15 Sept 2020

We were considering the Christian idea of ‘putting on Christ’, or ‘dressing up’ as a son of God in order that you may finally become a real son. What I want to make clear is that this is not one among many jobs a Christian has to do; and it is not a sort of special exercise for the top class. It is the whole of Christianity. Christianity offers nothing else at all….

The Christian way is different: harder, and easier. Christ says ‘Give me All. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there. I want to have the whole tree down. I don’t want to drill the tooth, or crown it, or stop it, but to have it out. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked – the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours.

Both harder and easier than what we are all trying to do. You have noticed, I expect, that Christ HImself sometimes describes the Christian way as very hard, sometimes as very easy. He says, ‘Take up your Cross’ – in other words, it is like going to be beaten to death in a concentration camp. Next minute He says, ‘My yoke is easy and my burden light.’ He means both.”

C.S. Lewis – from Mere Christianity

This is as good a description as any regarding the Christian life. Before you are born again, you must die to your old life – you have to hand over the whole natural self in “Adam’. Then God would give you a new self, in union with Christ, taking on the very life of God ‘in Christ’. The Holy Spirit regenerates you by taking you out of ‘Adam’ into ‘Christ’, out of’ ‘darkness’ into ‘life’, eternal life, out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. The ‘ego’ in man refuses to acknowledge that there is nothing he can do to be saved; there is nothing he can contribute – he is helpless and hopeless as far as salvation is concerned. He just has to hand over his life to Christ – it is easy, yet it is hard. Remember the rich young man who walks away from Christ.

But the Christian life after being born again is equally hard and easy. It is easy when we depend entirely on God through the enabling of His Holy Spirit; it is hard when we try, in ourselves, to be holy and godly. We need to work, yet with His enabling and power; we cannot lay back and expect to drift into holiness.