Too Good to be True?

People often say, when they hear the true Gospel of Grace and Adoption, that it is too simple. Too easy. Too GOOD TO BE TRUE. I would like to respond to that.

That comment originates in a Reward/Punishment mentality. It involves a concept of Works required for an individual to be "worthy" to be saved. It pits God against the devil and waits for an outcome. It generates from Legalism and a performance based religion. The starting point for this thinking is that man/we have sinned and that Jesus must cover our sins and that we must continue to do "good" things to make our calling and election sure!

However, this is NOT THE STARTING POINT.

The starting point is that God is Love and that He created us to share in His Life, Love, and Happiness in our human life and our eternal life--Jesus calls it Abundant Life in Jn.10:10.

Knowing this is why God created humans in the first place should tell us that God wants us to believe this without reservation. So why would He make it difficult or convoluted to figure out in our minds. Hence, why it is "so easy", "too simple" people say. God wants it to be understood and believed by making is as ABSOLUTELY SIMPLE as it can be made...Why? Duh,,,,, So that everyone can see it , understand it, and embrace it. He wants us to know that He loves us so much, that He orchestrated EVERYTHING IN JESUS for the effectuation of this Grand Design from the "beginning of time", or before the foundation of the world. He is not trying to "weed" out those who can't figure it out by making it so difficult to understand. What makes it hard for some to understand is because of the past and present BAGGAGE we bring to the study table which distorts everything.

So it is easy to see since God MAKES it easy to see. But for those who think it is too easy to be true, it IS difficult to believe.

Paul Kurts

Comments

  1. Amen! Well said, Paul.

    I think this helps us understand where the religious leaders of Jesus' day were coming from. Many of us who become religious leaders actually enjoy a bit of complexity, we love knowledge, and sometimes without realizing it we actually want life to be harder than it needs to be so that our ability to master complexity and knowledge will seem more valuable than it is. And thus we will feel valuable.

    The simplicity of the gospel means that anyone - even peasants from Galilee - can not only understand it but explain it to others. Such a simple message undermines the authority and prestige of those with degrees, ordinations, and institutions.

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  2. Yes, the gospel is simple. Yet for many, the gospel comes across as complicated. There are probably many reasons for this situation. But one reason I see time and again is what might be called “mixing the messages.”

    For instance, it is curious to me that we modern Christians often quote from the Synoptic Gospels for our theological support. But when I read what John, Paul, Peter, James, and Jude write, I find that they don’t, except for
    one place (1 Corinthians 11 about the bread and the wine), follow this same practice. In fact, it comes across to me that these writers for the New Covenant generally ignore the parables and instructions found in the
    Synoptic Gospels. Now why would this be?

    Well, I submit that the New Covenant writers are trying to stay away from mixing the messages. For example, in Jesus’ conclusion to the parable about the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18, Jesus says:

    Matt 18:32-35--"Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he
    should pay back all he owed.
    "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart." (NIV)

    But later Paul writes:

    Ephesians 4:32--Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (NIV)

    Do you see? By the time Paul writes, forgiveness for believers is a done deal accomplished at the cross. But when Jesus spoke under the harsh reality of the Old Covenant, the deal hadn’t been “done” yet.

    Now I bring this up because care needs to be taken in handling the gospel message. A good way to exercise this care is to sit down in the simple truth of love and deliverance that John, Paul, Peter, James, and Jude express. When we do, it allows us to handle the Bible in a way that does
    not produce a complicated and conflicted gospel message. It also allows us to communicate to others that the Bible flows to a grace conclusion.

    Aloha!

    Richard

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  3. Richard points out some of the complexities of applying some of the "sayings of Jesus" in the synoptic gospels in light of the gospel of grace made evident through Jesus' life, death, resurrection, ascension and continuing high priestly ministry through the Spirit.

    Indeed, Jesus during his earthly ministry, addressed primarily those experiencing life under the old covenant (and also distortions of that covenant promulgated by the Jewish religious establishment of the 1st century, I might add).

    However, I would add to Richard's comment that the epistles are rich with allusions to the sayings of Jesus. The book of James is a case in point--it has dozens of allusions to the sermon on the mount and other sayings of Jesus. There are also many allusions in Paul's letters to the Jesus sayings. But what the authors of the Epistles provide is the understanding of these sayings in light of the presence of the resurrected Jesus--showing in this way how Jesus is experienced on "this side" of the cross. And that makes all the difference.

    It would be a mistake (in my view) to relegate the synoptic gospels to the era of the old covenant. They were written in light of the new covenant to point back to the story of Jesus and to show how he fulfilled all that the old covenant required and was (and now is) in himself, the new covenant of grace.

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