More Work Than I Expected
Why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they were.” (Acts 15:10-11 ESV)
Oh man, I was in trouble.
The regrets began the minute I peeled off the paper label and started reading the instructions. Do not immerse in water. Do not use soap. Do not put it in the dishwasher. Do not scour. Dry completely with a soft cloth. Lightly season with oil. Re-heat in the oven. Do not let it rust.
I just wanted to be able to grill food quickly on the stove top without firing up the gas grill outside (never mind that it was rusted and on the curb waiting for the trash man).
The small cast iron skillet-grill hanging in the aisle of Target looked like the perfect solution to my problem. But when I got it home and was about to use it, I realized the simple utensil wasn’t so simple after all. The tool, I thought was going to save me time, came with a long list of dos and don’ts. It was not what this convenience cook bargained for at all. What I thought was going to make my life easier, just made it more complicated.
The newly converted Gentiles with their freshly found faith in Acts 15 must have felt a little bit like I did with my new kitchen purchase. They heard the word of the gospel and believed, but now the Jews were saying they needed to do a few more things in order to be “truly” saved. What they thought was a simple act of faithful surrender was turning into a long list of dos and don’ts.
Luckily for them, Peter stepped up, spoke up, and set the Jewish leadership straight.
“Why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they were.” (Acts 15:10-11 ESV)
Peter is saying, as Jews we couldn’t keep the law, why should we expect Gentiles to do it? We were saved by grace, so are they. We need to stop telling them that they are not good enough unless they follow our religious rules.
“And God, who knows the heart bore witness to them by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us.” (Acts 15:8 ESV)
Salvation is by faith, no extra work is needed.
Our long lists of man-made dos and don’ts only make someone’s walk of faith harder-and this is not God’s intention. We are saved by faith and faith alone, not by doing or not doing what a religious denomination dictates as the way to God’s heart.
“And he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith.”(Acts 15: 9 ESV)
I wish my little pan had come with a giant red sticker on it saying “Beware. Cookware requires LOTS of work.” I would have kept on shopping until I found the cooking utensil with the label reading “Easy to Use. Easy to Clean. Ready to Use.”
Between a husband, 2 sons, and teaching high school my sanity is found in running and Starbucks. I have a circle of running friends who inspire me to be authentic and real as I live a life of faith before them.