(1 Pet 1:7) that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire . . .
Fires break out in Southern California. Many structures are destroyed. Some lives are lost. Smoke fills the air. Ashes are everywhere. But in the midst of it all my family and I leave on a scheduled vacation to Hawaii. Say a prayer for SO CAL and then breathe in the fresh air of the islands. But wait . . . what’s that I smell? It’s the same thing I smelled back at home. It couldn’t be! Arson strikes paradise. Smoke is in the air. Ashes all around. Fire! And we just couldn’t escape it.
Yes, that’s right . . . you just can’t escape the fire. In your life you are going to experience some heat. But it’s either going to be the fire of devastation or the fire of purification. Which one will it be for you?
Not knowing Jesus will lead to a fire of devastation. There is a judgment here in this life, not just in the next. A person can so live without Christ that it will lead to a burned-out life. Fire broke out and there was no one to put it out. The house burnt down and all that was left was ashes (Isa 61:3). Then after death and the final judgment there will be the everlasting burnings (Isa 33:14). Those without Christ will suffer a tragic incarceration. (Mark 9:44) "where 'Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched.'
But for the believer there will be the fire of purification. Life here on earth will be the only hell we will ever experience. The fires of tribulation come only to test us and purify us. (Mal 3:3) He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, And purge them as gold and silver, That they may offer to the LORD An offering in righteousness.
The Lord will be with us in the fires of purification and we will actually be better for going through them. (Isa 43:2) When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. Remember the Hebrew children in Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace? (Dan 3:27) . . . the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them.
The dross of our life will be consumed, and our gold will be refined. (Job 23:10) But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.
Any fire at all in heaven? (Rev 15:2) And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God. You see, you just can’t escape the fires.
But you can choose which kind you want to have burn you . . . both now and later!