Here’s why it’s important to keep things simple
We can’t let Satan complicate things for us.
God had planted two special trees in the midst of the Garden of Eden: the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God had said to Adam and Eve that they should not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but that they could eat all they wanted of the tree of life, for only life and good were to rule in Paradise. This also applies to. “But I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil.” Romans 16:19.
We should not be overcome by evil
God knows good and evil without evil exercising power over Him. This is how divine nature operates. (Genesis 3:22) However, as natural human beings we are so weak that we are easily overcome by evil. God preserves us from the evil because He loves us so exceedingly much. Adam and Eve’s only opportunity to be preserved from evil in the Garden of Eden was by being obedient to God’s commandment and not eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Even today it is God’s will that we should not be overcome by evil. His will is that we should not only receive forgiveness, but that we should also gain full victory over the evil.
Satan also knows this, and so he deceived Eve into eating of the tree of knowledge by this false promise that she would be like God and not die, because God does not die even though He knows good and evil. What a sly, smart and religious deception he used. Satan deceived Eve by presenting a transgression of God’s Word as something good, something attractive, something that would make her intelligent. Is it any different today? (Genesis 3:4-5)
Influenced by Satan, Eve was tossed to and fro by his trickery and cunning craftiness. She became troubled in her mind and drifted far away from God’s will of simply believing His commandment not to eat of that one tree. In this troubled state of mind the difference between good and evil became vague and unclear. Eve experienced this; she fell into transgression and lost Paradise. (Ephesians 4:14; Galatians 5:10; 1 Timothy 2:14)
The simplicity that is in Christ
“But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity [simple faithfulness] that is in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:3. It is this simple faithfulness to Christ that preserves our thoughts from all the religious deception and confusion in these days. “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” John 14:15. This is heavenly simplicity. Even though the Galatians were enthusiastic for Paul and his preaching in the beginning, they were deceived, and they lost their way. So-called “eminent” apostles got the Galatians to imagine that it was not necessary to be crucified with Christ every day, that they could be redeemed much more easily without doing it. Everything would be alright if only they were circumcised physically. This is what was preached to them in those days. (Galatians 5:10; 2 Corinthians 11:5)
The current variation of this preaching is that everything is alright with us if only we believe that Jesus has done everything in our stead once for all. Thus, our labor and our works are no longer important. “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?” Galatians 3:1.
For Paul, Jesus was not only the crucified One on Calvary; He was also his and our crucified forerunner who took up His cross daily for approximately 33 years. Those who follow Him do the same. “Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.’” Luke 9:23.
God’s Spirit instructed Jesus to take up His cross, and the Spirit constrains us to do the same today and teaches us to do it with joy. This is the very thing that inspires us, quickens our faith, and helps us in temptation to do good and be transformed into the image of the Son. We must not be lacking in works, because if we do, we will lose God’s power and even the salvation of our soul. A lack of works ends up in religiosity, a form of godliness, and a life without victory. Satan works with craftiness. “Resist him, steadfast in the faith …” 1 Peter 5:9. That is heavenly simplicity! The bride of Christ must be awake in her thought life; it must be pure and virginal at all cost so that Jesus is our great love and we are not obedient to another spirit or to another gospel which we have not received from the beginning. (James 2:14,17; 1 Corinthians 1:17-18; 2 Timothy 3:5; 2 Corinthians 11:2,4)
This article has been translated from Norwegian, and was first published under the title “Heavenly simplicity” in BCC’s periodical Skjulte Skatter (Hidden Treasures) in June, 2010.
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Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.