The Simplicity of Christ
But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:3
Paul was concerned for the Christians in Corinth. Like many of us they were looking for the next big thing. People today are so used to upgrades and advancements that it is a wonder we keep anything around for more than a couple years without wanting to see what else is out there.
One of our kids was laughing at herself the other day for having a cell phone that was five generations behind the latest version. While the unit worked fine and was only a couple years old it was at the same time a boat anchor of yesterdays technology – an upgrade was imminent.
Christians are hardly immune to this tendency of culture. Unfortunately, because the church tends to reflect the generation it serves, this trait of always looking down the road for the hot new trend, is as prevalent in the church as it is in the world. We’re reduced to just another ‘market’, another ‘target demographic’. So to reach into your home and into your head, to gain your allegiance, your time and your participation, clever leaders adapt their tactics, their style, even their message, to get your attention.
Did you know there are something like 30,000 quasi-Protestant/evangelical denominations and independent churches? Thirty thousand? Many with a slightly different spin, emphasis, structure or interpretation of the things of God. What appeals to you? Still nothing? Not to worry, because every day there are people graduating from seminary or getting a mail-order ordination certificate who are jumping into the mix, ‘pioneering’ something different, targeting a new group, targeting you.
The amazing thing is that this trend of forming a church in our own image has only been around for a few hundred years. For the first 1,000 years of Christianity there was only one church.
Way back in the first century the Apostle Paul saw a tendency in people to be unsatisfied with the Good News of Jesus once they were used to it, and then to look for more. He feared for them. He exhorted and warned them, don’t add to this, don’t try and make it say something that it doesn’t, and don’t listen to anyone who suggests they’ve got a new word, further revelation, more of the stuff you need – they don’t.
There is a simplicity to the gospel. The simplicity of Christ. You can’t add anything to the beautiful, unfailing love of the One who loves you, who died for your sins, and who rose from the dead, conquering death, sin and the grave to redeem mankind. God incarnate, the only begotten of the Father, the Lord Jesus Christ.
This was enough for the church for over 1,000 years. Newsflash – it still is.
So the Apostle writes, “For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it! 2 Corinthians 11:4
Don’t put up with it. Stop looking for the next big thing in Christianity, there isn’t one. There is just the one, the only and the best. “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”