Many of us are devoted to the loving God portrayed by John in his first epistle, but we are not as fond of the wrathful side of His character. Like it or not, however, the Bible tells us that God is a Consuming Fire. The original words that were translated as “consuming fire” meant, literally, a fire that completely incinerates or destroys.
This name of God appeared first in Deuteronomy 4:24 when Moses was giving his final instructions to the Israelites before he was gathered to his ancestors, a Biblical euphemism for death. He warned the people against idol worship, because God was a jealous God and was not pleased when His people worshipped anyone but Him. Moses further warned that God was a consuming fire and that they didn’t want to anger Him.
As Moses continued his discourse, he offered some encouragement to the Israelites. In chapter 9 he told the people not to worry as they crossed the Jordan River into the land God had promised. Even though they would find fortified cities and nations of huge men who were equipped for battle, Moses assured them that if they were faithful to God’s commandments, the Consuming Fire would go before them and destroy their enemies. Their enemies were also God’s enemies because they worshipped idols in ways that were abominable to Him.
God exhibited His fiery wrath several times in the Old Testament. In the book of Leviticus, Aaron’s sons Abihu and Nahab offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, and God’s consuming fire destroyed them. In the book of 1 Kings, Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal to a duel of sacrifices–the god who responded with fire would be the winner. For hours, Baal’s prophets shouted, danced, and slashed themselves with sharp objects, but Baal did not respond. When Elijah’s turn came, he prayed a simple prayer, and fire fell from heaven, consuming the sacrifice, the wood, the stone altar, and the water Elijah had poured into trenches surrounding the altar.
God is a consuming fire because He is holy, and His holiness burns up anything that is not holy. That would be good news if He had our back when we were facing an army of giant Anakites, but when we’re facing God Himself with only our own goodness to offer, it is bad news. Isaiah said that our most righteous deeds are as filthy rags when compared to God’s standards, and the filthy rags he referred to were the bandages that had been used by lepers. The author of Hebrews told us to “offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”
Our dilemma is this–if our best isn’t good enough, how can we offer acceptable worship. Paul gives the answer in his second letter to the Corinthians.
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21
God is a consuming fire, but He is also a God of love. Paul told us in Romans that, through His love, God has provided a way for us to put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him, we can stand before a Holy God.
Some other names of God that begin with the letter C are:
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
Therefore thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion, a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation: ‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.’ Isaiah 28:16
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. Isaiah 40:28
The Bible Hub http://biblehub.com/hebrews/12-29.htm