Refiner’s Fire

smoldering wood in hot burning fireplace
Photo by Skylar Kang on

“Then one of the seraphim having a live coal which he had taken with tongs from the altar and he touched my mouth with it. Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away and your sin purged.”

– Isaiah 6:6-7

The removal of sin is painful. from the garden to the cross, from the cross to the restoration, the bible says without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin. Shedding blood is a painful cost for something or someone. Isaiah’s sin was purged with fire; it was not done without the burning sting of heat. None can escape this reality. Sin resides in the flesh and the flesh must be removed with the sin in it; this is what was happening to Isaiah. From what we understand about fire and flesh, we ought to assume this was a painful moment for him.

Dr. Eric B Watkins a writer for Table Talk writes this, “the suffering we endure in this present evil age are a tool that God uses to mold us to the image of Christ…the hard things we endure have a goal.” Pg. 22 May2021 issue.

God uses the things within our scope and sphere to purge, refine and cleanse, for Isaiah it was a burning coal from the altar; that was his world. What are the coals in your world?

Just as a burning coal surely was a tool and had a purpose to remove Isiah’s unclean lips, Jesus taught that if your right hand sins cut it off, if your eye sins, take it out. Do we go around maiming ourselves, I would recommend no, but the lesson is that our flesh sins through our body. God wants us to be like Christ, Christ-like; Christ was perfect, without blemish spot or wrinkle, therefore we must assume God is pleased to remove those things in our lives which do not reflect Christ’s perfect image and to take away that which causes us to sin, so that we can do the work of Christ. Sin prevents both our conformity to Christ, and our ability to serve a Holy God. The removal of sin is a painful process but God is willing to permit our suffering if the end result is to form Christ in us. The bible says that if we share in the sufferings of Christ then we will share also in his glory.

I struggle to remember this when I am in personal trial and tribulation whether emotional, physical financial or spiritual. God is using the trials in our lives as hot coals to purge ungodly characteristics and sinful behaviors. Oh Lord correct me with but do so with Mercy.

The secular world opposes suffering while Christ embraces it, the world refuses it and avoids it, Christ receives it and insists his followers face it. If we don’t suffer and die, we won’t receive glory and live. Jesus says you do not know the things which make for peace. The fires are the places where we see God, where our flesh is shed and our sin is purged and our heart is made pure, so we can stand before him and say like Isaiah: ‘I will go and tell’. “Who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears for he is like a refiners fire and like fullers soap, he will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver? He will purify the sons of Levi and purge them that they may offer to the Lord.” Malachi 3:2-3. We cannot know peace any other way then through the fires of adversity, the fires which seems as they would destroy, but truly prepare us for the Lord.  

Many within the human race want the peace of God without the pain of the cross, the clean heart without the hot coal, the reward of eternal life without the surrender of earthly treasures,  But there is only one way to peace with God and it was not painless for the Savior nor for those he is saving.

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