Same Consuming Fire, New Covenant


Are you willing to respond to God in humility, acceptance, and reverent faith in Jesus today? Our challenge is to serve God now while the decision is in our hands.  God longs to have relationship with us so much that he gave his son to die for each of us…

18 You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; 19 to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, 20 because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” 21 The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.”

22 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

25 See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? 26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27 The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.

28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”
Hebrews 12:18-29

The imagery here is meant for the Jewish reader, whose experience and whose scriptures point back to the relationship with God on the mountain and through Moses.  The mountain of their meeting was covered in darkness and clouds. It was untouchable and inaccessible to mortals or animals.  Only Moses could meet with God there and he was trembling.

This is Jewish imagery for the Jewish audience reading this letter.  And our writer wants to take us beyond that imagery of a former way – a former covenant. Remember that Jesus has made all things new in his covenant with humanity.

It is in this context that we come to God, invited into relationship with him in a new way.  We come to the city of the living God in which angels gather by the thousands in joyful assembly.  We approach the Judge of all and Jesus is our mediator of this new covenant we have with God.

And then there is the challenge. See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks…

Are you receiving God’s invitation and the truth of the new covenant, or are you refusing God’s offer?  Where do you stand with Jesus whose sprinkled blood was shed for you and the separation you have initiated between you and God?

There is a moment of truth here, in which the Sunday School stories of Jesus gathering the children around him or feeding the masses from five loaves and two fish, however comforting, give way to the ultimate question. There will be a day in which our answer to the God who gave his son for our atonement will be revealed forever and unchangeable.

We have received a kingdom which cannot be shaken, and we must be thankful, responding in worship with reverence and awe.  The consuming fire of God from the mountain of Moses is the consuming fire we meet today.  Where do you stand before him?  Are you standing in your own stead, confident in your works or defiantly disbelieving in the God of all, or are you willing to respond to God in humility, acceptance, and reverent faith in Jesus?

Make today your day of reckoning.  Choose to serve God now while the decision is in your hands. God longs to have relationship with you, so much that he gave his son…

Amen.

Marc Kinna

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