STRONG’s Greek Dictionary of the New Testament, page 219, #4442, pur; a primary word; "fire" (literally OR FIGURATIVELY. Pur is used (besides its ordinary natural significance):
(1) of the holiness of God, which consumes all that is inconsistent therewith, Heb. 10:27; 12:29; cf. Rev. 1:14; 2:18; 10:1; 15:2; 19:12;
(1a) similarly of the holy angels as His ministers, Heb. 1:7;
(1b) in Rev. 3:18 it is SYMBOLIC of that which tries the faith of saints, PRODUCING WHAT WILL GLORIFY THE LORD;
(2) of the divine judgment, testing the deeds of believers, at the judgment seat of Christ I Cor. 3:13 and 15;
(3) of the fire of DIVINE JUDGMENT upon the REJECTERS of Christ, Matt. 3:11 (where a distinction is to be made between the baptism of the holy Spirit at Pentecost and the "fire" of divine retribution; Acts 2:3 could not refer to baptism); Lk. 3:16."
I call your attention to the statement in Strong’s (1b) "In Rev. 3:18 it [fire] is SYMBOLIC, of that which tries the faith of saints,PRODUCING WHAT WILL GLORIFY THE LORD"! (CAPS emphasis mine).
Carefully note that it is not the "believer" who "produces" these glorious things, but it is the "SYMBOLIC FIRE" that produces them. And just Who is this "symbolic fire?" It is, of course, GOD -- "For OUR GOD IS A CONSUMING FIRE." (Heb. 12:29)!
Therefore it is GOD who "PRODUCES" qualities in the saints that will GLORIFY HIMSELF! God’s consuming SPIRITUAL fire (remember that "GOD IS SPIRIT" Jn. 4:24) does the "producing," not the saint,
In statement (1) the editor of Strong’s cites seven more Scriptures that are used symbolically and figuratively to demonstrate "the holiness of God, which CONSUMES ALL that is inconsistent therewith." It doesn’t consume their physical bodies, nor does it burn their physical bodies to produce pain, but it "CONSUMES" all that is not consistent with God’s holiness. And these are the things of the heart, mind and spirit! It is not the "body" that needs chastisement and purification, it is the MIND, HEART, AND SOUL that needs purification from unholiness. You cannot burn pride and vanity out of one’s heart with REAL FIRE (besides the advocates of torturing with real fire for all eternity admit that it accomplishes NOTHING). It takes the fire of God’s spirit to burn away evils that have their origin in the realm of spirit.
This teaching is so absolutely elementary that it seems strange to even have to explain it. And yet, many of the greatest minds in theology today have not a clue as to these simple spiritual truths. All over the world Christian leaders continue to teach that the way God will deal with people who have wicked and carnal hearts, minds, and spirits, is to BURN THEIR FLESH IN REAL FIRE FOR ALL ETERNITY! And what, pray tell, does this infinite mountain of eternal pain accomplish? Why it is "justice" cry the high priests of Christendom!
Fire does a number of things:
- Fire CHANGES things. Fire brings about molecular changes in the materials that are burned. God’s spiritual fire will make changes in our mind, heart, and soul.
- Fire PURGES. In times past if a building were diseased and rat-infested, they would purge away the filth by burning it down. We are to be purged from all our diseases of sin and carnality. Jesus Christ paid the penalty of sin for us, but now God wants to get at the root and core of what caused us to sin in the first place. We all need desperately to be CHANGED and PURGED.
- Fire BURNS UP combustible materials that have no value in saving. God will burn out of all of us the straw, grass, and stubble, which represent evil and wrong doctrines, idols of the heart, and philosophies that exalt themselves against God.
- Fire PURIFIES things of value which we do want to retain. The analogy is used in the Scriptures of purifying gold by fire to make it more beautiful and more valuable. Gold represents the highest doctrines of spiritual understanding such as the Love of God and the Sovereignty of God, and salvation of all.
No one teaches us more regarding the fiery trials of life than the apostle to the nations, Paul. Paul was "revealed, tried, salted, and baptized" in God’s "CONSUMING FIRE," and yet never a single hair on his head was ever singed.
WHEN GRACE IS A VERB
Grace means favor, a gift, to be cheerful, well, happy, graciously, freely, deliverance from danger, and a dozen other benevolent qualities of peace, joy, goodness, and salvation. It is one of those truly wonderful words of blessing. But just how does it operate in "the real world" as we say? A definition does not tell us everything about a word. We can, likewise, define "love" as, a deep, tender feeling of affection. But does that definition tell us how love actually functions?
We learned that "...when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord" (I Cor. 11:32).
Chastening defines how it is that God judges us. Now then, we are about to learn one of the most remarkable spiritual truths in the whole Bible:
"For the grace of God that brings salvation hath appeared to all men , teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world [eon or age]" (Titus 2:11-12).
Here then is the remarkable parallel between God’s judgment and His grace:
|God "judges" us by "chastening" us! (I Cor. 11:32)||"chasten," Greek: ‘paideuo’ #3811|
|God "graces" us by "teaching" us! (Titus 2:12)||"teaching," Greek: ‘paideuo’ #3811|
WOW! Do you even begin to understand what you have just read? Whether God "JUDGES" us (and later the wicked world), or "GRACES" us, He does it THE SAME WAY!!
"Judging" is CHASTENING (Strong’s #3811), and "gracing" is CHASTENING (Strong’s #3811). It is the SAME WORD!
"Grace" is not a stagnant feel-good noun -- it is also a verb -- that is, it does something; it accomplishes something; it produces something of great value in the believer.
"Teaching" accomplishes something essential in making man into God’s very image.
This is an absolutely marvelous teaching. God "judges" us by "chastening "(paideuo) us, which means, teaching, training, learning, disciplining, punishing, instructing, and educating. And God "graces" us also by this same "chastening" (paideuo) which does not change meaning from one Scripture verse to another. Notice how other translations render this word paideuo in Titus 2:11-12:
Now it is true that the Greek word paideuo #3811 can also mean "punishment." But punishment is not the main force of this word. Notice that none of the above translations (nor any that I know of) translate this word, "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, PUNISHING us that denying ungodliness ..." No, the force of this word is to DISCIPLINE, TRAIN, INSTRUCT, SCHOOL AND TEACH. Let’s at least have the sensibility of a ten year-old. Of what value is "disciplining, training, instructing, schooling, and teaching" if it goes on forever and ever and ever, and while being burned with fire, for ALL ETERNITY? Gee, do we think they will EVER "learn their lesson?" I, of course, speak as a fool.
All of these aspects of paideuo are with a view to amendment, correction, and setting right, not merely punishment for punishment’s sake. A father chastens his children with a view to amendment and correction, not for the sole sake of CAUSING PAIN! Why do we think carnal-minded human fathers are a billion times more noble and merciful in the disciplining of their children than God is in the disciplining (chastening -- judging -- gracing) of HIS children?
There is a need for much repenting in the teaching of this vile doctrine of eternal torment. This doctrine of eternal torture blasphemes the name of our Loving Father. It is heresy on a level with hypobole -- inordinate -- TOO MUCH! It is a damnable teaching. And it is among the filthy trash of wood, straw and stubble that will be purged out and burned out in God’s Lake of Fire from every person who teaches and delights in this most disgusting of all disgraceful theologies of depraved men and women.
Oh yes, there are things that are going to be burned out of existence in God’s "lake of fire," and this deplorable doctrine of eternal torment will be the first to be abolished and death will be the last to be abolished--and so, let it burn ... LET IT BURN!
Remember that Jesus Christ does not change and that He does not respect (have partiality) with regards to persons. With those two thoughts in mind, what is accomplished by the "chastening" of the Lord? He "graces" us by chastening and He "judges" us by chastening. What does it always accomplish? Answer:
"For the grace of God [that chastens us] ... BRINGS SALVATION" (Titus 2:11)!!
And all of this is of God. God judges, God graces, God chastens, and God brings SALVATION!
And I do not want anyone to draw the erroneous conclusion that since we must go through a plethora of trials, tribulations, suffering, and persecution, that all God is interested in is putting us through a living hell. This is not the case at all. Each and every trial and persecution that comes upon us is designed to MAKE US SPIRITUALLY STRONG. And with spiritual strength comes PEACE, FULFILLMENT, TRUE HAPPINESS, AND JOY.