The Gospel’s Clarity and the Gospel’s Simplicity are related realities of the message of salvation. However, there is a distinction we should draw between these two ideas. The better we understand the fullness of the Gospel’s message, the greater our appreciation of its reality. Our thankfulness for God’s grace will deepen as our awareness of its fullness is increased.
I will provide here what I mean in trying to distinguish between clarity and simplicity. The difference between clarity and simplicity is that the former speaks to the ability of the hearer to understand what is being asked of them, while the latter points to how the obstacles to understanding are minimized. Therefore, as it relates to the Gospel’s Simplicity we are looking at what makes a hearer’s understanding more difficult.
This threshold of understanding is what makes the issue worthy of consideration. And because, in God’s mercy, he makes the Gospel simple, far more who hear it may believe. Whether they truly do trust in Jesus is a different matter. One beyond the purpose of this reflection. This is one of the reasons that no one will have an excuse when asked why they rejected the Son of God.
As I have thought about what this means, I came to the conclusion that it means access. Because the message of the Gospel does not require the ability to decipher complex logical, theological, and philosophical questions, it opens wide opportunities for who can believe its promises.
We are not Hindrances to Evangelism
We should not take this lightly. There is a mission-critical implication of this. And it is two-sided as well.
The first side is that we should not keep the Gospel to ourselves. The fact that God has made the Gospel simple to understand and receive should increase our confidence to share it. Knowing that because of the nature of this glorious news we, as messengers, do not have to be experts to perform this task should inspire us.
Now, this does not mean that we cannot ever be a hindrance to others. If we are careless in our sharing, we can cause our hearers to struggle to grasp what we are saying. I am just pointing out that we do not have to be, or feel that we will be, a stumbling block to the hearer. If I take the message that saved me and share that, in just the same way it made sense to me, then there is greater hope for evangelism. Not less.
Anyone is a Candidate for Salvation
The second side is that we should not prejudge who will accept the message. Because the message is simple, far more people can have the opportunity to hear it and believe it. We don’t have to vet the lost. We don’t have to do some kind of spiritual background check. We don’t have to check credentials. All we have to do, all we are asked to do, is preach the Gospel. To go and give to others what we have received.
To put it another way, not only is the message clear enough for a child (as we saw in our previous discussion), it is simple enough for that same child to know that they have believed the right thing!
We may not always fully appreciate this, but it is a vital component of the Gospel. If we cannot know that we have truly believed the Gospel, our hope will invariably devolve into works for assurance. However, if I know that I have understood and accepted the message and it’s intended meaning and purpose, my confidence in God grows. My commitment to God is bolstered.
If we underestimate the effect of knowing that we know what we know, what we end up doing is undervaluing the power of the Gospel’s simplicity.