Philosophy Lite: Mystery, simplicity of gospel
June 17, 2011 at 1:17 a.m.
By Raymond Smith
We live in a world of mysteries. God in his wisdom has hidden many things from us. Some things we can unravel, other things we can only accept by faith; still other things will remain a mystery until they are revealed on the other side. King Solomon observed in Proverbs 25:2, "It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings."
Living by faith does not mean there are no signposts along the way. If we have a mind to, we can learn much about life through observation and by studying God's Holy Word. The battle between good and evil and the reason why the innocent sometimes suffer are tough questions, yet we can draw some conclusions even though we may never know the full answer. Someone has said, "Uncertainty and mystery are energies of life. Don't let them scare you unduly, for they keep boredom at bay and spark creativity."
The apostle Paul, while in prison for preaching the gospel, asked for the prayers of the saints as follows: "Ask God to give me the right words, so I can boldly explain God's mysterious plan that the Good News is for the Jews and Gentiles alike."
The good news, of course, was God's plan for the redemption of mankind. The mystery was His unusual plan of redemption - the idea that God would send of His own Son to die for the sins of men.
It is when a person gives the idea sufficient thought that the plan loses its mystery. The gospel of Jesus Christ relates to people because it meets them at every point of their need.
Many accepted this mystery as a child because of a natural childlike faith. Some, when they became adults, came under the influence of a skeptic or atheist and began to doubt.
The fact remains, however, the basic truths of life still apply. We live in a broken world. When God's rules for living are violated, we see the effects of it personally, in our families and in our national morality.
Today, with Christianity in decline, we view the cultural deterioration with much concern. We simply cannot escape the fact that God's ways really work to bring stability to families and the country.
So, the mystery is made plain. We are not strong enough to save ourselves. We do not have control of our lives. We need a wise king to rule over us and give us a sense of direction and purpose. There is that King, and His name is Jesus. We do well to come into agreement with Him and reap the benefits of living in His Kingdom of peace and confidence, and with the promise of a glorious life in the hereafter.
The job of the evangelist is to present that gospel in a fashion that takes the mystery out of it and encourages the prospect to think seriously, giving the matter all due consideration.
Raymond F. Smith is a deacon at Fellowship Bible Church in Victoria and president of Strong Families of Victoria.