The following is an attempt to describe different categories of people from a Christian perspective. As always, don’t just accept this, but take it to the Lord and check it against the Bible for authenticity. The intent of this is more to stimulate discussion than an attempt to present The Truth. We have God’s Word for that purpose.
An All-Consuming Fire
- On Fire Christians – actively communing with the Lord in the fire, strong anointing – WALK WITH THE LORD = ON FIRE
- Spirit-led Christians – spiritual radar is on, obedient – KNOW THE LORD AND FOLLOW THE LORD = ROYALTY
- Believers – have a simple faith in Christ – KNOW ABOUT THE LORD; GOING TO HEAVEN = BLUE SKY
WALL OF FIRE – LINE OF SALVATION
- Lukewarm Believers – KNOW ABOUT THE LORD, BUT HAVE OTHER PRIORITIES = ASLEEP & MISS THE CALL
- Nominal Christians (Liberals/Universalists) – CREATE GOD IN THEIR OWN IMAGE = NO SPIRITUAL FRUIT
- Non-believers – REJECT THE TRUTH, WORSHIP ANOTHER GOD, GOD, AND OPPOSE CHRIST = REPROBATE MINDS
Fires of Hell
* Wall of Fire and Line of Salvation – to receive salvation, we must repent of our sins, accept Christ, and become a new creation. God is a consuming fire, so to come to Him, all must be burned up except our soul and spirit.
* Car wash analogy – when you take your car through a car wash, the machine washes away all of the dirt and grime, and your car emerges on the other side all clean and sparkly. When we go through the wall of fire (accept Christ), we become a new creation, and the dirt and grime of sin begins to be washed away (sanctification).
* Everybody is going through the fire. We all start life below the Line of Salvation, the Wall of Fire. We then either accept Christ and go through the Wall of Fire to become Christians, or we reject Christ and end up in the fires of hell.
Questions to Consider
- Which of these categories do you personally relate to?
- Are you comfortable with this, or do you want to take action to change?
- Consider your family and friends; which of the categories best describe them?
- Are you comfortable with this, or do you want to interact with them about this?
The Holy Spirit Communicating to the Body of Christ Today
It is through the work of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God that we become transformed into new creations. As we become filled with the Holy Spirit, our fleshly desires burn away and we can become On Fire Christians. The book of Acts describes the launching of the church with the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Here is what the New Testament says about how the Lord communicates with His people:
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. Romans 8:14
I say then: “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh… But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” Galatians 5:16,18
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. John 10:28
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. John 14:26
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. I Corinthians 2:12
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. Acts 1:8
I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes he will guide you into all the truth, for He will not speak on his own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak and He will declare to you the things that are to come. John 16:12-13
Jesus describes communion with His bride:
“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one.” John 17:20-22
NOTE: You can learn more about how to hear God’s voice here: https://www.awmi.net/reading/teaching-articles/gods_voice/
On Fire Christians – Excerpts from “Consumed by His Fire” by C.R. Oliver*
Take heed to yourselves, lest you forget the covenant of the Lord your God which He made with you, and make for yourselves a carved image in the form of anything which the Lord your God has forbidden you. For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. Deuteronomy 4:23-24
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:28-29
“There is a depth in God whereby one enters the friendly fire that is Him and wishes to be no place else. It consumes a person in the same way that love consumes the lover. His consuming fire enters the spirit of man and burns with the same fire that burns within Him. It consumes everything in its path, like a roaring fire when it overtakes and consumes everything in its way.
This is a flame that burns so deep within it draws a shivering world to its warmth. This is the consuming flame, that once close enough to warm another, catches that person on fire.
As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, like the appearance of torches going back and forth among the living creatures. The fire was bright, and out of the fire went lightning. And the living creatures ran back and forth, in appearance like a flash of lightning. Ezekiel 1:13-14
God’s heavenly creatures live among the flames and God’s people are meant to as well:
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. Matthew 3:11-12
Behold, there it is! There is the very fire that burns in my own spirit. It is a consuming fire that lashes out against all that would affront my Lord. At the same time, its flames warm my spirit until the desire of my being is to be as He is.
Jeremiah knew this firsthand:
Therefore thus says the Lord God of hosts: “Because you speak this word, behold, I will make My words in your mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them. Jeremiah 5:14
Then I said, “I will not make mention of Him, nor speak anymore in His name.” But His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not. Jeremiah 20:9
The Lord talked with you face to face on the mountain from the midst of the fire. I stood between the Lord and you at that time, to declare to you the word of the Lord; for you were afraid because of the fire, and you did not go up the mountain. Deuteronomy 5:4-5
Moses spoke to the Lord in the midst of the fire, but the people who followed Moses were afraid of God’s flame. They missed the greatest opportunity this world affords – standing and being in the presence of the Lord. That’s what is wrong today. People are afraid of His fire.”
NOTE: The fire of the Lord, His light, His shekinah glory, and anointing are all similar. We gain other glimpses of the fire of the Lord in the Bible:
- Moses’ face shone so bright after being in the presence of God that he had to put a veil over it.
- Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego walked in the fiery furnace with Jesus.
- On the day of Pentecost, “there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Acts 2:3
- The apostle Paul was so anointed that when people touched his garment they would be healed.
* The book “Consumed by His Fire” by C.R. Oliver is available from www.zadokpublications.com, and the kindle version from Amazon.com.
On Fire Christians Addendum – a Discussion About These Categories
The following is a discussion about these categories with a dear brother in the Lord, who raised questions about them. Thought you might like to see them.
QUESTION: How do we know these categories are from the Lord?
COMMENT: As long as the essence of a message or doctrine is Biblical, it is acceptable. For example, if you do a search in the Bible for “triune God”, you won’t find it, even though the true church has embraced this theological concept for centuries because its essence, its meaning, is confirmed by scripture.
I suggest a three-fold test for any message:
- The message must be consistent with scripture and the historical teachings of the church (not the Roman Catholic Church),
- The person giving the message must be spiritually clean and live a Godly life, given over to the Lord, and
- The message has been confirmed – from the Lord with Bible verses and/or confirmed by other Spirit-led Christians.
QUESTION: If we are saying that the Spirit is still inspiring new revelation today that is on par with Scripture, how are we to determine if what someone is saying the Lord told them shouldn’t be accepted as new doctrinal authority?
COMMENT: The terms “new revelation” and “new doctrinal authority” are red flags for me, as they bring to mind Joseph Smith and other cult leaders. So, I would be very suspicious of anyone who uses those terms, as they are probably not speaking from the Holy Spirit.
QUESTION: I hear you saying it should be tested with Scripture, but if they are claiming Spirit inspiration, who’s to say they are wrong if we don’t believe the “canon” is closed?
COMMENT: I think it would be helpful to look at some definitions of “canon” from on thesaurus.com:
- an ecclesiastical rule or law enacted by a council or other competent authority and, in the Roman Catholic Church, approved by the pope.
- the body of ecclesiastical law.
- the body of rules, principles, or standards accepted as axiomatic and universally binding in a field of study or art
- a fundamental principle or general rule
- a standard; criterion
- the books of the Bible recognized by any Christian church as genuine and inspired.
I accept and embrace the notion that “the canon is closed”, referring to the Bible. And I embrace the notion that the canon is closed when it is defined as the body of rules, principles, or standards accepted within historic Christianity – the body of Christ.
QUESTION: Who is to say we can’t add to it now if we take the position of present-day Spirit inspiration?
COMMENT: You raise good questions. I think the real key is to whether what is proposed conflicts with or changes what the Bible and the historic church say is true doctrine. If it does, then it should be rejected. But if it enlarges upon and illumines what the Bible says, then it can be a blessing to the body of Christ. Jesus said that He had many things to share with the apostles, but He would not share them; the Holy Spirit would teach them to them. Are you denying what Christ said?
The flip side of this is many Christians who IMHO state that they believe in the Holy Spirit, but never teach that believers can learn to recognize the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit. The result is Christians who know about God but never know Him. They are the ones who succumb to “The Greatest Danger”:
THE GREATEST DANGER
The greatest danger facing all of us is not that we shall make an absolute failure of life, nor that we shall fall into outright viciousness, nor that we shall be terribly unhappy, nor that we shall feel that life has no meaning at all – not these things.
The danger is that we may:
- fail to perceive life’s greatest meaning,
- fall short of its highest good,
- miss its deepest and most abiding happiness,
- be unable to tender the most needed service,
- be unconscious of life ablaze with the light of the Presence of God,
- and be content to have it so.
That is the danger – that someday we may wake up and find that always we have been busy with husks and trappings of life and have really missed life itself.
For life without God, to one who has known the richness and joy of life with Him, is unthinkable, impossible. That is what one prays one’s friends may be spared – satisfaction with a life that falls short of the best, that has in it no tingle or thrill that comes from a friendship with the Father. Phillip Brooks (1835-1893)
Perhaps this is one reason many young (and old) people are leaving the church. They attend for a while, hungry for a relationship with the sovereign, living God of the universe, but just receive sermons and theological reasoning ABOUT GOD; never the personal relationship with the Father for which they hunger. Regardless of how long they have been a believer or in a church, people cannot teach something that they do not know. For fear of embracing voices from the dark side, they shut off the possibility of hearing from the Lord.
On a side note, what does the one unforgiveable sin mean: “blaspheming the Holy Spirit”? I believe it means rejecting the conviction of sin from the Holy Spirit, so a person has unforgiven sin on their hearts. Question for you – does it also mean rejecting the notion that the Holy Spirit can communicate with people today in the church age?
Setting aside the question below, how many Christians do you know that are ON FIRE FOR THE LORD? How do you light their fire if you caution them against even considering that the Holy Spirit might be really communicating with them as an individual?
QUESTION: I also hear what you mean about the various categories, but the consistent witness of Scripture is that there are only TWO categories. You are either all out for Christ or you are against Him. A few examples: 1 Kings 18:20-21, Malachi 3:16-18, Matthew 7:13-14; 24-27, Luke 11:14-23, Philippians 3:17-19, John 2:19, and Revelation 3:15. Thoughts?
COMMENT: Of course there are only two categories ultimately – people go to heaven or they go to hell. So that is a given. Within that context, I find it useful to look more deeply at the nuances within these two categories. The church of Laodicea for example – they would claim to be in one camp at the same time they are in the other camp. And the references to Christians on milk when they should be on meat. And the many references to God as a consuming fire, of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego in the fiery furnace with Jesus, and the tongues of fire on the people at Pentecost, etc. etc.
So part of this issue is whether a person wants to explore whether the Holy Spirit teaches and leads Christians today (as the Bible says) in a personal relationship, or whether we stick with doctrinal teachings about God, as if we were learning about Buddha or some other historical figure. I choose the former.
He who has ears to hear, let him hear. Matthew 11:15
To God be the Glory
Mark Peterson firstname.lastname@example.org