Fire is associated with God more than any other natural element (water, wind, earth). For example, Moses hears the voice of God in a burning bush (Ex. 3). God guides the Israelites out of Egypt at night with a pillar of fire. Elijah calls down God’s fire to destroy the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18). John the Baptist proclaims that Jesus will baptize with fire (Luke 3). A tongue of fire ignites the church at Pentecost (Acts 2). Faith must be tested by fire (2 Peter 1:7). When the Lord Jesus comes from heaven, His mighty angels will appear in flaming fire (1 Thess. 1:7). All in all, our God is a consuming fire (Heb. 12:29) no one can escape.
Even as fire purifies everything it consumes, God’s fire purifies us, making us God’s “holy people” (1 Peter 2:9). God’s fiery Word consumes everything in us that is un-Christ-like. No one can ever hope to live holy unless the Word burns away the impurities of his life. Isaiah asks: “Who among us can live with the consuming fire? Who among us can live with continual burning?" His answer: "the righteous ones." (33:14) True believers want to be judged by God's fire. And one day everyone will be judged by God's fire. Let no one imagine he will escape. (Zephaniah 1:18; Heb. 12:25).
"But there is going to come a time of testing at the judgment day to see what kind of work each builder has done. Everyone's work will be put through the fire to see whether or not it keeps its value. If the work survives the fire, that builder will receive a reward" (1 Cor. 3:12-14).