“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:3
“For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.” 2 Corinthians 1:12
These two verses (as taken from the King James Version) may lead us to think of the Gospel as being “simple” to understand – ie. it does not take much effort to comprehend or obey. But this is certainly not the case. Yes the gospel is couched in terms that are simple to understand but it takes effort and dedication to fully understand and even more effort to implement the implications of the Gospel – sacrifice of self to the glory of God.
The word in the originals Greek is haplotēs (Strongs 572) meaning sincerity (without dissimulation or self seeking), or (objectively) generosity (copious bestowal). Thus there is a single, sincere, crystal clear message that is the Gospel. We do not have a situation whereby we can please ourselves what is or isn’t in the Gospel. We cannot be in a situation where we can say amongst ourselves – you believe what you feel comfortable with as long as you let me believe the “Truth” my way.
The Apostle was deeply concerned that his fellow disciples were in danger of being taken away from the simplicity of the gospel in Christ –
* From simple, single hearted devotion to the God and Saviour
* From the simplicity and purity of the doctrines of Christ’s gospel message
* From the simplicity of a child-like candour and teachability
* From simplicity in worship that placed the focus on God and His son, not the worshipper
* From simplicity of life-style
The Revised Version, among several translations pick up the sense of the Greek better in placing the focus on the simplicity being in our approach to the Lord Jesus Christ – “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve in his craftiness, your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity and the purity that is toward Christ.” Again we note that the focus is on him, not us and our feelings, theories and philosophies.
The desirability of holding to a simple acceptance of the Gospel message – in spite of the appearance of evidence to the contrary presented by fallible man – is highlighted by the Apostle Paul in Romans 16:17 – 19 – “And I exhort you, brothers, to watch those making divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which you have learned, and avoid them. For they who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches they deceive the hearts of the simple. For your obedience reached to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf, but I would have you truly wise as to good, and simple toward evil.”
Let us therefore be thankful to our God that He has seen fit to reveal the Gospel, not to the ‘wise’ of this world, but to simple, sincere hearted men and women who wait patiently for the return of His son to reveal all things in His Kingdom.