What does the Bible say about the simplicity of the Gospel?
Jan 25th, 2009 / Salt and Light
And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins. (Acts 10:42–43—NIV)
When it comes to understanding Scripture, simple reason dictates, "if the plain sense makes sense, seek no other sense." After all, "not many wise according to the flesh" are called, "but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise" (1 Corinthians 1:26–27). Since "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" all men (whether wise or not) have the same starting point of simple doctrine in order to mature and grow in spiritual wisdom. Our Sovereign God requires all men to relinquish any portion of their salvation hopes based on their own abilities, works, merits, superiority, efforts, or claim and rest exclusively on the profound simplicity of the work of the only savior available to all mankind, Jesus Christ.
Since all are required to begin on the same footing, regardless of age, intellect or experience (and the government thought they came up with the terms of equal treatment regardless of religion, race and creed!) why are we surprised that the Gospel is simple? Jesus died, was buried, and rose again. What other sense can be ascribed to this than that Jesus physically died upon the cross (as Scripture predicted and for the saving purpose Scripture identifies), was buried (as Scripture stated), and rose bodily from the grave because His claims were true (as the Scripture predicted). If the plain sense makes sense, seek no other sense.
We live in a day that "muddies the water" on every turn. Even the Gospel has not been immune in the minds of men. The Scripture in plain language defines the desperate state of every man who ever lived on this earth and with refreshing clarity washes out the mud clogging men’s minds, if they will have it, by pointing with simplicity to the rescuing that Jesus Christ offers through faith.
In our text, Peter is proclaiming a message to the Roman centurion, Cornelius, and all assembled with him. Peter stated that God’s Gospel is universal to every nation and tongue, for Jesus is Lord of all and His call to repentance and faith is applicable to all. He further stated that Peter and the other witnesses to Jesus’ bodily resurrection were commissioned to proclaim the hope of the salvation work of Jesus Christ to all.
Verses 42 and 43 are the heart of the meaning of Peter’s proclamation. This same Jesus, who died purchasing salvation for His own is now alive and has been tasked by God to be the judge of all living and dead. All Scripture converges on this one point: whoever believes in Him will receive forgiveness of sins through His Name. This is what has been planned by God, the creator, and He saw to it that all of the events surrounding Jesus, His Son, have been orchestrated to provide this simple Gospel suitable to young and old, wise and unwise, rich or poor, as long as there is breath there is hope.
In Peter’s first epistle he states, "they will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead, for this reason the gospel was preached…" (1 Peter 4:5–6). The good news is that there is yet the opportunity of escape from final judgment by running to the cross and pleading for mercy by virtue of the shed blood of Jesus Christ as the only possible satisfaction of the debt of your sin, and there, and there alone, procure forgiveness of sins.
This is the uncomplicated simplicity of the Gospel. Do not allow anything to muddy the clarity, purity and refreshment of God’s good news through His Son. Believe, live, proclaim, and praise this good news. This is real freedom. Trust and obey.