There is a verse in the Bible found in Acts 26:14. Here, Jesus has appeared to the man then known as Saul (later, the Apostle Paul) who was vehemently persecuting Christians—and this is strange for Saul to be doing since he claimed to know the scriptures well! In this setting, the Lord appears to him personally in His post-resurrection and asks, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”
I remember this verse for many reasons, one of which is its use of a word we do not use today—goads. What does it mean? It is a spiked or prickly stick used to drive cattle, what we would call today a cattle prod. Why do cattle need to be prodded? It is because many of these beasts are stubborn. So, was the Lord telling Saul he was stubborn? Yes. In what way? He was “kicking against the goads,” he was resisting the promptings of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, in general and for his own life specifically. In other words, the very scriptures Saul had studied, known so well, and supposedly dedicated his life to which all pointed to and talked about and prophesied about Jesus, he was resisting.
Salvation is not inevitable. It is not a foregone conclusion. Most people believe they are basically good people and that, barring any deviation from that (wrong) assumption, they will enter the kingdom of Heaven when they die. This thinking is, as I stated before, incorrect. All people know they are imperfect. But rather than embracing the truth that it is this same imperfect nature which ensnares them and will keep them out of Heaven, they kick against the goads. They resist their fallen condition, minimize its danger and influence over their lives, and either walk through life ignoring that heart knowledge or they adopt another incorrect ideology which says that they can do good deeds or works (at least enough to supposedly counter the bad) to warrant keeping them out of Hell for eternity.
Further, those scenarios assume that one cares or thinks about eternity at all; many talk and live as though they do not. We resist the free gift, the grace of God. But it is not as though the gift is solely a kind offer or a token of beneficence. Rather, it is absolutely necessary. It is a life-line. It is oxygen. It is a pardon from a death sentence. It is a highly-paid ransom. It is a totally canceled debt. It is a righteous, holy, divine life given for an unrighteous (guilty), unholy, sin-stained life. That God would do this for us is absolutely amazing, incomprehensible and mind-boggling! Instead of running to Him as quickly and as gratefully as we can while there is still time, we resist. We kick against the goads.
God already knows and prophesies the judgment in John 3:19, “And this is the judgment: the Light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the Light because their deeds were evil.” Do not let this be your sentencing or your epitaph. Do not continue to kick against the goads” any longer. As John the Baptist began his public ministry (Matthew 3:2) and our Messiah began His public ministry (Matthew 4:17), they proclaimed the exact same words which were spoken then and repeated to you today, “REPENT, FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS AT HAND.”


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