still a consuming fire. He is the God of the burning bush, the God whose presence in the camp was a pillar of seething flame. We must still approach Him with respect, wonder, and a healthy, fearful awareness of His holy fire.

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