Performance-based vs Grace-based!
“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.” Psalm 118:8.
When was the last time you realized they put you down so that you would not try to get up again with a small incident, although you did hundreds of good things to them? When it happened to you in the spiritual realm, it was so shocking to you, wasn’t it? You see, this is true in the spiritual realm as well. You did innumerable things and then one day based on your conviction you stood for truth, they all came fast against you and together stoned you.
Stephen is an example the New Testament gives. He stood for the truth based on his conviction. How many people remembered the good things He did in the past? None! He said to them, “You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him— you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.” They always resisted the work of the Holy Spirit among them, even though they experienced it firsthand before this incident. They could not stand with the conviction of the Holy Spirit in Stephen’s heart about the wonder of the Scripture and the power behind it to reveal the savior, Jesus Christ, and the simple salvation available in and through Jesus.
You see, they always preferred work-based, law-based, performance-based salvation techniques and speeches rather than what is offered by God in the free grace available through the death, burial, and resurrection of the lamb of God who was slain even before the foundation of the world. There are people who want to add to the sacrifice of Christ even today with their performance-based teachings. They think it is more appealing to people. Why? It helps them to control people. Control based system always cherishes performance-based to keep control and to get clapping from people because the earth can think only performance-based. This earth would not know and appreciate the grace of God until the Holy Spirit of God opens their hearts. However, the wonder of God’s grace and free salvation has nothing to do with your performances. Apostle Paul stood against such performance-based articulations of the religious leaders who usurped with control. (Galatians)
When the members of the Sanhedrin (the so-called religious leaders of his day) heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. They came together as one accord and stoned Stephen to death.
You may have done many things and invested in people’s lives with your time, energy, and gifts, however, it does not matter the blind leaders even today stone you down with one statement from your lips- intentional or unintentional. They become furious to destroy all your good works done so far.
Beloved, please do not trust in man or even princes of man. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to truth in man. Be grateful to the LORD in all your ways. You spent your time and energy on their well-being helping them to grow, but do you know what? It does not matter to them.
Think about the life story of Joseph. You see how far and worse jealousy can go to harm. Joseph did all good to his brethren, but their heart was not right with him all through the past years. At an opportune time, they meant to kill and destroy whom God used to help them in all those past years.
Our Savior is not different either. He came to save us. God sent him to our midst for the sake of humanity’s salvation. People crucified him on the cross. However, God turned it around for the good of many. Those who did crucify the savior are responsible. They suffered through the years, still suffering until they look to the one whom they pierced in the future. Do you know how much worse things the people of God (Israel) did to the prophet Jeremiah? Take time to read the book of Jeremiah in the Bible to understand the horrible details about it.
Our insight says “it is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man”. It is good to keep this in your heart when you temporarily sojourn on this earth. However, remember you do not belong here. You are born again by the living and unperishable seed from heaven- the eternal Word of God that was preached to you by faithful people. Jesus warned this so that you would surely remember what he said and recorded in John 16:2, “They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God.”
We live in such a time and no pandemic like COVID-19 would make them repent of their unjust and unfair practices against God’s truth and servants. They will remain filled with ingratitude and do not have an idea to honor God by honoring the ones who led them in the past.
Got a moment for today’s prayer? “Father in heaven, I understand all the prophets who stood for the truth of the Word of God were persecuted by the fellow ones. I believe you sent your Son Jesus Christ, and they crucified Him on the cross. However, I know You loved me by sending Jesus to this world for my sins. I do not know much but I know that Jesus can save me and that is good enough to save me, I believe. I accept Jesus as my savior and Lord. Please forgive me and save me today by the blood of Christ. In Christ’s name, I pray. Amen.”