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Fire (Divine and Spiritual Fire)

“There is within every human person gold and silver and mud and dross. Life in this age has been given to us for repentance and the pursuit of holiness. As a person draws near to God, the fire of His holiness purges away all that is sinful, wicked, and unclean to reveal, purify, and bring to full beauty what is precious that lies within. The process of growth in repentance and holiness is painful and difficult, as is coming to physical maturity. It is necessary, however, if one is to come to maturity….The consuming fire of His holiness means that the presence of God in the midst of the people represents a danger to them. The danger is not the result of some ill intent or inherently wrathful nature of God but rather because sin and anything unclean cannot exist in His presence.” (Fr. Stephen De Young)

“…to know God is to participate in His gracious divine energies as we are transformed in holiness in every aspect of our existence. He proclaimed that our calling is to know and experience God through true spiritual union with Him that sanctifies every dimension of the human person. To do so is to encounter the great “I AM” of the Burning Bush from the depths of our souls in a way that illumines us entirely. (Ex. 3:14) It is to shine brilliantly in holiness like an iron left in the fire of the divine glory.” (St. Greogry Palamas, Fr. Philip LeMasters)

“…all who are baptized are sealed with the Holy Spirit who will then burn within them. He will dwell in their hearts to cleanse them. And He will abide in them to stir up the love of God, the zeal for His commandments, and the yearning for His Kingdom. We can let this initial flame smolder in our souls for years. But if we give it the oxygen of faith and love and the fuel of prayer, the sacraments, the study of the Scriptures and the fathers, and deeds of lovingkindness, it will blaze up to the heights. It will be so intense and bright in the love and devotion that it will overpower all lesser flames. And in it, the passions that were so troublesome to our souls will be consumed.” (Fr. Basil)

“…we think about our pitfalls ahead of time. In this way we manage to pass by the doorways leading to those situations that spell certain defeat. Of course, the enemy still finds ways of slipping past our defenses and pressing his fiery trials upon us! The Lord warns us that “everyone will be seasoned with fire” as He predicts the trials we face in this life (Mk 9:49). However, if we practice small, undramatic acts of faithfulness we are much more likely to survive when the tests by fire sweep in.” (Dynamis 12/21/2020)

“Peter denies Christ while warming himself besides “a charcoal fire” (Jn 18.18, anthrakia); likewise, when he professes his love for Christ it is again by “a charcoal fire” (Jn 21.9), one which, together with the meal, was provided for them. This is surely not accidental, for the Gospel of John is otherwise very sparse in such details, but is meant to recall the experience of Isaiah (who saw the glory of Christ and spoke of him, cf. Jn 12.41): after his vision of the enthroned Lord in the heavenly temple, Isaiah cried out, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts,” but then saw a seraphim place in his mouth a burning coal (anthraka) taken from the altar, with the words, “Behold this has touched your lips, your guilt is taken away and your sins forgiven” (Is 6.1–7).” (Fr. John Behr)

“One meaning of the name God is “burning”…Thus, He is called a consuming fire (see also Heb 12:29), and He burns up sin and corruption in the repentant. He cleanses them with His purifying fire…He also gives them His water of life, which quenches their thirst that once burned with sins, but now yearns for Him and His kingdom…” (Orthodox Study Bible, Deuteronomy 4:24)

“The Logos of God is at the same time both a lamp and a light (cf. Psalms 119:105; Proverbs 6:23). For He illumines those thoughts of the faithful which are in accordance with nature, but burns those which are contrary to nature; He dispels the darkness of sensory life for those who press forward by means of the commandments towards the life that they hope for, but punishes with the fire of judgment those who willfully cleave to the dark night of this present life because of their love for the flesh.” (St. Maximos the Confessor)

“It was also fitting that a pillar of fire preceded the Israelites as they progressed through the desert during the night and a pillar of a cloud during the day. There is dread in fire but a gentle soothing quality in the sight of a cloud. “Day” is understood to point toward the life of the righteous and “night” that of the sinner. Hence Paul said to sinners who had been converted, “You were once darkness but are now light in the Lord” [Eph 5:8]. The pillar was revealed as a cloud during the day and as a fire during the night since almighty God will appear soothing to the righteous and dreadful to the unrighteous. When He comes at the judgment, He will reassure the former by His gentleness and mildness and cause dread in the latter by the strictness of His justice.” (St. Gregory the Great)

“God Himself does not tempt me, but He does allow me to be tempted by my own sinful desires and passions. Why? Because through resisting temptation I learn humility and patience. Through struggling with temptation I grow spiritually. Through fighting temptation I win victory by the Cross. The fire of spiritual warfare purifies my faith and love.” (Archpriest Steven John Belonick)

“…everyone will be exposed to God’s judging fire, but for those who love God they will experience this fire as light and illumination. It is only those who ‘deserve’ punishment who will experience the fire as pain and suffering. Christ’s words to His disciples above give us some sense that condemning sinners to hell is not the desire of the God who is love. God continues to do everything to bring everyone in communion with the Holy Trinity. Some may choose to reject this love forever but that love remains eternal.” (Fr. Ted Bobosh)

“God is fire. God is love. God is a self-propagating emotional power, a fire that shares itself. Centuries after Moses beheld the flames of the burning bush, this same fire merged with the tongues of flame at Pentecost, and with the fire that burned within the hearts of the disciples at Emmaus. In saying that God is a fire of love we are certainly stating a truth that plays havoc with many of our ideas, in fact almost all our ideas. (Fr. Lev Gillet)

“There is no accident in God’s decision to enter our world through the most humble of all gates: the womb of the Blessed Virgin. The mystery of her womb is sometimes described as fire (she is the Burning Bush, who bears God in her womb – “our God is a consuming fire”) and yet is not burned. Our own rebirth and renewal in Christ comes through immersion in the same fire.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“Step by step, God reveals the source of sin. God's love is like a fire that consumes sin until only what is good remains. But without repentance, nothing good will remain…For our God is a fire which consumes everything unclean, and no one who is defiled in body or spirit can enter into communion with Him.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Joshua 7:14-18, St. Seraphim of Sarov)

“Because the saints saw that the divine fire would cleanse them and benefit them, they did not shrink back from or get discouraged by the trials which they faced. Rather than being hurt by what they went through, they grew and were made better, shining like gold that has been refined in a fire.” (St. Athanasius)

“The Lord Jesus Christ is quite willing to divide humanity. He is forthright concerning His intentions: “Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division” (Lk 12:51). The God-man came as the Word of fire which “consumes every materialistic and coarse thought and destroys idols made of whatever substance”…Christ is the fire of truth igniting the imbedded lies of this world.” (Blessed Theophylact, Dynamis 11/11/2020)

“In Mark 9:49 Christ says “For everyone will be seasoned with fire…” Being seasoned with fire means being tested to see if one’s faith and works are genuine. There is a difference between being tested and tempted. God tries us [to help us grow], but He never tempts us.” (James 1:13). (Sacramental Living Ministries, Orthodox Study Bible, Mark 9:49, James 1:13).

“For our God is a consuming fire (Heb. 12:29). For the righteous the love of God is a purifying, illumining, and deifying fire. For the unrighteous it is a burning fire.” (Clark Carlton)

“Love is fire. All who love truly know this: God is Love, and God is Fire. God’s fire will consume those who are not fire themselves, and render bright and shining all those who are fire themselves.” (Alexander Kalomiros)

“For the one who has never loved and who is consumed in his own “ego and his own passions, being with God for all eternity will be hell to him. Without love, we cannot experience the fire of God without being burned.” (Abbot Tryphon)

“God will help us when we are under fire for our faith.” (Life Application Study Bible, Acts 23:6-8)

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