Dancing good?

Problem of Pain Cover

If, as Jesus said, we are to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect, then any goodness we attempt day by day must be His goodness; no imperfect goodness of our own will do; our ‘dead works’ will never do – but how do we know what God calls good? This third brief post on the theme of goodness comes from C S Lewis…

“It has sometimes been asked whether God commands certain things because they are right, or whether certain things are right because God commands them. . . . I emphatically embrace the first alternative. The second might lead to the abominable conclusion . . . that charity is good only because God arbitrarily commanded it – that He might equally well have commanded us to hate Him and one another and that hatred would then have been right. I believe, on the contrary, that “they err who think that of the will of God to do this or that there is no reason besides His will.” God’s will is determined by His wisdom which always perceives, and His goodness which always embraces, the intrinsically good. But when we have said that God commands things only because they are good, we must add that one of the things intrinsically good is that rational creatures should freely surrender themselves to their Creator in obedience. The content of our obedience – the thing we are commanded to do – will always be something intrinsically good, something we ought to do even if (by an impossible supposition) God had not commanded it. But in addition to the content, the mere obeying is also intrinsically good, for, in obeying, a rational creature consciously enacts its creaturely role, reverses the act by which we fell, treads Adam’s dance backward, and returns.”

C S Lewis in The Problem of Pain

Good foes?

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Oswald Chambers wrote, in My Utmost for His Highest “God is justified in saving bad men only as he makes them good. Our Lord does not pretend we are all right when we are all wrong. The Atonement is a propitiation whereby God through the death of Jesus makes an unholy man holy.” But what then? This second of three brief posts on the theme of goodness comes from Charles Spurgeon…

“Michael and his angels fought against the dragon;
and the dragon fought and his angels.”

Revelation 12:7 KJV

Charles Spurgeon wrote, “War always will rage between the two great sovereignties until one or other be crushed. Peace between good and evil is an impossibility; the very pretence of it would, in fact, be the triumph of the powers of darkness. Michael will always fight; his holy soul is vexed with sin, and will not endure it. Jesus will always be the dragon’s foe, and that not in a quiet sense, but actively, vigorously, with full determination to exterminate evil. All his servants, whether angels in heaven or messengers on earth, will and must fight; they are born to be warriors. At the cross they enter into covenant never to make truce with evil; they are a warlike company, firm in defence and fierce in attack. The duty of every soldier in the army of the Lord is daily, with all his heart, and soul, and strength, to fight against the dragon….

Glory be to God, we know the end of the war. The great dragon shall be cast out and forever destroyed, while Jesus and they who are with him shall receive the crown. Let us sharpen our swords tonight, and pray the Holy Spirit to nerve our arms for the conflict. Never battle so important, never crown so glorious. Every man to his post, ye warriors of the cross, and may the Lord tread Satan under your feet shortly!”

C H Spurgeon in Morning and Evening

Little decisions?

Mere cover

When we are overwhelmed by the size of a problem, whether we are thinking globally or personally, when the worst of the evil that men can do or think fills not just our television screens but our own hearts and minds, then perhaps, suggests C S Lewis, there’s a place for thinking small. This is the first of three brief posts on the theme of goodness….

“Good and evil both increase at compound interest. That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance. The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of. An apparently trivial indulgence in lust or anger today is the loss of a ridge or railway line or bridgehead from which the enemy may launch an attack otherwise impossible.”

C S Lewis in Mere Christianity