A popular man of God in Owerri recently disagreed with my write up wherein I posited that fiery preaching is not the most effective way of winning souls. But beloved, there can be no gain saying the fact that Lord Jesus, throughout his ministry on earth, won more souls by showing the so called sinners the love of his father in heaven than by demonstrating how angry God the father is with sinners. All those whom Christ Jesus healed came to him for healing not because he rained thunder and brimstone but because they heard him preach the readiness of God to show us love no matter the circumstances.
The leper whom Jesus healed in Matthew 8 got his miracle because he came out of his hiding after listening to the teachings of Jesus which emphasized the goodness of God. In the day of Christ, lepers were not allowed to come out in the public. But this particular one summoned the courage to come out from where he was hiding because Jesus rather than preaching condemnation, spoke about a God who is always ready to show love and kindness to people no matter their condition.
In an earlier article entitled “GOD IS NOT A CONSUMING FIRE”, I was similarly criticized. But the context in which I used the vexatious phrase, “Consuming Fire”, did not in any way show that I wanted to suggest that the scriptures in Deuteronomy 14:24 and Hebrew 12:19 – where God was described as a “Consuming Fire” – are not the word of God.
Yes, God also has anger but in none of those contexts (Deuteronomy 14:24, Hebrew 12:29) was God making a threat to His people. The scriptures were in the context of making us to believe in God’s love and grace.
Take Hebrews12:29.Before the verse (29) which says,” for our God is a consuming fire “,the Bible in the immediate two preceding verses (27&28) says, ” And this word yet once more signified the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved (shaken) let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear”.
Beloved, notice that there is first a mention of God’s gift of grace before the mention of “consuming fire”. What this means is that for those who receive the free gift of God’s RIGHTEOUSNESS through grace, there is no fear of a consuming fire. Which do you want: fire or grace? In other words, which would you subject yourself to? The teaching on fire or that on the love and mercy of God?. Let us look at Hebrew 12:29 again. It says: “let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptable with reverence and Godly fear”. Beloved, notice that this admonition is in verse 28 before the final statement (for our God is a consuming fire in verse 29). What this means is that we should first seek for the grace of God through faith as it is only then we can truly and fearfully serve God.
Yes, God has anger also but the Bible defines him as “Love “(1John4:8,16).Our Lord Jesus Christ never condemned sinners. He told the woman caught in adultery,”… neither do l condemn you”, even when her accusers were ready to stone her to death. He dined in the house of tax collector, Zacchaeus, regarded in the Jewish tradition as a very sinful trade.
Beloved, if you want to grow in faith through grace (and it is only through grace that faith can grow), endeavour to hear only the right thing about God. It is only by so doing that you can believe rightly and subsequently, summon the courage to come out from your hiding to embrace Him. The practice of depicting God as only out to judge and condemn is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Say Alleluia.