Lewis on Fern-seed and Elephants

An excellent address given by C.S. Lewis originally entitled "Modern Theology and Biblical Criticism," nicely summarized here.


Communion: October 17, 2010

"Hi, everyone. My name is Joseph Porter, and I am a junior at Harvard College. I would like to share some thoughts about the cross.

There is one thing that most people think about when they think about the cross: forgiveness. And forgiveness is a beautiful thing. Jesus has washed our sins away, our consciences have been cleared, we've been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb! Forgiveness is awesome. But it's just the beginning.

Turn with me to 1 Peter 2.24.

'He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.'

'He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree.' There's the forgiveness. Jesus nailed our sins to the cross. And that's great, but it's not the end of the story. That's not all Jesus did. The forgiveness comes with a purpose: Jesus nailed our sins to the cross so that we could 'die to sins and live for righteousness.'

Think about that. Jesus didn't just die so that we could be forgiven; Jesus died so that we could be
transformed. Jesus didn't just die for our sins; Jesus died to destroy our sins. Jesus didn't just die to set us free from Hell; he died to set us free from sin and temptation and anything that entangles or separates us from God. Jesus was crucified so that our sins could be crucified - so that our lives could be changed forever.

You know, the world does not think that our lives can change. The world says that we are the way we are and that's the end of the story. 'He was born that way.' 'That’s just how she was raised.' 'He’s a sex addict, he'll
never be pure.' 'She'll always be short-tempered.' 'You can't teach an old dog new tricks.' 'He'll never change.'

And maybe that's what you think about yourself. Maybe you think that you'll never overcome that one sin. Maybe you think that it will enslave you for the rest of your life. Maybe you think that you can't do it, that you're not good enough to be a Christian, but God says,
'No! It doesn't have to be that way! You can do it! You can change! You know why? Because I have crucified your sin!'

Guys, God has crucified our sin. Colossians 2.11 says, 'In [Jesus] you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ.' Jesus cut off our sinful natures! Romans 6.18 says, 'You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.' That's not a typo. We have been set free from sin!

Do we live as though we have been set free from sin? Do we allow God to work in our hearts so that we can 'die to sin and live for righteousness'? Or do we listen to the world's lies and think we can't change? Do we treat our sin as something that happens to us inevitably? Or do we see it for what it is - something that we can overcome?

It's true that we'll never be sinless or temptation-less. Being a disciple of Christ is not easy. But guys, the sky is the limit. Jesus is the limit of how righteous we can be. We are free to serve God in every way, because Jesus has set us free from sin.

The cross sends the most powerful message of forgiveness and love that I can imagine. But that's not the only message the cross sends. The cross also reminds us that God doesn't just sit back and hope that we repent. God sends his son to the cross and says, 'Do you see My Son up there?
That is what I'm going to do to your sin. I am going to crucify your sin.'

Guys, Jesus has paved the way of righteousness for us. All we have to do is to follow in his steps. As we take the bread and the wine today, let us remember Jesus' sacrifice and give thanks that we have died to sin so that we can live for righteousness."


The Sinner's Prayer: A Brief History of a Novel Practice

A great introductory article by Steve Staten to the Sinner's Prayer.