My mom recently gave me some of my Great-mommy’s cast-iron cookware. I don’t have a clue how old it is. Great-mommy and Great Papa were married in 1930, so I’m assuming she obtained it in the early years of their marriage, and more than likely, it wasn’t new then. I remember her using it…Great-mommy was an incredible cook. I was 14 when she died and even 30 years after her death, I still say her cornbread is the best I’ve ever eaten.
Here’s the problem…These cast-iron pieces have been in the hands of my grandmother. And that was a mistake. My grandmother hated to cook and she never followed the appropriate rules when it came to caring for her mother’s cast-iron cookware. Translation: Mamo washed them with soap and water.
My grandmother didn’t trust the decades of experience that cast-iron cookware could (and should be) be cleaned WITHOUT soap. She felt that if the pan wasn’t scrubbed with bubbles, it wasn’t clean. And in her efforts, she exhausted herself for no reason. And eventually (insert sounds of crying), she even put the cast-iron into the dishwasher. Bless her heart.
I know. The horror, right? I have a feeling that Mamo had some explaining to do to Great-Mommy when they were reunited in heaven.
The cookware was covered in rust and so, some friends of mine who actually know how to restore cast-iron kindly offered to help me out. I know how to maintain it once it’s properly seasoned again. After all, it’s not that hard. And the care of a cast-iron skillet has a lot to teach us about faith.
Just as the care of cast-iron isn’t complicated, neither is our salvation or forgiveness for sins. But we sure do like to make it hard.
When we read John 3:16, it almost seems too easy. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” That’s it? We just have to believe in Jesus and we have eternal life? Where are all the rules about being a good person? What about random acts of kindness? They aren’t part of the process, because nothing we do can earn our place in heaven! Therefore, many doubt the simplicity of John 3:16 because they think salvation should be more complicated. They don’t trust how easy God has made it.
We are the ones who make it hard. Jesus made it easy: Believe in Him and His blood makes us clean. 1 John 1:7 says, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”
I understand the temptation to want to use a steel wool scrubber on our hearts. We know how ugly our sin is… but here’s the good news…so does God. We know how impure we are…but here’s the good news…so does God. We can’t fully understand how the simple choice to believe can make us clean…but here’s the good news…that’s how simple God made it for us. It’s simple. But not always easy.
We don’t need to earn anything and try to over- complicate the matter. As it says in my favorite verses, “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).
So stop trying so hard and take God at His Word! He gave us these simple instructions thousands of years ago and they are true today. We need to trust that when we believe, we have been made clean.