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Christian Destiny Christian Destiny
Keepers of the Flame

There is, as we all know, a difference between a house and a home. A house is a shell whose stark and empty rooms testify to a former occupancy and a present vacancy. It is often the case that the room once echoed with the laughter of children, the fellowship of families, and even the singing of Easter hymns and Christmas carols. Those days are gone, the folks have moved and the house gets dusty from non-use.

A home is quite a different thing. The lights illuminate the hustle and the bustle of activity. A baby cries, the kids run in and out, the adults confer about important things, a broken window is quickly repaired and life goes on.

Yes, there is something about a home which is more than bricks and boards and stairways. It is the family that makes a house a home and this becomes possible because there is a lighted fire in the furnace or the fireplace. The home is warm and hospitable because someone put another log on the fire. That someone could well be called the “keeper of the flame.”

A home is something like civilization itself. The world is not just numbered people who produce a statistic for the demographers. No, civilization is made what it is because it warms the hearts of its participants and encourages them with a constantly renewed vision of the future. There is within the life of the world some keepers of the flame. They are people who not only make life worth living, but they are the ones without whom the world could not survive. They bring sanity and sense to the irrational age in the midst of which we live. They shine like lights in the world. They hold forth the Word of Life in the midst of crooked and perverse nations where they live and serve. They are unimpressed with the world’s “solutions” but continue to hold high the burning torch of truth and reality.

Who are these people who make life possible in this world? The answer is that these people are the children of God.

These people are Christians!

Yes, while the world will not admit it, these people of God are the reason that mankind is still around. What is the nature of the influence that Christians have upon the external world? The answer should be obvious but it needs to be said again and again.

Christians are keepers of the flame of freedom. With a quick examination, we notice that the story of people is generally the story of one group enslaving another. Often this comes in the form of the king, the emperor and his court, flogging a helpless citizen into obeying the dictates of the man in charge. One can look across the pagan world almost in vain to find a single nation whose people can call themselves free. The idea of individual freedom is part and parcel of “Christian civilization.” To move out from the circle of light which is Europe and the United States, is to drop into the darkness of paganism and the pitiful posturing of tribal gods.

What a contrast is Christian civilization! The flame of freedom has continued to burn in the great democracies because of the influence of the Bible and the knowledge of God. Freedom, a product of Christianity, has produced the amazing advances of science, technology, philosophy, and a thousand other things that have made this amazing entity called “Christian civilization” a remarkable thing. Strictly speaking, Christianity has produced the only civilization there is. Beyond the light of the Gospel is the darkness and wasteland produced by what Rudyard Kipling called, “lesser breeds without the law.” One of the most remarkable and amazingly true statements ever pronounced were the words of Christ, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).

Christians are guardians of the flame of faith. What is behind the amazing vitality of Christianity? It is more than optimistic talk, clever economics or interesting theories. Rather, the engine behind Christian reality, is the message called “the Gospel of the grace of God.” To whatever measure the Bible has been preached and the message of grace emphasized, to that extent the culture has been changed. It is the faith of the Gospel that has done it. Yes, the Word of God with the testimony of Jesus Christ has already proved itself to be the most life-changing, culture-preserving message on the face of the earth. Nothing can compare with it! The darkness of the Islamic lands, the thousands of gods of India and Asia have produced nothing like the results of the Gospel. This faith, once delivered to the saints, has brought millions to receive the gift of God—which is everlasting life, and altered the culture in the process.

Christians are keepers of the flame of opportunity. One of the most wonderful promises made in all of history came when the eternal God spoke to the Church of our time, saying, “Behold, I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it” (Rev. 3:8). For the Christian, different from many other views, this is a world of opportunity. “God has yet greater things for His people” is a slogan common to Christians. Believers in Christ often remind themselves, saying, “I can be something today that I wasn’t yesterday,” “With God’s help I will ‘mount up with wings as eagles.’” One is not a Christian for long until he notices that the Bible is full of amazing promises of “something more,” “something beyond.” Because God works within both to will and to do of His good pleasure, the Christian never fails at divine optimism.

The Church has passed on that optimism to the world in a great measure. By giving to mankind the proper view of history, the Church has made one of its greatest contributions to mankind. Christians announce that history is a scenario produced by the eternal God and that it finally flows out into the wideness of eternity. It is the Christian that quotes God, saying, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him” (1 Cor. 2:9). Something of the ebullient spirit of the Christian has percolated out into the world. Opportunity is one of the favorite words of the Christian. It does not apply in the same way to the world for whom the basis of life is tragic. Black despair is one of the common attitudes of the aging multitudes of our world who have never come to confidence in Christ.

We Christians are, therefore, justly proud of our wonderful Savior and enormously confident in the fact that He presides over the destinies of nations. Because of the message of Christ, there is something to live for, something to hope for in this world of ours. Christians—the keepers of the flame—have continued to furnish the oil and the attention that makes the beacon of hope burn brightly in our world. The keepers of the flame invite you to become one of them.

Christians are keepers of the flame of truth. If ever there was a characteristic of our time, it is expressed in the word, “delusion.” When speaking of the rise of the Antichrist, the Scripture says, “For this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thess. 2:11,12). We are even told that “Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of demons” (1 Tim. 4:1). We Christians are informed that Satan “was a liar from the beginning.” As his influence grows toward the end of the age, we can expect that the “father of lies” will greatly heighten his activity. It is surely soon to come true that, as the poet said,

“Hold ’ere this truth before your eyes
That all the world is lies and lies.”

Yes, indeed, the truth about anything will become a very scarce commodity as we move toward the end of the age. The world will become lies, all lies.

While this fraudulent world will become very distressing, it will also make Christianity in our time a very strategic entity. People, desperately seeking the truth, will be able to find it in but one source, the Word of God. Therefore, we Christians, in holding forth the Word of Life, will be the only real source of sense and sanity to a world that has become totally cynical. With the truth of Christ, we are free indeed.

From the writings of Dave Breese

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