Our God is a Consuming Fire

Now let us find out that "one." It is not Jesus Christ: he says it is not. It is not God; for the Lord Jesus said, "If any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not." That is not the "one." But there is "one" that judges him, and I think we can find him out. Look again: "if any man hear my words." That word is the word of God. It is the word of life of God, because it is the word of God. The word of life of God is eternal life, because eternal is the life of God. Then there is the word of eternal life. That word is spoken. All men hear it. "If any an hear my words, and believe not;" and "he that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words,"—that word being the word of life, when it comes to you, or to me, or to that other man, eternal life comes to you, or to me, or to that other man. In the "words of eternal life," eternal life comes to him to whom the word comes. And when he rejects the word, he rejects eternal life. And in choosing to reject eternal life, he chooses eternal death. It is his own choice to reject eternal life; and in rejecting that, he chooses death.

Then when that death comes to him which he has chosen—who brought him to it? Who counted him worthy of death? Who judged him? Who sentenced him to death?—Only himself. Nobody else is concerned in it at all. God did all that he could: he set eternal life before him; he surrounded him with every possible inducement, and every persuasion, to receive it; he made it attractive to him; it was adorned, decorated, made as beautiful as God’s truth itself could be made, and his own heart approved of it; the Spirit of God said to him, "That is the right thing, that is the truth:" but he "had pleasure in unrighteousness." He rejected the word, and in rejecting the word of eternal life, he rejected eternal life; and in that he chose eternal death. And when he receives eternal death, it is only what he chose. He himself is the only one who counted himself worthy of it.

When Paul and Barnabas were in Antioch, and the Jews contradicted and blasphemed against those things which were spoken by Paul and Barnabas to the Gentiles, these men of God waxed bold, and said, "It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles." Acts 13:46. Mark; it was not said, We judge you unworthy of eternal life. No; you "judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life." Every man who meets destruction passes upon himself the judgement of that destruction.

All the Scripture is founded upon this thought,—that it is not against the person, but against the thing to which the person has fastened himself, that the wrath of God comes. Then as the Lord executes vengeance primarily only against sin, as his wrath is only against ungodliness and unrighteousness, and he has done everything he could to get the people to separate from sin, then in that burning day when he comes, and reveals himself to the world, and the world sees him as he is, it will still be only sin against which he will execute vengeance.