Posted inForthright Magazine

God is always the same, in this way, too

Who trembles before the fearsome God? Today, people speak with contempt of the times when they talked about divine justice, God’s wrath and his holiness. There was certainly manipulation and exaggeration in it. But such seriousness is better than talking about God as Daddy in heaven and treating him as if he were a heavenly Santa Claus. Can we restore the following truth to our faith?

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 12.28-29 ESV.

Religious leaders in all denominations promote politics, prosperity and power. They make themselves little gods in the place of one true and living God. They do everything except make it possible to worship God acceptably, with reverence and awe. They promote shows worthy of Disney, instead of worshiping the Lord in a spirit of deep reverence.

God does not change, Psalm 102.27. The author of Hebrews quoted Moses in Deuteronomy 4.24 about God being a consuming fire. He affirmed the divine continuity and the constancy of his character. Anyone who creates a distinction between the God of the Old Testament and the New is blasphemous. Such a person belittles the eternal purpose and opposes the inspiration of the Bible.

God is a consuming fire because his wrath defeats the rebellious, humiliates the proud and judges the disobedient, John 3.36. He desires to save every single person, but he will not save everyone, 1 Timothy 4.10. Jesus said that few will be saved, because the many refuse to enter the narrow gate, Matthew 7.13-14.

We need to learn what it means for Jesus to be our propitiation, 1 John 2.1-2. Those who do not know will still face God as a consuming, devouring fire.

Most high God, we thank you for Jesus, a sign of your mercy.


J. Randal Matheny
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