Our God is a Consuming Fire

Destruction of sin is the only way of salvation. His name shall be called "Jesus; for he shall save his people from their sins." So when I accept his offer, as certainly as I believe in Jesus I shall not perish. And in that, I accept the provision that I will let sin go. I agree that I am willing to be separated from the sin, and that I will separate from sin. Listen: "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him that the body of sin might be destroyed." Then the object of the cross of Christ is the destruction of sin. Never miss that thought. Hold fast to it forever: the cross of Jesus Christ—the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the object of it—is the destruction of sin. Thank the Lord, that object will be accomplished. Now let us read the whole verse: "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." Rom. 6:6. Not only is there destruction of sin, but freedom from the service of sin. "For sin shall not have dominion over you." Verse 14. Let us follow that thought briefly right through the chapter. There is in it a whole world of Christian victory and joy.

"For he that is dead is freed from sin." He who is crucified, he who has accepted the death of Jesus Christ, and is crucified with him, he it is that is freed from sin.

"Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him." But where does he live? Does he live in sin?—He never did. Then as certainly as we live with him, we live with him free from sin.

"Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him." It could not hold the dominion which ithad. It had the dominion, because he gave himself up in surrender to the dominion of death; but death could not hold him, because he was separated from sin. Neither can death hold anybody else; even though it has dominion, it can not hold the man who is free from sin.

"Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you."

There the apostle says that sin shall not have dominion over you. Let not sin therefore reign in your flesh, in your members. Then coming down a little farther: "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?" The next verse reads: "But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness."

The cross of Christ gives not only freedom from sin, but makes men servants of righteousness. The next verse tells us that the service of righteousness is "unto holiness;" the end of holiness is everlasting life; and without holiness "no man shall see the Lord."

Then it is perfectly plain, as plain as ABC, that the only true preparation for the coming of the Lord is separation from sin. It makes no difference how much we talk about the coming of the Lord; nor how much we preach the signs of the times; nor how much we prepare for it otherwise, though we sell all we have, and give to the poor,—if we are not separating from sin, making it our constant consideration to be absolutely separated from sin, and to be servants of righteousness unto holiness, we are not making preparation for the coming of the Lord at all: our profession is all a fraud. We may not be working it as a fraud; but we are inflicting upon ourselves a fraud. It may be that we are deceiving ourselves by it; but that makes no difference: if our constant consideration is not entire separation from sin, our profession is a fraud.

The profession of being an Adventist, of being a Seventh-day Adventist, looking for the coming of the Lord, telling people that the coming of the Lord is near, watching the signs of the times,—all this is right, absolutely and forever right. But, though I have all this, and have not that one thing,—the sole ambition to he completely separated from sin, and from the service of sin,—my profession of the Adventist faith is a fraud; for if I am not separated from sin, I cannot meet the Lord at all in peace. Therefore if my sole ambition is not separation from sin, and from the service of it, I am not preparing at all to meet the Lord.

Then the question for every one of us here today, and for Seventh-day Adventists of all people, is, Are you preparing to meet the Lord, whom,without holiness, no man shall see? I am going to ask you more than that: Are you ready to meet the Lord? Of the times and seasons, you have no need that I speak to you. It is not necessary for me to stand here, and talk about how near the coming of the Lord is. The signs are multiplying upon the earth. You are Adventists. You know all that; but it is proper for me, now and forever, to stand here and ask, Are you separated from sin? And being separated from sin, are you ready to meet the Lord? Because our God is a consuming fire, and there is no use trying to get away from that. He is nothing else. You need not coddle yourself with the notion that God is anything else than a consuming fire. Just make up your mind to that. He says that that is just what he is; and the sooner you and I make up our minds that God is a consuming fire, the better.