Mere Christianity, Book Three, Chapter 12: “Faith”

This is Faith in the “second” or “higher” sense of the Christian term.

We discover this Faith when we have tried our hardest to be Christian, and we find that we cannot. We discover our bankruptcy, and discover what God really cares about:

  • Not our actions
  • He desires that we become “creatures of a certain kind or quality — the kind of creatures he intended us to be — creatures related to Himself in a certain way.”
  • that we become creatures that relate to each other in a way dictated by the statement above.

“When I say ‘discovered; I mean really discovered: not simply said it parrot-fashion. Of course, any child, if given a certain kind of religious education, will soon learn to say that we have nothing to offer to God that is not already His own and that we find ourselves failing to offer even that without keeping something back. But I am talking of really discovering this: really finding out by experience that it is true.”

We can only discover our bankruptcy by trying our hardest and failing at keeping God’s law.

  • We can only come to Faith when we have tried
  • and failed
  • and quit trying
  • and rely on God to fulfill His law in us.
  • You will only realize that you’ve arrived when you look back and find that you’ve been there. You won’t know it at the time.

Trusting God means…

  • trying to do all he says.
  • following the his instruction/advice
  • in finding that we can’t follow on our own, we learn to follow in His power.
  • We don’t do the things He commands in order to be saved, but…
  • [we do them] because He has begun the saving of us already.
  • We don’t do things hoping to get to Heaven as a reward for our actions, but…
  • [we do them because] the “first faint gleams of heaven” are already planted inside us by Him!

Faith and Works

  • We should do good works, not for salvation, but in a response to God’s working within us.
  • The works are the outworking of the faith.
  • If we are called to good works (prepared in advance for us), but we don’t do them, we suppress the work of God within us.
  • “Faith without works is dead” — That’s doesn’t mean that it’s not real, saving Faith, it just means that it’s been confined, restricted, and incapacitated to continue the work in our lives that God called us to.

[[ Next: Mere Christianity, Book Four, Chapter 1: “Making and Begetting” ]]

Parent: Mere Christianity: Leaders’ Notes Series

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