I am a fan of nachos. If you want to see a smile on my face, hand me a big bowl and you will be my friend for life. I have been known to defend the concept of nachos vigorously. Nachos are defined by me as tortilla chips, melted cheese (preferably Velveeta) and jalapeño peppers. Without the peppers, you don’t have nachos. In that case, you are eating chips and cheese dip. The peppers are what transform mere chips and cheese to a delectable dish known as nachos.
I will admit that I often add refried beans and sour cream to my bowl of nachos. The little restaurant near my
office serves them up with guacamole. By adding those ingredients, mere nachos become known by such monikers as Nachos Supreme, Nachos Grande or Nachos Deluxe. Although these enhancements truly enhance the flavor of nachos, the additions really don’t violate the principal of nachos. In the end, the integrity of nachos is still intact.
This may amaze you, but the Christian faith is not comparable to nachos. When anything is added to the principle of salvation by faith, it totally pollutes the faith. There is nothing you can add to the gospel of Jesus Christ. If you try to add anything in an attempt to gain favor with God, you insult the cross of Jesus Christ. Our Savior came to this earth to free us from religion…not to enslave us further.
He didn’t come to replace the very ritualistic faith of the Old Testament with more “stuff”. There is not a new code or list of “do and don’ts”. Jesus said that his yoke is easy and his burden is light. To the first century hearers, they had the picture in their mind of a team of oxen with their huge yoke which bound the team together for the plowing of a field. Religion always weighs you down. Its oppressive, its time consuming and it rarely brings true life and joy.
Someone has said, “Rules without relationship bring rebellion.” Let me say it another way. Religion without relationship brings ruin. A woman asked Jesus where she should go to find the true place of worship. Jesus told her that they that worship must worship in spirit and in truth. Worship is not about a location. It is not about a denominational headquarters in a certain locale. Our faith is not predicated upon journeying to certain locales periodically because a certain place is holy.
Certainly as Christians we are to attend church with our fellow believers. Most assuredly we partake in the Lord’s Supper as a remembrance of his death and sacrifice for our sins. Naturally upon receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior we are commanded to be baptized. Just as a cook must gather the chips, the cheese and the peppers to make nachos we as Christians engage in these activities BECAUSE we are saved. These are the ingredients for who we are. Church, communion and baptism are not things we do to GET saved. They are a natural aspect of our faith. These things make up the life of a believer.
Remember, if you are under a hard yoke and a heavy burden Jesus didn’t give it to you. Your denomination may have given it to you. Or it could be an expectation of your family that has been passed down from generation to generation. I assert that true basic nachos are made up of chips, cheese and peppers. Similarly, true religion is that we are in relationship with Jesus Christ. Everything we do for him should come out of a rich relationship…not empty religious ritual. As I mentioned before, “Rules without relationship bring rebellion”. Now please pass the tortilla chips and that bowl of cheese…