Thursday, January 16, 2014

"Simple? Yes. Simplistic? No."

      God's truth is so simple that a child can understand enough to come to Him.  It is not, however, simplistic.

    "Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God" (Mark 10:14).
    "Account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood" (II Peter 3:15-16).

    No less than the Savior Himself beckons the child's approach.  In its essence, the Gospel affirms a  straightforward explanation of entering into relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ.  Christ miraculously entered the world, lived sinlessly, and died for our sins as our vicarious substitute.  He rose again as a living Savior who redeems all who believe.  The Apostle Paul declares this to comprise the Gospel in its evangelistic proclamation, which received in a heart of trusting faith provides forgiveness, relationship with God, and newness of life, eternal life, to the recipient (I Corinthians 15:3-4).  Such breathtaking simplicity must be unapologetically communicated and received in this stark plainness of Truth.  For those who will believe, a sigh of spiritual relief awaits as God's grace presents itself simply, to be received simply (albeit with utmost seriousness).

     Conversely, no less than the Apostle Peter describes certain Biblical truths as "hard to be understood."   The more we delve deeply into the Truth of God, including the message of salvation, the more we find breathtaking simplicity accompanied by soul enrapturing wonder.  Every fact about God and His involvement with us bears infinite meaning and significance.  Thus, we can only begin to plumb the depths of any truth about Him.  Take, for example, the most basic of Biblical declarations, namely, the fact that there is but one God.  This would be simple to the point of requiring no consideration - unless the Lord happens also to be triune.  He is, of course, existing as three distinct Persons dwelling in and as one God.  Thus, the most simple and approachable of truths glimmers with "the Light which no man can approach unto" (I Timothy 6:16).  Simple indeed, but not simplistic.

    This truth relates also to God's working in our lives.  We know our calling to trust and submit ourselves to Him in all things, a simple enough proposition.  We also know that in a world of devilish and carnal influences, the outworking of God's grace in Christ will challenge us on every level.  Just as Peter acknowledged certain of Paul's teachings as "hard to be understood," so the ways of our Heavenly Father frequently challenge our capacity to understand.  He is often most active when His hand seems still.  He may be most present and involved when He seems most absent.  And His greatest provisions and deliverances sometimes originate in dungeons and deserts, and on crosses.  Thus, we do well to maintain a simple heart when seeking to trust and submit unto God.  However, we anticipate nothing simplistic regarding the outworking of His frequently strange (to us) way in our lives.

    Simple? Yes.  But never simplistic is the Lord's loving involvement in our lives.  We rejoice in both aspects of truth as the former draws us sublimely near to God, while the latter keeps us in the proper frame of a heart and mind filled with wonder.

"I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ."
(II Corinthians 11:3)
"O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!"
(Romans 11:33)

Weekly Memory Verse      
      There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High.
(Psalm 46:4)

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