(1 Corinthians 2:1-5)
The gospel of the good news of Jesus Christ is not a complex, complicated, convoluted message. It is a simple gospel designed by God to be easily understood by anyone and everyone.
It is men who seek to lord it over others and it is the devil who seeks to confuse those who would seek Jesus Christ that make it seem complex.
Complexity was never God's intention nor is it His way to make it hard for us to understand His will. His will is for all mankind to come to a knowledge of the truth in Jesus Christ so that He can save all mankind. Unfortunately not all will come and seek Him out and so many will be lost. But that is not the fault of God due to any complexities in the gospel. It is the fault of those who choose to reject God and reject the simplicity of the gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ.
It's Not Hard
No. It was and still is the will of God that the gospel be simple and accessible to all. He deliberately did not make it hard to understand so that all could come to Him and find Him through Jesus Christ. As Jesus said,
27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – (Matthew 11:27-30)
It is the will of God through the gospel of Jesus Christ to give us rest, not to put us to hard labour by yoking us to a covenant that is difficult and with complicated rules, regulations, ordinances and laws for worship that are hard to learn and keep.
Instead God chose a simple path for man to come into His presence. He said…just believe. Just believe that in Jesus Christ you have redemption, the forgiveness of sins and salvation unto eternal life. Just believe in the power of God who is able to do all things and anything, and come to Him fully convinced in the knowledge that when you believe, you receive what He has promised in the gospel of the good news of Jesus Christ.
It is by faith that we are saved not by works. What that means is that we do not have to work for this salvation by keeping laws, following extremes of praise and worship and so on. We simply need to beleive in the words of God that He has done what He said He would do. That by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and by taking the death of Jesus as our own through baptism and faith in what that represents we are set free from sin, set free from the law and receive the free gift of righteousness through and by faith.
It is a simple gospel and these last few words are, in a nutshell how the new covenant works.
And the new covenant works because of the grace of God given by Him to mankind so that we can receive what He offers us.
The grace of God is the undeserved kindness and favor of God, given to us who initially opposed Him as enemies of righteousness until we accept His gift of great through faith. When we believe in Jesus Christ's sacrifice of Himself on our behalf, then by grace we receive His salvation.
What grace also means is that the work has already been done. We do not have to work for this salvation for the work was done already by God through Jesus Christ's sacrifice. God did the work so that we do not have to do it. Jesus Christ paid the price for sin, which is death and which He did not deserve because He did not sin, so that we do not have to die to pay for our sins. He paid the price of death for us so that we can take on His death as our own by faith and by faith we die to sin.
God arranged all of this and Jesus Christ did the work so that we do not have to work. We just need to accept and believe it.
And even after the initial step of faith that brings us into salvation through God's grace, we still do not have to work to achieve maturity in Jesus Christ.
It is the will of God that we grow and mature so that we are strong and able to stand against the wiles of the devil and all of the evil thrown at us. It is the desire of God that we become perfected in Jesus Christ for,
You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. – (Matthew 5:48)
But how can we become perfect as God is perfect when as men we do not even know what perfection looks like? It is not possible for an imperfect thing, like man, to be able to make itself perfect. No man can make himself perfect in the sight of God.
But God is perfect and He can make an imperfect thing to become perfect once more. He can wash away the uncleanness and the filth, He can close over the flaws and cracks and He can restore a man to the perfect state He originally intended for man to become. He can do this because He is God and He is perfect.
And note that once again this is not something we do. It is again the work of God who makes us perfect. We do not have to do the work but He works on us and in us.
How? By giving us the gift of the Holy Spirit when we ask Him for it through the laying on of hands. It is the work of the Spirit to do this work of transformation in us so that we are perfected into the image of Jesus Christ, who is in the image of God the Father who is perfect.
Again, it is not our work that does this but it is the work of God through Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit.
A Simple Gospel
All of this brings me back to the scripture here in 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 which says,
1 And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. – (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)
Paul did not go to them to preach the gospel using lofty words, intellectual speech, great points of wisdom or persuasive speech. He did not seek to bamboozle them with his great intellect and intelligence.
Instead when Paul went to them he came with the simplicity of the gospel and the demonstration of the working of the gospel in the power of God and the Holy Spirit. He taught them about Jesus Christ and the power of faith in what Jesus achieved for man through His death. He taught them about the working of baptism and how we receive the gospel of salvation by faith. And he laid hands on them to receive the Holy Spirit so they would experience the power of God working in them and through them to bring them to maturity.
You do not need huge intellect, great wisdom, lofty words, strong persuasion and so on to understand the will of God in all of this. All you need is faith in Jesus Christ and the gospel of salvation as delivered first by Him and taught to us through the words of His apostles, preachers and teachers, including those He has commissioned down to this day to open up the words of the gospel to those who come to Christ in faith today.
Seek the simple gospel of Jesus Christ and be wary of those who complicate it with lofty words and who put obstacles in the pathway to Jesus. God did not make the path complex. All He said was to believe and learn all that Jesus gave us to learn, but the basis of salvation remains in the simplicity of faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
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