THE UPWARD CALL
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet;
but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God
IN CHRIST JESUS.
(Philippians 3:13-14 NASB)
by – Stuart H. Pouliot
January 25, 2015
Salted With Fire
"For everyone will be salted with fire." (Mark 9:49 NASB)
Jesus said these words in the context of going into hell where the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.
I have written much on this subject to refute the common interpretations of hell, which are traditions of men, so
it will not be repeated here. If interested, please see articles #57, 59, and 61. Here are the links.
Eonian or Eternal?: http://www.kingdomandglory.com/art/art57.pdf
Hell, A Pagan Concept: http://www.kingdomandglory.com/art/art59.pdf
The Second Death, the Lake of Fire: http://www.kingdomandglory.com/art/art61.pdf
In this issue, I want to focus entirely on these seven words recorded from Jesus and leave the full context to the
There are two levels that I want to briefly address in this issue. The first one is the general view that all or
everyone will be salted with fire. To understand this, we need to understand the nature and purpose of fire. The
second one is the more specific judgment of most of mankind in what is called the lake of fire . Again, more in-
depth discussion of these concepts is found in the above articles.
I suggest that the fire of God is a misunderstood concept. In a sense, it is almost an attribute of God just like God
is love, God is light, and God is spirit. The word almost is used because there does seem to be a difference
between fire and the other attributes. Scripture states that God is a consuming fire (Deuteronomy 4:24; 9:3;
Hebrews 12:29); the article a is not used with the three main attributes of God.
Fire only exists when there is something (i.e., fuel) to burn. Once all the fuel is burned up, the fire goes out. Unless
it is fed with an unlimited supply of fuel, it only lasts as long as there is fuel or a source of material that it can
consume. Consequently, it can be said that all fires must eventually die out; they simply will burn themselves out
when they exhaust their fuel. Even our natural sun is destined to exhaust all its fuel and one day be extinguished.
And, so it will be with God's fire.
What is the fuel for God's fire? The simple answer is everything and anything that is not of His divine nature and
character. In order for His ultimate purpose of All in all to be achieved, it appears that He plans to burn up all that
is not of His life and the life of His Son. This is why at the end of the ages death itself will be fully and totally and
forever abolished (1 Corinthians 15:26). Death itself along with all sin and dead works of the flesh will be
consumed in God's fire.
Another way to look at it is that everything that is unclean must be burned with God's fire. We see this in the law
of the unclean. 'Also the flesh that touches anything unclean shall not be eaten; it shall be burned with fire'
(Leviticus 7:19). Our mortal flesh is like leprous flesh. Presently, we occupy bodies of death and, apart from the
life of His Son, we all are unclean. Our mortal flesh cannot appear in the presence of God without being
consumed. Nay, it must be consumed . For the LORD will execute judgment by fire and by His sword on all flesh,
and those slain by the LORD will be many (Isaiah 66:16). Obviously, there is context to what Isaiah declared, but
in a very broad and general sense, our old Adamic-flesh is an enemy of God. It must be slain, and the process
through which God does this is what is called His consuming fire.
Salted with Fire
John the Baptist indicated the nature and purpose of this fire when he declared: "He who is coming after me is
mightier than I … He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. … He will gather His wheat into the barn, but
He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire" (Matthew 3:11-12). God's consuming fire is a baptism of fire;
an immersion into His holy fire. Unfortunately, many have abused this word and applied it to their strange and
often weird Pentecostal or charismatic behaviors. It is true that at Pentecost the Holy Spirit came upon those
waiting in the upper room, tongues of fire appeared on them, and they spoke in foreign (not strange) languages.
But this was a sign of the fire of God coming to consume the chaff. We all have chaff in us. In fact, our mortal flesh
is chaff, and it must be burned up with God's unquenchable fire until it is no more. Another way of stating this is
that our soul life or our Adamic self-life must die, and the aim of God's unquenchable fire is to do just that.
It is quite common to hear Christians, especially young ones, say: "I am on fire for the Lord." Of course, they
mean that they are excited about or energized or zealous for the Lord. To them, it is a good thing to be on fire for
the Lord, as if it is a sign of being spiritual. In some measure, it is. Unfortunately, the use of this expression
indicates a lack of understanding of God's ways. God is a consuming fire, and His fire is designed to do just that,
consume until that which is in view has been reduced down to its pure elemental state.
Scripturally speaking, this expression would mean that God is doing some deep work in burning up the flesh that
wages war against the Spirit (Galatians 5:17). This is a good and necessary thing for the Lord through His Spirit to
do; however, it may not be, and often is not, a very pleasant thing to experience. Let's face it; dying to self or, for
that matter, dying to anything can be rough going, especially if we don't understand what is happening to us and
why. By the very nature of war, some win and some lose; being on the losing side, at first, may not seem to be
pleasant. On the other hand, we need to embrace God's fire, knowing that the end result is not the good but the
best. So, I would caution against using this expression unless one wants to make the point that the Lord is dealing
with them in a very deep way.
I know a brother who says: "The fire is good, come on in." Although this is closer to the truth and a necessity in all
our lives, I still would not make it a point to invite in the fire of God, as if it is a common event to take lightly. It is a
very serious matter that I would rather leave to God, knowing His timing and ways are perfect. In our walk with
the Lord, all of us will experience the fire of God in varying intensities and in various ways. It is to be expected,
especially if we have purposed in our hearts to not love our life even unto death (Revelation 12:11).
I think of the psalmist who said: "With all my heart I have sought You; do not let me wander from Your
commandments" (Psalms 119:10). If we have this whole heart for the Lord, we can be assured that the fire of God
will be active in our life.
There are many other ways to explain God's fire working in our lives. One such way is the fiery ordeals or trials
that we are called to endure. Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial among you, which comes upon you
for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you (1 Peter 4:12).
What about the rest of mankind, the unbelievers of our age? We know there is a fire reserved for them. Is it a
different kind of fire? No! There is a reason that the second death is called the lake of fire . First, it is a lake, which
implies a limited body, not one that is infinite. Second, it is the same fire that speaks of God is a consuming fire .
His fire will work in the lives of those cast into His fire until it has no more flesh or dead works to consume. When
this is fully done to all who are cast into His presence in this fashion, His fire will go out. Another way to look at
this is that mankind, even unregenerate, wicked mankind, does not have enough fuel to feed God's fire without
end. It is not infinite; therefore, like the sun, one day God's fire will be fully quenched.
Given this, the fire attribute of God seems to be limited to the ages or eons. It is an eonian fire, not an eternal fire.
When He is All in all, there will be no more fire, for all will be like His Beloved Son.
So, according to Jesus, everyone, including all of us who believe, will be salted with fire. We must be salted and so
must all of mankind, not all at the same time or even in the same way, but all nonetheless. There are no
exceptions. A day will come when there will be no more sinful flesh to consume. Hallelujah!