The Same Fire

the same fireMany have it backwards.

Many believe that the wicked will spend eternity in the flames. Yet the truth is just the opposite: the righteous will.

“Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning? Those who walk righteously….” Isaiah 33:14-15 NIV

The unrighteous cannot survive in such a place. Only those who have availed themselves of grace will walk on the lake of fire (Revelation 15:2). They will frolic in the brimstone like a spring shower.

How can this be?

Can Lies Fault the Truth?

Sin is nothing more or less that rebellion against a God who is truth and love, a selfish stubbornness that would rather believe a lie than trust God. It is simply remedied by a humble willingness to listen to God, a willingness to trust Him as a friend. All men—those who choose to trust God, as well as those who choose to believe lies—are destined to an unveiled meeting with the design law of reality: truth and love. What, then, will it be like for the rebellious when ultimate reality bears in on their distortions, lies, denials, and self-deception? What will it be like when they come to a full awareness that the reality they have irrevocably chosen is all based upon deadly lies? There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth as the wicked struggle in vain (as Satan has for millennia) to fault the truth.

Our inevitable encounter with God throws us all into the same fire, but it is not a physical fire. It is the fire of truth and love. And though the righteous revel in its blaze, the unrighteous will struggle against it until their tortured psyche can bear no more. Those who have rejected truth crave a reality that aligns with their cherished desires, and when they see that this is impossible, they will choose death rather than the tortured of truth and love.

The Fire of Love Is the Fire of Hell

God doesn’t treat the wicked any more harshly than the righteous. He treats us all the same. The fire of love is the fire of hell. Experiencing this fire as love or as hell has ever and always been our choice, not God’s.

Close your heart to every love but mine;
    hold no one in your arms but me.
Love is as powerful as death;
    passion is as strong as death itself.
It bursts into flame
    and burns like a raging fire.

Song of Songs 8:6

A literal fire will surely cleanse the earth, but the fire that destroys the wicked is the same fire that delights the saved: the twin-tongued fire of truth and love (like descended on those at Pentecost). Like with Nadab and Abihu, who died when fire came out from the Lord and consumed them (yet they were still carried out in their tunics), the fire that destroys the wicked is none other than the fire of love that tried (and is still trying) so desperately to save them. The physical fire only cleanses the earth of their dead bodies.

The rebellious will perish in the fires of Truth and Love, but the righteous will revel forever in the same fire.

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