Hebrews 12: Our God is a Consuming Fire

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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).

We live in an amazing phase of redemptive history.

Prior to the coming of Jesus Christ, God was unapproachable and inaccessible to humanity. As human beings, we were profoundly disconnected from God. Since the fall of Adam and Eve, we have been barred from intimate fellowship with God because of sin. But that is not the way things are supposed to be. We were created for intimacy and fellowship with the divine creator of the universe. Our very nature is made in the image and likeness of God. God desires to be in communion with his people. Through that communion alone, we become a people that manifest a holy perfection and maturity.

The Garden of Eden

In the Garden of Eden, the first man enjoyed an abiding friendship with God as he walked with him in the cool of the day. Joy, conversation, and relationship with God — these are experiences for which we are made.

Think back to the garden and the incredible privilege our first parents enjoyed of intimacy with the Creator. God sang to them the divine melody, and it rang in their hearts. And yet, following the schemes of the evil angel Satan, they forsook the command of God and forfeited their life of fellowship with God. With their disobedience came the knowledge of both good and evil, leading to broken fellowship with the Creator. Our first parents were driven out of the grand garden of God:

So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the west side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life (Genesis 3:23-24).

Access to the divine fellowship and the blessings of eternal life in God were seemingly lost forever.

A flaming, slashing sword and angelic cherubim prevented access to the inner sanctum of divine fellowship. Broken fellowship leads to corruption. Humanity disintegrated morally, spiritually, and relationally. The first murder in the Bible is perpetrated by none other than Adam and Eve’s firstborn son. Cain was warned that “sin is lurking at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it” (Genesis 4:7b). Despite the warning, Cain chose to succumb to the sin. Such a simple three-letter word: SIN. But it represents everything bad about humanity apart from God. Sin is both action and condition. Sin is nature and practice. We sin. We are sinners.

Yet we are sinners who now have hope. Through the redemptive work of Jesus, human beings are offered direct access to the living God in a new and living way. The book of Hebrews not only teaches us the way to move into connected intimate fellowship with God, it implores us to realize that our very life depends on it. As the preacher will say, “our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29).

Reflection:

Use your imagination to experience what it might have been like to walk with God in the Garden. Can you imagine yourself beside God, walking and talking freely? Do so now. Your sin and shame have been wiped away by Jesus. You are pure in God’s eyes. Enjoy speaking, laughing, and sharing with him as his beloved child!

For a deeper dive into Hebrews, visit our website for information on our Draw Near Bible Study Curriculum, here.