Mere Humanity

In the following excerpt from Mere Christianity, C.S Lewis proves he is a fallen human being. Not that we needed evidence for that, but these words did surprise me.

“It [Christ’s return] will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realised it before or not. Now, today, this moment is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It will not last for ever. We must take it or leave it.” (Lewis in For All the Saints: A Prayer Book for and by the Church: Volume II, 121.)

Thank God that He doesn’t give you the “chance.” God simply saves you.

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29 thoughts on “Mere Humanity

  1. Now that’s the kind of witnessing I can handle. It’s not up to me. I don’t have anything to worry about; either God will choose me or he won’t. If God dosen’t save me now or in the near future, there is nothing I can do about it. Thank you Michael. I’ll tell my friends about this blog and maybe they’ll leave me alone about this stuff.

  2. Now that’s the kind of witnessing I can handle. It’s not up to me. I don’t have anything to worry about; either God will choose me or he won’t. If God dosen’t save me now or in the near future, there is nothing I can do about it. Thank you Michael. I’ll tell my friends about this blog and maybe they’ll leave me alone about this stuff.

  3. Now that’s the kind of witnessing I can handle. It’s not up to me. I don’t have anything to worry about; either God will choose me or he won’t. If God dosen’t save me now or in the near future, there is nothing I can do about it. Thank you Michael. I’ll tell my friends about this blog and maybe they’ll leave me alone about this stuff.

  4. I believe Prof. Lewis was thinking of 2 Corinthians 5:20ff. You are talking about Objective Justification. Faith receives it. Yes, that is His work too, but that does not invalidate a call to “obey the Gospel” (2 Thess. 1:8; 1 Pet. 4:17).

    BTW, did you know of Lewis’ poem regarding Balaam’s Ass? See “Donkeys’ Delight.”

    Shalom!

  5. Perhaps “God simply saves you” is a bit of an overstatement. He doesn’t save those who refuse His grace.

    Tim

  6. Yeah, and thankfully he doesn’t save us on the basis of our sincerity, the strength of our faith, or anything else wrought in us. We are saved on account of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection ALONE! Amen

    Kobra

  7. “By what power do I NOT refuse His grace?”

    Good point. To clarify: God doesn’t save those who resist His grace to the end of their lives, thus committing the sin against the Holy Spirit. Do we not have to assert this in order to guard against attributing their damnation to God? The people who are not saved are alone responsible for their damnation.
    Obviously, you want to preserve God’s monergism in salvation (I certainly do as well). God’s election cannot be preached to unbelievers, however. There, the message is “Repent and believe.” Once the Holy Spirit has worked repentance through the Law, then the grace of God alone can be preached. I’m not suggesting you (Michael) don’t know this, only trying to clarify for people like “Pagan&Loveit”.

    Tim

  8. Tim,

    Thank you for your helpful reminders, especially that reminder that “people who are not saved are alone responsible for their damnation.” We uphold both truths: Man’s salvation=100% God’s work and Man’s Damnation=100% man’s fault.

    I am not sure about these words of yours, however. “God’s election cannot be preached to unbelievers, however.” If am given the opportunity to speak to a large crowd, I think I still could say, “Jesus Christ died and rose for you.” Or, in reference to my post, I could say, “God saves you.” Isn’t that proclamation? We proclaim. God does his work.

  9. Ok, what’s going on here? I’m trying to argue, using your post, that God will either save me or he won’t. It’s all up to the big guy in the sky. But, just like other people say, now you guys are saying that I have to accept and not resist? And, I have to perserve it?!?! This is the same stuff my friends keep shoving down my throat!

    Mike, I like what you’re saying. My “eternal” salvation is up to God 100%! There’s nothing I can do about it. Either he’ll save me or he won’t. I’ll just tell my friends to read your stuff, keep up the good work!

  10. Ok, what’s going on here? I’m trying to argue, using your post, that God will either save me or he won’t. It’s all up to the big guy in the sky. But, just like other people say, now you guys are saying that I have to accept and not resist? And, I have to perserve it?!?! This is the same stuff my friends keep shoving down my throat!

    Mike, I like what you’re saying. My “eternal” salvation is up to God 100%! There’s nothing I can do about it. Either he’ll save me or he won’t. I’ll just tell my friends to read your stuff, keep up the good work!

  11. Ok, what’s going on here? I’m trying to argue, using your post, that God will either save me or he won’t. It’s all up to the big guy in the sky. But, just like other people say, now you guys are saying that I have to accept and not resist? And, I have to perserve it?!?! This is the same stuff my friends keep shoving down my throat!

    Mike, I like what you’re saying. My “eternal” salvation is up to God 100%! There’s nothing I can do about it. Either he’ll save me or he won’t. I’ll just tell my friends to read your stuff, keep up the good work!

  12. Pagan,
    Who said you have to “preserve it”? Also, who said “accept and not resist”? I said, “Repent and believe,” but that doesn’t mean you cause the repentance and faith in yourself.

    Michael, ack!, not very “systematic” of me. It might be clearer if I said “predestination.” Are you using Forde’s thing about preachers “electing” their hearers? I suppose, but to preach predestination to unbelievers could be seen as equal to preaching Gospel to those untouched by the Law. On the other hand, maybe those unbelievers have already been touched by the Law, and so it is time to “elect” them with the Gospel.
    No doubt we’d agree, if we actually spoke face to face! See you in August.

    Tim

  13. To the Guys Talking about Predestination…

    Hey, we just studied that today in a class I’ve been taking — The Life and Times of CFW Walther. I think with your talking with Pagan you need to remind him that the doctrine of Divine Election is intended forthe believer’s comfort, not for carnal security. (Perhaps you have been doing so, and I haven’t been reading everything…) But regardless (or as you would say, irregardless), I appreciate that wonderful comforting truth that I had absolutely nothing to do with my salvation! When Jesus said “Repent and Believe the Gospel” He gave the faith to do so. But in choosing me, God didn’t need to look forward in time and check “Is Bertonius going to have faith or not? Hmmm… Let’s see…” Ha! 🙂 So salvation does not depend on me! What a wonderful thing, Predestination!

    And we also want to maintain that other glorious truth that when Jesus died on the accursed tree he paid for the sins of the entire world, not just the elect. God’s grace is universal. Why some spurn such a graceful God and resist the call of the Gospel I will never know. But that’s the cross of the theologian anyway… 🙂 I suppose since I’m the theologian in residence where I am, I need to think about it, but God has not revealed an answer, so I will not say.

    Well, the time draws nigh for sleep. So, sleep I must.

  14. OK, I read the other posts, (that is, I didn’t go to sleep as I should have) and I want to make it clear that I think you guys are doing a great job talking about Election/Predestination. But I’m not so sure there’s a difference between those two terms. (Maybe the difference is just something that Foerde made up… I assume you’re talking “Preaching as Proclaimation”) 🙂

    Later…
    Bertonius

  15. Pagan –

    You can’t accept salvation. Salavtion is God’s work. But you can resist. All who are not saved resist. Listen:

    Jesus Christ died on the cross to purchase you from sin, death and the devil’s power. He then rose from the dead and ascended into heaven to prove His point and ability. He will come again to close the books on the issue permantly at an undisclosed moment in the future. This is objective fact.

    If you don’t believe it, if you think that it is untrue, then that is because you are a blasphemer who is resisting the Holy Spirit with your carnal heart and knowledge. I must warn you that you stand in condemnation by the Almighty God because you have rejected the miracle of His only Son’s salvation. Repent. Stop asserting your godlessness. It is not too late for you to be saved, but you shall never be saved so long as you cling to your smugness and pride.

    Of course, I prefer that you actually believe my words. They are, after all, the truth. They were attested to by many eye witnesses in the 1st century, and have a vast amount of historical accountabilty. Because it is the truth, you can know with complete assurance that God has saved you, totally, without merit or effort on your part. You do not need to accept anything, but you have already been accepted by God in Christ. It is indeed a blessed thing to know that God is 100% in charge of salvation, and that that power has elected you through the Word of Christ.

    So you see, Pagan, your “friends” are wrong in that they keep trying to “make” you “accept” something which you actually have no power to accept. It’s in defiance of all reason that they implore you to make yourself believe that a man not only could rise from the dead, but is actually God incarnate. However, you are wrong in thinking that if you reject this truth, it is not your fault, but God’s. If you refuse to believe what is proclaimed to you by the Living God Himself, who is to blame but yourself? God has done all the work to save you. It is your problem if you refuse to believe it.

    Now…hopefully I’ve really confused you. That means you’re listening carefully. 🙂 I have told you that God is the only cause of salvation, but that you are the only cause of damnation. Unlike the verifiable historical proofs, witnesses and confessions of Christianity (which are profoundly testable by logic and study,) this simple reality defies logic. We proclaim it only because it is what was first proclaimed by the eye witnesses to Christ Himself. It is now called the “crux thelogorum,” the “problem of the cross,” or the “doctrine of election/predestination.” It is a miraculous albeit bizarrely divine thing. It is beyond our comprehension (even as God Himself is.) If it confuses you, that’s a good thing, because it confuses me too. But I learned long ago that simply because I can’t understand something, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t true, AND what is certainly true is this:

    Jesus Christ suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried; the third day He rose again from the dead, redeeming me (and you,) a lost and condemned creature, with His holy, precious blood, that we might be His own, and live under Him in His kingdom in everlasting rightouesness, innocence and blessedness, especially after He comes again to judge the living and the dead.

    Yes. This is most certainly true.

  16. I think I like what you’re saying. And I appreciate the time you’ve taken to discuss it. But, here’s the thing I don’t like about it. “Believeing” in what you say about god’s “son,” if I’m correct, will give me “eternal” salvation. You say that if I don’t believe, then I have to repent. Okay. You also say that I can’t accept or “believe” what you’re saying about Jesus because I’m dead or something. Okay…how the heck am I suppose to “believe” and “repent” if God doesn’t make me do it? That’s what I thought Michael was saying: I can not “believe” this crap, unless God makes me. If I’m “dead,” how am I suppose to repent!?! If it’s up to me to repent, than how is “god” saving me!?! It then becomes my choose whether I say sorry (repent) or not, whether I will be “saved” or not! It’s up to me!

    Let me clarify. Obviously, I don’t believe what you said about Jesus. But, how am I suppose to believe what you say unless god makes me believe, unless he “saves” me? If it’s up to me to repent, then that is the same crap my “friends” (no longer “friends” if they keep this up) say. I thought, Michael was saying it’s not by chance, God will save me if he wants to.

  17. I think I like what you’re saying. And I appreciate the time you’ve taken to discuss it. But, here’s the thing I don’t like about it. “Believeing” in what you say about god’s “son,” if I’m correct, will give me “eternal” salvation. You say that if I don’t believe, then I have to repent. Okay. You also say that I can’t accept or “believe” what you’re saying about Jesus because I’m dead or something. Okay…how the heck am I suppose to “believe” and “repent” if God doesn’t make me do it? That’s what I thought Michael was saying: I can not “believe” this crap, unless God makes me. If I’m “dead,” how am I suppose to repent!?! If it’s up to me to repent, than how is “god” saving me!?! It then becomes my choose whether I say sorry (repent) or not, whether I will be “saved” or not! It’s up to me!

    Let me clarify. Obviously, I don’t believe what you said about Jesus. But, how am I suppose to believe what you say unless god makes me believe, unless he “saves” me? If it’s up to me to repent, then that is the same crap my “friends” (no longer “friends” if they keep this up) say. I thought, Michael was saying it’s not by chance, God will save me if he wants to.

  18. I think I like what you’re saying. And I appreciate the time you’ve taken to discuss it. But, here’s the thing I don’t like about it. “Believeing” in what you say about god’s “son,” if I’m correct, will give me “eternal” salvation. You say that if I don’t believe, then I have to repent. Okay. You also say that I can’t accept or “believe” what you’re saying about Jesus because I’m dead or something. Okay…how the heck am I suppose to “believe” and “repent” if God doesn’t make me do it? That’s what I thought Michael was saying: I can not “believe” this crap, unless God makes me. If I’m “dead,” how am I suppose to repent!?! If it’s up to me to repent, than how is “god” saving me!?! It then becomes my choose whether I say sorry (repent) or not, whether I will be “saved” or not! It’s up to me!

    Let me clarify. Obviously, I don’t believe what you said about Jesus. But, how am I suppose to believe what you say unless god makes me believe, unless he “saves” me? If it’s up to me to repent, then that is the same crap my “friends” (no longer “friends” if they keep this up) say. I thought, Michael was saying it’s not by chance, God will save me if he wants to.

  19. Yes. And No. And then some. 🙂

    We are struggling with the unanswerable question of the mind of God. Yes. God must “make” you believe. The way He does that is by telling you (not TO believe,) but WHAT to believe. When that Truth presents itself into your mind, it creates faith in Itself. The only way this does not happen, is if you resist the working of God’s Spirit, forcibly making yourself to NOT believe.

    To attack this apparent contradiction in terms with logic will only end up sounding like your “aquaintances” ( 🙂 ) or like a total fatalist, both of which are things which the Apostles who witnessed Christ’s resurrection have told us are less than True. Do we believe them or not? Your “aquaintainces” actually (very likely) don’t believe the Apostles’ writings (ie the Scriptures) in their totality, or else they wouldn’t talk about things like “making decisions for Jesus” (I’m kind of assuming that they do.) They would probably tell you, (if they believed the Scriptures) rather, that what you really need is to BE baptized (like Peter and Paul are keen on saying,) not because this “accepts” God, but because baptism is God’s way of saying that He accepts you. It’s His means of making you believe even more by giving you a tangible promise. (But now I’m digressing.)

    The point I was getting at is this: even your friends can’t MAKE themselves believe the Scriptures. God must do that work. The paradox is that He does that work though the Word itself. This work is done in all those who don’t resist it with all their might. What separates those who resist from those whom God forces into faith? That is the question for which an honest reader of Scripture has no answer.

    The Scripures are at once fatalistic AND choice-oriented. It’s a matter of WHEN they are what they are. When speaking about salvation, God’s eternal election reigns sovereign. When speaking about damnation, man’s decision is the ultimate authority. If you want me to rectify the equation so that it balances mathematically, I can only confess to you that the Scriptures allow no such teaching. There is a ditch on both sides of the road and there is always an error in the opposite direction. This is precisely why two theologians who essentially always agree with each other (ie Tim and Mike,) wound up in a disagreement on this issue. They were each guarding one side of the ditch, and so it appeared to the other that the other other was in jeopardy of falling off the side he was guarding.

    It’s actually rather tedious. That’s why Jesus died on a cross and told us thatwe would live in that death. Nothing about Chrisitianity is easy for fallen man. It’s death to him (and that means to me!) And yet, its eternally the easiest thing there ever was, is, or will be. It’s also life to fallen man, by raising him from the dead (and that means you!)

    You may be closer to faith than you (or your friends) give yourself credit for. Certainly, you stand in jeopardy of apostacy from the faith if you insist on rejecting who Christ is and what He has done. But you are listening to the Word of God I’ve been speaking to you, and that means there is an internal war going on in you, whether you are aware of it or not. That is the Gospel (in the broad sense!) having its way. It attacks and destroys in order that it might comfort and restore. It’s Word is never empty of unfathomable power, but you can resist it if you insist. (Hence the ever Christian practice of confession and absolution!…but that’s another thread altogether.)

    The peace of Christ rest on you, pagan, that you will be, like the rest of us redeemed, pagan&hating it, thus waiting ever anxiously for Christ’s return to set us free at last from our wicked selves! Amen.

  20. Thanks for your comments, Othniel. Now, I don’t want to be a stick in the mud, but I have to respond. Whether you want to respond is up to you. I won’t hold it against you if you don’t, you’ve spent a lot of time answering already. Here it is:

    The part about the faith already working in me without me knowing or accepting it (I feel invaded!) sounds great! So, God will or does force this faith on me (Not saying I argee with you that I have this faith in me simply because I’ve read your response…scary!). But…if I resist it then its gone. I don’t think this is staying in the middle of the road at all. See, what I’ve heard and continue to hear is that I can be saved without doing anything. But, you say that their is the danger of me resisting this faith (which god has already forced on me…which is one definition of rape) and losing it. So…according to my friends: I have to accept god. According to you: I have to stop myself from resisting. No matter what: I have to do something! THe decision is on me! WIll I allow this faith, which is already in me, to stay or will I resist it? Sounds like a tough….DECISION.

    I think I miss understood this post because I’m giving my friends more amunition to force me to walk up to the altar and make a decision. I’ve always said to them: if god wants to save me he’ll make me believe what you’re saying. I guess after listening to you, I should say: if god wants to save me he’ll stop me from resisting and the faith will stay in me.

    Either way, I’m leaving it up to the big guy in the sky (if he’s really up there and not just up in our heads–imagination). If he’s got the power to force himself on me, and if he wants me, then he will.

  21. Thanks for your comments, Othniel. Now, I don’t want to be a stick in the mud, but I have to respond. Whether you want to respond is up to you. I won’t hold it against you if you don’t, you’ve spent a lot of time answering already. Here it is:

    The part about the faith already working in me without me knowing or accepting it (I feel invaded!) sounds great! So, God will or does force this faith on me (Not saying I argee with you that I have this faith in me simply because I’ve read your response…scary!). But…if I resist it then its gone. I don’t think this is staying in the middle of the road at all. See, what I’ve heard and continue to hear is that I can be saved without doing anything. But, you say that their is the danger of me resisting this faith (which god has already forced on me…which is one definition of rape) and losing it. So…according to my friends: I have to accept god. According to you: I have to stop myself from resisting. No matter what: I have to do something! THe decision is on me! WIll I allow this faith, which is already in me, to stay or will I resist it? Sounds like a tough….DECISION.

    I think I miss understood this post because I’m giving my friends more amunition to force me to walk up to the altar and make a decision. I’ve always said to them: if god wants to save me he’ll make me believe what you’re saying. I guess after listening to you, I should say: if god wants to save me he’ll stop me from resisting and the faith will stay in me.

    Either way, I’m leaving it up to the big guy in the sky (if he’s really up there and not just up in our heads–imagination). If he’s got the power to force himself on me, and if he wants me, then he will.

  22. Thanks for your comments, Othniel. Now, I don’t want to be a stick in the mud, but I have to respond. Whether you want to respond is up to you. I won’t hold it against you if you don’t, you’ve spent a lot of time answering already. Here it is:

    The part about the faith already working in me without me knowing or accepting it (I feel invaded!) sounds great! So, God will or does force this faith on me (Not saying I argee with you that I have this faith in me simply because I’ve read your response…scary!). But…if I resist it then its gone. I don’t think this is staying in the middle of the road at all. See, what I’ve heard and continue to hear is that I can be saved without doing anything. But, you say that their is the danger of me resisting this faith (which god has already forced on me…which is one definition of rape) and losing it. So…according to my friends: I have to accept god. According to you: I have to stop myself from resisting. No matter what: I have to do something! THe decision is on me! WIll I allow this faith, which is already in me, to stay or will I resist it? Sounds like a tough….DECISION.

    I think I miss understood this post because I’m giving my friends more amunition to force me to walk up to the altar and make a decision. I’ve always said to them: if god wants to save me he’ll make me believe what you’re saying. I guess after listening to you, I should say: if god wants to save me he’ll stop me from resisting and the faith will stay in me.

    Either way, I’m leaving it up to the big guy in the sky (if he’s really up there and not just up in our heads–imagination). If he’s got the power to force himself on me, and if he wants me, then he will.

  23. By the way, Othniel. I’m not bitter or mad. I appreciate your time, even when this thing isn’t on the main site. I just think religion is a personal thing and am tried of people pushing it on me.

  24. By the way, Othniel. I’m not bitter or mad. I appreciate your time, even when this thing isn’t on the main site. I just think religion is a personal thing and am tried of people pushing it on me.

  25. By the way, Othniel. I’m not bitter or mad. I appreciate your time, even when this thing isn’t on the main site. I just think religion is a personal thing and am tried of people pushing it on me.

  26. Pagan,
    Side-question: what do you mean by “pagan”?

    How about this for an example of what Othniel’s saying: Christians believe that God created everything that exists by speaking. What that means is that when God speaks, He also does. When God does, He also speaks. Speaking and doing are not two separate acts, but the same when God does them (and occasionally when humans do them as well). So if you hear the Law of God saying that you don’t live up to God’s standards on your own, which means you’re in danger of the consequences of your sin; and you hear the Gospel telling you that God has already taken care of those consequences (eternal death, suffering, separation from God and other humans) in Jesus, then God’s Word has the power (through His Holy Spirit) to give you the faith you need to be saved.
    As long as you are looking at whether _you_ have made a decision or not, you will always doubt your ability (or even desire) to make such a decision. Look at Jesus and what He’s done for you!
    Read one of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John), and see what you find. Neither Othniel nor I (nor your friends!) can convince you of anything. God bless,

    Tim

  27. And I appreciate your taking the time to read. 🙂 (Did I call you bitter? I didn’t mean to…) Ironically, it is the theology of your friends which will make people bitter, most especially them. Even if you ARE a Chrsitian or do become one (ie, are baptized,) I would encourage you to continue to provoke your friends by refusing to “accept Jesus.” The more hard headed refusals they receive, the more they may be forced to question their own decisions, the more likely they may be broken, and then the more likely they might actually see Jesus instead of themselves. (And, when I do say bitter, I don’t alwasy mean outwardly…it’s amazing what kinds of things people carry around inside them.)

    Anyway, I hope you don’t hink I’m pushing my religion. It’s not a drug or even a philsophy. In some ways, Christianity (at least, pure Chrisitianity) isn’t really even a religion. It’s a man named Jesus Christ who is the Son of God. And He does push, but He does it by dying on a cross. His power is weakness and his wisdom is folly. STrange man to make a decision for. I guess the resurrection gives it a bit more credence. Anyway…point attempting to be…Christianity is not pushed, it is GIVEN.

    Peace

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