I have found that there are two kinds of fire that exist, and each of us will face either one or the other. But, it is our choice as to which fire we will walk in.
The first fire that we face is the Refiner’s Fire, or the Refining Fire of God. This fire is not about final judgment, it is about purifying our lives of habits and patterns of sin so that we can live in greater freedom and walk more closely with our God.
The second fire that we face is the Fire of Torment, or Hell’s Fire. This particular fire is not for purification but is instead for punishment. Scripture speaks of the fire that does not go out and that torments those who have not undergone the refining by fire that brings holiness and a new life with Christ.
No one chooses this second fire directly (they would have to be insane to even consider “choosing” 1 or 2 seconds of it). It is however entered into by the choices made in this lifetime.
Our rejection of Christ and His incredible free gift-offer of forgiveness and new life with Him results in an eternity in hell, a place where God’s Presence just simply is not manifest. In effect, those who did not want to live in the Presence of God while on earth get to live their eternity without the Presence of God, which literally is hell.
You might be reading this and some of my previous postings which reference these “hell fire and brimstone” aspects of our encounters with God, and wondering what on earth am I targeting these subjects for?
You might be asking me where God’s Grace is in all of this.
Suffice it to say, God’s Grace is RIGHT HERE AND RIGHT NOW! God’s Grace does not wink at our sins and our shortcomings and our little “mistakes” of adultery, drunkenness, lying, cheating, evil suspicions, and the like.
His Grace is an attribute of His Patience and Mercy. His Grace extends to us an invitation to walk through (with Him, hand-in-hand!) periods of His Refining Fire so that our lives can be restored more and more into the image that He originally created us to look like… Himself!
There are two kinds of fire that we will face during our eternal existence. This life on earth we can walk with God, hand-in-hand through His Refiner’s Fire that purifies us. This fire has a beginning and an end… a very happy and joyful ending!
Or, we can wait until we physically die and enter into the Hell Fire that has a beginning, but no ending, and there is no one there to hold our hand.
Tough words, I know. Wow, DO I KNOW! I am walking through the Refiner’s Fire even as I write this, but I cannot express how deep my love and appreciation goes to my Heavenly Father for not only His refining of my life, but for His Presence with me in the fire, the fire which will soon finish its work in this phase of my growing and maturing life in Him.
Please, join me in the Refiner’s Fire of today. Let’s avoid that other fire…