For our God is a consuming fire.
] Either God personally considered, God in the person of Christ; so the Shechinah, with the Jews, is called a consuming fire F14. Christ is truly God, and he is our God and Lord; and though he is full of grace and mercy, yet he will appear in great wrath to his enemies, who will not have him to reign over them: or rather God essentially considered; whose God he is, and in what sense, and how he comes to be so, (See Gill on Hebrews 8:10), what is here said of him, that he is a consuming fire, may be understood of his jealousy in matters of worship, ( Deuteronomy 4:23 Deuteronomy 4:24 ) , and so carries in it a reason why he is to be served acceptably, with reverence and godly fear. God, and he only, is to be worshipped; and he is to be worshipped in a way suitable to himself; and he has the sole right of fixing the manner of worship, both as to the external and internal parts of it: under the legal dispensation, he was worshipped in a way he then pitched upon, and suitable to it; and under the Gospel dispensation he is to be worshipped in an evangelical way; and he is to have all the glory in every part of worship; and the ordinances of Gospel worship are immovable; nor are they to be altered, or others put in their room, without recurring his displeasure. Moreover, this phrase may be expressive of the preservation of his people, and of the destruction of their enemies, ( Deuteronomy 9:1-3 ) . We commonly say, that God out of Christ is a consuming fire; meaning, that God, as an absolute God, is full of wrath and vengeance; and it is a truth, but not the truth of this text; for here it is our God, our covenant God, our God in Christ; not that he is so to the saints, or to them that are in Christ: he is indeed as a wall of fire in his providences, to protect and defend them, and as fire in his word to enlighten and warm them, to guide and direct them, but not a consuming fire to them; this he is to their enemies, who are as thorns, and briers, and stubble before him: and so the Jews interpret ( Deuteronomy 4:24 ) of a fire consuming fire F15; and observe, that Moses says, thy God, and not our God F16; but the apostle here uses the latter phrase.
F14 Tzeror Hammor, fol. 21. 4.
F15 Zohar in Gen. fol. 35. 3. & 51. 1. & in Exod. fol. 91. 1. & in Lev. fol. 11. 1.
F16 Lexic. Cabalist, p. 111.