C.S. Lewis on The Sermon on the Mount

This is why I love C.S. Lewis. It isn’t just because of his vivid creativity and tangible writing style. I read the Chronicles of Narnia series as a child and never really thought twice about the author. But when I read Mere Christianity in my early twenties, followed by The Problem of Pain, Miracles, The Screwtape Letters, and anything else I got my hands on, I developed a deep love and respect for Lewis.

Here’s a quote from C.S. Lewis I recently ran across on Justin Taylor’s blog:

As to ‘caring for’ the Sermon on the Mount, if ‘caring for’ here means ‘liking’ or enjoying, I suppose no one ‘cares for’ it. Who can like being knocked flat on his face by a sledgehammer?

I can hardly imagine a more deadly spiritual condition than that of a man who can read that passage with tranquil pleasure.

Regardless of your theological stances on issues like free will and predestination, the role of the church in politics, or even roles of women in the church, the one thing we should all be able to agree upon is that we should not be able to read the Sermon on the Mount, or Scripture in general, without deep conviction. We shouldn’t be capable of reading it like our favorite novel. It should pierce our very soul and cause us to ask “Am I really meek?”, “Am I really humble?”, or to get to the heart of the issue, “Am I really striving to be like Jesus in all things?”

For all of us, the answer to that last question will be a resounding “No, I’m failing here: _________” That being the case, perhaps now would be a good time to read through the Sermon on the Mount again, and be forever grateful when we feel that “sledgehammer” of the Holy Spirit knocks us flat on our face, pointing out areas where we need to ask God to work in our lives.

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