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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Master Mentor #23

Chapter 22 (Book 3, Chapter 12)
In this chapter, CS deals with one of the most central Biblical and theological questions that I know of. This is the question that divided great men over the years as they have searched the Scriptures in pursuit of the answer. It is the question of free will verses God’s action.
Several years ago, as I read this chapter I was thinking about this, I had a student in our ministry who was extremely intelligent. He and one of the other students in my group began a “race” to read through the Bible. They would read as much of the Bible as they could and then they would meet at Taco Bell once or twice a week to discuss what they had read. As their pastor, it was actually somewhat interesting to watch. But then they began to have these questions… questions about predestination… questions about free will. And the most interesting part was that the more they read of the Bible, the more confused and troubled with this issue they became. I, as their pastor of course, allowed them to struggle through the questions on their own for the most part although we would have conversations about it often. In just about every instance of those conversations, I would play the opposite opinion that they were struggling with, just to help them see the other side as well.
Maybe they should have read this chapter from “Mere Christianity.” CS says this, “The Bible seems to clinch the matter when it puts the two things together into one amazing sentence. The first half is, ‘Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling’ – which looks as if everything depended on us and our good action: but the second half goes on, ‘For it is God who worketh in you’ – which looks as if God did everything and we did nothing” (page 131). CS is quoting Paul from Philippians 2:12-13 here. And it brings up an interesting question. Does God work in us to bring us to a point of salvation and sometimes without our help at all? Or do our actions have anything to do with our beginning and maintaining a relationship with God? To which CS would answer: “Yes.” And I think that Paul would answer the same.

Jim

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