The Consuming Fire

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

How should the Hebrews be other than terrified at that which was opposed to all they knew of themselves, a people judging it good to honor a golden calf? They did well to be afraid. They were in a better condition, acknowledging if only a terror above them, flaming on that unknown mountain height, than stooping to worship the idol below them. Fear is better than no God, better than a god made with hands. In that fear lay, deep hidden, the sense of the infinite. The worship of fear is true, although very low; and though not acceptable to God in itself, for only the worship of spirit and of truth is acceptable to him, yet even in his sight it is precious. For he regards men not merely as they are, but as they shall be; and not merely as they shall be, but as they are now growing, or capable of growing, towards that image after which he made them that they might grow to it. Therefore a thousand stages, each in itself all but valueless, are of inestimable worth as the necessary gradations of an infinite progress.  A condition which, resulting from moral decline, would indicate a devil, may of growth indicate a saint.

Commentary

by Dale Darling

Though we see in part, we may trust. We see in a mirror dimly, but in His Presence will know as we are now, in the eternal present, known. The error of the tyranny of the immediate is reacting to fear, to heat, as though they were evil. Of the world medicates, regulates, reacts, wobbles. In, but not of, the world lives, loves, hopes, melts. 

Only that which is Kingdom worthy, that which is of Thy Kingdom come, will remain. The rest is consumed in purifying fire.