Yesterday our pastor was going through Hebrews 12:25-29.
See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”
And it really got me thinking about God’s Wrath in the coming judgement upon the earth. If you were in a room and someone ran into the room screaming that there was a fire, and they knew the only way out of the building. Wouldn’t we be foolish not to heed this advice? Or would we doubt this and risk perishing in the flames? This is what the first part of this passage is speaking about. Jesus came to warn us of the coming judgement, and to give us the way out at the same time.
Looking back at my life before Christ changed me, I can see that I was already amidst the flames and about to be consumed. The Wrath of God was something to that didn’t pertain to me. If I wasn’t a sinner then I couldn’t be under God’s Judgement. How foolish an idea this really is. Now that I am under Grace, I can understand the implications of God’s wrath. Nothing impure can or will escape God’s wrath. So much so that not even the Heaven’s or the Earth will escape the fire of God.
I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.
Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”
I don’t even like to think about what the world will be like when all the world are trying to hide in caves and praying for death to save them from looking upon God’s face.
God has provided an escape for us from His own wrath and judgement in Jesus Christ. One cannot think about God’s Grace of salvation through Jesus Christ and not be grateful to the point of tears. Our response to this gift of salvation must be worship. If we are saved we must worship God with gratitude and fear. We must fear God in the sense that we know what our penalty should be, had we not been graced with salvation. The more I learn about God and His grace, the more I fear Him; for I know what I have been saved from. I know what my God is capable of.
Our “God is a consuming fire” and all of creation will pass through it. Either we will be consumed by the fire of His wrath or we will be refined and purified by it through His grace and sanctification.
This third I will bring into the fire;
I will refine them like silver
and test them like gold.
They will call on my name
and I will answer them;
I will say, ‘They are my people,’
and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.’ “
As I think about this passage I have to be gratful for God’s mercy and grace that he has given me. I also am saddened for those who are left out, who will be cut off, and endure the fires of hell for eternity. I think about how I can testify to God’s grace to those I know and care about. How can I explain to them the importance of this truth. And if I could, would they believe it and repent? Or, will they continue on in sin?
Only God knows how His holy plan will unveil. We are at His mercy. I pray that we will have the courage to walk through the doors that He opens and humility to walk away from the doors that He closes.