Posted by: The Simple Guy | October 14, 2010

The Simple Gospel

I’ve been contemplating what saving faith looks like.

We see it in Genesis 3 when Adam put his faith in God by naming his wife.  He didn’t understand all that he knew, but he put his faith in Who he knew.

We see it in Genesis 15 when Abram looked to the heavens (at God’s command) and trusted God.  Abram had no heir, but God is the one who made all that is out of nothing.  Abram believed Him, and God credited him with righteousness.

We see it in action when David killed Goliath.  “No one can speak of God that way, I can’t lose!!”  Not saying this was David’s conversion.  Just saying David didn’t understand what God was going to do.  But he knew God would be his salvation and put his fate in that fact.

We see it as 3 men tell the king of Babylon,

“O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.

Dan 3:17  If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.
Dan 3:18  But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

They didn’t know if God would deliver them.  But burn or not, they would not serve anyone else but God.

When Tyson was almost 4 years old we were discussing the Gospel one night.  I did not press him to make a decision, simply laid out the truth that we are sinners bound for eternal judgment, but Jesus took our punishment, and all who call upon Him to be saved will be saved.  Later that night I looked into his room and saw him sitting up in bed earnestly giving his heart to Jesus.  I thought to myself, “He’s so young, he doesn’t even understand what he’s saying.”  The question hit me like a train at 100 mph, “And you do?”

I realized that night that the difference between that toddler’s understanding and that of the greatest theologian who has ever lived is barely worth mentioning when compared to the difference between my understanding of salvation and Christ’s.

We are not saved by understanding what we believe.  We are saved by believing in Him though we don’t understand.  Believing He is who He says He is, and can do what He says He will do.

Saving faith simply puts one’s own fate in the hands of Christ because Christ called.  I don’t believe Christ has to be defined to be trusted.  He simply has to be trusted.  With everything.  Like a child.

We will marvel for eternity at the depth of the Gospel.  But a 3-year-old (almost 4) can believe and be saved.

We have to stop putting our faith in ourselves, our own abilities, our own works, our connections, the list can go on.

We just call out to Him.  He saves.

Thought of this while reading Psalm 143 today.

Craig

Psa 143:1-12 ESV
(1)  A Psalm of David. Hear my prayer, O LORD; give ear to my pleas for mercy! In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness!
(2)  Enter not into judgment with your servant, for no one living is righteous before you.
(3)  For the enemy has pursued my soul; he has crushed my life to the ground; he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead.
(4)  Therefore my spirit faints within me; my heart within me is appalled.
(5)  I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands.
(6)  I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah
(7)  Answer me quickly, O LORD! My spirit fails! Hide not your face from me, lest I be like those who go down to the pit.
(8)  Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
(9)  Deliver me from my enemies, O LORD! I have fled to you for refuge!
(10)  Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!
(11)  For your name’s sake, O LORD, preserve my life! In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble!
(12)  And in your steadfast love you will cut off my enemies, and you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul, for I am your servant.

 

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Responses

  1. Great observations, Craig…and I rejoice in what the Lord’s doing in your son.

    • Jim,
      I should clarify that my son is now 15, so this story is about 12 years old.
      I just keep finding myself back there when I begin to see the Gospel complicated. It is deep and unfathomable. But it is so simple a child can put his faith in it.
      I fear that sometimes we make it so complicated that we put it out of others’ reach. But THAT’S NOT WHY HE CAME!
      He came to put it within reach because without that NO ONE would reach it.

      Thanks for stopping by. Hope you are well.

      Craig

  2. Is anything too hard for the LORD??…….. I believe that sums it up Craig. Thanks for sharing!!

  3. I know what you’re saying, but I have to disagree and say that God grants knowledge to all who are born again. This knowledge may be the knowledge of a scholar or of a four year old, but it’s always a true understanding of the Gospel. Know what I mean?

    When the Lord saved me, I had already had a legalistic religious experience many years ago, so I knew quite a bit about the Bible (though I knew little to nothing of Christ :/); but my wife knew very little. All she knew was that she had rejected God all of her life, and for some reason He just continued to bless our life together. She knew the depth of her guilt before God and that she was in desperate need of being forgiven of her sins. And when she heard that Christ gave His life for her – the sinless One for the sinner, the God-Man for the godless – she believed. She was saved, and the knowledge was true, given by the Holy Spirit, although it wasn’t as in depth as that of a volume of systematic theology.

    I agree with you, though Craig. I just left a cult (calling itself a church) that basically denied that my wife and I were Christians because we didn’t match up to their standards.

    I catch myself at times saying things to my son about God and salvation that he probably has NO idea about. lol. And I have to bring it back to the basics: You and I have broken God’s Laws. And He would be right to punish us for our sins. But He sent Jesus to die for sinners like us, to be punished for us, so that we wouldn’t have to be. He did this because He loves us.

    Simple 🙂

    Thanks for your prayers, btw 🙂

    -h.

  4. haha just caught my self contradiction: “I disagree…I agree with you though…” haha

    I like your post. That’s what I was trying to say 🙂

  5. Hiram,
    Thanks for stopping by. I have been praying for you. Have had times like yours.

    It is interesting that you mention knowledge. I was meditating on Paul’s prayer in Colossians 1.

    Col 1:9-10 ESV
    (9) And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,
    (10) so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.

    “filled with the knowledge of His will . . . increasing in the knowledge of Him.”

    There is a truth here I’m nibbling at the edges of, but don’t have a firm grasp of yet.

    Are we filled with knowledge of what He wants from us, but ever increasing in knowing HIM? Is that the idea?

    Yes, when we are saved, there is knowledge we are infused with, Christ is in us at that point. Not knowledge we necessarily understand, but just know. This is the beginning, but it grows. When God reveals Himself, what He reveals is true. But perfect understanding isn’t a requirement of faith.

    I heard Paul Washer say once in a video, “much better to have it and not know what to call it, than to know what to call it and not have it”
    I find myself (sadly) on both sides of this statement from time to time.

    Tom,
    Yes, our hope is in Him.
    Praise Him!!

    Craig

  6. Hiram,
    Does your son tell you things that are SIMPLY profound as well?
    Those conversations are golden. We learn from each other.

    Craig


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