Heaping Coals of Fire

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by ktn4eg, May 31, 2012.

  1. ktn4eg

    ktn4eg
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    "Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing, thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head." --- Romans 12:20

    What exactly is this verse trying to tell us?

    In this case, I don't know as I'd want to be your enemy if the ultimate outcome of your acts of compassion toward me is going to result in having my head being the receipient of coals of fire.
     
  2. 12strings

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    Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
    (Romans 12:19-21)


    I believe the point is to leave vengeance to God, realizing that for anyone who is currently your enemy, one of two truths is certain:

    1. They are unsaved and will continue in opposition to God untill death, and God will take care of any retribution they may have coming to them, so you don't have to...in which case your kindness will only add to the things that will hold them accountable for their sinful actions toward youl.

    2. They are now, or will one day in the future, be a christian, and as such, your brother or sister in Christ and a fellow heir with Christ...in which case you would later regret any unkindness toward them.
     
  3. saturneptune

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    I always took this to mean that it is not our job to get even with someone, that it is up to the Lord to take care of that. In other words if person is due some type of pay back, the Lord will see it is taken care of instead of us. It is our job to show kindness to others.

    I do not think it means that everytime one goes out of their way to be kind to an adversary that the Lord automatically goes after that person. That person might come to salvation through your act of kindness, or they might become a life long friend.
     
  4. Greektim

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    Think of it this way, if you show love to your enemy, what is a worse penalty to the infracter than being kind to him? So in that way, you are metaphorically hurting him in the sense that you are shaming him and exposing his sin. Hitting someone out of retaliation is nothing because even the unsaved do that. But turning the other cheek is unique and hurts the sinner b/c it distinguishes him from the believer. And so in that way you are heaping a metaphorical pale full of hot coals on the head of a sinner.
     
  5. Scarlett O.

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    This is just my uneducated opinion - so take it with a grain of salt. I was studying this myself once and decided to see what else the Bible had to say about "coal".

    The first place that I saw it was in Leviticus. The priests would fill up a bucket with coals from the altar and burn incense on those coals. It was pleasing to God. Another significant place I saw as in Isaiah where the angel touches his "unclean lips" with a live coal taking away Isaiah's iniquity.

    There were lots more references to coal that I found and many of them had to do with God's judgment and cleansing.

    So - I made a leap of opinion. We know that we are to love our enemies and do good to them, so "coals of fire on the head" can't be anything destructive or vengeful.

    I think it means that when we repay evil with Christ-like behaviors then that person who is our enemy will be convicted and feel shame and remorse and be led to repent of their sin.

    That's what we are instructed to do over and over - reconcile. We may not can talk the person into repentence, but we surely can emulate Christ to the point that that's all they see in us and their great shame leads to Godly repentence.
     
  6. ktn4eg

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    Some very excellent ideas so far. Anyone else have something constructive to add to them?
     
  7. TadQueasy

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    Why is it every time I read a Scarlett post I end up hungry?
     
  8. ktn4eg

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    Try turning off the cookies on your computer. Maybe that'll help. :smilewinkgrin:
     
  9. Scarlett O.

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    HA!! :flower:
     
  10. Alive in Christ

    Alive in Christ
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    Lets say the you and your next door neighbor didnt get along at all. And to be honest...you hated that guy. And he hated you back. There were many altercations, insults were throne your way, he cursed you regularly. etc etc.

    And then their came a terrible tragedy in your life. Your 16 year old son is killed in a car crash, and he was driving drunk.

    And your hated enemy walkes into the visitation.

    You think to yourself...if his says one bad word about my son, I will kill him with my bare hands.

    He walks up to you and says..with tears in his eyes...

    Im so sorry. So very sorry. If their is anything I can do, just let me know. Anything at all.

    How would you feel?
     
    #10 Alive in Christ, Jun 3, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 3, 2012
  11. Tom Butler

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    Maybe another way of heaping coals is to "kill the with kindness."
     
  12. freeatlast

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    It is speaking metaphorically and saying that the kindness you are giving them in response to the evil they are giving you will burn into their conscience to change their mind.
     

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