A prominent antagonist of the grace message said this.
“Day and night, we serve God out of love, overwhelmed by His mercy and goodness, basking in the ocean of His grace. And we recognize He is the all powerful and holy God, and therefore we don’t play foolish games with Him.”
It does seem again his perception of “fear” is base on the phrase “God is a consuming fire”.
Let’s look at this in context.
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”
Let’s look at this in context.
To the Israelites the glory of the Lord looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain.
This mountain we are concern is Sinai.
When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai.
The writer of Hebrews is not saying we need to fear God with dread. What he is saying is that we “used to” have to fear God with dread.
The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.”
But note what he says.
You have NOT come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm;
God was a “consuming fire” on Sinai. However, we have NOT come to that mountain.
Rather we have come to this brand new mountain.
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.
Here is he is known as the “living God”.
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,
The Judge to the spirits of the righteous. That is who we are.
Hence the issue about God being the consuming fire is addressing people who refuse to come out of Judaism. The Law. Jerusalem. These things were destroyed in AD70 along with all the Jews who refused to come out of the Old Covenant. The Temple and Jerusalem were destroyed by fire. This is what how God judged them by consuming fire.
It’s not about us. It’s about the generation who rejected Jesus in his day.
This is what notable preacher Charles Spurgeon said:
And you who have passed from a state of trembling hope into that of lively faith, I beseech you call him so. Let your faith say, as you see him suffering, bleeding, dying, “Thus my sins were washed away.” But let not your faith stay there. As you see him sweating, toiling, living a self-denying laborious life, say, “Thus the law was kept for me.”
COME UP TO THE FOOT OF SINAI NOW, AND IF YOU SEE ITS LIGHTNINGS FLASH, AND HEAR ITS THUNDERS ROAR, BE BRAVE, AND SAY LIKE MOSES, “I WILL ASCEND ABOVE THOSE THUNDERS, I WILL STAND ENWRAPPED WITHIN THE STORM-CLOUD, AND I WILL TALK WITH GOD, FOR I HAVE NO CAUSE FOR FEAR, THERE ARE NO THUNDERBOLTS FOR ME; FOR ME NO LIGHTNING FLASH CAN SPEND ITS ARROW, I AM PERFECTLY, COMPLETELY JUSTIFIED IN THE SIGHT OF GOD, THROUGH THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF JESUS CHRIST.” SAY THAT, CHILD OF GOD!