The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Love, Forgiveness and Coals of Fire

I have no fear, that I may commit an error, by overstating the love and forgiveness of God for sinners, or the sufficiency of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross for the sins of the whole world.

I speak at times about the judgment of God and the fire of God, and I believe in it. I believe in repentance and I believe in discipleship and the stewardship of righteousness. I believe in the discipline of the righteous and the correction of the wicked…but let me be clear about one thing.

It is ONLY love and forgiveness that will bring about the reconciliation of all things.

Remember when Paul said

Romans 12:20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head…?

He was quoting Solomon’s proverb…

Prov 25:21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; 22For you will heap burning coals on his head, And the LORD will reward you.…

If you do a quick entry of “coals of fire” in biblegateway in the KJV you will get a list of 14 awesome verses about the presence of the Lord.

Jesus heaped “coals of fire” upon the heads of every adversary ever born when He offered Himself up on the cross, the beauty of that act of love and forgiveness bringing conviction upon every soul that ever lived.

It is love and forgiveness that opened the heavens that were locked behind laws contained in ordinances.

It is love and forgiveness that smashed the stone tablets and wrote upon tablets of human hearts.

The righteousness of God begins with love and forgiveness. The righteous forgives. The unrighteous does not. Love covrs a multitude of sins. Bitterness defiles, unforgiveness brings the “unforgiver” under the power of sin, and condemnation brings the self-righteous under the wrath of God.

To offer condemnation of sin without in the same breath offering deliverance from that sin through love and forgiveness- will never bring freedom to the hearer or reward to the speaker. Love opens ears. Forgiveness opens hearts,

“Know you not that the kindness of God leads us to repentence.”

If we feel that we must condemn to make sin clear we are in error, and in sin. If we do not speak the truth in love our words will fall as the bashing of cymbals upon the ears of the deafened.

Gentleness and kindness are way more effective that boldness and harshness. When we trust the Lord we walk in HIS WAYS. “Take my yoke upon you and learn of me for I am meek and lowly of heart and you will find rest for your souls”.

That, for me, is the heart of discipleship.

That is why I am never quite as clear as I want to be when talking about sin and definitions of sin because Jesus did not preach against sin so much as He lived love and forgiveness. When He rose up in anger and got loud and firm it was to rebuke the lawyers and the scribes and the Pharisees for their self-righteousness and hypocrisy.

Jesus exposed sins of pride and lust and greed and self-righteousness and dominion. The cross was His answer. “Father forgive them they do not know what they are doing.”

We have to forgive them before we can explain to them what they are doing. God will know when that has happenned, and we will know because people will begin to hear. They will begin to come into the house of prayer for a drink. Some will stay, some will go in and out for awhile until they are sure because they are comforted that they can trust this family with their cracks and crevasses.

Acts 2:46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Acts 4:32 And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them. 33And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all. 34For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales 35and lay them at the apostles’ feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need.

Coals of fire.

Everywhere you read those words in the scripture you will see the presence and appearing of the Lord and the prophetic word flashing like lightning. When we walk in the ways of Christ crucified the lightning flashes from east to west and Jesus is revealed and that is when sinners repent… when Christ crucified is seen in us, so Jesus says,

Turn the other cheek, Bless those who curse you, Feed your enemies, Forgive 70 x 7, Pray in secret, Dont let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, Love one another, Forgive and you will be forgiven…

Remember in Rev 1 Jesus has fire in His eyes? When we take His yoke upon us, we will have that same fire in us, those coals underneath the altar where the lightning flashes back and forth…

“The Lord has given me the tongue of the discipled that I might speak a word in season to the weary one”. Is 50:4

1 Cor 14:24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an ungifted man enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all; 25the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you.

The reason sinners do not go to church to get delivered is because the smell of water is not there. The cry, “Come all you who are thirsty, drink freely of the water of life…” is not there. That is because the ministry of reconciliation is not there.

That is because love and forgiveness are not there- so righteousness is not there, other than the outside the cup righteousness of religianity.

God knows how to pierce a sinners heart. Let me tell you how He pierced this sinners heart.

He showed me Christ crucified :astonished:) As soon as I saw Him up on that cross for me, I knew where His righteousness was for me, what I needed to forsake, and what I needed to die to.

It was a bitter pill, but His love and forgiveness helped me swallow it and is helping me still, because to this day sometimes my throat gets a little dry out in the thrirsty desert of this world and I need to be reminded where the water is.

So from time to time I will engage in discussions about the definiton of sin and sins, but usually it will seem like I am trying to straddle the line between conviction and grace- and that is because I am. That is because deep down I know, only seeing Jesus, the Lamb that takes away the sins of the world, will turn a heart from selfishness to love, from self-righteousness to love, from lust to love, or from lies to light, or from death to life- seeing Him, making contact- a real connection, that is what I offer. Jesus Christ crucified, buried, 3 days in the earth, raised from the dead, exaltd as Lord to the right hand of God, pouring out the living water onto dry and thirsty ground, healing the broken heart, cleansing the leper, declaring the acceptable year of the Lord- freedom for captives. open eyes to the blind, joy unspeakable and peace that transcends knowldge…

They are already thirsty, they are wandering about like zombies in a desert of no love not even knowing in their deadened minds what they are looking for but when they smell it they will go to it…

Lord, dig a well in us, or in someone somewhere who can hold the fire and pour the water at the same time, breaking bread and setting a table for union and communion and restoration.

Lord let love and forgiveness be exalted, so that righteousness peace and joy in the Holy Spirit can abound, because Your love is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit you have given.

I really like this. Trusting in a Sovereign God brings peace and gentleness for me. Knowing that He is in control and will work everything for my good gives me comfort. I do find though that when my faith isn’t in Him His Sovereignty can be quite terrifying. I like what Jonathan Edwards said about being gentle:

Moreover, I can tell you that, for me, I’m more open and willing to listen when someone is treating me with gentleness and respect.