John Wesley considered himself “a burning brand snatched from the fire. This phrase described two infinitely crucial events in Wesley’s life: his house burned down when he was four years old nearly killing him, yet he was barely plucked to safety out of the flames. This is exactly how he later viewed the circumstances of his eternal salvation by God’s hand; he was snatched from the flames of hell, when he was headed toward loss of both body and soul!
We think these verses from Zechariah and Jude describe the heart and soul of the work at the Paul Anderson Youth Home. We earnestly pursue every avenue for boys’ lives to be transformed from circumstances and habits of destructive “fire into young men desiring and making good choices based on a commitment to Jesus Christ and His Word. Fire is so totally destructive when it is out of control and it blazes a pathway of ruin and pain. Though young they have already experienced this when they come to live with us.
Early in the opening chapters of the Bible we meet the first angry, frustrated young man. God tells him, “If you do not do what is right (make good choices), sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it. (Genesis 4:6-7) He doesn’t; and Cain sends his life spiraling into ruin with one bad decision after another.
Genesis 4 and Zechariah 3 is a good picture of what our “real world actually looks like. You do not “see the spiritual world in the midst of the physical with the naked eye; but your lack of vision doesn’t make it less real. Angels on one side protect, defend, and encourage; Satan crouching on the other accuses and devours when he can. He is persistently crouching right at your door and mine, whether or not you want him there. It is the nature of this life and our war in a fallen world. Fortunately, for those who choose Christ and enter into union with Him, He rebukes the lying accuser, Satan, on your behalf, saying: “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire. Joshua, the priest in this Zechariah 3 passage, represents the priesthood of all believers; that means YOU, who are in Christ. (I Peter 2:5 & 9)
This is not only John Wesley’s testimony; we are each burning sticks snatched from the fire, if our hope and confidence is in Christ. As your Advocate, the Lord will rebuke Satan continuously, strip you of your filthy clothes, put on rich garments, give you a calling, a place to stand, and a place of rest! (Read Zechariah 3:3-10 and Isaiah 64:6) We need it all: Advocate, clean clothes, calling, place to stand, rest!
The notable comparison between the Zechariah and Jude references is that in the former you are the one snatched from the fire and in the latter you are the snatcher of another as he or she is about to be consumed by fire. Both need to be your testimony. Christ snatched you from ruin. Whom have you grabbed a hold of for Him just before the flames destroyed them? Grab hold and hang on for dear life! Jude says this is the way you “keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.
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