C.S. Lewis was famed to say, words to the effect: “While Christians may not be better than non-Christians, they are certainly better than they would be without their Christian faith.”
Praise God for such a reassuring truth. The object of the Christian faith was never to make us perfect (even if that were possible) or ‘better’ than others. How easy we might forget—and Satan loves to remind us—we are sinners! Yet, condemned we are not.
Perhaps the greatest Christian encouragement is: what would we really be like without Christ sanctifying us, renewing us day by day? We would certainly be worldlier, less conscious of our sin and less repentant, and less loving generally.
Not Losing Sight of the Essence of Our Faith
So easily, and so suddenly, we lose the plot as far as the essence of our faith is concerned. The Christian faith is quintessentially a personal relationship—us as persons, with the risen Lord Jesus. Without that, the rest—our worship, our alignment with the church, our growth, our ministry, and our evangelism—would be null.
Graces has saved us, not for one time, but for all time—and it finds its purpose, thus:
Having a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ is about not making comparisons, unless it’s we with ourselves in God’s glorious light... importantly, it’s an ever-loving yardstick.
The Only Worthy Comparisons
Not losing sight of the essence of our faith means understanding that we compare ourselves with ourselves—and certainly never with others—in the light of the Lord.
It’s important that we take time to reflect just how much we have grown; how our tolerance and patience and compassion and kindness have all been enriched through the drenching in the Spirit. We always have work to do. The hope of growth pushes us onward.
It may be that we compare with better times and this makes us sad. Yet how peculiar; the times of most rapid, resplendently subterranean growth come via the dry and excessively heavy periods where the inner search confounds us. If things compare poorly now, God has us on the good road, ultimately.
So, we don’t lose heart as we compare ourselves with ourselves—the ancient truth holds: God is not finished with us yet!
The ultimate best comparison is with the character and nature of God. Still, we’re careful; this is no comparison for perfection, but for kindly direction.
Better Than We Would Be
Rather than being disillusioned in thinking we are no better than non-Christians—which is a trick of pride right there—and Christians and non-Christians, alike, smell such self-righteousness a mile off—we must come back to the fact: as persons we are better now than we would have been had we not been saved. And God is to be praised for that.
This is a calamitous and droning truth. Humility has won us, due our focus on the precious relationship, heaven-bent toward growth, we have with our Lord.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.