Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance. 1 Peter 1:13-14
There are a lot of little boys who are fascinated by, and like to play with, fire.
Unfortunately, some little boys never grow up. Yoshihiro Kawaoka, a lead researcher at the University of Wisconsin, appears to be one such individual. Understand the good doctor isn't playing with real fire. That wouldn't be so bad. No, the good doctor and his team have made, and are working with, a mutant, highly infectious version of the Spanish flu virus.
That's the bug which killed an estimated 50 million people in 1918.
The scientists who support the study say it will help us understand, and be prepared for, what might happen if the bird flu mutates, so it can be transmitted from one human to another. Other scientists, like the former chief science adviser to the British government, says, "Yes, there is a danger, but it's not arising from the viruses out there in the animals; it's arising from the labs of grossly ambitious people."
That's just another way of saying I'm scared some scientists are playing with fire.
That shouldn't be a surprise to Christians. Adam and Eve played with fire when they listened to Satan rather than the Lord. The people in Noah's day played with fire when they chose not to listen to his repeated warnings. Samson played with fire when he dated Delilah, and Ananias and Sapphira played with fire when they thought they could lie to the Lord.
It would be surprising if the sin of "playing with fire" ended when the last of the apostles breathed his last. Yes, it would be surprising, and it would also be wrong. You see, the sin of playing with fire is very much alive today. No doubt you know some fire-players who
* think all religions are the same and all believers in something will go to heaven;
* think the Triune God isn't serious when He says, "the soul that sins will die";
* think they have unlimited time before they can "get religion";
* think that just having heard Jesus' Name is the same as believing on Him as your Savior.
Such folks are playing with fire and unless their position is changed, they will get burned ... eternally burned.
All of this explains why we who have and believe the truth of God feel the obligation and embrace the opportunity to share how salvation only is given to those who believe in the risen Savior, who gave His life so they might be forgiven and adopted into the family of faith.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, the fires of temptation can be a most fascinating thing. Keep our eyes firmly fixed on the Savior's cross and His empty tomb. Let us remember that only in Him can we be given the salvation we need. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
All too often the job of reaching others is left to others. That can be unfortunate. After all, there are times when YOU may be the best person to reach someone who is lost or wandering. If you have always wanted to know how to do such a sharing of the Savior, you may want to attend Lutheran Hour Ministries' SENT Outreach Conference, which is July 24-27 in Detroit. For more information, visit www.lhm.org/conference.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries