One of the things I love so much about the writings of C.S. Lewis is his ability to write succinct, clear sentences. He has the ability to say things that I already believe yet he says them in a way I could never have said them. I read his words and think, “Yes, that is so obviously what I believe and that is the right way to explain it.” A case in point would be these words from Mere Christianity.
[To have faith in Christ] means, of course, trying to do all that He says. There would be no sense in saying you trusted a person if you would not take his advice. Thus if you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a new way, a less worried way. Not doing these things in order to be saved, but because He has begun to save you already. Not hoping to get to Heaven as a reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you.1
I am struck by the words, “He has begun to save you already,” and “a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you.” His words rightly put the emphasis upon the process of being saved. He does not leave room for the past tense of “saved.” We are not saved; we are being saved. We are not doing things in order to be saved; we are not hoping to get to heaven as a reward. We want to act a certain way because we see the first faint gleam of heaven growing in us. We are indeed trying to obey this Jesus, whom we call Lord; and we do so because we want to.
1. Lewis, C.S. Mere Christianity. Glasgow: William Collins Sons and Co. Ltd., 1978, p. 127.