THE SIMPLICITY OF SALVATION

“Where does poo come from?” A little boy asks his dad. 

“Well, son,” his father says, “food passes down the esophagus by peristalsis. It enters the stomach, where digestive enzymes induce a probiotic reaction in the alimentary canal. This contracts the protein before waste enters the colon. Water is absorbed, whereupon it enters the rectum finally to emerge as poo.”

“Wow,” the boy says. “So where does Tigger come from?”

Sometimes we go overboard with our explanations while failing to answer the simple wonderings of people, no matter what age.

As we tell the story of Jesus and how God and His Holy Spirit works in our lives, we get flustered at times, don’t we?  There is so much that God has done, is doing and will do in our lives, that it is mind boggling to explain.  So, how do we explain to others the relationship we have with God through Jesus?  Theological explanations are not the answer.  To say, “you just know when you know” doesn’t touch the surface of understanding for a person who doesn’t know.  So, what is the answer when telling the Good News of salvation?  Paul advises us to keep it simple.

CORINTHIANS—CALLED AND SENT

1 Corinthians 2, The Message

1-2 You’ll remember, friends, that when I first came to you to let you in on God’s sheer genius, I didn’t try to impress you with polished speeches and the latest philosophy. I deliberately kept it plain and simple: first Jesus and who he is; then Jesus and what he did—Jesus crucified.

3-5 I was unsure of how to go about this, and felt totally inadequate—I was scared to death, if you want the truth of it—and so nothing I said could have impressed you or anyone else. But the Message came through anyway. God’s Spirit and God’s power did it, which made it clear that your life of faith is a response to God’s power, not to some fancy mental or emotional footwork by me or anyone else.

6-10 We, of course, have plenty of wisdom to pass on to you once you get your feet on firm spiritual ground, but it’s not popular wisdom, the fashionable wisdom of high-priced experts that will be out-of-date in a year or so. God’s wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of his purposes. You don’t find it lying around on the surface. It’s not the latest message, but more like the oldest—what God determined as the way to bring out his best in us, long before we ever arrived on the scene. The experts of our day haven’t a clue about what this eternal plan is. If they had, they wouldn’t have killed the Master of the God-designed life on a cross. That’s why we have this Scripture text:

No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this,
Never so much as imagined anything quite like it—
What God has arranged for those who love him.

But you’ve seen and heard it because God by his Spirit has brought it all out into the open before you.

10-13 The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along. Who ever knows what you’re thinking and planning except you yourself? The same with God—except that he not only knows what he’s thinking, but he lets us in on it. God offers a full report on the gifts of life and salvation that he is giving us. We don’t have to rely on the world’s guesses and opinions. We didn’t learn this by reading books or going to school; we learned it from God, who taught us person-to-person through Jesus, and we’re passing it on to you in the same firsthand, personal way.

14-16 The unspiritual self, just as it is by nature, can’t receive the gifts of God’s Spirit. There’s no capacity for them. They seem like so much silliness. Spirit can be known only by spirit—God’s Spirit and our spirits in open communion. Spiritually alive, we have access to everything God’s Spirit is doing, and can’t be judged by unspiritual critics. Isaiah’s question, “Is there anyone around who knows God’s Spirit, anyone who knows what he is doing?” has been answered: Christ knows, and we have Christ’s Spirit.

WHAT DO WE LEARN?

For children, ask questions first to see where they are and what they are really asking.  This give you time to pause, pray and ask the Holy Spirit to give you the words in simple form with wisdom to answer what the child is really asking.  Ask questions before responding to all ages.

Paul gives the greatest advise, led by the Spirit, keep it simple; “first Jesus and who he is; then Jesus and what he did—Jesus crucified.  All our words, led by the Spirit, are centered on this foundational truth.

Paul, one the most learned men in the Jewish community, felt inadequate.  What?!  We all do, when it comes to explaining the most profound truth of God and His work of salvation through Jesus Christ His Son.  What God did for us, humbles us.  That’s okay!  That feeling of humbled inadequacy causes us to turn to Him to lead us in all our thoughts, words and deeds when telling about the most important relationship we will ever have!

Paul learns himself and teaches all of us, that it is GOD and the power of His Holy Spirit at work in and through us that produces the right words, at the right time, in the right Spirit.  Relax, it’s not us speaking.  We pray and yield, deferring to the One doing the speaking through us.  More simply put; We pray, God works.

“God’s wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of his purposes.”  What are His purposes?  “… what God determined as the way to bring out his best in us, long before we ever arrived on the scene.”  Jesus is The Way, Truth and Life.  To all who believe, God gave His best for our best life forever with Him.  

“No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this,
Never so much as imagined anything quite like it—
What God has arranged for those who love him.”

God lets us in on what He is thinking.  He doesn’t hide the way to salvation!  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16). 

God’s Holy Spirit provides God’s wisdom for daily living in His ways.  Led by the Spirit, we walk in His Spirit. “Spirit can be known only by spirit—God’s Spirit and our spirits in open communion. Spiritually alive, we have access to everything God’s Spirit is doing, and can’t be judged by unspiritual critics.”  Don’t you love that!

“Isaiah’s question, “Is there anyone around who knows God’s Spirit, anyone who knows what he is doing?” has been answered: Christ knows, and we have Christ’s Spirit.” 

Dear Friends, what hope, assurance, wisdom, clarity wrapped up in simplicity!  Jesus knows.  That’s all we need to know.  We have Jesus’ Spirit living in us.  He will guide us to all that is good, bringing out His best in us!

Lord,

Thank you for reminding us how simple and yet how profound you are!  Thank you for answers that are easily understood and go deep filling every part of my soul.  I’m humbled by what you did for me.  I also feel inadequate to explain your love expressed in the pain of crucifixion that paid my debt of sin.  The more I think about your love, the deeper our communion goes.  Help me to pause, pray and keep it simple in my responses to others, led by Your Holy Spirit, prompted by your love in me.

In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen

About randscallawayffm

Randy and Susan co founded Finding Focus Ministries in 2006. Their goal as former full time pastors, is to serve and provide spiritual encouragement and focus to those on the "front lines" of ministry. Extensive experience being on both sides of ministry, paid and volunteer, on the mission fields of other countries as well as the United States, helps them bring a different perspective to those who need it most. Need a lift? Call us 260 229 2276.
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