For our God is a consuming fire.
I am thankful that men do not now speak of the penalty of sin, as if, according to Foster, the Almighty "were a dreadful King of Furies, whose music is the cries of victims, and whose glory requires to be illustrated by the ruin of His creation." We cannot speak in terms that are strong enough, or in tones that are pathetic enough, of the love of God in Christ. But he is unfaithful who, by silence or by speech, diminishes the sense of the evil of sin, and of the certainty and awfulness of the penalty that follows it. A representation of Jehovah as a Being of infinite good nature, whose Fatherly love is reduced to grandfatherly weakness, who cannot inflict pain and suffering, and who will easily overlook sin, is a false representation; it is contrary to well-known facts, it is oblivious of the greatness of the sacrifice of Christ. When I was in Naples I thought nothing could be more beautiful than that fine bay, with its clear blue waters, and its picturesque surroundings; but eight miles away there was Vesuvius, with the column of smoke ever resting on its summit, with the elements of destruction within it, and with the effects of its destructive power seen in Herculaneum and Pompeii near its base. So behind all the beautiful and attractive aspects of the gospel of grace there is the mount of blackness and darkness and tempest, which cannot be blotted out. There is death as well as life in the world; there are cemeteries as well as gardens, gaols as well as schools. Christ has not thrown the winnowing fan from His hand; there was lightning as well as light in His speech; words of doom came from the lips of Him who looked upon Jerusalem through tears. He teaches us that sin is not to be trifled with, and we preach Him as the deliverer " from the wrath to come."
Parallel VersesKJV: For our God is a consuming fire.