A Counselor Reflects on Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
“If you like to put it that way, Christ offers something for nothing: He even offers everything for nothing. In a sense, the whole Christian life consists in accepting that very remarkable offer. But the difficulty is to reach the point of recognizing that all we have done and can do is nothing. What we should have liked would be for God to count our good points and ignore our bad ones (p. 147).” Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
Would you trade your pride for everything? Obviously, this is a bit of a trick question. “Everything” would not include the things that exacerbated your pride if your pride was what you were trading.
Let’s phrase the question more accurately. Would you trade all your self-sufficiency for a clean conscience, contentment regardless of circumstances, and an eternity of losing yourself in the greatness of God?
The sticky one is “losing myself.” It is both what we want and what we resist. We pay to go to concerts, sporting events, and natural wonders to lose ourselves in something bigger than us. People abuse drugs and alcohol to escape (i.e., lose themselves) for a brief period of time.
BUT… the catch is that none of these are permanent and necessary. We can leave the concert, or stop our substance when choose. We are still Lord of our lives. That is the turning point of the gospel. God offers us freely what we already trade our life for, but the trade is both permanent and necessary. Jesus demands to be Lord if He is accepted as Savior.
More than Jesus demanding to be Lord, this is the essence of salvation because what we are being saved from is ourselves. A doctor cannot both cure you from cancer and leave the cancer. In the same way, Jesus cannot both save you from you and leave you as Lord of you.
The insult of being given everything for nothing is the admission that nothing is all I had to give. The “greatest deal ever” emerges from the “greatest crisis ever.” The question is whether we’ll admit the crisis in order to receive the offer.
The moment we try to minimize our soul crisis or seek to remedy the crisis ourselves we have just picked back up the pride God asks for in exchange for His grace. We find ourselves in a predicament, because the “best deal ever” is hard to accept.
And, strangely, the difficulty is not that the gospel is “too good to be true” but that it’s “too true for us to still be good.” Inherently we know that this is more than a generic admission “that nobody’s perfect.”
We must admit that Jesus died the death I deserved bearing the sin I committed before we can enjoy the blessing He purchased. In effect, we have to look at the price tag of the free gift and acknowledge that price matched our need.
Ultimately, that is the offer. We give God our pride – accepting our moral crisis, refusing to minimize our sin, and recognizing self-improvement is utterly inadequate. God gives us everything – a clean conscience, contentment, and eternal joy in Him. Have you accepted this offer by placing your faith in Christ? If so, do you accept this offer daily as you battle with remaining sin?