Simplicity in Christ
In 2 Corinthians 11:3 we read the following words of Paul to the church of Corinth:
Before we discuss this very important message to the Corinthians, we need to look at the setting of this message; to whom was it spoken, why was it spoken and what did Paul mean by these word.
The message was to the church at Corinth, a church known for their carnality, immorality and disorderly behavior. The Corinthian church was influenced by the teachings of paganism and mysticism. People in the Corinthian church turned from thought to experience as the basis of religion, from rational content to emotional yearning. They turned from a faith-based Christianity to an experience based Christianity which is the basis of Mysticism.
In chapter 10 of 2 Corinthians we read that Paul speaks about his concerns in their church and the reason why he warns them to cling to the simplistic message of the gospel in Christ.
These words are leading up to Paul’s ultimate message of simplicity in Christ. His concerns were that the Corinthians were carnal, in most simplistic terms. Many historians and Biblical scholars would agree that the Corinthian church had direct pagan influences from the temple of Apollo across the gulf from Corinth. A mystic religion was practiced by these pagans and their influence in the church became a real problem, which had to be addressed by Paul.
Paul says that these imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God needed to be brought into captivity in thought to the obedience of Christ. The battle that they had was a corrupt ideology regarding God, who God is, how God work, how God manifested Himself and how God speaks to the church through His Word. The mind of a mystic thinks different about the things of God than how the Bible teaches.
Let’s read Paul’s warning again:
Paul says that the deception regarding a corrupt ideology of the things of God comes directly from Satan and he still has the same ways as in the very beginning in the garden of Eden; he works subtly, twisting God’s words just very little in order to plant a seed of deceit.
What can we learn from the way that Satan deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden?
1. He reinterpreted God’s words
2. He promised to become as gods – to understand God and His workings better
3. He added to God’s words
4. He twisted God’s words subtly
5. By knowing good and evil one can be a better judge of spiritual things; so by being as god’s Satan promised that we will become more spiritual. I bet that “good and evil” in this sense is “good and evil” based on Satan;s standards and not God’s.
Now we understand a little more about the subtilty of Satan’s workings. Paul says that these subtle twists in God’s Word lead away from the simplicity in Christ, and that is the real cause of his concerns.
In the very next verse Paul continues:
This verse indicates that Paul’s concern was that these subtle changes in spiritual affairs can lead to another Jesus, another spirit and another gospel. These mystic ideas within the church lead away from the real Jesus and a simplistic faith in Him. If one would accept this mystical Jesus, would it also lead to salvation?
Jesus warned about this beforehand:
And Paul continues to warn about the same deception:
Satan comes as an angel of light, as the Spirit of God, as revelation from God and through Satan’s subtility false apostles and deceitful workers lead the flock astray – leading them away from the simplicity in Christ.
There is only one way to salvation and that is through Jesus Christ:
The simplicity in Christ is summarized in the following verses:
The gospel message is the good news and it is comfort in knowing that Jesus paid the price for sin so that those that believe in Him, that He died in our place and rose from the dead so that we might also raise from the dead to be with Him forever, may have life everlasting in the presence of God.
The gospel does not say that we can be saved by our good works:
The gospel does not say that we are saved when we speak in tongues:
The gospel does not guarantee salvation to those that prophesy, cast out demons and do wonderful works:
The gospel does not teach corporate salvation, but individual salvation. A system or church does not guarantee anything:
The gospel does not teach that all churches are good in God’s eyes:
The gospel does not say that all miracles are of God:
The gospel does not teach that we need to desire signs and wonders:
You see, the modern world has polluted the simplistic message of salvation through Christ so that we are made to believe that we need to seek signs, wonders, miracles, manifestations and follow after easy steps to financial freedom, spiritual breakthrough, a relationship with God, a happy marriage, a growing church, a prosperous business, wealth, health, fortune and heaven on earth.
But the question that I wish to pose to you is this: is that really the message of the gospel?
Do we find in the pages of the Bible seven steps to wealth and prosperity, five easy steps to win favor of men and ten steps to spiritual breakthrough? Do we find easy steps to bind Satan and his demons and seek to create some kind of paradise on this earth?
Let’s ask Jesus first:
What do we owe to do then?
We need to come back to the simplicity in Christ!
We need to seek the face of God Almighty and not His hands. We need to seek freedom through Christ and the free gift of salvation in Him and make that our priority. We need to realize that what Jesus did for us was the highest price ever paid and who are we to make the gospel message cheap by turning the temple into a den of thieves and robbers?
We need to investigate our lives and motives; does it align with the centrality of the gospel? Or does it conform to the promises of Satan, to become as gods, to gain power and wealth? Do we wish to lift ourselves up through spiritual vanity or are we meek and humble?
This is the good news, that the final and perfect price has been paid for you and for me, so that we may know that we are free, we have everything we need and Christ is in us and with us. What more can we ask than the presence of God Almighty and His forgiveness?
Let’s come back to the real simplicity in Christ, put the worldly gospel away and carry our crosses in the footsteps of our Great Master, the Lord Jesus Christ, everyday.