IT REALLY WAS THAT SIMPLE!
All mankind should learn that when God says a thing -- that's it! God's message really is simple and to the point and man must obey. Humans may try to say very complicated things. We may say things we do not mean. We may even make promises we do not intend to keep. Often threats are made that we are unable to fulfill. But God always speaks in a very simple way and man must obey. He always keeps His promises. Throughout the Bible the lesson is clear -- obey God and be blessed or disobey and be punished. God speaks and it really is that simple.
What God said to Adam and Eve was simple. Adam was the first human being. Eve was created to be his "helper." After creation God commanded Adam and Eve to eat of all the trees in the garden except that one which was in the midst of the garden. He warned that if they ate from that tree they would die. "And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 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." (Genesis 2:16-17) Eat and die -- it really was that simple! The Devil tried to change God's word. He added the little word "not." The devil's message was, "You will not surely die." Man soon learned that what God said was both simple and true. As man violated the laws of God he found himself separated from God because of his own sins. (Isaiah 59:1-2) The very day he ate of that forbidden fruit he died spiritually. Later physical death came because of man's sin. (Romans 5:12) The Bible says of Adam "And he died." (Genesis 5:5) God's message to Adam and Eve was clear and it really was that simple.
What God said to Noah really was that simple. Hebrews 11:7 identifies Noah as a man of faith. God gave Noah specific instructions on how to build the ark (size, materials, etc.) "By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith." When God commanded gopher wood He meant. It really was that simple. When God commanded 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits high those dimensions were a must. It really was that simple. "Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did." (Genesis 6:22) Noah proved his faith by his obedience.
What God said to Lot and to his family about Sodom and Gomorrha really was that simple. Jude wrote, "As Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." The cities of Sodom and Gomorrha remind us of Lot's bad choice in life. We remember that his wife looked back and became a pillar of salt. Luke reminds us of this event with three words: "Remember Lot's wife." (Luke 17:32) God had said, "...Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed." (Genesis 19:17.) It really was that simple, they could escape and live!
What God said about the city of Jericho really was that simple. The city of Jericho is used in Hebrews chapter 11 to show the faith that pleases God. "By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were encircled for seven days." Notice, the walls fell by faith, "after" they obeyed God. God said of the rebuilding of that city, "Cursed be the man before the Lord who rises up and builds this city Jericho; he shall lay its foundation with his firstborn, and with his youngest he shall set up its gates." Later in the Bible God proved that what He said really is that simple. "In his days Hiel of Bethel built Jericho. He laid its foundation with Abiram his firstborn, and with his youngest son Segub he set up its gates, according to the word of the Lord, which He had spoken through Joshua the son of Nun." (I Kings 16:34) No doubt about it, it really is that simple.
It is also very simple when it comes to the matter of salvation. A person must believe in Christ in order to be saved. (John 8:24) This believer must repent of past sins. (Luke 13:3) This penitent believer must then confess the name of Christ. (Romans 10:9-10) As a believing, penitent, confessing person one must then be baptized into Christ to put on Christ. (Galatians 3:27, 1 Peter 3:21) This is how God says to be saved and it really is that simple.
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, 306 Walnut Street,
Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA