The Simple Gospel
The Church seems to have an issue, complexity. If anyone has ever read an old Church theology book or any works of John Calvin, or Thomas Aquinas they find that the Christian faith gets confusing. From determining the natures and soul of Jesus, to famously asking how many angels can dance on the head of a pin? These questions and more make Christian faith look like something that can only be approached after years of college with experts.
True and valid as the complexity is Jesus and the core of the faith is simple. Think of it. Jesus taught this faith to fishermen, beggars, and children. So, what did Jesus actually teach? What makes the faith tic?
First is that Jesus message was one sentence. “Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand” that is the whole message. Everything else Jesus teaches revolves around that sentence. Repent: turn around/ change. For the kingdom of God; The moving, active, heavenly perfect realm. Is at hand: is right here in Jesus. Put together the Gospel is: Change from how you are because the perfect heavenly realm has come to earth in Jesus.
Kind of sounds odd to hear it put that simply. Yet that is the Gospel’s most basic form. Explained by Paul the apostle he says something even simpler. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) The message of the cross is that Jesus came lived as a man, died for our sins, and because of that death and His resurrection I can be free of my sin.
But what is sin? Sin again has its own complex field of study, but it is very simple. Sin is to rebel and break the laws of God. Many today may not understand what those laws are, but they do know they have sinned. Even a child can feel guilt at stealing or causing harm to another person. Why does sin matter?
Sin separates man from God much as how crime separates citizens, and, like crime, sin has a cost. The cost of sin is separation from God and ultimately death. It may sound extreme because it is. What is more you as a person can do nothing to pay for your sin. So, God not wanting to have all mankind separated from Him stepped in and by Jesus paid the debt for us. So that now we need only believe in Jesus and follow Him to be saved. So again, the message of Jesus “Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand”
What makes the Gospel simple is best summarized as follows. Most faiths hold that by work of yourself you will save yourself. Christian faith is unique. It says you cannot save yourself and for that reason Jesus died for you. God loved you even when you did not care about Him. Getting saved is not some complex formula or magic. It is two questions. Do you believe Jesus died for you and rose again? Do you choose to follow Him and let Him be your Lord and Savior?
I end this with a question myself. What is your answer to the simple Gospel?