The church has tried to motivate godliness by promoting fear and threatening that God is a consuming fire, according to Hebrews 12:29. But it is the goodness of God, not fear, that leads to repentance (Romans 2:4). The surprising truth is that the consuming fire is not necessarily even speaking of His judgment!
In Hebrews 12:28-29, the instruction is to have grace, that we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. It says to HAVE grace, not ask for grace. Grace has been given to us in Jesus Christ. We can have it or we can neglect it. We don’t have to beg for it! The idea here is that when we realize we’ve got everything in Christ, let’s not argue about it or think about why we don’t deserve it. Just believe and accept the truth! It is truly a gift that will motivate you to serve God.
With reverence and godly fear does not mean to be afraid. As God’s children, He doesn’t want us cowering before Him! But as good children respect their parents, we should also be mindful to please our Father. When I stay as a guest in someone’s house, I am not afraid of my hosts. But I try to be very conscious about taking good care of the room they have given me. I try to leave it as good as new before I leave. I believe this is the idea behind godly fear- having a mind to please God above all else, because He’s been so good to us.
Then the idea that God is a consuming fire can motivate us even more! Not because this is a threat- IT ISN’T! It is a reference to what Moses saw when he was in the mount with God:
And the glory of the LORD abode upon mount Sinai…And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel (Exodus 24:16-17).
This is not about judgment but about GLORY. The world craves glory but seeks it in all the wrong places. The greatest glory in the universe belongs to God, and He allows those who believe to partake in it!
Getting a vision for the glory of the Lord will empower us to care less for the ways of the world. Don’t be so mindful of all the attractions and distractions of the world. Have the grace that is available to you by faith and set your mind on God’s glory.
A revelation of His glory will outshine the best the world has to offer. His ways are glorious now, but it gets even better: for when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory (Colossians 3:4).