'You grow in knowledge of God as you know him more and more as Lord, as King. First, he is the one who controls all things. You will grow in your knowledge of God as you see more and more things as under his control: the present, the future, your own life, your sin, your salvation. Perhaps you think now that there is some part of your life where you are in control. You will grow in your knowledge of God when you come to see that ultimately there is no part of your life that is controlled by anyone other than God, even that little part of your life.
Second, you come to know God as the one who speaks with such authority that you must obey - in every area of your life: you social life, your moral life, even your intellectual life. You will grow in your knowledge of God whne you come to bring every thought captive to Christ (1 Cor.10:5).
Third, you come to know God as you sense more and more his presence in your life. You can't ever escape from him. You can't do anything that he doesn't see. And nothing shall ever seperate you from his love.'
'There was once an old sailor my grandfather knew
Who had so many things which he wanted to do
That, whenever he thought it was time to begin,
He couldn't because of the state he was in.' AA Milne, 'The Old Sailor' in Now We Are Six, p.36.
'Our biography is written in two volumes. Volume one is the story of the old man, the old self, of me before my conversion. Volume two is the story of the new man, the new self, of me after I was made a new creation in Christ. Volume one of my biography ended with the judicial death of the old self. I was a sinner. I deserved to die. I did die. I received my deserts in my Substitute with whom I have have become one. Volume two of my biography opened with my resurrection. My old life having finished, a new life to God has begun.'
John Stott in Philip Graham Ryken, The Message of Salvation, p.242.
'It is hard to explain how this sunlit land was different from the old Narnia as it would be hard to tell you how the fruits of this country taste. Perhaps you will get some idea of it if you think like this. You may have been in a room in which there was a window that looked out on a lovely bay of the sea or a green valley that wound away among mountains. And in the wall of that room opposite to the wondow there may have been a looking-glass. And as you turned away from the window you suddenly caught sight of that sea or that valley, all over again, in the looking-glass. And the sea in the mirror, or the valley in the mirror, were in one sense just the same as the real ones: yet at the same time they were somehow different - deeper, more wonderful, more like places in a story: a story you have never heard but very much want to know. The difference between the old and new Narnia was like that. The new one was a deeper country: every rock and flower and blade of grass looked as though it meant more. I can't describe it any better than that: if you ever get there you will know what I mean.
It was the Unicorn who summed up what everyone was feeling. He stamped his right fore-hoof on the ground and neighed, and then cried:
"I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now. The reason why we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this. Bree-hee-hee! Come further up, come further in!"'
CS Lewis, The Last Battle, p.520 (in The Complete Chronicles of Narnia).
'"When Aslan said you could never go back to Narnia, he meant the Narnia you were thinking of. But that was not the real Narnia. That had a beginning and an end. It was only a shadow or a copy of the real Narnia which has always been here and always will be here: just as our world, England and all, is only a shadow or copy of something in Aslan's real world. You need not mourn over Narnia, Lucy. All of the old Narnia that mattered, all the dear creatures, have been drawn into the real Narnia through the Door. And of course it is different; as different as a real thing is from a shadow or as waking life is from a dream."'
CS Lewis, The Last Battle, p.519 (of The Complete Chronicles of Narnia).
'He giveth more grace when burdens grow greater;
He sendeth more grace when the labours increase;
To added afflictions he addeth his mercy,
To multiplied trials, his multiplied peace.
When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half-done;
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources,
Our Father's full giving is only begun.
His love has no limits, his grace has no measure,
His power has no boundary known unto men;
For out of his infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.' Annie Johnson Flint in Jerry Bridges, Transforming Grace, p.150.
'The true preaching of the gospel of salvation by grace alone always leads to the possibility of this charge being brought against it. There is not better test as to whether a man is really preaching the New Testament gospel of salvation than this, that some people might misunderstand it and misinterpret it to mean that it really ammounts to this, that because you are saved by grace alone it does not matter what you do; you can go on sinning as much as you like because it will rebound all the more to the glory of God.'
Martyn Lloyd-Jones in Jerry Bridges, Transforming Grace, p. 74.
'...who needs grace? All of us, the saint as well as the sinner. The most conscientious, dutiful, hardworking, Christian needs God's grace as much as the most dissolute, hard-living sinner. All of us need the same grace. The sinner does not need more grace than the saint, nor does the immature and undisciplined believer need more than the godly, zealous missionary.We all need the same ammount of grace because the "currency" of our good works is debased and worthless before God.'
Jerry Bridges, Transforming Grace: Living Confidently in God's Unfailing Love, p.32.
'Pluralism...claims to have discovered a bigger truth that none of the religions has observed before; it then suggests that the smaller truths the religions thought they could see (Jesus' death for sins, for example) are in fact mistaken - mere symbols and sacraments of sacredness. This is a big call. By describing religions as true in a manner none of them has affirmed before and false in all the ways they have always affirmed, pluralism assumes an intellectual high ground that far exceeds any other claims of the world religions.'
'An idol is something within creation that is inflated to function as a substitute for God. All sorts of things are potential idols, depending only on our attitudes and actions toward them. If this is so, how do we determine whne something is becoming or has become an idol?
Idolatry may not involve explicit denials of God's exiistence or character. It may well come in the form of an overattachment to something that is, itself, perfectly good. The crucial warning is this: As soon as our loyalty to anything leads us to disobey God, we are in danger of making it an idol.'
Dick Keyes, 'The Idol Factory' in Os Guinness & John Seel, No God but God, p.32.
'At the most basic level, idols are what we make out of the evidence for God within ourselves and in the world - if we do not want to face the face of God Himself in His majesty and holiness. Rather than look to the Creator and have to deal with His lordship, we orient our lives toward the creation, where we can be more free to control and shape our lives in our desired directions.'
Dick Keyes, 'The Idol Factory' in Os Guinness & John Seel (Eds.), No God but God, p.31.
'A careful reading of the Old and New Testaments shows that idolatry is nothing like the crude, simplistic picture that springs to mind of an idol sculpture in some distant country. As the main category to describe unbelief, the idea is highly sophisticated, drawing together the complexities of motivation in individual psychology, the social enviornment, and also the unseen world. Idols are not just on pagan altas, but in well-educated human hearts and minds (Ezekiel 14). The apostle Paul associates the dynamics of human greed, lust, craving, and coveting with idolatry (Ephesians 5:5; Colossians 3:5). The Bible does not allow us to marginalize idolatry to the fringes of life. All too often it is found on center stage.'
Dick Keyes 'The Idol Factory' in Os Guinness & John Seel (Eds.), No God but God: Breaking with the Idols of Our Age, p.31.
'Friendship must be about something, even if it were only an enthusiasm for dominoes or white mice. Those who have nothing can share nothing; those who are going nowhere can have no fellow-travellers.'
'...Companionship is, however, only the matrix of Friendship. It is often called Friendship, and many people when they speak of their "friends" mean only their companions. But it is not Friendship in the sense I give to the word. By saying this I do not at all intend to disparage the merely clubbable relation. We do not disparage silver by distinguishing it from gold.
Friendship arises out of mere Companionship when two or more of the companions discover that they have in common some insight or interest or even taste which the others do not share and which, till that moment, each believed to be his own unique treasure (or burden). The typical expression of opening Friendship would be something like, "What? You too? I thought I was the only one."'
'In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out. By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets. Now that Charles is dead, I shall never again see Ronald's reaction to a specifically Caroline joke. Far from having more of Ronald, having him "to myself" now that Charles is away, I have less of Ronald. Hence true Friendship is the least jealous of loves. Two friends delight to be joined by a third, and three by a fourth, if only the newcomer is qualified to become a real friend. They can say, as the blessed souls say in Dante, "Here comes one who will augment our loves." For in this love "to divide is not to take away". Of course the scarcity of kindred souls - not to mention practical considerations about the size of rooms and the audibility of voices - sets limits to the enlargement of the circle; but within these limits we possess each friend not less but more as the number of who we share him increases. In this, Friendship exhibits a glorious "nearness by resemblance" to Heaven itself where the very multitude of the blessed (which no man can number) increases the fruition which each has of God. For every soul, seeing Him in her own way, doubtless communicates that unique vision to all the rest.'
'Today friendship has fallen on hard times. Few men have good friends, much less deep friendships. Individualism, autonomy, privitization, and isolation are culturally catchet, but deep, devoted, vulnerable friendship is not. This is a great tragedy for self, family, and the Church, because it is in relationships that we develop into what God wants us to be.'
'The Lord Jesus goes with His friends wherever they go. There is no possible separation between Him and those whom He loves. There is no place or position on earth, or under the earth, that can divide them from the great Friend of their souls. When the path of duty calls them far away from home, He is their companion; when they pass through the fire and water of fierce tribulation, He is with them; when they lie down of the bed of sickness, He stands by them and makes their trouble work for good; when they go down the valley of the shadow of death, and friends and relatives stand still and can go no further, He goes by their side. When they wake up in the unknown world of Paradise, they are still with Him; when they rise with a new body at the judgment day, they will not be alone. He will own them for His friends, and say, "They are mine: deliver them and let them go free." He will make good His own words: "I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." (Matt.xxviii.20.).'
'A friend is one of the greatest blessings on earth. Tell me not of money: affection is better than gold; sympathy is better than lands. He is the poor man who has no friends.
This world is full or sorrow because it is full of sin. It is a dark place. The brightest sunbeam in it is a friend. Friendship halves our troubles and doubles our joys.
A real friend is scarce and rare. There are many who will eat and drink, and laugh with us in the sunshine of prosperity. There are few who will stand by us in the days of darkness, - few who will love us when we are sick, helpless, and poor,- few, above all, who will care for our souls.'
'True personality lies ahead - how far ahead, for most of us, I dare not say. And the key to it does not lie in ourselves. It will not be attained by development from within outwards. It will come to us when we occupy those places in the structure of the eternal cosmos for which we were designed or invented. As a colour first reveals its true quality when placed by an excellent artist in its pre-elected between certain others, as a spice reveals its true flavour when inserted just where and when a good cook wishes among the other ingredients, as the dog becomes really doggy only when he has taken his place in the household of man, so we shall then first be true persons when we have suffered ourselves to be fitted into our places. We are marble waiting to be shaped, metal waiting to be run into a mould. No doubt there are already, even in the unregenerate self, faint hints of which each is designed for, or what sort of pillar he will be.'
CS Lewis, 'Membership' in The CS Lewis Essay Collection: Faith, Christainity and the Church, p.339.
'I believe in political equality. But there are two opposite reasons for being a democrat. You may think all men so good that they deserve a share in the government of the commonwealth, and so wise that the commonwealth needs their advice. That is, in my opinion, the false, romantic doctrine of democracy. On the other hand, you may believe fallen men to be so wicked that not one of them can be trusted with any irresponsible power over his fellows.
That I believe to be the true ground of democracy.'
CS Lewis, 'Membership' in The CS Lewis Essay Collection: Faith, Christianity and the Church, p.336.
'I am afraid that when we describe a man as "a member of the Church" we usually mean nothing Pauline: we mean only that he is a unit - that he is one more specimen of some kind of things as X and Y and Z. How true membership in a body differs from inclusion in a collective may be seen in the structure of a family. The grandfather, the parents, the grown-up son, the child, the dog, and the cat are true members (in the organic sense) precisely because they are not members or units of a homogeneous class. They are not interchangeable. Each person is almost a species in himself. The mother is not simply a different person from the daughter, she is a different kind of person. The grown-up brother is not simply one unit in the class children, he is a seperate estate of the realm. The father and the grandfather are almost as different as the cat and the dog. If you subtract any one member you have not simply reduced the family in number, you have inflicted an injury on its structure. Its unity is a unity of unlikes, almost of incommensurables.'
CS Lewis, 'Membership' in The CS Lewis Essay Collection: Faith, Christianity and the Church, p.335.
'As long as we are thinking only of natural values we must say that the sun looks down on nothing half so good as a household laughing together over a meal, or two friends talking over a pint of beer, or a man alone reading a book that interests him; and that all economics, politics, laws, armies, institutions, save in so far as they prolong and multiply such scenes, are a mere ploughing the sand and sowing the ocean, a meaningless vanity and vexation of the spirit.'
CS Lewis, 'Membership' in The CS Lewis Essay Collection: Faith, Christianity and the Church, p.334.
'"As soon as men who believe they're doing God's will get hold of power, whether it's in a household or a village or in Jerusalem or in Rome itself, the devil enters into them. It isn't long before they start drawing up lists of punishments for all kinds of innocent activities, sentencing people to be flogged or stoned in the name of God for wearing this or eating that or believing the other. And the privileged ones will build big palaces and temples to strut about in, and levy taxes on the poor to pay for their luxuries; and they'll start keeping the very scriptures secret, saying there are some truths too holy to be revealed to the ordinary people, so that only the priests' interpretation will be allowed, and they'll torture and kill anyone who wants to make the word of God clear and plain to all; and with every day that passes they'll become more and more fearful, because the more power they have the less they'll trust anyone, so they'll have spies and betrayals and denuniciations and secret tribunals, and put the poor harmless heretics they flush out to horrible public deaths, to terrify the rest into obedience.
And from time to time, to distract the people from their miseries and fire them with anger against someone else, the governors of this church will declare that such-and-such a nation or such-and-such a people is evil and out to be destroyed, and they'll gather great armies and set off to kill and burn and loot and rape and plunder, and they'll raise their standard over the smoking ruins of what was once a fair and prosperous land and declare that God's kingdom is so much larger and more magnificent as a result.
But any priest that wants to indulge his secret appetites, his greed, his lust, his cruelty, will find himself like a wolf in a field of lambs where the shepherd is bound and gagged and blinded. No one will even think of questioning the rightness of what this holy man does in private; and his little victims will cry to heaven for pity, and their tears will wet his hands, and he'll wipe them on his robe and press them together piously and cast his eyes upwards and the people will say what a fine thing it is to have such a holy man as priest,, how well he takes care of the children..."'
Philip Pullman, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ, p.197.