The Simplicity That Is In Christ

The tree in the center of the garden. Two spirits. Two very different ways of knowing and relating to life, to self, to others and to the Lord God.

Ps 19:14 – Let the sayings of my mouth, And the meditation of my heart, Be for a pleasing thing before Thee, O Jehovah, my rock, and my redeemer! (YLT)

The sayings of my mouth.

Expressions that expose what I perceive to be truth and wisdom.

The meditation of my heart.

To earnestly, deeply think and to murmur with tenderness, evoking a strong emotional response.

My soul.
My soul is cast down.
My soul is in turmoil within me. Why?
The oppression of my enemy [hating adversary]. (Ps 42)

Who is our enemy? Who is our hating adversary?

What is the oppression of our enemy?

Luke 2:34-35 – and Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, ‘Lo, this [one] is set for the falling and rising again of many in Israel, and for a sign spoken against — (and also thine own soul shall a sword pass through) — that the reasonings of many hearts may be revealed.’ (YLT)

This one [Christ Jesus] is set.
Set. To lie outstretched literally or figuratively. To place in a passive or horizontal posture; utterly prostrate.

For the falling and rising again
That the reasonings of many hearts may be revealed.
To take the cover off; disclose.

The Lord God instructed Adam, “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Gen 2:17 ESV)

Then a foreign tongue entered the garden speaking words that contradicted those spoken by the Lord God.

Gen 3:4-5 – But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Created in the image of God.
Like God.
God knows
You will be like God, knowing

Gen 3:1-3 – Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'”

Is the crafty serpent our enemy, our hating adversary?

2 Tim 2:26 – …they may escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. (ESV)

Is the vessel made for dishonorable use, the vessel of wrath, that is trapped and subservient to the serpent’s lies our hating adversary?

Rom 9:21 – Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honored use and another for dishonorable use? (ESV)

Is our oppression the state or condition of being weighed down with worries, problems and distress due to being helpless to escape the trap we’ve been lured into? Is our oppression simply due to lacking knowledge of the truth, and being out of step with reality?

Beguiled. Seduced.

The apostle Paul, speaking to those who had heard and believed the good news about Christ Jesus, warned them by reminding them of Eve’s experience:

2 Cor 11:3 – and I fear, lest, as the serpent did beguile Eve in his subtilty, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that [is] in the Christ; (YLT)

2 Cor 11:4 – For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. (ESV)

The Lord God had proclaimed the word of life to Adam
Then someone else came
Proclaiming something different
A different spirit
A different word
A different Jesus (savior)
And Adam and Eve put up with it readily enough. You bear with, endure, suffer with it readily enough.

The serpent beguiled Eve. He seduced her wholly. The origin, the point where action or motion proceeds, to cheat or delude.1

Seduction is persuasion to do something disloyal. Delusion is the point where action or motion for the wrongdoing of disloyalty proceeds.

The serpent beguiled Eve in his subtility; adroitness in trickery.2

I fear, lest, as the serpent did beguile Eve in his subtilty, so your minds may be corrupted

Minds corrupted. To shrivel, wither, spoil, ruin by moral influences, to deprave.3

As the serpent did beguile Eve in his subtility, so I fear your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in the Christ.

Simplicity: Singleness, sincerity without dissimulation or self-seeking, generosity.4

Simplicity and singleness of devotion to the Lord God.
Void of self-seeking. Unselfish.
Generous in overlooking injury or insult.

This state of heart and mind and body cannot be legislated. No effort on our part can achieve it. The Lord Jesus Christ demonstrated how we experience the power and freedom of simplicity and singleness of devotion to the Lord God. To lie outstretched literally or figuratively. To place in a passive or horizontal posture; utterly prostrate.

If someone comes
Proclaims another Jesus (savior)
You receive a different spirit
You accept a different gospel
You put up with it readily enough.

Pause and ponder.

Do these Bible texts describe and explain the process of Adam and Eve’s fall from innocence? And your own? Is this what the oppression of our enemy, our hating adversary is?

After eating the forbidden fruit, did Adam and Eve feel the same thing the psalmist David described regarding having his heart uncovered?

There is no soundness in my flesh, my body, my person
Because of your indignation, Lord God. Your fury, your displeasure with sin.
There is no health in my bones, my substance,
Because of my sin, my offence and its penalty and sacrifice.
Your indignation, my sin = no soundness, no health in my basic physical matter. All the day I go about mourning, in sackcloth or in dirty, filthy, depressingly wretched, meanly selfish garments.

Beguiled. Seduced wholly. The origin, the point where action or motion proceeds, to cheat or delude. You will be like God, knowing

After Adam and Eve ate the fruit, what did Adam and Eve come to know and experience intimately?

Delusion. Ruin. Waste. Vanity. Emptiness. Unsatisfactory grasping after wind. Distracted. Anxious. Troubled. Unknown. The perversity and moral evil of wandering away from truth and life and love and intimate connection. Death. This is the vessel of wrath. This is the vessel made for dishonorable use.

How the vessel of wrath is destroyed

The apostle Paul understood from personal experience what the psalmist David described in having the reasonings of his heart revealed. Words. Thoughts. Meditations. Heart. Mind. Will. Motives. Emotions. Disclosed. The cover taken off. This is how the vessel of wrath is destroyed!

The apostle Paul states:

1 Tim 1:15-17 – The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (ESV)

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners
To save those who missed the mark and erred morally, their minds corrupted
To save from the Lord God’s displeasure with sin
To save all who have no soundness, no health in our basic physical matter
To save all who are oppressed, ensnared, trapped, deceived by the enemy, the hating adversary.
To save all who have wandered away from truth, life, love, and intimate connection.
To save all whose devotion to the Lord God is corrupted by self-interest.

Mercy. Perfect patience.

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,
“Of whom I am the foremost,” declared apostle Paul
I received mercy
That Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience

God has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction
In order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy
Which he has prepared beforehand for glory
Even us whom he has called

Mercy
I received mercy
That Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience

Do you hear the Lord God calling you?
Do you hear him calling you through your oppression?
Do you hear him calling you through the turmoil in your soul?
Do you hear him calling you through your troubles and suffering?
Do you hear him calling you through your awareness that you can’t save yourself?
That’s how David, and Adam and Eve, and the apostle Paul heard the Lord God’s call.

I received mercy
That Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience.
That’s how the Lord God shows his wrath and makes known his power! Destroying the vessel of wrath prepared for destruction. Making known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy.

1 Cor 2:1-13 – And I [apostle Paul], 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, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age [vessels of wrath made for dishonorable use] understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”—these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual [vessels of mercy made for honorable use]. (ESV)

Those who are spiritual

The Lord God had proclaimed the word of life to Adam
The apostle Paul had proclaimed the word of life to the Corinthians
And yet
If someone else comes
Proclaiming something different
Another Jesus
A different spirit
A different word
You put up with it readily enough

Yet
Among the mature we impart wisdom
Interpreting spiritual truths
To those who are spiritual.

Were Adam and Eve mature before they took and ate the forbidden fruit? Were Adam and Eve spiritual before they took and ate the forbidden fruit? Is it possible for vessels made for dishonorable use to be spiritual? Is it possible for us to transform our vessels made for dishonorable use into vessels for honorable use?

Or is it up to our Creator/Potter to choose when and how he displays his perfect patience, showing his wrath, and making known his power by giving mercy in our individual hearts, minds and bodies?

Apostle Paul says:
I received mercy
That Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience

His perfect patience
Longsuffering, long enduring temper, i.e. leniently
Not a moment too soon, not a moment too late
The Lord God shows his wrath and makes his power known
To vessels of wrath prepared for destruction.

Not a moment too soon, not a moment too late
The Lord God makes known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy.
Not a moment too soon, not a moment too late
The Lord God shows his wrath and makes his power known
To accomplish his purpose.

Prov 19:21 – Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. (ESV)

I exist in the power of God

Apostle Paul says:
I decided to know nothing among you
Except
Jesus Christ and him crucified
That your faith might rest in the power of God

Rest: I exist. The first person singular present indicative.5

I exist, my faith, my persuasion, my credence, my moral conviction exists in the power of God.

Among the mature we do impart wisdom
It is not a wisdom of this age
It is not a wisdom of the rulers of this age
It is a secret and hidden wisdom of God

What God has prepared for those who love him
God has revealed to us through the Spirit
No one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God
We have received the Spirit who is from God
That we might understand the things freely given us by God
Taught by the Spirit

Taught by the Spirit
Interpreting spiritual truths
To those who are spiritual

The tree in the center of the garden. Two spirits, the Spirit who is from God and the spirit of the world. Two very different ways of knowing and relating to life, to self, to others and to the Lord God.

Like Adam and Eve and David, Saul [apostle Paul] had the benefit of hearing the words/commands of the Lord God from birth. Yet, for much of his life Saul did not relate to the Lord God or his words as David had learned to, through meditation. Rather, Saul related to the Lord God and his words like Adam and Eve did. Heart, mind, and way of life ignorantly in opposition to the Lord God, even as Jesus Christ displayed his perfect patience in him. And then the Lord God showed his wrath and made his power known, giving mercy to Saul, and Saul became Paul.6

The simplicity and singleness of devotion to the Lord God that is in Christ Jesus is a state of heart and mind and body that cannot be legislated. And human thought, effort, desire and willpower cannot produce it. The Lord God’s words, commands, and laws come alive through the Spirit who is from God. Living Word births, nurtures and matures in us the same simplicity and singleness of devotion to the Lord God that is in Christ Jesus.

Oh, that we would find our way back to the original word of life and stop putting up with everything else that comes along! That we would rediscover who we really are.

You are my God! I am your servant.

Ps 143:10-12 – Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground! For your name’s sake, O Lord, preserve my life! In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble! 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. (ESV)

You are my God! I am your servant. Sincere. Clear. Pure. Tested as genuine. True. Not concealed. No longer unwittingly hidden. Wholly devoted to the Lord God.

Will you join David in resting [I exist] in the power of God?

Let your good Spirit lead me, O Lord. In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble. In your steadfast love you will cut off my enemies. In your steadfast love you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul.

Ps 57:2 – I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me. (ESV)

Interact with the words of Scripture through deep, careful study.

Then move beyond logic and reason; move from head to heart; from matter to spirit.

Meditate. Experience the word of Scripture bodily by moaning, growling, uttering, speaking aloud each word, syllable by syllable. Experience the words of Scripture expressing the longing and desire and hope in the depth of your own soul. Become acquainted with your longing. Anticipate that your soul’s longing will be satisfied, its hunger will be filled with good things, and it will be healed and made complete again. Let the inspired word of God arouse feelings of awe.

2 Cor 13:14 – the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, [is] with you all! Amen. (YLT)

Contemplate. Sit quietly without thinking, without murmuring. Simply be. Become conscious of your companions. This is the place where you rediscover who you really are and to rest in the power of God.

Stay in this place of rest and fellowship for as long as you can.

When finished, select just one word or phrase and carry it with you all day, thinking about it, murmuring it, holding it, treasuring it. Let it soak deep into your soul. Tomorrow, meditate on the entire text again. Select the same word or phrase or a different one to carry with you all day, thinking about it, murmuring it, holding it, treasuring it. Do this practice every day. Let God’s Word begin to fill your soul with good things.

I ponder every morsel of wisdom from you, I attentively watch how you’ve done it. I relish everything you’ve told me of life, I won’t forget a word of it. (Ps 119:15-16 MSG)

 

But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand. (Job 32:8)

I encourage you to look for ways and practices to help you become aware of Holy Spirit and to relinquish all that you have and all that you are to Holy Spirit’s convicting, enlightening, restorative ministrations.

A practice that has been life-changing for me comes from Psalm 46:10.

Ps 46:10 – “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (ESV)

Be still.
It’s a paradox.
Be still. A state of being. Am. Is. Stay, remain as in was, were.
It’s a process of letting go in order to rediscover Life that was forfeited.
It’s a process of ceasing, stopping, to be destroyed, and dying in order to be redeemed.
It’s a process of abandoning and neglecting in order to be healed and made whole.

It’s a process of opposing, contending, and striving in order to give up, renounce, leave, and abandon self-interest that is death, forfeiture of Life.

It’s a process of becoming weak, feeble, to be wept over in order to return to the original Life that was forfeited, but is bought back by the only One who has Life in himself.

Be still, consequently
Know

Know, not in the sense of accumulating facts and figures, receiving answers about what to do to get a good life, but know as in relationship. Know as in Being. Awareness, consciousness, discernment, recognition, acquaintance, familiar friend, feel, perceive, have respect, have understanding, instruction, presence, fellowship.

Be still.

Letting the vessel of wrath prepared for destruction go in order to know the riches of God’s glory for vessels of mercy.

2 Peter 3:18 – But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. (ESV)

*****
Resources/For deeper study:

1Beguile: NT:1818 e)capata/w exapatao (ex-ap-at-ah’-o); from NT:1537 and NT:538; to seduce wholly:
NT:1537 e)k ek (ek) or ex (ex); a primary preposition denoting origin (the point whence action or motion proceeds), from, out (of place, time, or cause; literal or figurative; direct or remote):
NT:538 a)pata/w apatao (ap-at-ah’-o); of uncertain derivation; to cheat, i.e. delude: (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

2Cunning/subtilty: NT:3834 panourgi/a panourgia (pan-oorg-ee’-ah); from NT:3835; adroitness, i.e. (in a bad sense) trickery or sophistry: (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

3Corrupted: NT:5351 fqei/rw phtheiro (fthi’-ro); probably strengthened from phthio (to pine or waste); properly, to shrivel or wither, i.e. to spoil (by any process) or (generally) to ruin (especially figuratively, by moral influences, to deprave): (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

4Simplicity: NT:572 a(plo/th$ haplotes (hap-lot’-ace); from NT:573; singleness, i.e. (subjectively) sincerity (without dissimulation or self-seeking), or (objectively) generosity (copious bestowal): (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

5Rest/stand: NT:1510 ei)mi/ eimi (i-mee’); the first person singular present indicative; a prolonged form of a primary and defective verb; I exist (used only when emphatic): (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

6See Acts 9, 22, 26 for details about Saul’s conversion, becoming a vessel for honorable use, useful to his Master.

1 thought on “The Simplicity That Is In Christ

  1. Simplicity is the only way of life …

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