The enemy is on the loose, and his greatest goal is to distract our troops from what is truly important!
Imagine making believers feel guilty that they don’t do enough in their neighbourhoods! It would be easy enough to do. People are easily fed by guilt. If we push a bit harder, they might even come to believe that they don’t qualify for heaven. There is no way anyone can live on works alone, and thus, they doubt that they will ever be able to enter Heaven! A master plan from the evil one himself!
This is why Paul insisted: “You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.” (Gal 5:4 NIV) In other words, if we believe these lies from the evil one, and if we try to earn our way to Heaven, we will fall short. Ouch! All that work for nothing! In fact we have completely erred and “have fallen away from grace”!
Let no one ever tell us that anything we “do” will earn us Heaven. Works is NOT grace! Grace means mercy, clemency, pardon. It wouldn’t be grace if a contingency was attached to the price-tag: to be obtained only after having done 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 community hours. Oh! Did I forget a few zeros?
This is why the following message is being broadcasted 24 hours a day throughout the entire New Testament: “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.” (Rom 3:28 NIV)
Salvation is an act of faith, not of works. We either believe in what Jesus has done for us on the cross, or we believe that we can somehow save ourselves. In reality, we should not see works as a way to Salvation. Rather, it should be a manifestation of our gratitude towards our gracious Heavenly Father.
The same enemy is manifesting himself all over the world. Take for example the brown-headed cowbird. It makes other birds believe that they are not up to their task, that they need to work harder than ever. To help them with this, the female cowbird lays her egg in an occupied, but temporarily-empty, nest. The parents are either out doing their “outhouse activities”, or they are looking for a snack. Soon the parent birds come back to find that they have an extra egg to take care of.
Maybe they miscounted?
The cowbird chick generally hatches one to two days before the others. It grows quickly, and is an aggressive beggar, often stealing food from its younger (and smaller!) nest mates. Its host parents truly have their wings full! How can they manage?
The evil one uses the same tactics, real infiltrators, to make us believe lies.
Some host parents don’t put up with such shenanigans. Vireos birds, for example, bury the cowbird egg at the bottom of their nest, and yellow warblers either abandon such nests or build a second nest on top! In other words, the infiltrator can be defeated! But only by standing firm against it.
In the same way, we must also stand up to the infiltrator! Bye bye intruder!
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” (1 Peter 5:8-9 NIV)
This is serious business. Our eternity depends on it. Who will we believe: the cowbird tactic one or the One who conquered death?
What’s that egg doing on my porch?
(To access the entire “Radical Grace From the Book of Romans” devotional series, please click here.)