(Prior to reading this, please come before the Lord with a loving heart, seeking his mercy to give us understanding so our spiritual eyes will be opened. This is not light reading so please read this slowly.)
To “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind” (Luke 10:27) is the most important element in our transformation into the same image of Christ. “By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in the world.” (1 John 4:17) When love is perfected, realize we have confidence in the day of judgment because the Spirit has set a fire within our beings, so “as he is so also are we.” This fire, set within our temples, will renew our minds and motivate us to do the will of God.
In the Bible, after the great flood in Noah’s days, God promised to never use water to judge man again and, as a reminder, he used the sign of a rainbow in the clouds (Gen. 9:15-16). In his resurrection, when He is on the throne, “He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance” (Rev. 4:3), reminding God not to judge with water. Today, realize he uses fire. “Out from the throne come flashes of lightning and sounds and peels of thunder. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.” (Rev. 4:5) The number ‘seven’ in the Bible means completeness or fullness. The fullness of the Spirit of God means in its function, the Spirit has been intensified in its work within us. That is why it is “seven lamps of fire burning before the throne.” His Spirit today is like seven lamps of fire burning within our spirit.
Fire has multiple effects. Firstly, the fire of his Spirit serves to cleanse and purify us. “Each day you shall offer a bull as a sin offering for atonement, and you shall purify the altar when you make atonement for it.” (Exo. 29:36) Not only did our Lord come to save us so we would be redeemed from the sins we have already committed, He is actively saving us from the sins we are about to commit. “I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled!” (Luke 12:49) Everyday we have to let the Spirit burn within us. “I will turn my hand against you and will burn away your dross completely; I will remove all your alloy.” (Isa. 1:25 – CSB. The NASB is “I will also turn My hand against you, and will smelt away your dross as with lye and will remove all your alloy.”) When the Lord inhabits our spirit with his Spirit, realize there is a fire burning within to remove all our impurities so we become like him. He is burning away our dross completely. “For our God is a consuming fire.” (Heb. 12:29) Because Christ was completely burnt as the burnt offering, realize we are like him in the same image. We also need to be completely burnt so all our impurities are burnt away.
Secondly, fire is a source of light. In fact, in the first century, light is fire. Wherever there is light, there is fire. This light now shines within our spirits to illuminate our minds. “Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the Light of the world, he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.’” (John 8:12) “For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone on our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (2 Cor. 4:6) This verse is one of the most important verses in the Bible because it relays the concept of how God is transforming us by the renewal of our minds (Rom. 12:2). Please read this verse slowly, over and over again, with love in your heart for God, until the Spirit gives you understanding and renews your mind.
To the Jewish people in the first century, they were being told by Jesus, the God that they loved and cherished, and venerated and worshipped for generations, is now being expressed in the person of Jesus. This is radical thinking. All the stories that had been passed down throughout the centuries, transferred from one generation to the next, is about Jesus. All their religious practices, rules and laws that were given by God Himself and held sacred for all these years, were a shadow of the things to come. “For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near.” (Heb. 10:1) “These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.” (Col. 2:17) The substance belongs to Christ. The true form of these realities, the true meaning of all their religious practices, is Christ Himself. Realize it is the same today.
Religion is not a practice. It is not a mode of behaviour. The substance must belong to Christ. Why are we separated? It is due to our different practices. We must head up all things in Christ (Eph. 1:9-10) so He can be our all in all (Col. 3:11; Rom. 11:36). We need to be the overcomers wherever we are meeting (Rev. 2-3), to build the house of God.
As the Light shines in our hearts, Christ is transforming us by the renewing of our minds (Rom. 12:2). His seven-fold intensified Spirit, as the lampstands of fire within our beings, will radically change us. Our minds will be renewed as he shines on our hearts. From being disgusted with the brother who slurps his soup too loudly, we will forebear and love him. From just practicing religious activities every weekend, we need to have the Spirit change us radically so the realities of Christ may be formed in us (Gal. 4:19). “My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.” (Gal. 4:19) From sitting in the pews every Sunday being passive, we would realize we are his royal priesthood, needing to serve God actively in shepherding his flock. We need a heart that is continually being shone on so Christ can transform it into a new heart. “And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them.” (Eze. 11:19-20) When the Spirit shines within, it renews our minds softening our hearts so we will keep his commandments and do them. We will finally be given the “one heart” (Eze. 11:19) unifying us to serve the living God.
Thirdly, the work that we do is powered by His fire. The seven-fold intensified Spirit is powering us today to give us the motivation and the drive to carry out God’s eternal purpose. “I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled!” (Luke 12:49) Jesus came to cast fire within us so we would not be “lagging behind in diligence, [but] fervent in Spirit, serving the Lord” (Rom. 12:11). “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” (2 Tim. 1:6) We need to fan into flames the gift of God so we would be fervent in Spirit, serving the Lord. “All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit…” (1 Cor. 12:11) Realize the Spirit empowers us today.
After we believed in God, we have only received the essential Spirit (John 20:22) that gives us the divine life. We have been brought into the Holy Place within the temple of our spirits. We still need to be transformed into the same image of Christ. Before Christ ascended he told his disciples to wait until they were clothed with power. “And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49) To be clothed with power from on high is to put on Christ so others sees Christ in the disciples. “When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like the mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:1-4) When the Spirit of power entered into the disciples, they were given tongues as of fire. The Spirit filled them so they spoke only what the Spirit wanted. The Spirit gave them utterance. We are clothed with this power from on high so we have put on Christ expressing him with tongues of fire as the Spirit gives us utterance.
The foreshadowing of the Spirit of power coming “like a mighty rushing wind” into the disciples filling them with the Holy Spirit (Act 2:1-4) occurred when the altar of sacrifice was first lid. When Moses and Aaron “came out and blessed the people, the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people. Then fire came out from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the portions of fat on the altar; and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.” (Lev. 9:23-24) Realize Moses and Aaron didn’t light this fire on the altar, God did. The seven-fold intensified Spirit today is the fire that comes from on high to empower us to do his work. This fire is burning continuously through all the generations today. “Fire shall be kept burning continually on the altar; it is not to go out.” (Lev. 6:13) Realize it is burning within you as you are reading this. That is why the disciples have tongues of fire. When they spoke, it is the Spirit giving them utterance. They spoke like Christ in his resurrection with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. “Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.” (Luke 24:27) “When He had reclined at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight. They said to one another, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?’” (Luke 24:30-32) When the Spirit gives us utterance to reveal Christ in the scriptures to others, it is never straightforward. It is in pictures and allegories and parables because the understanding requires the one who listens to use the Spirit that is in him. That is why Jesus spoke in parables. The Spirit has to reveal Christ to us so we can put on Christ. “For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.” (1 Cor. 2:10) Realize it is only through the Spirit that God reveals Himself today. That is why Christ was hidden to the two disciples and they did not recognize Him. When Christ broke bread with them, realized they were being fed in their spirits with the bread of life. The Spirit fed their spirits revealing Christ to them.
When Christ explained to the two disciples all the things concerning Himself in the Scriptures, their hearts were burning from within. When the Spirit gives us utterance, what proceeds from our mouths is tongues as of fire which will burn in people’s hearts. They will burn with the same Spirit, the same fire. That is how the Spirit works through us to build the church of God. “For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves.” (2 Cor. 4:6-7) Realize the surpassing greatness of the power is Christ shining in our hearts. When we see the face of Christ, we will know the glory of God. When this happens the work we produce will not be of ourselves but of God.
Fourthly, the work that we do will be tested by fire. When we allow his Spirit to work in us in this way, the works that we do will be built on his foundation, on the foundation that is Jesus Christ. “For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor. 3:11) God has already tested the works we do on the foundation of Christ if we build according to our Spirit within. “Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” (1 Cor. 3:12-15) By saying “he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire,” realize Paul is talking to Christians who have received His life essentially but build on a foundation other than Christ. To build on a foundation other than Christ is to uphold any principle or idea, simply anything today, more important or higher that Christ Himself. This was foreshadowed in the Old Testament.
“Now Nadab and Abihu, sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. And fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord.” (Lev. 10:1-2) These two sons of Aaron offered strange fire that was not of the one Spirit, not built on the foundation of Christ. Being priests serving as representatives of God, realize they put a different fire in their firepans. His holy consuming fire took them (Heb. 12:29). Today, if we build on a foundation other than Christ, because Jesus has now died on the cross to redeem us, his holy consuming fire will burn everything, but we ourselves will be saved, “yet so as through fire.” This is a dire warning for us today as we are all priests to God.
For those who see themselves as teachers in our Christian community, realize only the Spirit should give us utterance. If we all built on Christ and Christ alone, there would be no division and our work will be gold, silver and precious stones. Issues that are not Christ, that we fight for so adamantly, are superfluous to Him and will be burnt up in his consuming fire.
If we love Him, He is using fire within our temples today to cleanse and purify us through the seven-fold intensified Spirit. “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him; for those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.” (Heb. 12:5-6; Pro. 3:11-12) Realize those whom the Lord loves, He disciplines. His disciplining is to transform us. When we look towards Christ, his shining will be upon our hearts disciplining us. His Spirit is shining in our hearts, giving us the knowledge of the glory of God as revealed in the face of Christ. To see how the Lord is disciplining us today, realize we have to look towards the face of Christ. When we look inwardly towards the Spirit we will see the face of Christ. “His head and hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire…and out of His mouth was a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength.” (Rev. 1:14-16) “…in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire.” (Rev. 19:11-12) Realize as Christ lives in us, He not only sees everything, the flame of fire from His eyes is judging everything. When we look at his face, the glory of God judges us as flames of fire coming from Christ’s eyes. This is how He judges those who love Him today to transform them, cleansing and purifying them. Job had to learn this lesson in a very hard way.
In the book of Job, realize Job was defending his own righteousness all the way through the entire book. God, in his holiness, loved him, so He disciplines Job. In turn, Job loved the Lord and unwaveringly tried to listen to God. However he argues how righteous he was. Only in the last chapter does Job realize the holiness of God. Job answers the Lord, “Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. Hear, now, and I will speak; I will ask You, and You instruct me. I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees You; Therefore I retract, And I repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:3-5) When we love the Lord in such an unwavering way, we will be disciplined by Him. All that we know of God maybe only “by the hearing of the ear.” Realize God disciplines us so we could say, “But now my eye sees You.” To see the glory of God, things too wonderful for us which we did not know, look unwaveringly towards the face of Christ within our spirits. God’s goal for us is not just to make us righteous, but to make us holy so we could become His bride, an equal partner to Him. “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Rom. 12:1) “…Let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” (Heb. 12:28-29)
The Lord uses water to save us from the sins we have already committed. He uses fire to save us from the sins we are about to commit.
To “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind” (Luke 10:27) is the most important element in our transformation into the same image of Christ. It teaches us how to “Love your neighbour as yourself.” (Mat. 22:39)
“In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.” (John 1:4)
The next time you see a rainbow, remind yourself that God no longer judges us with water; He teaches, instructs and admonishes us by showing us the elements (or spectrum) of His Light.