The Perfect Penitent

Book: Mere Christianity Book 2-What Christians Believe

Chapter: 4: The Perfect Penitent

The reality of Jesus’ claim to be the Son of God and the sole remedy for the brokenness of mankind is a claim that could only be made by one who is evil, deluded, or authentic. As the authentic One, Jesus came to do what no other human could do. No one else could give their life, and it put us right with God. No one else could claim to forgive sins and then deliver on the promise. The death of Christ is the act upon which every soul hangs.

Lewis goes to great lengths to teach that an exhaustive understanding of the theories behind how atonement worked is not necessary for the atonement to work in his life any more than an exhaustive understanding of digestions and nourishment are necessary for one to be fulfilled by a good meal.

What must be understood is the problem atonement addresses. The death of Christ delivers humanity from the “hole” we are in. The hole is the result of our replacing God with self. Surrender of our position and a changing of sides are required in repentance. But the deeper we are in the hole, the worse we need out. But the deeper we are in the hole, the more impossible it is to get out at all. We need someone who can do it for us, in us, and to us.

Understanding Jesus’ place as the man who came to help has deepened my appreciation for the incarnation. God really didn’t have to do it, did He?

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