Here is a statement that I found intriguing: “A call from God to Christianity is a call to Holiness”
In other words, we are not just called to be forgiven, we are called to righteousness. We are called to be Godly people. Godly in all situations, in our speech, in our attitudes, in our responses, in our entertainments, Godly in our relationships, Godly in our employment, Godly… etc.
Think for a moment of the work of the Holy Spirit Acts 2:1-4 (NKJV) “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, a”s the Spirit gave them utterance.
Fire is a symbol of cleansing. In ancient times a worker of gold would need to refine it, to remove the impurities. Those things that were foreign to the gold – that did not belong. Like sin in our lives. We were not created with sin – it does not belong. God has a greater design for you than that.
To remove the impurities, the refiner would put a small amount of gold into a container and put the container over the fire. As the heat would intensify the gold would melt. Heating the gold to a high temperature would allow the impurities to rise to the surface. Just the way that hard times reveal who and what we truly are. Reveal what attitude of heart we have, sinful or pure. The refiner would skim off the impurities and discard them. Notice that the refiner did not retain the impurities even though the impurities would have a gold covering when it was cooled. It would look ok – maybe even nice, but it is discarded for it is impure. Like many who will be discarded into the everlasting lake of fire because of the sin in their life covered by a false religiosity.
The heating and skimming process would be repeated until the gold was pure and the refiner would know that the gold was pure when he could see is face reflected in the molten gold. Just as we are pure when we reflect our Savior’s face, His attributes, His character.
With this in mind let us turn our attention to a familiar Bible narrative, Moses and the burning bush. Exodus 3:1-5(NKJV) “Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.” So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.” We do well to notice that the bush is not consumed. And we would do even better to ask why. Why is it that the bush was not consumed? Why is it that the bush was not burned up?
Remember that fire is representative of God’s holiness. It was God’s holiness that was upon the bush. This is why Moses is told to take off his shoes because the place was holy. It was God’s presence that made it holy, not the bush, not the fire, it was God.
Why was the bush not consumed? Because there was nothing impure in the bush. God’s holiness only consumes that which is impure. But within Moses there was impurity – sin. Remember the cry of Isaiah? “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!” And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar.” Isaiah 6:1-6(NKJV)
The hot coal – fire – from the alter of God cleansed Isaiah. Furthermore, God does not cover up impurities, sin. God removes sin. It cannot be covered up, it must be removed from the life of the believer. However, sin resists this. I do not see Moses or Isaiah rushing onto the presence of God, nor do I see too many “Christians” rushing into holiness. People resist it, why? Because a sinful person cowers in the presence of a Holy God. There is fear, and there should be – for the penalty of sin is sever. Sin brings the wrath of God upon itself, judgement, penalty.
For the true seeker of God – the consuming fire is desired because it removes that which separates us from God, regardless of the cost, regardless of what we give up. It is worth it, the holiness, the relationship, the freedom to approach God. Not standing and looking from afar, but to run to and embrace a loving Father.