Matthew 18:3-4, introduces us to this idea of simple-faith by using the analogy of a child-like-faith saying, “Truly, I tell you, He said, “unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Have you ever watched or observed a child or an infant? A child understands things in simple-form, they under-complicate what we, as adults, often over-complicate –they see the riches and beauties in things we often overlook. An infant on the other hand, is more reliant on his/her parents. Just watch an infant try to eat or walk. If they want to eat, they cry signalling that they are ready to eat and if they want to go somewhere they point or make hand gestures indicating that they want to be someone else.
Jesus’ challenge in this passage is this: unless you change and become awestruck, like a little child, with God’s magnificent richness, His majesty, His power, His breath-taking creation and His awe-striking and awe-inspiring beauties, and unless you become completely God-reliant on Him, like an infant, you will not enter the Kingdom.
The older we get, the temptation is to become less-reliant on people, parents, coaches, mentors or teachers and less-reliant on God or less-reliant on the people that helped us when we were helpless, often because we become more independent and tempted by success, moving up the corporate ladder, chasing material things or becoming reliant and more interested in worldly pleasures –we become more interested in worshipping man-made treasures, instead of seeing and appreciating the simplicity of God’s beauty all around us.
In some ways, Jesus is saying: “believing in me is simple and the gospel is simple. If you just look around and see the beauty of my creation, who I am and how much I love you, you’ll see my majesty every, and you’ll see how I am in control of everything and how I want to give you everything and an otherworldly sense of peace and hope in the things above –the things that truly matter (my translation).”
In some ways, the gospel message is simple and even a child can comprehend it, get it, and accept it, as long as the Holy Spirit allows their minds to grasp it. But on the other-side, and in contrast to simplicity, there is this incredible weight of glory and this incredible depth to God, a depth, complexity and unfathomable majesty that cannot be calculated or comprehended by man-kind.
Even if we were to study God’s Word and His majesty for our entire life-time, we still wouldn’t be able to fathom all the wonders of God. There is Majesty, mystery, depth and complexity in every fibe of God’s being, with-in Him are many things, we won’t ever know until we get to heaven.
When we understand the simplicity, but over-look the complexity of God’s majesty, we cut the gospel and God’s majesty in half, and we become comfortable and okay with knowing what we know about God, and we stop there. The tendency is to receive our admission ticket into the Kingdom, and then to go on living our own life completely missing the complexity of the gospel and challenging ourselves to hunger and thirst after righteousness and get as close to God as possible –to learn as much as we can, about Him.
The gospel is simple, even Jesus said, we must have a child-like faith (Matthew 18:3). That means understanding the gospel, by means of the Holy Spirit’s enabling, isn’t like handing a child an algebraic equation and saying “figure it out” to the point where a child cannot calculate or understand the majesty or complexity of Christ.
The gospel is not like trying to figure out calculus –it’s simple. Anyone can receive it and accept it, as long as the Father will’s it. Even a child can get it, and we should be like children in order to enter the Kingdom. Yet contrasted on the complete other-side of the gospel=spectrum hangs in great balance the incredible weight of glory, the incredible weight of His majesty and incredible complexity –His unfathomable mysteries.
We need to be incredibly careful, to not over-complicate the gospel and make it all about rules, following laws or about making the gospel a head-game and/or becoming like the pharisee’s who knew every line of scripture and hung on every word of the law, but missed the heart-side of the gospel. They over-complicated it, entirely. They missed the point, completely.
The gospel is simple, yet our faith and God’s majesty is deep, wide and complex –His beauties are too beautiful to fully comprehend and His complexities too complex to discover all in one-day or even in this life-time. In our understanding of the gospel’s simplicity, we have to be careful to not shut-off our curiosity, wonder, hunger or desire to dive deeper with Christ. We need to be careful not to think we have exhausted or explored all it has to offer –that the gospel is too simple.
The truth is: the gospel and God’s magnificent Majesty is like a paradoxical ocean –it’s deep, wide profound and bottomless, but it’s two-fold to the point where gospel-inquirers and those who are thirsty can dip their feet into the not-so-deep end of God’s ocean and they can take a sip of God’s Majesty without being fully immersed from head-to-toe.
Some can, and only ever will experience a snapshot of God’s power and Majesty –they will only taste a sip of God’s majesty and that’s all they can comprehend or desire while others may venture into the deep mysterious and glorious depths of God’s mercy, kindness, love and magnificence diving deeper and deeper into the incredible and bottomless deep and depths of God’s majesty and dive deep down for millions of miles desperately craving to encounter God’s endless depth and beauty.
The gospel is paradoxical. It’s a contrasted paradox of both simplicity and complexity. But surely, those who challenge themselves to thirst and hunger after Christ more and more, and those who have the capacity to comprehend more — those who move past the simple-wading-waters in the not-so-deep-end of God’s incredible depthless ocean and those who continually dive deeper immersing themselves completely in God’s goodness and His profound majesty — will be those who are first in the invisible Kingdom.