Simplicity of the Gospel of Jesus

“But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:3)

Although I understand, it has always been a puzzle to my mind why cannot people seek their salvation from the Lord? We cannot earn salvation, can’t buy salvation, as salvation is nothing that we can work for to receive. Salvation is a free gift to man through God’s grace which in itself is a miracle. How could I, as wretched as I am, receive the favor of the Creator? For I like most have spent the majority of my life in rebellion to His ways. Perhaps it is the word free that pushes us away. In truth there is nothing in the world that is free. Every time I hear the word free I grab hold of my wallet. In truth salvation isn’t free as God in the God-man Jesus Christ had to die on the cross to pay the sin debt we have so freely acquired.

Maybe it is overwhelming that God the Creator would look down upon the earth and see the wickedness and lack of love that we people folk have towards one another and see how sinful we are outwardly and inwardly. That He has given us His best in creativity and does not even receive our thankfulness. That He gave us His law that we would know how to live in peace with one another and we can’t even keep the short list of the Ten Commandments. That He has given each of us the marvels of this world to enjoy and have dominion over as His stewards and yet we use His gift to perpetuate our sinful lusts for personal pleasure. Yet, God loves us even as we sin. Yes He hates the sin but He loves us the sinners. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

Maybe we just don’t get it that a God of love is also a God of justice. Is there love without justice? Is not justice the motivation for love? Love demands justice. God created us with free will and with free will there is accountability. With free will we can chose to reject God and His love and go our own way, as Adam and Eve. They gave up their divine righteousness to become as gods in the world that was not of their own creation. Their selfishness brought death to our bodies and death to our eternal spirits, which was breathed into us at creation. We are dying bodies with dead spirits without the living power of the Holy Spirit of God within us that seals our destiny of a home in the Kingdom of God. “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation–having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14)

There are more reasons beyond those I can ponder but in truth all have fallen short of God’s glory, all have fallen short to give Him the honor for His mighty works, and all have fallen short to respect His dignity. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

We cannot think as God, we cannot comprehend His unconditional love, we cannot trust in His mercy, and His grace is too great for us. We cannot believe that we could live as the angels and we cannot know that we were never expected to. The riches of His glory are foreign to us and the fullness of it is beyond our finite imaginations. It is too much for us to have trust and faith in so we just go our own way thinking we will just plead out on the cross moment before death catches us. “All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.” (Isaiah 53:6)

So we live our lives in a world we did not create and plunder it for our own lustful desires. Some of us do very well and most of us fail to meet the world’s standard and therefore dare not dream that Christ would share His righteousness with ones such as us. We live our lives thinking that we are good knowing that we are bad because we fail to grasp the truth of our depravity. Some of us have rejected God for so long that we never give Him a thought. Others pray that prayer if He would free them from their present trouble they would turn toward Him, and then reject Him when the crisis has past. Yet we know the bill will come due and we will pay, but that is tomorrow. “There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God; All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one.” (Romans 3:10-12)

Maybe you pass by a Church and wonder of the saints that worship there. Perhaps you see a field with three crosses as an eyesore that barely distracts your thoughts. Maybe you have seen the billboards that read’ Jesus Saves, Believe This.” Saves? Saves from what? Will He pay my bills, protect my family, or make the next deal go in my favor? Maybe, I can’t say, but these are all in the assumption that there will be a tomorrow, a next week, another year, or a time for retirement. These are of the world and nothing of the world is a surety. The next minute is not as sure as the eternity that lies beyond the next minute. The most important thing is not can the needs of this world be satisfied but can I find salvation through eternity. Your adversary does not want you to know and has blinded your mine to the truth of that reality. “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4) Is it not a small comfort to know that Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father praying for you if you don’t call upon Him.

Maybe you just do not know how fallen short of God’s glory you are. Maybe you do not know how wretched you are, maybe you think that you never sinned against God. Maybe you do and you wonder why you don’t feel guilty? If you do, then you have resisted the calling of the Holy Spirit. “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.” (John 16:8-11)

If that is the case then you hour of salvation has come to you and I pray you do not delay. “At the acceptable time I listened to you, And on the day of salvation I helped you.” Behold, now is “the acceptable time,” behold, now is “the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2) Now is the time to put aside your false hopes in a dying world and give this first minute, your first and best minute to call upon the name of the Lord. “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13) If you do not turn away from a world that is ripe for God’s judgment to suffer His wrath, then you likewise will perish. “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3)

I am not selling you a kit. I am not offering you a program. I am not inviting you to join my Church, although I am inviting you to join the Church of Jesus Christ. There are no books I have to sell you or materials for you to buy. Just one you can get at any book store, the Bible, God’s Word. “For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.” (1 Thessalonians 2:13)

Man, Churches, institutions, and organizations try to place many things that need to be done to receive God’s free gift of salvation. I am not saying that your life will be easy if you become a Christian, I am not saying that you will never suffer the trials of this world by becoming a Christian. That will never change as long as you are in this world even if you are a Christian. It could even become harder if you become a Christian because the adversary will attack you. Friends will forsake you and the days of persecution are coming. But you will have a real hope giving you a real purpose for your eternal life in the Kingdom of God. Do not be deceived by the oracles of this world just trust and have faith in the Word of God. This is the simple Gospel of Jesus Christ. “That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, April 27, 2017

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