Can’t Have Your Cake And Eat It Too
In 1546 English playwright John Heywood first recorded the idiom, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.” The idea behind this expression is a paradox. On the one hand a person who eats their cake no longer has it, but on the other hand as long as you try to preserve your cake you can never eat it. We often use this figure of speech to help people consider their own logic. How illogical is it to desire to eat a delicious piece of cake and yet expect it to remain in your possession indefinitely?
When it comes to Christianity, “grace” is a topic that certainly fits well with this discussion. What is your concept of God’s “grace”? We know that’s it’s a free gift from God (cf. Eph. 2:8). We know that we can never “earn” God’s grace in any way. Yet many people believe that God will just shower His grace upon anyone and everyone who believes in Him, regardless of how they live their life. Is this a logical, biblical belief? Is it possible for us to receive all the benefits of God’s grace with no required changes on our part?
If we can live life on our own terms and still receive God’s grace, then the inspired Paul must not have known this. He writes:
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds (Titus 2:11-14).
“Grace”, not God, is the subject of verses 11-12, and it looks like “grace” is playing hard-ball with any of us who desire the salvation this grace offers. In this section God’s grace actually “instructs” us to deny:
(2) Worldly desires
Notice also that the grace of God also commands us to live:
Regarding the doctrine of “grace”, the Bible clearly demonstrates that God doesn’t just continue to give His grace to people who aren’t “purified” and who don’t behave has His “own possession.” If we want to continue to receive grace we must be “zealous for good deeds.”
Contrary to what many people think “grace” actually makes some pretty serious demands on our lives. Do you want God’s grace? If so you have to live by grace’s standards.