Friday, September 08, 2006

Man on Fire

Denzel Washington stars in the movie Man on Fire.

This movie typifies mans need to seek justice and redemption, and Denzel is a man on fire, but what is it really to be a man on fire?

This movie came to mind as I was reading through Hebrews this morning (thats the book that is rarely preached on systematically, as one theologian said to me recently 'its a hard book!', exception made here for Kenny Ross and Andrew Murray, both have undertaken the task, it is only a hard book for the dull of hearing!)

So as I got to the end of Chapter 12 I read again the words 'our God is a consuming fire', and for me Jesus was the archetypal 'man on fire'.

I wonder how that fire comes to you in your experience, for it seems it can come two ways only. Remember Jesus is the Fire baptizer and Spirit baptizer, and the fire in question is a consuming one.

It all seems to be where we put our trust as to what fire we experience, will we put our trust in Mount Sinai, in the religious things (Heb 12:18-21), in an outward form of religious perfection, in those things that can never be, but often try to be the grace of God. Will we think that by outward attendance to the law we will quench the fire that comes to consume, if that were so then there would be no need for Paul to say...

If such is the case, is the law, then, an anti-promise, a negation of God's will for us? Not at all. Its purpose was to make obvious to everyone that we are, in ourselves, out of right relationship with God, and therefore to show us the futility of devising some religious system for getting by our own efforts what we can only get by waiting in faith for God to complete his promise. For if any kind of rule-keeping had power to create life in us, we would certainly have gotten it by this time. Gal 3:21-22 Message

Or will we put our trust in Mount Zion, that is the heavenly Jerusalem and the Kingdom from above, will we be found willing to receive the ministry of our Great High Priest, the ministry that takes us outside of the camp, to a place of lostness, to a place of being least, to a place where we are not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God.

For we know from Hebrews again that God is not an indifferent bystander. He's actively cleaning house, torching all that needs to burn, and he won't quit until it's all cleansed. God himself is Fire!

So which fire will you experience, as Andrew Murray puts it...'Fire may be a blessing or a curse'.

Fire can be that which consumes and purifies, producing and leaving a fine refined vessel of beauty, or it can be that which judges, pronounces guilty and then consumes. We are all 'men on fire', it is up to us to desire the fire of purification, and not the fire that reveals a false piety.


Shieldsy said...

I really struggle with Hebrews. It's got lots of good passages and verses, but as a whole I find it incredibly difficult. Maybe that's because I'm not a 1st century Hebrew! All that stuff about sacrifices & priests & Melkizadeck & types ... might as well be hobgoblins & fairies to your average reader.

Much better reading a book that was written for greek ears & minds ... Luke or Acts, say.

dinsy said...

Shieldsy, at last - something we agree wholeheartedly upon. I knew there must be something.

Love, Dinsy


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