Imagine the very best slice of chocolate cake you’ve ever had.
What if salvation were a chocolate cake? As it says in 1 Peter 2:24, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” It is clearly the greatest gift of all time, but imagine for a moment that gift were manifested in a beautiful chocolate cake.
A cake from God. It makes the best cake you’ve ever had seem like a stale, old wafer in comparison. Let’s call it the Great Cake. The Great Cake is huge, for starters. But it wouldn’t matter how big it is because it never runs out. You can eat piece after piece, and there’s always more! It’s always beautiful. Immaculately constructed, it shows no signs of aging as the days pass by. And it never goes bad. You can proudly showcase it on your front lawn. Neither sun, nor rain, nor wind, nor snow, nor hail, nor sleet will alter its appearance, flavor, or shelf-life. And the taste… it’s too good to describe. The flavor of a thousand chocolate cakes in every bite. The texture, the moistness… it’s all there, and it’s all perfect. Is it healthy? It’s the healthiest food you’ve ever had. You could eat it and nothing else for the rest of your life. It’s the greatest cake that has ever been made.
Over time, however, many of us grow embarrassed of the Great Cake. When we first receive it, we show it off, tell others about it, offer them some. Tell them how easily they can get one of their own. But not everyone appreciates the Great Cake. Some people don’t like chocolate cake. Some people prefer not to eat cake at all. “It’s a little offensive to assume that other people would feel the way you do about your chocolate cake.”
So we take it, and instead of keeping it on our front lawn we put it in our house. “It’s more appropriate there,” we say. “After all, it’s a personal thing.”
We used to take slices with us to work and eat them for breakfast and lunch. But that made some co-workers uncomfortable. “I don’t have a problem with the fact that you eat chocolate cake, but do you have to do it here? In front of everyone?” A reasonable request, we decided, and kept our cake consumption to the confines of our own dining rooms.
We know the Great Cake is good. We say as much when we talk with other cake eaters. But we just get tired of eating it all the time. So, many of us end up eating our cake once a week, at a meal with all the other cake eaters. We all bring our cakes out, and talk about how delicious they are, and how we would love to eat it more, but there’s just so much going on. Work, the kids, life. It just gets in the way, you know? We eat a few bites, then put it back and go on with our day-to-day.
There are a lot of things we do wrong when it comes to our salvation. We hide it. We don’t share it. We don’t celebrate it. But it’s worth sharing. It’s worth celebrating. Belief in Jesus is life changing. But for so many of us, is it? Recently reading in Revelation I read about the church in Laodicea, and I was reminded of the church in America:
“And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.
“‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the same of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'” – Revelation 3:14-22
“I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.”
America, compared to the rest of the world, compared to the rest of history, is rich. And whether we’re conscious of it or not, we have a tendency to rely on these riches, to rely on money. The kingdom of heaven is at hand, but do we reach out and grab ahold of it? Or do we sit back, comfortable with the knowledge that it is near, but unwilling to be moved by it?
The Great Cake is good. And if we truly believe that, we will eat it as much as we can, as often as we can.
Let me stretch the cake analogy just a bit further.
When Jesus told the disciples how to pray, He said,
“…forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors…
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your father forgive your trespasses.” – Matthew 6:12, 14-15
Forgiveness is important to God, and it is important to God that we forgive.
If God’s forgiveness of our sins is like the biggest, best, most amazing cake ever made, then our forgiveness of others is like giving them a bite of that cake. Did we earn our cake? No. Do we deserve it? No. Did we have to pay for it in any way? No. Can it ever run out? No.
On the surface there would seem to be many reasons we might not give someone a piece of our cake. I don’t want to share it, it’s my cake! They don’t deserve it!
But these reasons, when we think about it, don’t make any sense. We didn’t deserve our cake. And it’s not like giving away pieces will deprive us of any of our own. In fact, doing so only makes our cake richer!
There is no good reason to not share your cake.
There is no good reason to not forgive somebody.
If we deny others a bite of our cake that we did not earn, pay for, or deserve, and it can never run out, then what does it mean to us? What does it say about us?
If you’re looking for a way that you can grow in your relationship with God, then do this: Forgive. That grudge you’ve been holding against that person for that thing for years? Forgive them. When someone hurts you, insults you, treats you unjustly today, or tomorrow, or the next day – forgive them. Immediately. Whether they ask for it or not. The forgiveness we offer others is petty in comparison to God’s forgiveness, but it says something about our hearts.
If God can forgive you and the rest of mankind for willfully disobeying him day after day for years, despite the fact that we know the difference between right and wrong, then you can forgive others for their sins against you.
The Great Cake is here. You have it. Eat it! Share it! Talk to others about it! And celebrate, because it’s the greatest gift in all of history!