In Acts 13:38-39 Paul reveals the simplicity of the gospel. He states, “…everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law…”. This simple description of the gospel is repeated time and time again throughout the New Testament. I read this simple explanation and think…
“is it really that simple?”
Our minds are hard wired for performance. Our world is so intertwined with the idea of performance that we often miss the simple command to “believe”. We begin to listen to the slithering tongue of the enemy as he poisons our hearts with the lie, that “surely it can’t be that simple”. We begin to doubt that belief is enough. As our doubt grows our efforts for self justification increase exponentially. Unless we hear the truth our lives will become consumed with unending work to preform or become lost in despair as we realize that we cannot meet the standard.
Once we see the simplicity the lie begins to shift. We become entranced as the world proclaims that it doesn’t matter how we live. The lie that we can “believe, in Jesus but live how we want” is repeated by so many in our culture. The biblical call is pushed aside by our own comfort and desire. Yes, it still matters how we live our lives. However we live our lives to glorify God for what he has already done through His son Jesus.
In his book “Quiet Thoughts for Quiet Hours” J. E. Tilton provides a wonderful reminder for when we begin to believe these lies. Our salvation from beginning to end solely rests on the saving action of God alone.
I pray Tilton’s questions and statements will encourage you.
“Shall I come to God, for I am a sinful creature?
"Jesus said to him, “I am the way, — No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6.
But how can I feel sure that Jesus will receive me?
“… whoever comes to me I will never cast out." John 6:37.
I have nothing that I can bring to him.
"To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment." Revelation 21:6.
But should I not first endeavor to purify my soul from sin?
"Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? There is not one." Job 14:4.
“…for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5.
How, then, shall I come?
"by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh" Hebrews 10:20.
Is God sure to receive me; can he love me?
“and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty." 2 Corinthians 6:18.
What should be the object of my life?
"for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body." 1 Corinthians 6:20.
Can my unimportant actions in any way glorify the everlasting God?
“By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples" John 15:8.
What do you mean by fruit?
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…” Galatians 5:22-23.
Does God, then, take notice of my daily conduct?
“For I know the things that come into your mind." Ezekiel 11:5.
"He who planted the ear, does he not hear? He who formed the eye, does he not see?… He who teaches man knowledge — knows the thoughts of man…” Psalm 44:9-11.
I am very ignorant, who shall instruct me?
"You search the Scriptures… ” John 5:39.
“… which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus." 2 Timothy 3:15.
But I have so many evil habits to combat; what shall 1 do?
"preparing your minds for action…” 1 Peter 1:13.
"Fight the good fight of the faith" 1 Timothy 6:12.
"for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you." Hebrews 8:5.
But there are trials and temptations in my way which others have not.
"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." 1 Corinthians 10:13.
I wish I had some friend who could understand all the trials of my spirit.
" For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin." Hebrews 4:15.
It is my desire to walk uprightly, but I feel I have no strength.
"He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength." Isaiah 40:29
May I go and ask him, then?
"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him." James 1:5
How will God give me wisdom?
" And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules" Ezekiel 36:27.
When trouble comes what shall I do?
“and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me." Psalm 50:15.
In the hour of death?
"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;" Isaiah 43:2.
And in the day of judgment?
"Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died…” Romans 8:33-34.
0h! I will cast in my lot with God's people, for they only are happy.
“We are setting out for the place of which the Lord said, ‘I will give it to you.’ Come with us, and we will do good to you," Numbers 10:29
"The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace” Numbers 6:24-26.”