The Relationship of Simplicity and Purity
This new series will present some of the best-loved texts of Christians throughout history and around the world. It is amazing that the best-known verses among Christians in America are also the most-loved in all other countries as well. Due to our over-familiarity with these simple passages, we often miss the power and the practicality of the truths they present. For example:
“But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led
astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” 2Co 11:3 (NASB)
Simplicity is conducive to purity. This is the meaning of the text. While some versions do not include the word “purity,” it is found in a wide range of early texts (see the NET Bible) and is critical to Paul’s point. The opposite of “simplicity” is duplicity, which is another term for deception. It is the enemy of Truth.
Jesus states essentially the same thing in Mat 6:22, “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good [i.e., “single”—same word as “simple” here], your whole body will be full of light.” The ability to have single-minded focus on truth is the only defense against Satan’s attempts to flood the soul with the clamor of false criteria.
This text makes it clear that Satan deceives by craftiness. The word in the original language could include the idea of getting lost in many details. It is a word that means, “to work every angle.” Satan’s deception depends on flooding the mind and the senses with an overload of information, overwhelming our defenses and defeating our discernment. The desired goal is to make the simple seem inadequate in the face of the complex. In other words, the “majority” rules over the “minority.”
On the contrary, the truth in Christ begins with simplicity and leads to purity. Paul repeatedly utilized the tactic of simplicity/single-mindedness to defeat the false teachers and deceivers of his day.
“For our boasting [confidence/assurance] is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you.” 2Co 1:12
Paul’s boldness in ministry, he says, was the direct result of a conscious effort to both teach and live in the supernatural power of “simplicity and godly sincerity.” This word “sincerity” is made up of two words: sunshine and judged. It is that which is able to be judged/viewed in the sunlight. It is a God-like purity, which is openly displayed for all to see.
The simplicity of truth is the hidden power of life; purity is its visible fruit.