Type and press Enter.

New here? See how to Get Started

We Have Cause To Be Uneasy (Ch. 5 of Mere Christianity)

We come to the close of Part I, or Book 1 of Mere Christianity.

Lewis has established that outside of anything you learn from “the Bible or churches,”

we know intrinsically that there is a moral law, so therefore, there must be a moral lawgiver.

That also means, as Lewis says, “We have cause to be uneasy.”

Why? Because we know there is a moral law, and yet, we cannot keep it.

The world does seem to recognize the importance of love.

Do you remember the movie, Alfie? Burt Bacharach’s song was haunting.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIO3eDdfHcs

 

Likewise many of you may have watched parts of Prince Harry’s Royal Wedding. Let me say there was much that was beautiful — and a “Royal Wedding” is such a picture of Psalm 45, and the wedding in the Song, and Bishop Curry did point that out. (And for those who are interested in the parallels, this is wonderful article sent to me by one of our silent readers: Ann Dahl. https://juicyecumenism.com/2018/06/05/royal-wedding/

Yet though many applauded the sermon at the end, I was sorry that the gospel wasn’t made clearer. Bishop Curry emphasized, like Alfie, that without love, life does not have meaning. That is true. His exhortation seemed to be: 

Everybody should love. Go do it.

Bishop Curry did mention Jesus and even that His death demonstrated love. But the fact that we cannot love without repentance and the power of Christ was not explained. Indeed this is the key to a good marriage. Perhaps it was the pressure of the smirk that stopped him — I don’t know. Many guests were already rolling their eyes at just the mention of Jesus, and would have become apoplectic if he had explained the gospel. Yet I felt it was such a missed opportunity given the audience he had. (29 million in the United States alone) I can picture this sermon preached in a Unitarian Fellowship and being well received. The world has not come to terms with the fact that though we know we should love, we don’t do it well,  that, in fact, without God, we can’t.

Lewis, in his conclusion to Part I or Book 1, brings us to this point:

that since we cannot keep the law of the moral lawgiver:

WE HAVE CAUSE TO BE UNEASY.

He has laid the foundation for Christianity, where we go next week.

Sunday:

1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

 

Monday:

2. The chapter is short. Read it all and share two points that stood out to you.

Tuesday:

3. Watch the following video of this chapter, and again, share anything that stood out to you.

Wednesday: The Logic

4. Lewis says there are two bits of evidence, apart from Scripture and apart from religion, that we have a God who is a “moral law giver.” What are they? 

5. Lewis makes an analogy with math. What is it?

6. Why does it do “no good” to ask the moral lawgiver to let us off and not count our failing?

7. Why is all this necessary to understand before we approach Christianity?

Thursday: Repentance

8. Martin Luther didn’t say, “All of life is love,” but rather, “all of life is repentance.” Why, do you think?

 

9. Why does Lewis say we should look for truth instead of comfort?

 

10. How might you apply this right now in your life?

Friday: Enemies of God

Lewis says, indeed, we have made ourselves enemies of God. In listening to a sermon by Tim Keller, he said that many of us will deny that we hate God, though the Scripture says we do. Keller said, “In truth, we all want to be sovereign over our own lives.” Since God insists on being Sovereign instead, when what we want and what He wants is at odds, and we are convinced we know best, we become enemies of God.

11. What do you learn from Psalm 10:4-5?

12. Where in your life do you want your own sovereignty? What would Lewis tell you to do to find comfort?

 

13. How could you apply the above truth in your life now? (And let us pray for one another as we read their answers.)

14. What questions might you ask an unbeliever, without using Scripture, to help him consider the real possibility that there is a moral God? (If anyone has a dialogue with someone — tell us!)

Saturday

15. What is your take-a-way and why?

 

 

 

Leave a Comment

Comment * If this is your first time here, please comment then fill out your name and email as stated at the bottom. Dee will approve you within 24 hours.

92 comments

  1. Dee, my son gave me Mere Christianity for Christmas, I would love to join your study. Thank you!

  2. 1.  What stood out in the introduction? How easy it is to be like the Bishop, telling part of the truth but stopping short of the part where people really get offended. I know I do it. I will hint at Truth, hoping that I will either get a green light or a question, giving me an open door to say more. Part of it is my training as a nurse. Nurses are told that the conversations need to be patient focused, and to the point of the physical needs they had. Any spiritual needs are to get referred to their clergy or to a chaplain. Yet I know I am missing the major point of Life to stay quiet. So much of me that needs work!

  3. I am being a silent blogger for awhile, but am very interested in the book and approaching the subject of the Law of Human Nature and the fact we all break it…

    The comments, Dee, on the Bishop’s sermon and missing a great opportunity to tell the Gospel, are right on. He missed telling that Christ suffered for us. Love does hurt and his example is what has saved us from eternal punishment. I guess that is not politically correct  for the world to hear. Yet it sounded so lovely. His presentation was excellent. And so many were tuned in. I am sure Queen Elizabeth is a woman of faith. The royal wedding  is a picture of Psalm 45!

      1. No I didn’t- is it on youtube? There was a program that featured her and her faith on Haven today awhile ago.

  4. I loved the royal wedding & have always been a fan of the queen…my Queen growing up in Australia! I thought the Bishop did a great job & got people’s attention about Jesus. To be honest I thought he was pretty brave to even mention Jesus, but I suppose u are right…he could’ve said more. I understand what Mary B said, cause I’m a nurse too, so I tread carefully but keep my eyes open for opportunities. I confess I have a lots of growing to do in the area of sharing the Gospel. Its easy for me to share compassion & encouragement & talk about faith in God, but hard for me to go the rest of the way unless someone really opens the door.

      1. Haha  Dee, yes Aussie is part of the Commonwealth & Canada also. Our nat’l anthem used to be “God Save the Queen”! 🙂

  5. Sunday

    1.  What stands out to you from the above and why?  I really enjoyed the article that Ann sent you.   The women who wrote the article quoted Catholic theologian John Bergsma about the difference between contracts and covenants.    “Contracts were based on mutual self-interests;  covenants required selfless loyalty and sacrificial love…”  I heard a sermon on 1 Corthinthians 13, the love chapter and used in many weddings…this is Agape love and he described it as sacrificial love.  I think this is very foreign to the world and even some Christians.  We use the word love so loosely.  I believe Agape love can only be lived out by the power of the Holy Spirit.

     

      1. Dee, I think Keller is absolutely right…well put!  We serve a covenant God which is woven throughout the whole Word of God!

  6. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

    I am hoping to be able to comment more this week. I downloaded the book from Hoopla for free and listened to it 3 times before it had to be returned. My husband ordered the book for me as well and I find that reading it helps it “stick” more than listening to it.

    As far as what stands out from above: While we intrinsically know that there is a moral law so many people don’t want to admit it and they will deny it. They don’t even think too much about it because they don’t want to be wrong or they don’t want to admit that they are falling short of “something”, that something is what they don’t want to think about.

  7. Thank you for the comment about the Bishop’s sermon that so many Christians were raving about.  I’m also glad he mentioned Jesus, but felt he fell far short of giving the true Gospel that sets us free.  Thank you for your discernment, Dee.  I’m following the blog silently for now due to extenuating life circumstances for the past several months, but so much appreciate your work which is a help to me in many ways.  Thank you.

  8. 2.  Chapter five. Lewis talks about people thinking he has ‘wrapped up what looks like philosophy’ but is really religion, but that isn’t what he did. It is really difficult for a believer to discuss philosophy and not end up with God!

    Lewis also says that people want progress, but real progress means getting closer to where you want to be. If you are not achieving that, then you’ve taken a wrong turn. The only good choice then is to turn around and return to the right road.

    Lewis keeps claiming to not have gotten to God yet, in any sense except there being someone or something behind the moral law. He says he is still trying to discover what he can without turning to ‘religion’. I am not sure that he is doing that, since he talks a lot about God in this chapter. But I am also convinced that the generations before us were smarter than we are. I feel pretty uneducated when it comes to reading Lewis, or indeed anyone from the past.

  9. 1.  What stands out to you from the above and why?
    “Since we cannot keep the law of the moral lawgiver, we have cause to be uneasy.”
    I tried to read the comments while I was out of the country and the first few days I got back on US soil. Got sick while over there and I found it hard to process a lot of things so decided to give my brain a break. (Smile) I hope to get back and comment as my neurons would allow me to. Lewis is deep but I am asking the Lord to enlighten me in the better understanding of law and grace.
    The more I see my inability to keep the law of the moral lawgiver, the more I see my real self-nothing except for the grace of God. And the more I see how loved I am by the very one who made the law. Movies like Alfie or the royal wedding of Harry and Meghan just highlights man’s need for Jesus. We cannot just stop at love. Yes, it is important but we fall short of it if Jesus and what He has done for us are not included in the equation.

  10. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why? 
     

    I have never seen Alfie, but maybe have heard the song? I guess I could watch it this summer. I heard from from people who watched the wedding (I only watched snippets) that the pastor really “did a good job,” and the “Brits may have been blown away by his style.” I meant to go back and find the sermon and read it, but alas, life moves at a fast pace and I have yet to do that. I didn’t hear anything about Jesus and the sermon. I liked the article, where the writer compares the two marriages (Christ and the Royal couple). I especially appreciated where she writes, “ Many church members, however, know that to redefine marriage is to redefine the Gospel.” I have thought something similar for years; that marriage is biblical, and that the idea of anything other than a man and a woman was mocking the institution of marriage and denouncing the Bible. I left my former denomination (Methodism) because I felt that they were straying from their doctrine by allowing same sex unions and wondered how they could justify the actions with scripture. I was/am disappointed in them “giving in” instead of standing for the faith.

  11. 1. What stood out: The world has not come to terms with the fact that though we know we should love, we don’t do it well,  that, in fact, without God, we can’t.

    I am so glad Dee gave her perspective on Bishop Curry’s sermon. I was wondering what she thought. I didn’t have time to listen to it, only the clips the news put out so I didn’t know what I thought. Maybe because it was so accepted among the world it caused me to pause.

    A friend and I talked about this a long time ago and had a disagreement. She thought non-believers can love in marriage like believers can. I told her that God has given us human love for one another, yes, but loving via His Spirit is a sacrificial love that isn’t lavished upon a spouse out of co-dependency, or insecurities, or a need to fulfill a satisfaction that only God can fulfill. It isn’t that easy though because I think our divorce rate is just as high as non-believers, and believe me I have been through rough waters these past 20 years of marriage. There have been seasons I have loved well and seasons I haven’t.

  12. 2. The chapter is short. Read it all and share two points that stood out to you.

     

    God is good but He is not safe. Reminds me of Sally’s Aslan painting.

     

    It is at a point of desperation that people begin to listen about God.

  13. 1.  The chapter is short. Read it all and share two points that stood out to you.
    “…Humanity has been making some big mistakes. We are on the wrong road. And if that is so, we must go back. Going back is the quickest way on.
    There is nothing indulgent about the Moral Law. It is as hard as nails.
    It is after you have realized that there is a real moral law, and a power behind the law and that you have broken that law and put yourself wrong with that power, it is after all this, and not a moment sooner that Christianity begins to talk.”
    Oh, Mr. Lewis-you sure have taken me in a roundabout way but that which I can understand!
    My practical application in the classroom: There are some things that I have done in the classroom in the past that I now consider the “wrong way”. I need to go back.  Mr. Lewis has challenged me not to be pigheaded and to admit my “mistake”.

    1. Bing is back and we love her!

      1. Thanks, Dee. I missed being here. And I found a website where I can read the book for free! Yay!

    2. Yes, I love your words, Bing!

  14. Tuesday:
    1.  Watch the following video of this chapter, and again, share anything that stood out to you.
    I love doodles! This would probably be my preference and it would be nice to be able to print the whole doodle page and write in my notes. The chapters in written form without pictures often times are like a blur to me as I tend to speed read.
    “We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. …If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.”
    God is our only comfort and our only terror-the pictures of the Lamb and the Lion (what a great metaphor!) Sally’s Aslan!

  15. Monday 

    2.  The chapter is short.  Read it all and share two points that stood out to you.  Yes, the chapter is short, but jam packed with challenging information!  I’m going to quote two points that stood out to me.  1). “It (Christianity). has nothing (as far as I know) to say to people who do not know they have done anything to repent of and who do not feel that they need any forgiveness.”  2.  “If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end:  if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth – only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with and, in the end despair.”

  16. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

    I appreciate your perspective on the sermon at the Royal Wedding, Dee. Many people were really impressed with it, but something about it left me edgy and disappointed. Maybe it was because he didn’t really explain the gospel, as you say Dee, “The world has not come to terms with the fact that though we know we should love, we don’t do it well,  that, in fact, without God, we can’t.”

    Also, I am not doing a good job keeping up, Dee. This season is super busy for us. But I do appreciate studying Mere Christianity when I can find the time. I also so appreciate those who are continuing to blog here with their opinions. It helps me think the issues through. This is such an important study to think about how to talk to non-believers about the reason for our faith.

  17. 1)  I absolutely loved watching Harry & Meghan’s wedding…I am a little too obsessed with the royal family, in many ways b/c their way of life is so vastly different from ours.  It fascinates me.  But I still to this day cannot get over how H&M’s love for each other just exuded from every cell in their body that day.  Harry could not keep his eyes off of his bride & Meghan was literally glowing; her eyes sparkled with lights of pure love.  So many turns from royal tradition that day, one being the idea of marrying for love.  I couldn’t help but think of what Princess Diana said about her wedding day, something to the effect that it was the unhappiest day of her life.

    I was also hoping the Bishop would go deeper with the gospel message, but I’m still happy that he was not afraid to say the name of  Jesus to millions of people watching world-wide.  It was “gospel light”, maybe what Lewis would call a “tame message”–something not too threatening to listeners.  Nonetheless, if those words are the only words that some will ever hear closest to the full gospel message, if it gets them thinking & then thinking some more, a seed has been planted & God can use even that.

    Interesting that Dee mentioned The Crown series…just last week I finished the last episode of Season 2 (I read somewhere that it will be the last season, which depressed me horribly; personally, I have not seen a series more well done).  What fascinates me so much about the royal family are the personal relationships & dynamics, and the balance of personal life, public life, royal protocol/rules & government.  After watching The Crown, I have a renewed, huge appreciation & respect for Queen Elizabeth, for her incredible strength & dignity, her rock solid determination & ability to forge ahead, “get on with it” even in the worst of times.  When I watched the part where the Queen meets with Billy Graham, & what took place, how she called him back to the palace during a really difficult time, grappling with not being able to forgive, and whether she should forgive… as well as the scenes where it shows her completely taken in by Billy Graham’s messages, &  praying privately, it is certainly possible that she could have had a conversion experience.  I pray she did.  She caught a lot of flack for inviting Billy to come & speak, a lot of opposition, but she would not back down.  I love that about her.

    1. I have watched season 1 and maybe some of season 2. Love the royals (especially Diana), and watched before I went to London to meet my youngest for a week while he was studying abroad. I remember one thing that stood out to me was when Elizabeth was coronated she explained how the monarchy was a liaison between the church (or God) and the government (something like that). I thought it was interesting that she had a love of God that she felt it was necessary to abide by as the Queen.

    1. Dee, well that’s really encouraging to hear, thanx.  Yes, she did indeed have a challenging marriage, as if she didn’t have enough challenges to deal with as Queen.  In the last episode I watched of The Crown, she says to Philip, “I am a strong woman.  I can handle the truth.  What I can’t handle is when someone does not tell the truth.” (something like that)   Maybe b/c I see myself as weak too often in life, it is her strength that I admire most of all.

  18. 3.  Lewis says the world generally is on the wrong road. It was true then, and even more true today. Absolute Goodness has to hate most of what we do. The only way to go forward is to recognize where we went wrong and go back there. The idea is to make a different choice this time.

     

    4.  Evidence for God apart from Scripture or religion. First of all, there is creation. The universe is beautiful in all of it’s order. Then there is the moral law inside us.

  19. 2. The chapter is short. Read it all and share two points that stood out to you.
    Point 1: “progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. … if you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road”.
    Point 2: “comfort is the one thing you cannot get by looking for it. If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth”.

  20. 5.  The math analogy. The faster I see that I have an error and go back to correct it, the faster I can solve the problem. It is not progressive to be pig headed and refuse to admit mistakes.

     

    6.  If the moral law is there by some purely impersonal mind, you can no more ask forgiveness of it than to ask math to forgive you when you get the wrong answer.

  21. Tuesday

    3.  Watch the following video of this chapter, and again, share anything that stood out to you.  …”if there does exist an absolute goodness it must hate most of what we do.  This is a terrible fix we are in.  If the universe is not governed by an absolute goodness, then all our efforts are in the long run hopeless.  God is the only comfort, He is also the supreme terror:  the thing we most need and the thing we most want to hide from.  He is our only possible ally, and we have made ourselves His enemies.”

  22. 4. Lewis says there are two bits of evidence, apart from scripture and religion, that we have a “moral law giver”– what are they?
    1. the universe
    2. the moral law in our mind

    5. Lewis makes an analogy with math — what is it?
    If in a math problem you goof up, the only way to get back to getting to a correct answer is to begin over or get back to where the error occurred and make the correction; correction of the error is required.

    6. Why does it do “no good” to ask the moral lawgiver to let us off and not count our failing?
    God is like the moral law, therefore He cannot be indulgent, He must “do the straight thing” regardless of “how painful, or dangerous, or difficult,” to do otherwise would put into to question if God is truly “good.”

    7. Why is all this necessary to understand before we approach Christianity?
    It is important to lay this premise, this foundation to show that there is a real moral law and a Power behind that law, that humanity has and continues to break the moral law which puts us wrong with that Power…it brings us to a point of realizing our need to repent and our need for forgiveness.  I really like how Lewis put it, “when you know you are sick, you will listen to the doctor.”

      1. Ha, I was thinking the exact same thing!  Were you a straight A student Nanci?  I really like your answers, so clear & concise.

      2. You ladies are too funny…:)

  23. 7.  This groundwork is important and needed before approaching Christianity because until a person recognizes the desperate situation they are in, Christianity makes no sense. Until you know you’ve done wrong you don’t care about forgiveness. It takes being sick to listen to the doctor.

     

    8.  Martin Luther said all of life is repentance. Perhaps it is because we are always sinning. Without recognizing and repenting of our sin, there is no real love or comfort or even beauty. All is tainted by the disease of sin within us.

  24. So glad you are doing this study, Dee.  I’m back here in the shadows, not commenting much.   But so grateful for what you are giving us here this summer.   Thank you~

  25. Wednesday: The Logic
    1.  Lewis says there are two bits of evidence, apart from Scripture and apart from religion, that we have a God who is a “moral law giver.” What are they? 
    a.  Creation of the universe (outside) beautiful but terrifying
    b.      Moral law (inside)
    5. Lewis makes an analogy with math. What is it?
    We have all seen this when doing arithmetic. When I have started a sum the wrong way, the sooner I admit this and go back and start again, the faster I shall get on.
     
    2.  Why does it do “no good” to ask the moral lawgiver to let us off and not count our failing?
    The moral lawgiver gives it to us “straight”. There is nothing soft about it-it is “hard as nails”. And if we think it is just an impersonal mind, then we cannot really ask for us to be off and not count our failing. He has to be a person because only a person can forgive.
    “If the universe is not governed by an absolute goodness, then all our efforts are in the long run hopeless. But if it is, then we are making ourselves enemies to that goodness every day, and are not in the least likely to do any better tomorrow, and so our case is hopeless again. We cannot do without it, and we cannot do with it. God is the only comfort, He is also the supreme terror: the thing we must need and the thing we most want to hide from. He is our only possible ally, and we have made ourselves His enemies. “
    3.  Why is all this necessary to understand before we approach Christianity?
    C.S. Lewis puts it in a way that I cannot put in any better way:
     “My reason was that Christianity simply does not make sense until you have faced the sort of facts I have been describing. Christianity tells people to repent and promises them forgiveness. It therefore has nothing (as far as I know) to say to people who do not know they have done anything to repent of and who do not feel that they need any forgiveness. It is after you have realized that there is a real Moral Law, and a Power behind the law, and that you have broken that law and put yourself wrong with that Power it is after all this, and not a moment sooner, that Christianity begins to talk.” 

  26. I would like to join the group but just found it.  Hope to catch up.

     

  27. Wednesday 

    4.  Lewis says there are two bits of evidence, apart from Scripture and apart from religion, that we have a God who is a “moral law giver.”  What are they?        

    1). He was a great artist (for the universe is a beautiful place).

    2).  The moral law which He has put into our minds.

    5.  Lewis makes an analogy with math. What is it?

    When a mistake is made in math we have to back and correct it to come to the right conclusion.  “…progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road.”  “The most progressive man is the one who turns back the soonest.”

    6.  Why does it do “no good” to ask the moral lawgiver to let us off and not count our falling?

    ”If the universe is not governed by an absolute goodness, then all our efforts are…hopeless.  It’s no use asking if there isn’t a moral lawgiver.  But if it is, then we are making ourselves enemies to that goodness which is…hopeless again.”  The moral lawgiver isn’t going to let us off cause we’re enemies!  We cannot do without it and we cannot do with it.”

    7.  Why is all this necessary to understand before we approach Christianity?  

    Before one can become a Christian he has to accept that he’s not perfect and realize that there is within him a moral law, there is a moral lawgiver and there is a way to bridge the gap.  There is hope!

     

     

                                                                                            

     

  28. 3. Watch the following video of this chapter, and again, share anything that stood out to you.

     

    I thought it interesting how he describes the 2 bits of evidence we have about the “some body” or “some thing” that is behind the moral law.

    1. the beauty of our world (“his” art work) and the terrifying and dangerous world in which we live (he is no friend to man), and

    2. The moral law and the knowledge man has the “inside scoop.”

    He states that you will learn more about God from the moral law than the universe in general.

  29. Monday:   what stood out to me was “There is nothing indulgent about the moral Law. It is hard as nails…..If God is like the Moral Law then He is not soft”.       And…”only a Person can forgive”.

    Tues: “God is the only comfort, He is also the supreme terror”.

    Wed:  4). Evidence that God is a Moral Lawgiver: 1. The universe He has made(the universe is a beautiful but terrifying place).

    2. The Moral Law which He has put into our minds; this is “inside information”.

    5). Analogy with math is : If you found out your math calculations were faulty, u would go back & correct them…the sooner in the process the better. That is progress, even tho it is going back. You can’t argue with multiplication tables for example; if u do u will be bound to get the wrong answer.

    6). It is no good to ask the Moral Lawgiver to let us off without counting our failing, cause you know that unless He detests wrong behavior, He cannot be absolutely good.

    7).  We need to see that there is a Moral Law, that we have broken it; & that there Is a Power behind it; that we have put ourselves “wrong with that Power”. When we realize we are “sick”, we will “listen to the Dr”.

    8). “All of life is Repentance”;  I think it means that we need to be on a continual journey of surrender & yielding to the Sovereignty of God.

    9). If we look for Truth first we may find comfort in the end; but if we only look for comfort, we will not get either comfort or truth…..only”softsoap & wishful thinking”, & in the end despair.

    This is very sobering, as I know I lean towards comfort & peace; & away from conflict & discomfort!

  30. 9.  Lewis says to look for truth and you may also get comfort, but seeking for comfort will get you neither. This reminds me that in medicine if you seek relief from your symptoms only, you are missing the opportunity for a cure. If you seek to cure the disease, then as a natural consequence, you will probably get rid of the symptoms also.

     

    10.  The application in my life. Sorry to stay on this, but it is where I am. Until I can deal with the roots of my overeating, it will never be conquered. I need to deal with why I have this compulsion, what lie I am believing, why I don’t go to God, etc. Diet and exercise by themselves are fine, but they aren’t enough.

  31. 4. Lewis says there are two bits of evidence, apart from Scripture and apart from religion, that we have a God who is a “moral law giver.” What are they?  
     

    Lol! This is what I chose as my answer to number 3! I promise I didn’t cheat and look ahead!

    1) the universe and it’s beauty

    2) man himself

     
    5. Lewis makes an analogy with math. What is it? 
     

    If the “something behind the scenes” is an impersonal sort, it may be no use to ask forgiveness for something you have done because the “it” wouldn’t be able to grant forgiveness or let you off because it isn’t a person (who can forgive). He says it’s like if you mess up on a math problem you would not ask “forgiveness,” but rather you would just get the wrong answer.

     
    6. Why does it do “no good” to ask the moral lawgiver to let us off and not count our failing?
     

    Unfortunately for us, there is a part of us on “His” side…we agree that we should be punished for our offenses. If the universe is run by an absolute goodness then we are continually disappointing him with our continual sinning. It is hopeless. If the universe is not run by an absolute goodness then it is a corrupt being who doesn’t care if we are behaving badly. It is hopeless for us again. There lies the conundrum….we can’t live with “it” and we can’t live without “it.”

     
    7. Why is all this necessary to understand before we approach Christianity? 
     

    Because some people don’t know they are in need of forgiveness because they don’t know they have sinned or are sinning.  They don’t know there is a moral law to be followed (aren’t these sociopaths??) and so they don’t understand a need for a Savior. To understand what Christians do, you must understand the moral law.

    1. On number 7; I have atheist/agnostic friends who do understand the moral law. They believe they are “good people.” I see what he means by the next point though…they don’t see they need to be forgiven by the “power.” They do wrong things, sometimes knowing it’s wrong and sometimes not, but lack the next step which is to realize they need forgiveness from some “thing.” It is sad, because what is their hope in the end?

  32. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

     

    I may be the only person in the country who didn’t pay too much attention to the royal wedding….it’s interesting and discouraging to me how people still react to just the mention of Jesus’ name. It seems to be acceptable for a sermon to include the use of “God”, and talking about virtues and love, but I did not know that people rolled their eyes and smirked when the Bishop mentioned Jesus. Interesting, because when he mentions “God”, that is Jesus, too! Jesus still gets people all fired-up today, just like some reacted to Him when He was on the earth.

     

    2. The chapter is short. Read it all and share two points that stood out to you.

     

    Lewis’ discussion of the real meaning of progress. In our culture today, many hold the belief that in order to be “progressive”, we have to ditch the ‘old-fashioned’ values and mores of the past, or the way things were done, or beliefs that were held. But Lewis defines progress as getting nearer to the place you want to be; however, if you have taken a wrong turn, going forward does not get you any nearer; if you are on the wrong road, the man who is the first to turn back to the right road is the most progressive. In Lewis’ day, and in ours, it is evident that we are making big mistakes, sometimes all in the name of “progress”. I understand his argument, but many today clearly do not and they don’t see that they are on the wrong road. For example, look at all the gender confusion today, and we think it is progress to have gender inclusion and new rules in schools, public bathrooms, even the military. I listened recently to a good podcast in which the speaker said that if your young child said one day, “Mommy, I believe I am really a giraffe”, you would correct their thinking by explaining why they are not. However, when your little girl says, “Mommy, I believe I am really a boy”, the parents often go along with it.

     

    Secondly, the moral law that is put inside of us is one of our evidences that there is a “Somebody” (the universe being the other), and this is our “inside information” and a better evidence than the universe. In my devotional reading yesterday, it said, “God gave everyone an internal sense of right and wrong. In fact, reflecting His truth inwardly is one way that He reveals Himself to mankind.”

     

    3. Watch the following video of this chapter, and again, share anything that stood out to you.

     

    The moral law shouldn’t give us the idea that God is “good”, in the sense of being indulgent (the doodle was a soft teddy bear). Lewis says that there is nothing indulgent about the moral law; it is as hard as nails and doesn’t care if doing the right thing is dangerous or difficult to do. (This is in contrast to what Dee described above as Bishop Curry’s sermon….telling a crowd to love, love, love is sort of a feel-good warming kind of thing, but doesn’t address how you can possibly love when the situation seems impossible or you just plain don’t want to).

     

    It follows then, that if you fail this “tough as nails moral law”, don’t expect it to “let you off”. Only a person can forgive, and Lewis says “we haven’t got that far yet”. If this Someone is only a “mind”, then it is about as forgiving as the multiplication table when you make a wrong calculation.

     

    This is a wonderful quote: “Some people talk as if meeting the gaze of absolute goodness would be fun. They need to think again. They are still only playing with religion.”

     

     

      1. I’m going to chime in…
        I was raised in a Christian family, we attended mass weekly and on holy days (of obligation), went to religious education until we were confirmed, etc. yet for some of them talk of Jesus makes them uneasy.  My brother mentioned that he steers clear of a particular friend because he talks too much about Jesus and encourages my brother “too much” in practicing his faith.  I hear some complain if mass goes over the allotted time…a 45-50 minute mass is the bomb.  Most in my family think I’m a Jesus freak; they saw a change about 20 years ago that they couldn’t/can’t quite make out.  I’m just sharing this as an example, that some “Christians” don’t want “too much” Christianity/Jesus.

  33. 4. Lewis says there are two bits of evidence, apart from Scripture and apart from religion, that we have a God who is a “moral law giver”. What are they?

     

    The universe and the Moral Law that has been put into our minds.

     

    5. Lewis makes an analogy with math. What is it?

     

    Lewis makes the analogy that if there is only an impersonal mind behind the Moral Law, then there is no use in asking to be let off when you mess up, just as there is no use in asking the multiplication table to excuse you for doing your sums wrong.

     

    6. Why does it do “no good” to ask the moral lawgiver to let us off and not count our failing?

     

    First of all, if the moral lawgiver is only an impersonal mind out there in the universe, then how can it forgive you? Secondly, because we ourselves know that lying and corruption and such things are wrong, then we admit that part of us agrees with this lawgiver, yet, if we ask it to forgive us, to let us off, and it does, then that casts doubt on the goodness of this lawgiver. Is it corrupt itself?

     

    7. Why is all this necessary to understand before we approach Christianity?

     

    Because Christianity has nothing to say to people who do not believe or understand that they have done something wrong, that they have violated the Moral Law and offended the Someone behind that law, and that they need to repent and be forgiven. (I have people in my own family who are right here, and that is why Christianity has nothing that interests them.) But once a person understands the truth about the Moral Law and about themselves, then Christianity offers the solution to their problem.

     

    8. Martin Luther didn’t say, “All of life is love”, but rather, “All of life is repentance”. Why, do you think?

     

    I don’t think that the average person even understands what love is. I know that when I got married, I sure didn’t. We can self-define love as a warm feeling we get from somebody or some thing, when we feel needed, wanted, or when someone is meeting our needs. It is most often centered on ourselves. Even as a believer, I still grapple with how to truly love others, because my heart is deceitful and my motives can be all messed-up and I can still be looking to get my own needs met, and so my love can be selfish. And if all of life is love, what do we do with the fact that we know we don’t love well, and that a lot of our relationships are strained and broken? It doesn’t help then to say that “God is love”….that leaves a lot of unanswered questions. Luther seemed to be getting at the root of our problem, which is sin. Our biggest need, first, is to repent, and yet….”God demonstrated His own love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” This statement seems to fuse together love and repentance. God loved us so much that He died for us, yet why would He die for us if we’re really not that bad and we have nothing to repent of?

     

     

  34.  8. Martin Luther said “all of life is repentance”– why do you think?
    I think that Luther said “all of life is repentance” because with the fall, humanity became fraught with sin, even on our very best days, we fall woefully short.

    9. Why does Lewis say we should look for truth instead of comfort?
    If one searches for truth, one may find comfort, but if one searches for comfort, s/he will find neither comfort or truth.  This reminds me of happiness/joy; happiness/joy can only be a by-product, if searched for directly, it will not be found.  Wasn’t that in a Keller sermon?

    10. How might this apply right now in your life?
    Bullseye!…there have been some recent social media posts regarding my place of employment that raise some serious questions. Part of me just wants to wait and see what evolves, e.g., will information be announced in explanation, are the posts “spins”/half-truths?  Not knowing makes for uneasiness, my
    questioning the integrity of leadership, etc.  In application, I should ask appropriate leadership if the posts are accurate/truthful information.  Two things might occur…the posts are accurate, although I would not like this answer, I would know the truth, or the posts are in fact inaccurate portrayals, and I would know the truth.  Just don’t know if I have the guts to ask…

      1. Thanks Dee, much appreciated.

  35. I am just going to touch base to let you know I haven’t dropped out. We traveled last weekend 4 days and will be gone next week to the mountains in Colorado. We will be off roading and camped up where we have no internet or good cell reception. But I have kept up reading and following the comments.
    What stood out  to me in this weeks discussion was this comment by Dee “The world has not come to terms with the fact that though we know we should love, we don’t do it well,  that, in fact, without God, we can’t.”

    This thought highlights the premise Lewis is making in this chapter.   It reminds me that with out God in our lives and recognized in our society we cannot and will not function in healthy appropriate ways. The World has thrown God out and therefore it has no premise or empowering influence to love well or even do the right things even though there is a sense they should. 

    8. Martin Luther didn’t say, “All of life is love,” but rather, “all of life is repentance.” Why, do you think?
    This question 8 stood out to me. Luther’s thought here is so profound. Because we live in this fallen broken world and in this sinful flesh we need to constantly come to Jesus and walk closely with Him and be immersed in His Word. Repentance needs to be a habit of our lives in that we come daily to be reminded of our need of Jesus. I see it as a humbling myself daily to the fact of my sin and the answer being found in Him and what He accomplished on the Cross. Every morning I need to wake up and recognize afresh I should not try to take sovereignty over my life but turn from my sinful bent (repentance) and submit to His way for me. In doing that I can love well and live well through his power because without Him I can’t do it as Dee said in that comment I posted above. 

    Looking ahead to question 9. Why does Lewis say we should look for truth instead of comfort?

    Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life. The Bible tells us over and over God is truth, and his Word is truth. 
    There is something so rock solid about truth.  I think truth brings comfort because it brings us security. Truth does not fail.  Pilate asked Jesus “What is Truth?”  The irony is that he was looking Truth in the face.  Our society and culture is one permeated with lies and has devalued truth. We increasingly live with confusion and chaos.  Like Susan illustrates with the gender issue and there is crazy confusion because truth is being denied. 
    Our comfort can be a very selfish thing always seeking to be satisfied. The only true comfort of heart, soul and mind can be found in Jesus who is Truth. But He brings the hard reality into our lives that only by repentance and denying self (our comfort) that we find His comfort and freedom. 
     
    I will have to think about how that is applied to my life personally in regards to the truth Lewis says we need in order to find comfort. Also thinking about how do I want my own sovereignty over my life.  Several ways I’m sure but very personal. 

  36. Thursday

    8.  Matin Luther didn’t say, “All of life is love,” but rather, “all of life is repentance.”  Why, do you think?  

    I think he understood the importance of being in a right relationship with the Lord.  Repentance is so much more than just asking for forgiveness or admitting a wrong and not just because you may of got caught.  It’s being broken hearted over our sin, turning away from it in genuineness and turning to God.  And definitely not just a one time thing but throughout our Christian walk.  I also think this comes about from the work of the Holy Spirit within us.

    9.  Why does Lewis say we should look for truth instead of comfort?

    If we look for truth we will find comfort, but if we look for comfort we won’t find it or truth.

  37. 11. What do you learn from Psalm 10:4-5?
    Pride leads humanity astray…with pride we think highly of ourselves, we elevate ourselves above God thinking we have no need for God.  In pride we live the lie of self-sufficiency turning away from the Lord.

    12. Where in your life do you want your own sovereignty?
    Financially

    What would Lewis tell you to do to find comfort?
    Lewis would tell me to seek the truth (e.g., Who created all? Who sustains all? Who is “owner” of all?) in reaffirming that the Lord is “Lord” and all I have is His; He provides for all my needs.  I need not fret over financial, work, etc. uncertainties, but live day-to-day in my Lord’s provision, obedient to His directing.  Trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding, acknowledge Him in all and He will keep my paths straight.

    13. How could you apply the above truth in your life now?
    Turning to and trusting in the Lord rather than trying to “power through” on my own…seeking the Lord’s consult continuously, listening to Him and being obedient to His directing.

    14. What questions might you ask an unbeliever, without using scripture, to help him/her consider the real possibility that there is a moral God?
    What or Who dictates what is right and wrong? How do we know there is a “right” and a “wrong”?  Specific examples could be offered (e.g., stealing, lying, marital unfaithfulness).

  38. Friday

    11.  What do you learn from Psalm 10:4-5?

    Pride, with the middle letter being I” keeps men from seeking God and what is in their hearts is written all over their faces!  They don’t want to believe there is a God because then there is no accountability or punishment for their behavior!  There is pride because the wicked man is prospering, in his thoughts, all by himself, and he doesn’t think about God and His judgements…they’re on high and out of his sight.  He sneers at his enemy, which is really God…he’s too puffed up to see it.  This is such a sad state and really hits home within my own family 😔

    12.  Where in your life do you want your own sovereignty?  What would Lewis tell you to do to find comfort?  

    Once again Dee, you get down to the nitty-gritty😊.  I would have to say security.  Lewis would tell me to take my eyes off of self and my insecurities.  Turn my eyes upon the Lord, trust Him and recall His constant faithfulness in my life.

    13.  How would you apply the above truth in your life now?  

    Daily seek the Lord, asking Him to search my heart and making sure I’m obedient to His will for my life.  “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge;  My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”  Psalm 18:2

    14.  What questions might you ask an unbeliever, without using Scripture, to help him consider the real possibility that there is a moral God?

    I would first ask if they believe in right and wrong, then from there depending on their answer would ask them if they think there is something or someone that puts those morals within us.  Also, are they content in where they are finding comfort, is it satisfying?

  39. 1.  Martin Luther didn’t say, “All of life is love,” but rather, “all of life is repentance.” Why, do you think?
    I don’t think that love is possible every minute of life but everyday is an opportunity to repent of not being loving as I should/could.
     
    2.  Why does Lewis say we should look for truth instead of comfort?
    We will end up in despair  and get neither comfort or truth if we look for comfort only.
     
    3.  How might you apply this right now in your life?
    Regarding my idol of approval
    Truth: God loves me no matter what. Nothing I do would lessen that undeserved love. His approval is not dependent on my deeds. He loves me because I am His own, redeemed by the blood of Jesus.
    Comfort: If I only want the approval of man, I can be slave to it. If I don’t get it, I may end up without their approval as well as God’s.
    Friday: Enemies of God
    1.  What do you learn from Psalm 10:4-5?
    It is the wicked who does not have any thoughts of God. He is always puffed up. He brings grief not only to himself but to others as well.
    2.  Where in your life do you want your own sovereignty? What would Lewis tell you to do to find comfort?
    I want sovereignty over the people I love. I shrunk inside even as I wrote this. Ugh. I am thinking I know better on how to handle their complicated lives. Ugh again. I need to find comfort in the truth of God’s Word.
     “His ways are higher than (my) ways; his thoughts are higher than (my) thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9
     “All things work out together to those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
    “He who has started a good work in (your loved ones, Bing) will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6
    12.  How could you apply the above truth in your life now? (And let us pray for one another as we read their answers.)
    Have an open hand to God’s work in the lives of my loved ones. To be quick to prayer rather than being quick to give advice or to intervene.

    1. Oh Bing, I can relate to what you say here, “I want sovereignty over the people I love.” Yes, I often think that “if only they would do what I know is best for them, or follow what my advice is, or behave the way I think they should….” And, I often wish their lives were different so that they would meet my needs….”why did two of my kids have to move so far away from home so that I am deprived of their company and miss them?” I often feel like my life is unfulfilling without them close-by.

  40. 11.  Ps 10:4-5 says that out of a persons pride comes an arrogance, thinking they have no need of God and therefore not seeking Him, or even leaving room for him.

     

    12.  Where do I want sovereignty? It would be easier to say where I don’t want it, if there is such a thing. Even when I sincerely believe I don’t need or want control, it isn’t true. I want to be the one who has the say. I think I know not only better, but best. Like a sign I saw on a business that said, ‘I’m flexible, as long as it is exactly the way I want it.’ Logically I reject that, but I keep seeing it play out in my life. As James says, where do quarrels and fights come from? Lewis tells me to find comfort in truth.

     

    13.  Application….I know my heart is too deceitful for me to find Truth on my own in this deep, deep seated area. So I have an appointment to meet with a friend to do some intensive prayer together. Until then, I am praying that God will soften my heart so that He can break it wide open.

  41. Discouraging…I answered all these hard questions yesterday morning and then lost everything. I hope I can remember what I said.

     
    8. Martin Luther didn’t say, “All of life is love,” but rather, “all of life is repentance.” Why, do you think? 

    Maybe because we humans are such a sinful sort and always need forgiveness?

     
    9. Why does Lewis say we should look for truth instead of comfort? 
     

    As as I recall, if you go looking for comfort you find wishy-washy,  non-truths that are meaningless. Comfort means nothing without the truth to back it up. We can all wish for no trials, but we must go through them to understand why the comfort is really comforting. Search for truth and you find both truth and comfort. This reminds me of my mom. She used to say that you must know evil to understand good.

    10. How might you apply this right now in your life?
     

    I suppose maybe I have been searching for comfort without truth when it comes to our daughter. To know the truth about her being a well grounded adult means to see the ugly part of her life and to come to a realization that as much as we know she should live with us to be a contributing adult in society and to be away from that awfulness, she may choose to live another way and we will have to accept it as what she wants. It doesn’t really comfort me knowing that though. Maybe the comfort is to quit fooling ourselves and to wake up and stop treating her as if she were “normal?” We should face reality and then we will be “settled” inside. I say this because I have really had the penny drop the past few months; I don’t think my husband has though. As I start to stop thinking she will “make it” I feel more peace inside. I want to help her more instead of thinking she should do this and that because it’s the right thing to do or because it’s what an adult would do. She really can’t do life as others do. She really does need our guidance and we need to find a way to convince her or help her without her knowing it. It’s a very hard thing to understand and I can’t imagine anyone picking up this book and reading it just to be reading! You must do a study to get this book!

     

     

  42. 11. What do you learn from Psalm 10:4-5?
     

    We are proud mostly; we need to humble ourselves daily. We need to acknowledge our Maker and His authority over us daily.

     
    12. Where in your life do you want your own sovereignty? What would Lewis tell you to do to find comfort?
     

    I definitely want to control my life when it comes to my health. I can’t seem to give it to God…the diet, the exercise, the constant thinking of what I eat, when I can exercise, etc. I’m  better when I have no choice, as in the cancer a few years back; I’m at the mercy of the medical field and Him.

     

    Lewis would tell me to find the root of the problem. Why do I overeat, eat the wrong things, constantly feel the need to exercise to counteract the eating?  Why am I obsessed with being thin?

  43. 13. How could you apply the above truth in your life now? (And let us pray for one another as we read their answers.)
     

    Please pray for me (and my husband) to find peace in the knowledge that our daughter is indeed a needy person and that she will accept our help more willingly than she has in the past. Thank you!

     
    14. What questions might you ask an unbeliever, without using Scripture, to help him consider the real possibility that there is a moral God? (If anyone has a dialogue with someone — tell us!)
     

    Well, I think His artwork is amazing to start with! How anyone could believe it just “became” is beyond me. I could ask, “How is it that Earth is in exactly the correct position to sustain life?” It’s not too close to the Sun to be burned and it’s not to far to be frozen. It’s in the Goldilocks zone (a real “scientific” term) where it is “just right” to fulfill the conditions of life. Also, “What created the expansion of space in the first place?” What caused that “Big Bang” (expansion) originally?

     

    Unfortunately, my atheist/agnostic colleagues and friends would say that the internal conscience we have is just part of our make up as humans. They can’t stretch their thinking beyond that. Oddly enough they seem to be able to believe in “life” on other planets! Crazy huh?

    1. Yes Laura, I pray that Sarah’s eyes will be opened first to her need for God & also to be willing to accept your help…& be filled with gratitude & humility. I pray for you & your husband to be filled daily with encouragement & stamina & wisdom from the Lord! xxx

  44. Laura,  Continuing to pray for you and your husband and the situation with your daughter and your relationship with her. Don’t give up hope on the good work God can do in your lives and the lives of your precious grandchildren.

    And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Roman 8:28

    You love God and and have been called 😊

  45. Saturday 

    15.  What is your take-a-way and why?

    Lysa TerKeurst, in a devotional made this statement,”They (my troubles/struggles) give me a chance to recognize God shaping and molding me to fit the calling He’s given me.  They remind me God is interested in my character, not my comfort.”  This really stood out to me due to what Lewis said regarding truth and comfort.  When we want comfort, we really need to be looking to what God is teaching us…how to become more like Him and I really believe that’s where we get our comfort or peace if you will.

    What do y’all think?

  46. Sharon, I like this:  “When we want comfort, we really need to be looking to what God is teaching us…how to become more like Him and I really believe that’s where we get our comfort or peace if you will.”

    I feel that the Lord has been reminding me this week how He loves & cares for me & that nothing could be better than that. I feel a nudge to be really intentional about consecrating myself to Him again, & looking with expectancy to see Him working in my life.

    I would ask for prayer to be faithful to Him, to open the door more fully to Him & just let Him be at home in my heart. Not to hold back for fear of what He might ask of me. To just love Him in return & rest in His care of me & all that concerns me. Thanks  🙂

    1. Jenny, thank you for sharing your heart… So encouraging!

    2. I will pray for you to be closer to God. Thanks for your kind words.