There was once a kingdom in old Eastern Europe, not far from the Black Sea and ringed by the Carpathian Mountains. During the anarchy of the dark ages, this little realm stood as a shining example of law and order. According to legend, the territory was so safe that the ruler placed a solid gold chalice at the fountain in the capital city square. Anyone could use that golden cup. In all the years of that king’s reign, nobody ever stole it.
You might be thinking, “How wonderful! That’s the kind of place where I want to live.”
Vlad Tepes ruled that little nation. At first blush you might not recognize the name. But you know of him. Vlad’s father, (also called Vlad), was a local military governor and member of the Catholic fraternity called, “The Order of the Dragon.” The Rumanian word for dragon was “Dracul.” Vlad Dracul governed Wallachia, (a district of Transylvania) until he was captured and executed. Years later his son Vlad Tepes came to power. The people called him, “Son of the Dragon,” or “Dracula.” Vlad Tepes Dracula, that paragon of law and order, was the real life model for Bram Stoker’s, “Count Dracula.”
The real Dracula never drank blood, but according to historians he did far worse. They say that Vlad ordered people to be skinned, boiled, decapitated, blinded, strangled, hanged, burned, roasted, hacked, nailed, buried alive, and stabbed. Impalement was his preferred method of execution. That’s how he got the name, “Tepes.” It’s Rumanian for “The impaler.”
Dracula impaled people for stealing, lying or any other injustice. Consequently, Transylvania in the mid 15th century was virtually crime-free.
Vlad the Impaler , thought he could make the world better by forcing people to act good. In the process, he became a demon.
Isnt’ that the way of religion? Religion always focuses on externals. It says, “If I can get everyone to act Good then I’ve done my job.”
Unfortunately, the pressure it takes to make everyone act good is worse than if they all act bad!
Chrisitanity isn’t like religion. Jesus never focused on outward performance. He focused on changing the heart.
“If any man is in Christ he is a new creature. . . the old is passed away, behold all things are made new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
The change on the inside will eventually show up on the outside.
That’s the good news, now have a great day.