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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


Daily Boost

July 15, 2011 - Keeping It Simple

By Ron Johnson

Why must we always complicate things? What is it about human nature that compels us to take that which is simple and easy to understand and make it difficult?

We do this in every area of life, even when it comes to matters of faith. We take the pure gospel of Jesus Christ and twist it around to where it becomes a burden rather than the blessing God intends it to be. Is it because deep down inside we know that we’re sinners and don’t deserve the rich mercy and grace of God? Therefore, we subconsciously make it more difficult? This may be some of the problem.

To be sure, we are sinners in need of God’s grace. As such, I think we find it hard to believe that God is so willing to freely forgive us. So we find it difficult to accept His offer of salvation. We instead attempt to add various rituals and exercises to the gospel. We must remember that it is “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:5,6, KJV).

The apostle Paul wrote concerning our tendency to move away from the simple truth of the gospel in 2 Corinthians 11:3,4: “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. 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!” (NKJV).

The Corinthian believers had started out following the gospel just fine. However, along the way they became confused. Some false teachers had entered the scene and had planted seeds of discontentment, doubt and confusion. No doubt claiming to have some “new” revelation or “deeper” truth, they had taken the pure and simple truth of Christ and twisted it into another message.

What was this “other gospel”? In Paul’s day it was the gospel with the “added” dimension of obedience to the Law. However, in effect it is any message that attempts to “add” something to the gospel. It is anything that takes our attention off of Jesus Christ and what He did for us on the cross of Calvary. There is only one message that will redeem fallen humanity and deliver us from the powers of sin and hell; it is the gospel that is squarely anchored within the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Any message that adds to or takes away from this is not from God.

There are indeed deep truths within God’s Word, questions of faith that theologians have studied and debated through the centuries. But the central truth of the gospel in God’s Word is surprisingly simple.

In Acts 16, Paul and Silas were asked the most important question a person can ask: “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household” (vv. 30,31). If there were anything else needed to receive God’s gift of salvation, the apostles would have given instruction concerning these necessary truths. If there were certain works of the Law, or good works such as fasting, penance, or the giving of alms that were required in order to be saved, they would have said so. Yet, their response was short, simple and to the point: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.”

I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty simple to me. What do you say? Let’s keep it simple.

— Ron Johnson ministers at Gospel Publishing House at the Assemblies of God national offices in Springfield, Mo., and attends Central Assembly of God.



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