So a couple of years ago I found a recipe for foolproof fudge in a cooking magazine that I ordinarily trust implicitly. I made their recipe, and indeed it did just fine, but it was shiny, it was soft, it had to be stored in the fridge. It wasn’t fudge, and I was disappointed beyond measure. However, in the article accompanying the recipe, the author stated that fudge is a tricky thing. If the temperature and humidity are not just right, if your ingredients have sucked up too much moisture from the kitchen atmosphere any time recently, if your candy thermometer is just a degree or two off, your fudge will not “fudge.” He went on to say that even seasoned professionals feel frustrated when trying to make this unreasonably difficult recipe. While I am sorry those folks feel that way, it certainly made me feel a lot better. It helped explain my 1 in 10 record of success over the years.
Aren’t we glad salvation is not so difficult? Just follow a few simple directions and suddenly you have a relationship that will help you in the trials of this life, and lead you to the joys of the next, the sweetest of treats anyone could possibly enjoy. Why is it that some people feel so obligated to make it more difficult?
My brother-in-law was nearly run out of a church on a rail once because, using the Philippian jailor of Acts 16 as an example, he dared to say that there really is not all that much we have to know before we submit to baptism. Oh no, he was told, we must know all about the plan of God through the ages, about the true nature of the first century church, about the false teachings on salvation and how to combat them, about the “correct” definitions of faith, baptism, and grace, among other things.
Just what was it Philip asked that Ethiopian proselyte when he wanted to be baptized? If you believe with all your heart, you may, and he said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, Acts 8:37. Funny that Philip never gave him a list of things to memorize and recite before he was allowed in the water. Isn’t it wonderful—and amazing!—that our Lord will accept our obedient faith the moment we realize our need for Him?
Yes, there are many things we must all learn. All these years after my baptism there are still many more. That’s what the rest of your life is for; that’s why Peter said to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, 2 Pet 3:18. We never finish that part. Maybe the problem is, we make this arbitrary list and think once we know it, we are finished. Just who made the list in the first place, if God didn’t?
One of Satan’s most powerful tools is frustration and hopelessness. Let’s not help him do his work by making salvation so difficult that people give up before they even get the chance to start.
And [the jailor] called for lights and sprang in, and trembling for fear, fell down before Paul and Silas and brought them out and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus and you shall be saved, you and your house; and they spoke the word of the Lord unto him with all that were in his house, and he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes and was baptized, he and all his immediately, Acts 16:29-33.