“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” Ephesians 2:8–9.
I have heard that verse all my life. The truth is it takes all three: grace, salvation, and faith. Kinda like it takes milk, eggs, and cornmeal to make cornbread. My family likes it better when I add cheese and jalapenos to give it a little flare. I have also learned that if I will add a can of cream style corn, a little bacon drippings, and a smoking hot black cast iron skillet, they like it all the more. These added ingredients make it moist, cheesy, and spicy, with a brown crusty bottom that turns out of the skillet without sticking. Piping hot cornbread. Who doesn’t love it!
I’m the kind of cook who doesn’t measure out the ingredients from an heirloom recipe, mainly because there is no secret family recipe. I cook with the theory that a recipe is just a suggestion of where to start. I’m always going to add and subtract ingredients that my family likes and doesn’t, tweaking it to adjust to our tastes. As long as you know the basics, you can tweak it to make cornbread fit for your family.
Grace, Salvation and Faith are the basic ingredients to living a Christian life. Without all three, it just doesn’t work.
- Grace is getting something that I didn’t deserve.
- Salvation is deliverance from sin and its consequences.
- Faith is believing God will do what He said He will do.
It’s the fundamentals of Christianity.
But what if you were to add ingredients to make it even better? What about Patience and Joy? What about Peace and Long-suffering? Don’t forget Love! Couldn’t you make it even better if you add some Fruit of the Spirit? It’s the difference between plain cornbread and Mexican cornbread.
It was only a few years ago that the Grace movement ran rampart through the Christian community. No need to follow the rules, Jesus already paid for ALL your sins and there is nothing you can do to earn it. No need to read your Bible, attend church, or follow the basics of Christianity because Jesus already knew you were not perfect and He paid for your sins at Calvary. The mindset was sin as much as you would like, it’s already paid for.
While the basic ingredients of Grace are that Jesus paid for what I didn’t deserve, it’s like adding a rotten egg to the cornbread or not using self-rising cornmeal. It produces something that isn’t palatable!
I have certainly asked friends and family for grace when I didn’t meet a deadline or expectation. And I try to be the kind of person who extends grace to those in my life. But too often it is easy to see the faults of others and not notice my own. It reminds me of the verse in Matthew where Jesus tells the converts listening to take the plank out of their own eye and then they will see clearly to remove the speck from their brother’s eye. I confess I have been guilty of seeing others faults and missing my own.
But Grace allows us to offer love and patience, peace and joy, along with a healthy dose of long-suffering… all the ingredients needed for a beautiful life.
What kind of cornbread will you serve?
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Cindy Willingham is a landscape designer, small group leader, avid encourager, and sinner saved by grace who is ten years new to Birmingham, Alabama. Her sweet husband of 38 years, two married children and four grand-kiddos fill her life with unbelievable fun and sweet snuggles. She thinks God is awesome and that the best adventure starts with saying yes to that still, small voice. ~ To read Cindy’s BoP Bio click here.