Keeping It Simple

A Bible Study by Jack Kelley

Mankind has a propensity for taking simple things and making them complex, often confusing himself in the process.  Some say this began with the serpent’s question to Eve,  “Did God really say…?”(Genesis 3:1).  Lets look at some of the simple things of the Bible that man has tried to complicate and ask ourselves if we’re better off with man’s opinion or would it make more sense to keep it simple and stick with what the Bible says.


God said His work of creation required six days and He rested on the seventh day (Genesis 2:1-2).  There was no one around who could dispute His claim but that hasn’t stopped man from proposing alternatives.

The best man has come up with is that we’re really the product of random chance. The Big Bang theory and Evolution are called  laws of nature by some, but in fact, they violate natural law. Things in nature don’t naturally evolve from randomness, or chaos, into order. In fact they go the other way. The evidence is all around us. Your house, your car,  your body, and everything else that’s been created or made or manufactured confirms that absent some kind of preventive maintenance, the natural way is devolution, from order into chaos. Everything breaks down, wears out, rusts, rots, or dies. There’s no way around it.

And the best preventive maintenance can only retard the devolution process. It can never reverse it, let alone turn something into something else. Order into chaos, order into chaos. That’s nature’s way.  Some folks want you to ignore this simple fact and believe that where you’re concerned, natural law was spontaneously reversed for no reason at all so that the amoeba that became the fish that became the monkey could become you.  If we can’t believe the very first thing God said to us, how can we be sure about anything else He said?

The simple thing is to believe God.


God said we’re saved by grace through faith, not by works. (Ephesians 2:8-9) He doesn’t want anyone bragging that he earned his own way into the kingdom, and knows that we can’t do it anyway. He gave man a set of laws that were impossible to keep but which defined the standard He required of us. Then He sent His Son to keep those laws for us and give His life to purchase an unconditional pardon that releases us from the penalty of breaking them (Colossians 2:13-14). He said this is the only way we can be saved (John 14:6, Acts 4:12).  All we have to do is believe in the one He sent (John 6:28-29) admit we’re sinners, ask for His pardon, and accept it in faith (Romans 10:13).

But right from the beginning, man has tried to earn his own way into God’s Kingdom. Some have multiplied God’s laws by adding many others, while others have ignored His laws, substituting their own instead.  Either way man has made his existence here on earth miserable as he labors to prove that he doesn’t need God’s free pardon, living a life of guilt and fear in a vain attempt to earn something that has been offered to Him for free.

The simple thing is to believe God.


God said that anyone who wants to can choose this pardon and have eternal life.  It’s free for the asking irrespective of merit or worthiness (Matt. 7:7-8).  It doesn’t matter if you’re a Jew or Gentile, free or slave, male or female, civilized or barbarian (Galatians 3:26-29). If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you’ll be saved (Romans 10:9). You have your entire lifetime to make your choice. However when you die His offer of pardon expires (Hebrews 9:27).

Some men have  imposed conditions without number to this unconditional promise. They say you must have been chosen in advance by God, or belong to a certain denomination, or behave in a certain way, give a certain amount, maintain certain standards, avoid certain food or drink, etc, etc. Others say you don’t have to accept God’s terms at all.  Just try to do the best you can and treat others nicely. You’ll have a chance after you die to sit down and work it all out with God.  Still others say it doesn’t matter who your god is.   As long as you’re sincere in your belief, you’ll find your way to eternal life.  Jesus said all these ways lead to destruction (Matt. 7:13-14).

The simple thing is to believe God.


God says that when you’re saved He sends His Holy Spirit to dwell within you, sealed there as a deposit guaranteeing your inheritance (Ephesians 1:13-14).  It’s the down payment on His promise never to leave you or forsake you.  God Himself will make you stand firm (2 Cor. 1:21-22), and there’s no one who can take you out of His hand (John 10:27-30).  His Spirit will also guide you and advise you on behavior that’s pleasing to Him, not to earn His favor but as a way to express your gratitude for already having received it. Your behavior is still your own choice and when you sin, as we all do, the Holy Spirit will prompt you to confess so you can be forgiven and preserve your intimate relationship with God (1 John 1:9).

Man says something different.  Some say the Holy Spirit doesn’t come all at once. You get a little bit when you’re saved and more when you’re worthy. You’ll know you’re worthy when you receive a certain Spiritual gift that tells you and others that you’ve made it. They also say the Holy Spirit isn’t permanently sealed within you. He’ll leave you if you don’t behave right or if you decide you don’t want Him any more. And once He’s gone you can never get Him back. Scary.

The simple thing is to believe God.

Abundant Life

God says that you shouldn’t worry about how your life will work out, that He’ll take care of it.  Since He takes care of little birds and flowers, that aren’t worth anywhere near what you are to Him, He’ll certainly watch out for you. “Seek first God’s Kingdom and His righteousness,” He says, “And I’ll take care of everything (Matt. 6:31-33). After all, I came to Earth so that you could have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).  So don’t conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2).

Man says you have to figure out what you want and then strive to get it. Work hard and sacrifice much, and you’ll be rewarded. The stress you feel from the job, and the difficulty you have staying connected at home are just part of the deal. And when you become successful, if it wasn’t all you hoped it would be, well everybody feels that way. The more you have, the better you’ll feel. Stay with it.

The simple thing is to believe God.


God says to forgive as you’ve been forgiven, that nothing someone does to you can ever approximate what you’ve done to God. (Matt. 18:32-33) And since He’s forgiven you unconditionally, you should do the same. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger. Don’t give the devil a foothold. “Vengeance is mine,” says the Lord. “It’s mine to repay.”

Man says some folks don’t deserve to be forgiven. Make them prove that they’ve earned it before you let them off the hook. Besides, maybe it’s you. Maybe you’re just too weak, too naive. As you become more skeptical, less trusting, you’ll find people won’t take advantage so often. Don’t get mad, get even.

The simple thing is to believe God.


Jesus said don’t store up treasure on earth, where it can be stolen or destroyed.  Instead, store up treasure in heaven where nothing can happen to it (Matt. 6:19-21).   He said, “Give and it will be given to you, for with the measure you use it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38).  Paul confirmed this.  He said if we sow sparingly we’ll reap sparingly, but if we sow generously we’ll also reap generously.  He said we should decide in our own heart what to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, because God loves a cheerful giver  (2 Cor. 9:6-7).  He said our generosity will be rewarded with blessing and we’ll be made rich in every way so we can be generous on every occasion (2 Cor. 9:10-11).

Some pastors say you owe a debt to God and if you don’t pay it back to the church you’ll be cursed. Others say you worked hard for your money and it’s yours to do with as you please. Why give any of it to a bunch of do-gooders who’ll just waste it on people who don’t deserve it. Give enough to keep them off your back, if you must, but not so much as to cramp your lifestyle.

The simple thing is to believe God.


God said he would never do anything without first revealing it through His servants the prophets. (Amos 3:7) For over 6,000 years now He’s had a perfect record of first saying what He’ll do and then doing it.  But many scholars call predictive prophecy a sham and go to great lengths to try and disprove its reliability. For example, when history documented that Daniel 11:1-35 contained 135 fulfilled prophecies, scholars tried to say it was written after the fact.

As a result the Book of Daniel became the most thoroughly validated Book in the entire Bible. And yet some still deny its authenticity, in spite of the fact that Daniel also predicted the rise of Alexander the Great (Daniel 7:6, 8:5-8, 8:21-22), named the exact day that Jesus would ride into Jerusalem as Israel’s Messiah,  and foretold His Crucifixion, as well as the city’s subsequent destruction as (Daniel 9:26).

Zechariah prophesied that the Messiah would ride into Jerusalem on a donkey (Zech. 9:9), then be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver with the money being thrown into the Temple for the purchase of a potter’s field (Zech 11:12-13). Micah prophesied that He would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).  Isaiah that He would be the Son of God (Isaiah 9:6), born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), pierced for our transgressions (Isaiah 53:5), though innocent would offer no defense (Isaiah 53:7), be buried in a rich man’s grave (Isaiah 53:9), and come back from the dead (Isaiah 53:11).  Amos said the sun would go down at noon on the day He was crucified (Amos 8:9-10). There are over a hundred more that pertain to the first coming but you get the idea.

In spite of this, some of the very men and women who make a career out of studying the Word of God resort to extreme measures in their attempts to convince us that God is unreliable at best and at worst a liar.  And to what end? If they were diplomats and worked this hard at undermining the principles on which our country is founded, they’d be charged with treason. If they were managers who were committed to destroying the public’s perception of their company’s product, they’d be fired.  But since they claim to be Christians we call them scholars. “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,” Paul wrote, “And the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate” (1 Cor. 1:19)  He was quoting from Isaiah 29:14.

The simple thing is to believe God.


These are harsh and perilous times and now, more than ever, we need someone we can rely on who is utterly dependable. When the hurricane’s threatening to blow you down, and the flood waters are rising fast, you don’t want to be worrying whether the One you’re praying to is committed to your well being.

If you’re from Israel and your neighbors are publicly planning your destruction, and take every olive branch you hand them then turn it into another excuse to attack, you need to know that the One who gave you the land you’re standing on will keep His promise that it’s yours forever.

When your eternal destiny hangs in the balance, you need to be certain that the One Who says He surrendered His life to redeem yours really did.

The End of the Age is upon us. It’s time to stop debating and start believing the simple truth of the Bible. God is Who He says He is and He did what He said He would do. And in the 6000 years of man’s relationship with Him, not one of the 14 billion of us who’ve walked this earth has ever been able to successfully refute this. Conversely, proof of His existence is so far beyond the limits of mere probability that it’s no longer debatable.  Therefore belief in Him is a choice we make. It’s time to choose and be done with it. Like my favorite bumper sticker says, “God said it. I believe it. That settles it.” It’s the simple thing to do. Selah 10-18-14.