Elijah Calls Down Fire [Part 3]
By Alan Wright — January 29, 2019
Are you ready for some good news?
Jesus took the wrath of God against your sin so that you can be assured God is utterly, forever favorable to you.
Today’s Texts: “But Elijah answered the captain of fifty, ‘If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty.’ Then fire came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.” (2 Kings 1:10, ESV)
“But the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, ‘Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?’” (Luke 9:53–54, ESV)
“I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished!” (Luke 12:49–50, ESV)
When the disciples learned how the Samaritans had rejected the messengers of Jesus, they wanted to call down fire the way Elijah had famously cast down fire on the mocking soldiers of the wicked King Ahaziah. But instead of endorsing the disciples’ Samaritan-rebuking plan, Jesus did the opposite – He rebuked the disciples. It wasn’t that Jesus wanted to overlook the Samaritans’ (or anyone’s) sin. In fact, Jesus elsewhere declared that He, indeed, came to cast down fire.
But the fire of God’s wrath that Jesus cast didn’t fall upon the sinners who deserved it. The fire fell on Jesus as He hung on the cross. Jesus took the wrath of God on behalf of all who would receive His grace. Your sin was imputed to Jesus and punished on the cross. Jesus’ righteousness was imputed to you through your faith and, thus, God favors you. The implications of this great exchange are glorious.
First, it means that you can live free from condemnation and fear. There is no sin left for which you can be punished. It would be unjust for God to punish two people for the same crime. So you can be sure that the God of all justice will not treat you unjustly by punishing you also.
Secondly, it means that justice is now on the side of every believer. Before you accepted Christ, justice was against you. You were guilty and on the wrong side of the law. But when you were born from above, justice turned. You are no longer a sinner, you’re the righteousness of Christ. It means justice is on your side.
Thirdly, when you experience such lavish grace, it changes everything in your life. Grace changes everything. And that’s the Gospel!