Mere Christianity, Book Four, Chapter 10: “Nice People or New Men”

Jesus is in the process of making Christians perfect, as He is perfect

  • If so, can we expect all Christians to be nicer than all non-Christians?
  • Not necessarily — we have to start from where each Christian is
  • A Christian should be becoming nicer than the person they were before they started following Christ (before He started his work in them)
  • A tree is known by its fruit
  • When Christians fail to act Christian, we make Christianity unbelievable.
  • Some people are just born with better dispositions than others…
  • Christian is a process of transformation… some becoming more Christlike…. sadly, some becoming less… some confused and inconsistent

So, what of the individual?

  • They should be better people than they would have been without Jesus
  • They should be becoming ‘better’ after accepting Jesus
  • The question is not Person A vs Person B, but Person A with Jesus compared to Person A without Jesus
  • The evidence will not be the same in every life, and is impossible to judge from the information we have available to us.

Improvements:

  • Illustration of two factories
  • The factory manager starting with an old run-down plant will have to make improvements, but must continue putting out the best possible product at the best possible rate (though low) available today.
  • The factory manager of the plant in good condition may very well put out a higher volume of product, but that does not mean it’s the best possible for that plant or at the highest possible volume.
  • The run-down plant manager will make improvements, but it takes time to get resources available to do that.
  • We should expect to find some Christians who are “still nasty” people as God works on them

Natural causes:

  • A person with a placid temper, and friendly disposition is not in a better position than the wretched, insecure person
  • It is very likely the case that the person of good disposition may not be aware of the need for salvation
  • … while the “wretch” is painfully aware of their need for God’s provision of salvation

God can help us, but He will not force us:

  • in giving us free will, God has chosen to allow us to choose freely
  • He will not force us

[[ Next: Mere Christianity, Book Four, Chapter 11: “The New Men” ]]

Parent: Mere Christianity: Leaders’ Notes Series

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