The message of goodness is simple. God never intended it to be complicated. It’s simple enough for a child to understand and believe. However, mankind often likes to complicate and muddle simple things, making them confusing, elitist sounding, and difficult to decipher. In ancient Corinth and its culture of intellect and high thinking, the simplicity of the gospel message stood out in stark contrast to the scholarly jargon and intellectual lingo of the day.
Reasoning, logic, intellect, and wisdom were prized attributes in Greek-based Corinth, but the message of Jesus Christ defies human logic and in many ways was too simple for the advanced thinking of the Corinthians. Therefore, they wanted to add to the message, complicating it and turning it into a position that can be eloquently debated and defended using reason and logic.
However, the message of Jesus Christ is not to be added to. God wrote the story the way He did for a reason and purpose. He defied the dictates of human wisdom and knowledge and gave us a message that is simple yet profound, which cannot be argued or defended by human reasoning but only by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Paul makes this point very clear as he continues on the topic of how God’s wisdom runs contrary to human wisdom. He states that because God’s ways are not ours, Paul made sure to preach a simple message when sharing the gospel: Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Period. No add-ons, no well-thought out arguments, no complicated, intelligent-sounding speeches. Just the simple truth of Jesus Christ—His death, burial, and resurrection.
“And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”
~1 Corinthians 2:1-5
This was the message that Paul preached to the Corinthians and is the only message that can save sinners from the wrath of God. It is simple and doesn’t need embellishment or dressing up to make more appealing or conform to human logic. The gospel defies human logic and reasoning. For as Paul wrote previously in 1 Corinthians, God thwarted the wisdom of the wise and destroyed the discernment of humanity by taking the weak, despised, and most humble to accomplish His redemption plan.
Therefore, if through the cross, God put to shame the wisdom of finite men, why should we try to defend and share the gospel using words of wisdom or human eloquence? We must keep the message simple and stick to the facts, relying on the power of the Holy Spirit to take the message and bring new life and transformation in the hearts of those who receive it. If we do so, we can have confidence that our faith and the faith of everyone who’s life is impacted with the gospel is built not on the fallen, unstable wisdom of men, but on the unchanging, eternal, and perfect power of God.
So let’s resolve to keep the simple gospel and devote ourselves to its straightforward message: Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Nothing more and nothing less.
“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing,
but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
~1 Corinthians 1:18
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