Faith: The Irreducible Simplicity


Irreducible what?

In Christian apologetics, one of the arguments used as a proof point for the existence of God is what is called irreducible complexity. What this means is that natural selection (or evolution) cannot explain the development and cooperation of certain complex organs or systems of animals and humans, therefore there is no way those systems evolved from a simpler form, they had to be created. You can think of it as the chicken and egg situation. If the egg came first, where did the chicken that laid it come from? If the chicken came first, from which egg did it come?

Irreducibly complex organs or organisms are the most basic form of that organ or organism that can ever exist due to its interdependence on other organs or systems.

I explained all that to help my readers understand why I called faith the irreducible simplicity.

Tadpoles in the mud

I saw a recent video of Tim Keller where he remarks: “If Jesus Christ was actually raised from the dead, if He really got up, walked out, was seen by hundreds of people…everything is going to be alright”. This is a theologian of 30-plus years of active ministry talking about what he and his wife had tearfully discussed in the past year and it all boils down to one thing: faith in Christ.

Christians, particularly those of the Reformed persuasion, get a lot of information: daily in our devotionals, weekly from our local churches, quarterly in our conferences, periodically from our most trusted source of truth on the internet, and so on. It gets to a point, however, that we get so much information that we become tadpoles–big heads due to doctrinal overload–and lose sight of what is most important, Martha-style. (Luke 10:41-42)

What is faith?

Faith is simply trust, to completely trust. In Christian terms, it is to completely trust in the sacrifice of Christ on the cross as the only means by which we can be justified. It is to completely trust that Christ lived a perfect life and has now given to us the righteousness He obtained by the perfect life that He lived. It is to completely trust that God is good, sovereign, mighty, and rules over all creation. It is to trust completely in the redemptive history recorded in the pages of the Holy Scriptures as the Word of God.

Faith is the cornerstone of Christianity, therefore it is irreducible. Faith is also simple; it is so simple Jesus Christ describes it as childlike (Matt. 18: 3-4). Faith is so central to our belief that Christianity is referred to as “…the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). Christians are people “who through faith are shielded  by God’s power until the coming of the salvation…” (1 Pet. 1:5)

It is my goal in this article to persuade Christians to bring faith to the forefront of our daily lives. When we face troubles, trials, temptations, loss, lack, want, and anything in between, it is faith–complete trust–in who God is and has revealed Himself to be in the Scriptures that can help to hold us steadfast. God is who He is, He is not going to change, however, our trust in who He is, by the power of His Spirit helps us to: overcome temptations, be joyful in the midst of trials, thankful in the provision, and so on.

Faith’s use cases

It is in these moments that our faith develops perseverance and makes us become “mature and complete, not lacking anything”(James 1: 2-4). In the Scriptures, we are told our faith grows when it is desperate, in need, in trouble, in helplessness; as such, we should not despair when we are in less than ideal situations, we should instead trust in who God has shown Himself to be in the Scripture so that we may grow.

This is why whether you are a month-old believer or a 30-plus-year-old believer like Tim Keller, we all need to be reminded constantly that it is faith in Christ that will be our joy, peace, comfort, treasure, and most importantly, our salvation. We do not look to ourselves, the providences we enjoy, our growth in the faith, our sanctification, and so on because they all fall short of the perfection that is required. We all, young and old, need to look to Christ every day to grant us strength to go through trials, overcome temptations, manage time, be gracious, be patient, and so on.

I hope for you, my reader, and myself that we will be able to remember Christ every day, trust Him afresh every day, and sing like the hymn writer:

‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus
Just to take Him at His word
Just to rest upon His promise
Just to know: Thus says the Lord

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Oluwadara Oloye

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By Oluwadara Oloye

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