It must be human nature to overcomplicate things that were originally intended to be simple. Faith is a good example of this. Ancient texts of the Christian faith teach that Jesus of Nazareth, who lived somewhere between 4 B.C. – 33 A.D. in modern-day Palestine, taught that there is a very simplistic key to gaining what he called eternal life.
He, along with other prominent members of his followership, taught that eternal life is a privilege that God would grant to some but not all. The Basic tenants of their didactic message were simple and clear.
They taught that the human race, although originally created without defect, rebelled against God in the early stages of human history. As a result, mankind is now flawed and unable to gain access to the Creator of the Universe. This applies not only for this life but also for the life to come.
Early church founders staked their lives on the words of Jesus of Nazareth. They believed that, because of Earth’s current flawed nature and consequent separation from its creator, God sent his son Jesus to earth in the form of a man. As A Man Jesus was executed and died a physical death. Followers of this messianic figure understood this to be a symbolic and literal sacrifice.
Most modern believers in Christ still interpret his execution to be a type of replacement sacrifice. While alive, Christ himself taught that being imperfect in the eyes of God ultimately leads to physical death and eternal separation from God. Therefore, flawed people could never be perfect enough to gain entrance into heaven. Without the death of Jesus as a substitution all of the human race was doomed.
Very few honest scholars deny the life and death of Jesus of Nazareth. There is more to the story, however. The students of Jesus as well as the 80 generations to follow in their footsteps claim vehemently that, although Jesus did die, he did not stay dead. There are textual artifacts that indicate in one instance that Jesus appeared to as many as 500 people at once after his death in early April, probably in the year 27 A.D.
The scriptural records of his time show that not only did he rise from the dead but that long before these things took place he specifically predicted that it would all happen. What is fascinating about the entire Christological narrative is that his teachings, along with the teachings of his direct pupils centered, around a very simple idea.
That idea was, “believe.” Many faith systems the world over, have long focused on rituals and regimented actions to gain possible acceptance into an afterlife to come. Jesus left no system of activities behind that could purchase a place in the heavenly realm. His teachings clearly explain that the key to heaven and eternal life with God is to believe.
In order to gain eternal life, Christ’s description to a certain learner was, the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
Keep what was meant to be simple as it was… simple… simply believe.
Yep. The overall repeated simple admonition to "believe" runs through the entire NT. Ironically, I did not "believe" this until I wrote 'The Grace New Testament' in 2020.