He gives us his own upside down and inside out vision for everything. He shows us how to think differently about big people, little people, life, death, family, enemies, success, security, danger, law, punishment, happiness, sadness, the Scriptures and his Father in heaven.
Years later, the New Testament author of Hebrews, wrote from within this new world of ideas. He reminds his readers that in Jesus, the God who once thundered from within the burning fires of Mount Sinai, has now come to us speaking in a new voice that deserves even more attention. (Heb 12:24-28). To show what a wonderfully serious matter it is to listen to our new leader, he reminds us, once again, that our God is a consuming fire (v29).
But the new voice speaks with its own translation. Listen to what this writer says in context:
“For our God is a devouring fire. Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.” (Heb 12:29-13:3).
What are we to make of the way these words are woven together? Are we being asked to think of “the fire of God’s anger” in a new way? Sounds to me like it is nothing less than the the love of our God (as described in 1Cor 13?) that will ultimately show that everything else deserves to be—and will be— consumed by the flame that burns in the One who has loved us to the death—and to a whole new way of living.