When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” Acts 7:54-56 NIV
Hotheads or a Cool faith?
Generally, people praise a hot faith, saying it’s good to be passionate about our beliefs. The Book of Revelations warns against being lukewarm and we would never consider an ice-cold faith as a compliment.
However, a hot faith can also be a dangerous deterrent to the cause of Christ. Take the reaction of the religious council when they charged Stephen with blasphemy. They kept getting hotter and hotter until they reached a boiling point leading to Stephen’s death, whereas Stephen remained as cool as a cucumber, calm, collective, and coherent.
History demonstrates how a hot, angry faith produces hot tempers that can lead to violence and become a deadly force in our world. Genocides, suicide bombings, and much evil has been done in the name of the Lord.
We continue to study God’s design for the church as revealed in the Book of Acts, and this Sunday we will see how the hot faith of the Jerusalem council let their emotions take control as they stone Stephen.
In contrast, Stephen shows us the alternative to hot faith. It’s a cool faith. In his trust in God, his sacrificial service, and his forgiving spirit Stephen gives us the example of God’s design for us as well. In a world being ripped apart by anger and violence, it’s clear more anger and violence will not heal our division. Instead of more passion perhaps we all need to just keep cool.
Come and see,