Verse 29. "For our God is a consuming fire." - The apostle quotes Deut. iv. 24, and by doing so he teaches us this great truth, that sin under the Gospel is as abominable in God's sight as it was under the law; and that the man who does not labour to serve God with the principle and in the way already prescribed, will find that fire to consume him which would otherwise have consumed his sin.
Additional remarks on verses 22-24.
On the whole, I think the description in these verses refers to the state of the Church here below, and not to any heavenly state. Let us review the particulars:
1. As the law was given on Mount Sinai, so the Gospel was given at Mount Sion. 2. As Jerusalem was the city of the living God while the Jewish dispensation lasted, (for there was the temple, its services, sacrifices, &c.,) the Christian Church is now called the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. In it is the great sacrifice, in it that spiritual worship, which God, the infinite Spirit, requires. 3. The ministry of angels was used under the old covenant, but that was partial, being granted only to particular persons, such as Moses, Joshua, Manoah, &c., and only to a few before the law, as Abraham, Jacob, &c. It is employed under the new covenant in its utmost latitude, not to a few peculiarly favoured people, but to all the followers of God in general; so that in this very epistle the apostle asserts that they are all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to them that shall be heirs of salvation. 4. At the giving of the law, when the Church of the old covenant was formed, there was a general assembly of the different tribes by their representatives; in the Gospel Church all who believe in Christ, of every nation, and kindred, and tongue, form one grand aggregate body. Believers of all nations, of all languages, of all climates, however differing in their colour or local habits, are one in Christ Jesus; one body, of which he is the head, and the Holy Spirit the soul. 5, The first- born under the old dispensation had exclusive privileges; they had authority, emolument, and honour, of which the other children in the same family did not partake: but under the new, all who believe in Christ Jesus, with a heart unto righteousness, are equally children of God, are all entitled to the same privileges; for, says the apostle, ye are all children of God by faith in Christ, and to them that received him he gave authority to become the children of God; so that through the whole of this Divine family all have equal rights and equal privileges, all have GOD for their portion, and heaven for their inheritance. 6. As those who had the rights of citizens were enrolled, and their names entered on tables, &c., so that it might be known who were citizens, and who had the rights of such; so all the faithful under the new covenant are represented as having their names written in heaven, which is another form of speech for, have a right to that glorious state, and all the blessings it possesses; there are their possessions, and there are their rights. 7. Only the high priest, and he but one day in the year, was permitted to approach God under the Old Testament dispensation; but under the New, every believer in Jesus can come even to the throne, each has liberty to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, and, to real Christians alone it can be said, Ye are come-to God the Judge of all - to him ye have constant access, and from him ye are continually receiving grace upon grace. We have already seen that the righteous perfect, or the just men made perfect, is a Jewish phrase, and signified those who had made the farthest advances in moral rectitude. The apostle uses it here to point out those in the Church of Christ who had received the highest degrees of grace, possessed most of the mind of Christ, and were doing and suffering most for the glory of God; those who were most deeply acquainted with the things of God and the mysteries of the Gospel, such as the apostles, evangelists, the primitive teachers, and those who presided in and over different Churches. And these are termed the spirits diakaiwn teteleiwmenwn, of the just perfected, because they were a spiritual people, forsaking earth, and living in reference to that spiritual rest that was typified by Canaan. In short, all genuine Christians had communion with each other, through God's Spirit, and even with those whose faces they had not seen in the flesh. 9. Moses, as the servant of God, and mediator of the old covenant, was of great consequence in the Levitical economy. By his laws and maxims every thing was directed and tried; and to him the whole Hebrew people came for both their civil and religious ordinances: but Christians come to Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant; he not only stands immediately between God and man, but reconciles and connects both. From him we receive the Divine law, by his maxims our conversation is to be ruled, and he gives both the light and life by which we walk; these things Moses could not do, and for such spirituality and excellence the old covenant made no provision; it was therefore a high privilege to be able to say, Ye are come-to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant. 10. The Jews had their blood of sprinkling, but it could not satisfy as touching things which concerned the conscience; it took away no guilt, it made no reconciliation to God: but the blood of sprinkling under the Christian covenant purifies from all unrighteousness; for the blood of the new covenant was shed for the remission of sins, and by its infinite merit it still continues to sprinkle and cleanse the unholy.
All these are privileges of infinite consequence to the salvation of man; privileges which should be highly esteemed and most cautiously guarded; and because they are so great, so necessary, and so unattainable in the Levitical economy, therefore we should lay aside every weight, &c., and run with perseverance the race that is set before us. I see nothing therefore in these verses which determines their sense to the heavenly state; all is suited to the state of the Church of Christ militant here on earth; and some of these particulars cannot be applied to the Church triumphant on any rule of construction whatever.