Thoughts on Narnia, Intro

When I was young, I had a few favorite books; The Hardy Boys series, Charles Berlitz’s The Bermuda Triangle, Z for Zachariah (movie adaptation released this weekend) and CS Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia.

I remember writing a paper during my senior year of high school on the analogies between CS Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia and the Bible. I’ve only read a few other things by Lewis- The Screwtape Letters, Perelandra, and just in the past few months, Mere Christianity.

Based on a quote I recently found from The Silver Chair (book 4 in the series) I decided to re-read them- to enjoy, to study and to see how Lewis wove his theology of Jesus into the text. I’ll post some thoughts about this over the next few weeks. Enjoy!

Leave a comment

Filed under Christianity, Chronicles of Narnia, CS Lewis

Belief and Obedience

If you “believe” in Jesus, you’ve been born of God; it’s a package deal. If you love the Father, you love the Son. And “love” is defined by “obedience” (I’ve said that before). You obey His commands if you really love him. And what’s more, these commands are not burdensome. It is not difficult to obey God, it’s not impossible. Why? Because those born of Jesus are overcomers of the world along with him. You are an overcomer every time you find victory in God. The real overcomers are the ones who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

Jesus came by both water and blood- both of these are necessary. And, the Spirit verifies this, demonstrating true accountability. To the water and blood we add Spirit and these all agree that Jesus is of God. While we can accept the testimony of man, God’s testimony is greater because of who He is and what He has said. If you believe in Jesus, you’ll find that your heart confirms this, and those who deny the WHO of Jesus accuse God of lying. Here is God’s testimony: He, God, has given us eternal life and this life is in his Son, Jesus. Those who have the Son have life, those who do not have the son do not have life.

I’m telling you all of this that you know how to have eternal life. We can confidently approach God and ask Him for all things according to his will. We’ll know that he hears when we receive what we ask for.

We will see our brothers committing sins, some of those sins lead to death, while others do not. We are to pray for him and God will give him life. For other sins, don’t just pray. While all things wrong are indeed sin, all sins do not lead to death.

Those who belong to God do not continue in sins because those born of him are safe from the evil one.

We belong to God, and the world to Satan.

We know that Jesus has come and teaches up all things- his teachings are true.

Because His teachings are true, those who adhere to them also become true. Jesus is the true God and eternal life.

Do not worship idols!

Adapted from 1 John 5.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christianity

Love and Obedience, continued

John refers to his readers as “friends” and “children” multiple times throughout 1 John. He is clearly a man in deep relationship and uses these words to remind them of this because the things that he is saying appear to be strong; without the context of relationship there is the temptation to ignore what he is saying. In essence, John is telling his readers:

  • test every spirit to know whether or not they are from God. Why? False teachers are EVERYWHERE and are bent on deception
  • those that acknowledge that Jesus is of God are the true spirits. And by acknowledge, John means a life changed.
  • we can know that we are “of God” by our response to that message. Are our lives changed? If so, we are His. If not, we are not His.
  • the proof of being His is that we love one another because love is from God. John repeats this phrase numerous times throughout 1 John; this is his theme.
  • love is defined as the sacrifice of Jesus. With that love as our model, when we sacrifice ourselves for others in love, then, and only then, are we truly loving.
  • the love that was planted in us (1 John 3:9) by God  grows and is made complete when our love for others mirrors Christ’s love for us
  • because of His love for us, and our love for others, we can be confident on the day of judgment because this love gives life
  • you cannot “love God” but hate your brother.
  • truly loving God will lead to true love of, and for, your brother.

From 1 John 4.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christianity

Love and Obedience

“How can we know?” That’s often the question we ask. We want to belong to God, but our human understanding falls short; we get anxious, worrying about if we are really “in”. We do not have to worry; God has provided us a tool to discern- His Word. It’s truth is “sharp enough to cut right through us, deeply to the core.” What we can do is use this tool, interact with it, understand how it functions, and finally, allow it to dissect us. Here’s how John describes it in 1 John 3–

We get to be God’s children- that’s how amazing his love is. And this new identity causes us to not be known by the world. We don’t know everything, and we won’t have to, but when He comes back we’ll be just like him. It’s for this reason that we ought to purify ourselves. We desire to stop sinning. Why?

Sin = breaking the law. And when we break the law, we seek to become a law until ourselves. God came to take away our sin because he has no sin. When we identify with Him as his children, we do not, we cannot continue to be lawbreakers. If we do, it’s as though we’ve never seen Him or known him.

Don’t allow yourselves to be led astray, be righteous as God is righteous. Jesus came to destroy the work of the devil who had been doing evil since the beginning.

Those who are borne of God cease sinning because his seed is planted within and it grows and grows and grows. As it grows, the sinful nature goes away, pushed out from the inside to the fringes. This is how we know who God’s children are: the way that we love.

Love others; it’s the message from the beginning. Cain failed this test when he murdered his brother. Cain murdered Abel because Abel’s actions honored God and Cain hated him for it. In the same way, those who love God will truly be hated by the world. Do not be surprised by this. We who love our brothers are truly alive; those who hate are truly dead. And those who hate stand with Cain- guilty of murder, and without eternal life.

But, what is love? Real love? When Jesus laid down his life for the murderer, this was and is love. And we are that murderer. And now, we mimic him and lay down our lives for others. How?

  • having material possessions and using those possessions to have pity on those who have none and helping them
  • not mere words or tongue, but in actions and truth

These things: meeting needs, actions, truth…are how we know who belongs. They allow us to rest our hearts, find peace and still our souls. In and through them, God quiets our stirring spirits and questioning hearts because he is greater than them. He knows us fully.

How can we know we are His?

  • our hearts are quiet and still; this shows that the seed is spreading from within- our heart leaves us alone
  • we receive what we ask for because we obey him and do what pleases him

Those who obey  live in Him and he in them. We are alive by the Spirit he gives.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christianity

The goal is conversion

Have you been converted?

There is one simple way to know.

You are obedient to Jesus. More words from John the Apostle:

I don’t want you to sin. That’s the point of this instruction.

The bad news? You will.

The Good News? When you do, Jesus is there, speaking to God for you, interceding for you because he is not only righteous, but because he paid for your sins. He does this for those that are “his”. Are you?

It’s easy to know. You are “his” if you do what he says. If you do not obey him, you’re not “his”. You cannot claim to know him then ignore him. If you are his, you walk as he did- and he walked in complete obedience to the Father.

This should not be news to those who are truly his; if you belong to him, you’ve heard it 82 million times before.

But, if it is truly “new” to you, it’s not to him. “Living life in obedience” is what Jesus was and is about; he preached it and demonstrated it. And you, if you are his, ought to be preaching and demonstrating it. An easy way to know if your relationship with your brother. Do you hate him? If “yes” then you are still in the dark. Those who truly love others live in the light and they won’t stumble.

  • I’m telling you this because your sins have been forgiven
  • I’m telling you this because you have known Jesus, forever present
  • I’m telling you this because you overcame the evil one
  • I’m telling you this because you know the Father, also forever present
  • I’m telling you this because you have incredible strength , the Word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the world!

Because it’s overcome, do not love it. If you choose “world” over “God”, you lose. You do not have the Father. How can you tell? What do you hunger for? What fills you up? To where, what and whom to you default? Remember this, God lives forever.

The end is near and antichrists are everywhere. Some even came from us. They heard the Good News, and even accepted it. Then, they left. Here’s a truth- those that left never really belonged to us. No matter the sincerity of their tears or words, actions or activities. The true believers don’t leave. Because they’ve been anointed. Blessed and covered by the Spirit.

Don’t forget what’s been poured into you from the start. If you remember, you’ll remain and have eternal life. Be wary. Of everyone and everything because people are trying to lead you astray. Always depend on the anointing; it will never lead you astray. The anointing is legitimate.

Be confident. He is righteous. His sacrifice is your righteousness. Continue.

Adapted from 1 John 2

Leave a comment

Filed under Christianity

“But, I’m not a sinner…”

It’s so easy for me to compare myself to the sins of others, to use them as my measuring stick. We all do this, we all justify our actions and inactions because we have mitigating circumstances that serve us well. But Jesus has none of it:

In Luke 18, Jesus tells a story; notice how Luke begins the passage:

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else

For those of us who think we have it all together, that have done all of the correct rituals and have perfect Sunday attendance, that have mastered the skills necessary to convince everyone of how holy we really are- know that our carefully constructed suit of fig leaves has not fooled God.

John, in his first letter, addresses this situation:

Jesus has always existed, from before the beginning. And, he’ll exist after the end. I’m telling you this because I desire for you to join those of us who believe in him. I want you to be in a real relationship with the Father, and with the Son: Jesus Christ. But that’s not all.

There is no darkness on God, only light. Because of this, you cannot live in darkness as one who claims to be in the light- this makes you a liar. When we join him in this light, it means that we’ve been purified by him, his blood.

There are many that claim that the sins of others are “worse”, and even that they have no sins. This is the deceit of self. We must stop the self-deceit and confess them to Jesus, and he will forgive us. Why? Because he said that he would. And he alone is honest, faithful and just. But he won’t just forgive, he’ll make us righteous.

If we continue to deny that we are in fact sinners, we are accusing God of lying. And when we accuse him of lying, he’ll not be in relationship with us.

Adopted from 1 John 1.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christianity

Repent!

Dear friends,

This is my second letter, both reminding you to think correctly. I want you to remember the words of the prophets and the commands of Jesus.

First, about “scoffers”. They are not only coming, but are present now. They ask, “Where is this Jesus? When is he returning? We’ve been waiting for years?” In doing so, they willingly forget that God created all things- the heavens, the earth, water. And with this water He flooded and destroyed the earth. He did this in the same way that he created- with words. With His same words, he now preserves the earth- not for a watery destruction but one by fire to destroy both it and ungodly men. Do these scoffers really want Jesus to return? He is coming with fire!

As you wait friends, remember this- a day is nothing to God. God has his own schedule, his own timetable. He is not demonstrating “slowness” but patience. He is waiting. Waiting for people to repent. He does not want destruction, but peace. Repentance brings about peace.

Yet, Jesus IS coming. And, when it happens, it will be quick. He will sneak in and…bam. Done. Returned. The heavens will be destroyed with a roar. The elements burned up, scalded, reduced to ash. The whole earth, everything in it and on it, laid bare for the “big reveal”- every truth about everyone and everything open, available, seen and exposed. It sill all be destroyed.

How, then, should we live in the light of this?

Holy.

Godly.

As though we look forward to this day because we have nothing to fear when the heavens and earth are destroyed. When we live in this way now- holy and godly- we live in the promise of God and demonstrate that we are not really “from” here, but we are looking to the new heaven and earth- the place of righteousness.

But, what does “holy” and “godly” look like?

  • Make every effort to be found spotless, blameless, at peace with God.
  • Remember God’s patience, calling you to repent.

This is the same salvation that Paul writes about in his letters and is wisdom from God (as opposed to the false prophets I’ve been warning you about). While Paul is difficult to understand at times, people take his words and twist them, just as they do with other scriptures- they do this because false prophets can make anything say and mean anything. These men are simply ignorant and unstable. And, they lead people to destruction.

Since you know all of this, as you know all other things, be on your guard and do not get carried away by the false teachers and their ways. You can lose your security.

Instead, grow in God’s grace and in the knowledge of the Savior, Jesus Christ.

To Him be glory, forever and always! Amen.

2 Peter 3- paraphrased from NIV 1984.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christianity