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Zeteo 3:16 with Alf and Alesia Cengia

 

 

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Our Will Be Done
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Friday, September 15, 2017
Alf Cengia

Someone once wrote: “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, in the end, "Thy will be done." All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened.” ~ C.S. Lewis

The quote came from Lewis' dream-fantasy, The Great Divorce. The central character in the book (Lewis) has been forever trudging through desolate rainy streets, stuck in cheerless and endless evening twilight. Wherever he goes he sees "only dingy lodging houses, windowless warehouses, goods stations without trains" and all the wrong book stores.

He suddenly finds himself standing at a busy bus queue in a long mean street with a small crowd of quarrelsome characters. Fights start and the line slowly gets shorter as people leave in huffs. Lewis happily moves up.

A wonderful bus blazing with golden light finally arrives. The Driver is full of light: he has the "look of authority" and seems "intent on carrying out his job." Yet Lewis quickly discovers that the Driver is treated with unwarranted contempt:

"'Bloody pleased with himself, I bet...My dear, why can't he behave naturally?-Thinks himself too good to look at us...Who does he imagine he is?"

Other readers may disagree, but I think the Driver is analogous to Jesus Christ.

Once the people (they're actually ghosts) have boarded the bus, it takes off skywards. Lewis can see that the dreary place he's come from (Hell or Limbo) stretches on for as far as he can see. The bus emerges from a crack into a far brighter land which seems to expand infinitely in all directions. Lewis later learns that the immense place he's come from would fit inside an atom of this gateway to Heaven.

As it turns out all the ghosts in the bus have been given another chance at redemption. They are met by the citizens of Heaven who have traveled vast distances to interact with, and try to persuade, them. However I doubt C. S. Lewis intended to teach the concept of a second chance. I believe the story was written to showcase the depravity of human nature and the immeasurable gulf between Heaven and Hell.

Practically all the ghosts (save one) reject the invitation to Heaven for personal reasons. It was a fascinating character study. Three of these stand out for me.

One angry ghost wanted the rights which were due to him but he wasn't going to beg for them from anybody. His attitude was exemplified in the Frank Sinatra song:

For what is a man what has he got
If not himself then he has not
To say the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows
And did it my way...Yes it was my way

There was a young anti-capitalism (communist) poet who suffered for his art. No one understood or supported his needs: not his parents or his possessive girlfriend who was mean with her money. So he had ended it all by jumping under a train.

Then there was the Episcopalian bishop who didn't believe in a literal Heaven and Hell. The apostate believed that Heaven really meant indefinite spiritual progress. He notes that if Jesus had been older He might have avoided the cross with a little more "tact and patience." The bishop didn't believe he needed to be rescued from anything as crude as personal sin.

There were other examples. But these three characters sum up for me what's wrong with this world.

Even many professing Christians show no fear, love or respect for God. They treat Him as a nebulous Santa Claus who only needs to be there as a safety net in times of trouble. But He had better not intrude into their personal affairs or rights. And, above all, please no offensive talk about personal sin!

We've seen examples of this recently with the debates on same-sex marriage where churches are capitulating to the demands of same-sex partners. One Christian celebrity actively championed the vote for same-sex marriage in Ireland. He said:

“Commitment, love and devotion are some of the most impossibly great human traits. Trying to co-opt the word marriage is like trying to make love or devotion gender- or religion-specific. And that has to stop..."

There was nothing in the man's narrative about what the God, who created the institution of marriage, wants and commands of His servants. The rights of the homosexual are automatically assumed and affirmed without consulting God.

In another recent example, Christians in the Church of England have been campaigning to make biblical language more gender inclusive and sensitive. Rev. Lindsay Llewellyn-MacDuff said:

"What difference would it make if we regularly - in our worship, our preaching, and our everyday conversation - talked about God as 'she'? I don't mean all the time, but often - perhaps even 50 per cent of the time....And perhaps, just perhaps, it might weaken the justifications for abuse of power, if the Church proclaims Jesa Christa, crucified."

These people presume to tell the Father what gender He should be referred to. It has little to do with preventing further abuses of power. They want to change Christ's name to appeal to someone's inclinations. It is the assertion of one's own preferences. We've seen examples of this phenomenon in the ELCA where the Holy Spirit was once referred to as a pagan goddess.

The names for God and Jesus are there for reasons other than to please us. Theses names are sacred and inform us of the nature of God. Mary and Martha didn't say to their LORD: "Listen, given that we've been brought up in an oppressive patriarchal society, we'd feel a lot more comfortable if we could call you Jesa."

It had nothing to do with lack of emancipation and everything to do with love, respect and obedience.

Likewise when Abraham was told to sacrifice his only son, he didn't scream at God: "What! Are you serious?" Even Isaac was an obedient participant - after all, he carried the wood.

When God told Moses to take off his shoes because he was standing in a holy place, Moses didn't complain about sensitive feet and hot desert sand. On the contrary, having being told that he was being addressed by the God of his fathers; Moses trembled and dared not look!

We're living in a world of ghosts who love their rights over following and obeying Christ (2 Tim 3:1-5). They do not fear the Father or their Lord. They've invented substitutes.

That's a tragedy because only in following the biblical Jesus can they become real people- joint heirs with Christ in the family of God (Rom 8:15-16). Think about that. What better "inclusivity" could one ever imagine or hope for?

The process calls for faithful suffering. But listen to what Paul says about the rewards waiting for us:

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. Rom 8:18-21

What do you think you deserve, apart from Christ's redemptive work (Rom 6:2-3)?

Do you still want to fight for your rights?

Originally Published: June 5, 2015

About Alf Cengia

Last week: A Battle for Truth and Holiness



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