Simple Christianity.

 •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 9
HE who seeks to maintain the gospel in its native purity, disentangled from such treacherous additions as legalism and mysticism, renders it a service of incalculable value, and the soul that accepts it, in its divine simplicity, and rests by faith on its solid foundations, is not only wise but peaceful. He has "the full assurance of faith." It is in the gospel that we have the full revelation of God. It is there that we learn of His love to man, of the gift of His Son, whose atoning death and glorious resurrection have settled the whole question of sin, of the coming of the Holy Spirit to bear witness to Him, and of the consequent place in God's perfect favor of all who believe. The entrance into the enjoyment of this favor is by faith and only faith, whatever may be the deep exercises of conscience experienced ere the precious result is known. But this necessarily puts man, as fallen and guilty, wholly aside, and repudiates, as less than worthless, all he is or has, all he does or feels. Grace can have no supplement.
The lifeboat is not assisted by aught in the sinking vessel. And so "salvation is of the Lord." But it is just here that the pride of the human heart displays itself. It offers a helping hand, either by works of merit or else by feelings and inward evidences. The one is legalism, the other mysticism, and both are fatal adjuncts to the saving grace of God. Each must be absolutely refused. The gospel was early assailed by these two enemies. In the Epistle to the Galatians the former is combated and set aside, in that to the Colossians the spirit of the latter is condemned.
In Galatians we read: "Not I, but Christ" (2:20); and in Colossians: "Christ is everything and in all" (3:11). No room is left in either for aught of man. If in the "new man" Christ is all, and the "new man" is the direct creation of. God, what place can be found for one particle of the "old man"? None whatever; and hence all that springs from any other source than Christ, and that in the energy of the Spirit, is utterly valueless. Good works, warm feelings, or fine sentiments which flow not from Him alone are sinful.
We live in days of rapid change. Waves of thought and opinion roll quickly over us. Some half-century ago legalism largely dominated the religious mind; to-day mysticism is making enormous strides. By a clear gospel, diligently proclaimed, the mist and misgivings of legalism were scattered, and, on every hand, believers in the Lord Jesus 'leaped into liberty and peace with. God. There was the knowledge of salvation as brought to us by the grace of God, and, on the part of thankful multitudes, a devoted obedience to the lessons it teaches. There was separation of heart and life to Christ, and a true endeavor to carry out the will of God personally, relatively, and ecclesiastically.
All this was very happy, and suggestive of Philadelphian testimony, and of an evident work of the Spirit which will endure, in measure at least, until the word is fulfilled which says: "I come quickly." But, concurrently, a danger now threatens. There is a large rebound from the liberty of grace to a modified form of mysticism, the baneful effects of which will surely become evident. But what is mysticism?
“In its technical service mysticism deals exclusively with the subjective as contradistinguished from the objective... it looks to the moral instincts of the heart for light and evidence in arriving at conceptions of God and truth, salvation and final blessedness, and substitutes the inward illumination of the human spirit for the outward illumination of the Spirit of God.”
Quoting from another:—
"Mysticism, while boasting much of its feelings, never gets beyond desire, while simple Christianity, giving the knowledge of salvation, puts us into full possession of the love of God. I know that He loves Christ: that love has saved me. In peace I contemplate this love, and I adore it in Christ. I dwell in Him and He in me.”
A valuable extract indeed, and one which places a high premium on what is called "Simple Christianity" as that which, giving the knowledge of salvation, leads to the highest heights of spiritual joy, "I dwell in Him and He in me.”
Notice, "Mysticism never gets beyond desire" Weigh that fact. There may be degrees of mysticism, as there are degrees of light and dark, but mysticism only reaches desire. Yet desire leaves the heart empty and uncertain. It is not the fountain that springs up to everlasting life. It is not peace, nor joy, nor energy, nor the Spirit of God. Mysticism builds on internal evidences, and rears a faulty superstructure.
Simple Christianity, while producing inward evidences, rests on revelation made good in the heart and conscience by the Holy Ghost, fills the soul with joy, and fits it to reproduce the life of Christ here below.
“We have this treasure in earthen vessels" indeed, but the treasure is Christ—a heavenly Christ—for reflection and expression from out of these earthen vessels.'
May we know better the meaning of that profound word—"the simplicity that is in Christ"—and live in the freshness and beauty of "simple Christianity." J. W. S.