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Fire is perhaps the most destructive force in nature. Certainly, wind and water can cause tremendous damage on a large scale, but nothing is as devastating to a single entity as fire. Fire alters the basic chemical composition of materials so that they change form and cease to exist. Nothing in the world is immune to fire, for even rocks are liquefied by the intense heat beneath the earth's crust. Injuries inflicted by fire are the most painful known to man, and the scars often last for a lifetime. Because of these things, fire is one of the most fearsome forces known to man. Indeed, man should fear, for fire will destroy every worldly thing at the end of time (2Peter 3:7, 10).

While everything in this world is susceptible to destruction by fire, God has made fireproof the things that are not of this world. First and foremost, God's holy word cannot be destroyed by fire or anything else. Throughout history, men have attempted to eliminate the word of God by burning Bibles, but all have failed. Even the Roman Catholic Church burned Bibles because they did not want God's word to be translated into the common languages of people. Despite these efforts, the word of God survived the fire, and it abounds to this day.

One potent example of the fireproof word of God is found in Jeremiah 36. When God sent a scroll containing His word about the coming Babylonian invasion, King Jehoiakim of Judah "cut it with a scribe's knife and threw it into the fire that was in the brazier, until all the scroll was consumed in the fire that was in the brazier" (v. 23). Undeterred, God commanded Jeremiah to prepare another scroll with the same message plus an additional message that would promise to cut off Jehoiakim's descendants from the throne and to send Jehoiakim to a shameful death (vv. 27-32). The fire of Jehoiakim had done nothing to harm God's word, but it did condemn his own soul.

Indeed, the word of God is fireproof, and so also is its fruit. In 1Peter 1:23-25, the Bible tells Christians that...

...you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. For, "All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls off, but the word of the Lord endures forever." And this is the word which was preached to you.

As the offspring of God begotten by the imperishable seed of His word, Christians have an opportunity for faith that is fireproof. Consider 1Peter 1:6-9:

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.

Of course, Peter speaks figuratively of testing by fire, but faithful people of God have withstood literal fire before. Remember Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, who refused to worship Nebuchadnezzar's golden statue and compromise their loyalty to God (Dan. 3). The penalty for their refusal was death by fire in a blazing furnace. In their case, God miraculously intervened and preserved their lives, but let us not forget their brave and faithful words to Nebuchadnezzar before they knew whether they would be saved. They said,

"If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up" (Dan. 3:17-18).

Of such persons, God's word says that by faith they have "quenched the power of fire" (Heb. 11:34), which is true even for those whose bodies have been consumed by the flames of persecution. Their bodies may have perished, but the power of fire to take away their lives has failed, for they live forever in Christ.

What about you? Will your faith stand up to the fire, whether it is the figurative fire of trials and temptations or the literal fire of persecution? Consider the message of 1Peter 4:12-13:

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.

Therefore, prepare your heart, strengthen your mind, and make your faith fireproof through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Stacey E. Durham



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