Mere Christianity: Nice People or New Men (Part 1)

God is easy to please, but hard to satisfy.

That being said, C.S. Lewis continues by saying:

“He meant what He said. Those who put themselves in His hands will become perfect, as He is perfect -perfect in love, wisdom, joy, beauty, and immortality. – The change will not be completed in this life, for death is an important part of the treatment. How far the change will have gone before death in any particular Christian is uncertain.” (pg. 207)

“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect…”- Matthew 5:48

“If Christianity is true why are not all Christians obviously nicer than all non-Christians? If conversion to Christianity makes no improvement in a man’s outward actions – if he continues to be just as snobbish or spiteful or envious or ambitious as he was before – then I think we must suspect that his ‘conversion’ was largely imaginary. Fine feelings, new insights, greater interest in religion mean nothing unless they make our actual behaviour better, just as in an illness ‘feeling better’ is not much good if the thermometer shows that your temperature is still going up. A tree is known by its fruit. When we Christians fail to behave well, we are making Christianity unbelievable to the outside world.” (pgs. 207, 208)

“Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits…”- Matthew 7:19, 20

“Take, for example, Christian Miss Bates who has an unkinder tongue than unbelieving Dick Firkin. That, by itself, does not tell us whether Christianity works. The question is what Miss Bates’ tongue would be like if she were not a Christian and what Dick’s would be like if he became one. Miss Bates and Dick, as a result of natural causes and early upbringing, have certain temperaments: Christianity professes to put both temperaments under new management if they will allow it to do so.” (pg. 210)

“Before Christ has finished with Miss Bates, she is going to be very ‘nice’ indeed. But if we left it at that, it would sound as though Christ’s only aim was to pull Miss Bates up to the same level on which Dick has been all along. We have been talking, in fact, as if Dick were all right; as if Christianity was something nasty people needed and nice ones could afford to do without; and as if niceness was all that God demanded. But this would be a fatal mistake. The truth is that in God’s eyes Dick Firkin needs saving every bit as much as Miss Bates. Do not misunderstand me. Of course God regards a nasty nature as a bad and deplorable thing, and regards a nice one as a good thing. It costs God nothing to create nice things, but to convert rebellious wills cost His crucifixion. ” (pg.211)

“I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.”- Romans 6:19

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2 Responses to Mere Christianity: Nice People or New Men (Part 1)

  1. Melissa says:

    Thanks John for reading my posts & I’m glad you find something interesting in them. As you can plainly see I am a Christian, ever since I was a child. For me it’s more about believing than questioning (sometimes there are no clear answers) & of course faith is the main ingredient I guess for all religions. I find that questions are part of human nature & faith is part of spiritual nature. I am very open mined & respectful of other people’s beliefs, yet I keep very firm on mine. I have yet to comment your post. I dearly wish you well John… I will be praying.

    Warm regards,
    Melissa

  2. John says:

    Fantastic selections. It’s been a long time since I read this part of “Mere Christianity” (did I ever read it? There seems to be mark here or there from me in a few pages in that part of the book, but reading your excerpts is having that Wow effect, so maybe I never read it!)

    Anywho, great selections Melissa, and I look forward to part 2!

    Kindest regards (as always)! (Unless I’m Mr Firkin, in which case my regards could be even nicer if I became a better [actual? Depends on the day of the week with me; I’m very agnostic and find much in Buddhism that speaks to me as well!] Christian!–then I’d have even kinder than kindest regards to offer!

    John

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