Ever heard of the velvet ant? It has a coat of tiny hairs that feel smooth and velvety. But it’s all a disguise. It isn’t an ant at all, but a wingless wasp with a nasty sting. After injecting its victims with a venom, it lays eggs in their incapacitated bodies. And when we try to earn our salvation by rule-following, we can find that legalism is like the velvet ant – it can sting, infect and incapacitate us. One of Paul’s biggest concerns for the churches was that, after being saved by grace, the people would go back to living under the Old Testament law. He constantly warned them about basing their salvation and their relationship with God on their own performance. ‘I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent. You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed’ (2 Corinthians 11:3-4 NLT). Paul also warns, ‘Satan disguises himself as an angel of light’ (v.14 NLT). Our work for God on earth determines our rewards in heaven, but we only get to heaven because of Christ’s work. Scottish minister Horatius Bonar wrote, ‘Upon a life I did not live, upon a death I did not die; another’s life, another’s death, I stake my whole eternity.’ We can’t earn our salvation, no matter how many rules we follow. Salvation is God’s gift to us, and by His grace, our place in heaven is secured as soon as we accept that gift and put our trust in Him.
Get together or set up a video call with a couple of friends and spend some time thanking God for His grace and the gift of salvation.
The UCB Word For You