Wednesday, March 4, 2009

K.I.S.S. the Gospel

I used to be into amateur radio (a.k.a. Ham radio). I still have my license and callsign, KD4CMA, and will some day buy new equipment and get back in to the hobby.

We had an acronym that was heard quite frequently in reference to technical stuff. It was K.I.S.S. which stands for Keep It Simple Stupid.

I'm not calling you stupid by any means; the acronym had a point. Don't make things too complicated.

For nearly 2000 years now, people have tried to complicate the gospel. They have tried to add this requirement and that requirement to salvation making it much more complicated than it really is.

Even the apostle Paul had to deal with this issue as seen in the book of Galatians. Certain false teachers had crept into the church claiming that circumcision and law keeping was one of the requirements of salvation in addition to faith in Christ. They had even persuaded Peter and Barnabas to join their cause. (See Galatians 2 for a detailed account.)

Paul wrote: "yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified." Galatians 2:16 ESV

An encounter that I had this weekend reminded me of this tendency to complicate the gospel.

I was at Moore Square handing out tracts in the rain when I offered a tract to a man standing in the food line. He refused the tract saying, "I have a different belief." Not one to let a witnessing opportunity go past, I asked, "In your opinion, what does it take for a person to go to heaven?" After all, he could have been a Muslim or a Jehovah's Witness or something.

"You have to be born again," he said. I assured him that that was what the tract said. Then he said, "I don't believe that you can just accept Christ. You have to be baptized, filled with the Holy Ghost and you have to live the life." Well that sounds close to the truth doesn't it?

He was all about trusting in his own faithfulness to God in order to save him and not in Christ's death. He had no assurance of salvation as promised in the Word of God. If it is possible for you to "live the life," then Jesus death is nothing more than a travesty. I could go on dissecting his faulty theology, but it would not be prudent to do so.

The point is clearly taught in scripture, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV.

When you are sharing the gospel, make sure you are sharing the simple truth of faith in Jesus Christ alone. Not in attending church, being baptized, keeping the rules or any other add-on to the gospel. Some might even argue the point that Baptism is a requirement for salvation. We will have to agree to disagree on that one. (See explanation below)

Keep the gospel simple because it is simple. Faith in Jesus Christ is what saves a man. Even that faith is a gift from God. In turning to Christ, you must be willing to forsake and repent of your sin and simply rely upon him for forgiveness.

From now on, K.I.S.S. the Gospel!

Baptism is often argued as a requirement for salvation. People even use their favorite scripture to justify such belief (Acts 2:38 is one of them). I am not against baptism. I believe that believers baptism by total immersion is a Christians first act of obedience to Christ. It is an outward sign of an inward reality - namely, that a person has died to the old life and has been raised to walk in the new life. However, the idea that baptism somehow saves us is a carry over teaching from a heresy called baptismal regeneration which teaches that the waters of baptism mysteriously wash away sins. It is a false teaching with no basis in scripture. Again, we might agree to disagree on this.

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