Is there such a thing as something being too easy?
The original developers of cake mixes seemed to believe so.
When cake mixes first debuted in the 1930s, all the baker had to do was add water and then bake. It was as easy as pie, so to speak.
But they soon realized they had to tweak the recipe. First off, the powdered eggs in the original mixes didn’t taste that great.
Later, psychologists thought that bakers wanted to feel more involved in the cake-baking process. Home bakers found the mixes a bit too easy, as though they weren’t putting in enough effort. There was a sense that baking a cake from a mix didn’t really count.
So the cake mix companies changed their recipes to require home bakers to add fresh eggs in addition to the liquid. Putting the eggs back in the hands of the bakers proved to be the winning formula.
I sometimes wonder if we apply the same logic to our faith.
Does trusting in Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross for the forgiveness of our sins seem like it’s only part of the recipe?
Are we sometimes tempted to add in some effort on our own part to make it “complete”?
Does faith alone seem too easy?
Some believers in the early church struggled with this mode of thinking, too.
The early Christians in Galatia had started out believing in the sufficiency of Jesus’ sacrificial atonement for their sins, but then had taken a step backward. They felt they needed to add extra requirements in addition to faith.
Some of them even began insisting that certain new Christians should be circumcised, in accordance with Jewish law.
The Apostle Paul soon set them straight on this matter.
He reminded them that the patriarch Abraham (then named Abram) was saved by his faith in God, not by law-keeping. After all, this was long before the law had even been given to the Israelites.
“And Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD counted him as righteous because of his faith.” (Genesis 15:6, quoted in Galatians 3:6)
“So all who put their faith in Christ share the same blessing Abraham received because of his faith.” (Galatians 3:9)
He and other gospel writers tell us that we are made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by works or by obeying laws set out in Scripture.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Certainly, Christians obey Biblical laws such as the Ten Commandments and others, but this is as a grateful response to having been saved. Such obedience is not a precondition to getting right with God. Faith in Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross is all we need for our salvation.
It really is that easy!
So let’s not feel insecure about our faith and think we need to tack on some rule-following in order to be accepted by God.
Let’s not think that adding Living Water to our lives is insufficient, and that we have to put our own “eggs” into the mix.
The Master Baker has already determined the recipe for our salvation, and it only has one ingredient:
Faith in Jesus’ righteousness!
© 2021 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.