This next section of Paul’s letter is a defense against others who speak against Paul.
I wish that you would bear with me in a little foolishness; but indeed you are bearing with me. 2 For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin. 3 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. 4 For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.
The foolishness that Paul is referring to is entertaining the other prophets and teachers that have come through Corinth to teach the church things contrary to what Paul has. Remember, Corinth was a commercial and religious hub. The foolishness is that he even has to address it. He starts by explaining how hard he has worked for the Corinthians to be true followers of Christ. He does it by using the metaphor of being presented to the husband at a wedding. After all, we are the bride of Christ.
The next thing Paul says is something we must engrain in our minds: being devoted to Christ is pure and simple. As humans, we sure like to complicate things, don’t we? We have to make a set of rules and an obstacle course to navigate so only “the best survive.” The truth is, however, God’s Kingdom doesn’t work like we do. Some think the concept is too simple. Others think it’s a trick to get your money. And more believe it is a false hope. “Nothing in life is that simple,” is what we are led to believe and it is this very thinking that leads us astray! The very attitude that we think is protecting us is in fact deceiving us.
We should all take heed to Paul’s message in verse 4. He doesn’t mention people coming to preach a different god or deity, rather a different version of Jesus. How many different versions of Jesus are there today? How many different gospel messages are being taught? They might even teach the same gospel, but they apply it in ungodly ways. This is why it is so important for us to stick with reading and studying and understanding God’s word for what it really says, not what man says it means. If men knew the whole truth, then we wouldn’t have needed God to come down in the form of Jesus to show us, would we? We get so eager to hear what we want to hear and be coddled and comforted (as I discussed in tickled pink) that we close our ears to the truth and instead hear half-truths. This is exactly how Satan deceived Adam and Eve in the garden. They were deceived because they didn’t pay attention to what God said, rather to what others were telling them about God.
Following Christ is pure and simple. When we follow Him, we become pure through sanctification. He sanctifies (purifies) us into His likeness by the transforming of our minds as our will begins to align with His. The more we follow Him, the more this happens. The simple part is we just mimic what He does. We have accounts of what He did on earth. We have scripture that reveals what He continues to do through others. All we have to do is follow. The more we do it, the simpler it gets. This of course isn’t to say that life from an earthly/human standpoint gets easier, but it gets easier to deal with because we begin living on a whole different level where this world doesn’t affect us the same way.
How close are you with God? Have you realized the simplicity of being a true follower of Christ? Are you listening to teachers that teach things contrary to the Word of God?