The story is told of a large food distributor who created an amazing, ready-to-go cake mix. It was a break through – and as simple as adding water to the powder and putting it in the oven. The easy cake mix product was rolled out… and sales were flat. The company researched the reasons and changed their product. Now the customer needed to add one egg to the mix, along with water, put it in the oven and the cake came out great. Sales took off!
I recently read this story in Max Lucado’s book, It’s Not About Me. He goes on to ask, “Why are we like that? What makes us add to what is already complete?”
One of the worst things Christians can do is to trust in Jesus plus [whatever you want to put here]. After His ultimate sacrifice, we have the gall to add another requirement to faith in Christ and His power. During the writing of scripture, a big argument among leaders was the topic of circumcision. In a word, the sacrifice of Jesus wasn’t enough, alone.
Phil 3:3 says, “We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us. We put no confidence in human effort…”
In our modern day, it’s easy to side with Paul on that one particular issue.
But, as Max Lucado says, what about these other things we try to add to salvation?
Jesus + church attendance (attend enough)
Jesus + heritage (come from the right family)
Jesus + doctrine (grasp deep theological concepts)
Jesus + evangelism (witness to enough people)
When we add anything to salvation, we’re getting into legalism – one of the worst things we can do. There’s no way we can add to the work of Jesus. It’s complete. It’s full. It’s redeeming. It’s final. It’s for us.
I recently read Habbakuk, One of the phrases that stuck out to me was in chapter 1, verse 11:
But they are deeply guilty,
for their own strength is their god.
One of the issues with legalism is making our strength the main thing.
We must trust in the strength of Christ for salvation.
Legalism is joyless because it is endless.
Grace offers rest. Legalism never does.
God’s salvation doesn’t not depend on me.
I’m free, through faith in Christ. I trust in Him alone for salvation.
Even if a person, like Paul, can name an impeccable pedigree of faith, it’s rubbish. My service, my gifts, my upbringing, my faithfulness – all tarnished and stained – nothing of worth compared to knowing Christ.
What if a person were perfect all of life and only had one small sin? Well, one small sin sinks it all. It’s only through the sacrifice of Christ that we can be whole and can be His. It’s not about what we do, it’s about what He’s already done.
It’s never “Jesus and…” it’s only Jesus.
Never forget it.
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