(2 Corinthians 1:12-14)
One of the things that always concerns me is how some people make the word of God difficult to understand. Those who go through doctrinal training at bible schools and universities are often most to blame as they make the word hard to understand by using big words and difficult concepts that are hard to understand.
The apostle Paul was a scholar as he was deeply trained in the teachings of the Old Testament in his early years as a Pharisee. And the bible tells us that he was well advanced, beyond many of those of his age.
But when Paul came to the Lord he saw that there was a better way. The truth of the freedom in the gospel is a better way than the confinement under the old covenant law. And Paul also saw that to convey this better way needed a simple message, not complicated words that only the scholars could understand. The word was not to be masked, but laid open for all to understand.
Simplicity of the Word
Paul writes to the Corinthians here stating that he deliberately made the word easy for them to understand. He said the following in this section.
12 For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you. 13 For we are not writing to you anything other than what you read and understand and I hope you will fully understand– 14 just as you did partially understand us-that on the day of our Lord Jesus you will boast of us as we will boast of you. – (2 Corinthians 1:12-14)
Note the words I have highlighted in the above section. Paul wanted the people to understand the words of God, not to cloak them in mystery or hide the truth behind complexity as some tend to do today. Paul recognised that for the gospel to be effective in people's lives, it needed to be fully understood.
When people add complexity to anything, especially the words of the bible, they make it difficult to understand. And those who do this do so as a source of power.
People who make the word of God complex are seeking a position of power where they are the authorities and anyone else who wants to know what the word is saying will come to them.
This is a ploy used universally by people who seek power and the basis of this ploy is pride.
When one person lords it over another as being an authority in any kind of knowledge, they are doing so out of pride. Pride and arrogance drive people to seek positions of power, and this is not the way of the Lord.
Jesus had power and authority, but His example was that of the servant-leader. Jesus came to serve, not to Lord it over people with the authority of His knowledge…and He had the fulness of the knowledge of God.
His approach was not based on pride and arrogance, holding back knowledge and meting it out on a drip feed. No. Jesus came specifically to teach people how to live in accord with the will of God so that we could learn and understand His ways. There was no pride or arrogance in the way Jesus shared the wealth of knowledge of the gospel, but instead He gave His all, including His life for us.
Simplicity of the Gospel
There is no doubt that there is a mystery in the gospel. The bible even tells us that it is a mystery as Paul said in Ephesians 6:19 and other places too.
“…and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel…” – (Ephesians 6:19)
Paul even told the church at Corinth that the gospel is veiled, but not for those who come to the Lord seeking the truth.
14 But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. 15 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. 16 But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. – (2 Corinthians 3:14-18)
The veil that hides understanding of the truth of the gospel, for it cannot be found through adherence to the law, is removed when we open our hearts to Jesus Christ. He removes the veil to allow us to see the simplicity of the gospel so that we can know and understand the will of God.
And the simplicity of the gospel is this: when we believe that God raised Jesus from the dead, He reconciled man to God through the removal of our sins and made the way for us to receive the Holy Spirit and so be restored to perfection as God intended man from the beginning. The basis of the truth of the gospel is through faith.
We believe and so are saved, and this is both the simplicity and the mystery: that we can be saved just by believing God. That's it. It really is that simple, and that is why so many who do not accept Christ are mystified. They don't understand that it is through faith alone, in the grace of God, that we can receive all the promises of God, even unto eternal life.
Yes there is a lot more to know and learn as we walk with Christ, but He has given us salvation from the beginning of our walk. Unlike this world where you must put in a lot of work before receiving a reward, God gave us the reward before we started the walk, through faith.
And God wants His people to know and understand the words He gave for us to grow into maturity. This is why we meet as a church and study the bible so that we can learn the fulness of the truth and stand mature in Jesus Christ.
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