The worst pleasures – purely spiritual

By Dave Henning / April 23, 2022

“The sins of the flesh are bad, but they are the least bad of all sins.  All the worst pleasures are purely spiritual. . . .  For there are two things inside me. . . .  they are the Animal self and the Diabolical self.  The Diabolical self is the worst of the two.  That is why a cold, self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church may be nearer to hell than a prostitute.  But, of course, it is better to be neither.”- C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Kyle Idleman concludes Chapter 6 of One At a Time with his observation that Christians consider themselves to love as Jesus loves.  In a general sense.  But often we fail to act out Jesus’s love in specific ways.  To put this into practice with people one at a time.  Pastor Idleman thinks two reasons explain this disconnect.

Grace Challenge #1: Not recognizing our own sin.  When we rationalize or simply fail to recognize our sin, we feel superior to others.  As a result, that feeling better than spirit can take us to a place of condemnation.  Rather than compassion.  Therefore, recognizing our sin helps us realize that we’re in no place to judge.

Grace Challenge #2: Compassion without condoning.  Never mistake or equate grace for/with an acceptance of sin.  Or even a license to keep on sinning.  Compassion and condoning aren’t synonyms.

Instead, we base our compassion on the unconditional love of God.  And we trust in the saving power of Jesus and the Holy Spirit’s sanctifying work.  So, if someone confuses your compassion as condoning, that person must own their mistake.  Hence, Jesus didn’t condemn the woman caught in adultery.  But He did tell her to go and sin no more.

In conclusion, Pastor Idleman explains:

“God’s grace is so amazing, so outlandish, that some people do mistake it for acceptance of sin.  That’s the way it’s always been. . . .  This is not an excuse to withhold compassion and grace from someone in your life.”

Today’s question: Do you agree with C. S. Lewis that the worst pleasures in life are purely spiritual?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “A clear and consistent party theology”

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Dave Henning

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