Monday, September 25 2006
"In Christ a new kind of man appeared: and the new kind of life which began in Him is to be put into us." Mere Christianity
Lewis asks how this new kind of life is to be put into us. He answers: "There are three things that spread the Christ life to us: baptism, belief, and that mysterious action which different Christians call by different names--Holy Communion, the Mass, the Lord's Supper."
It is interesting that Lewis begins this list of things, which spread the Christ-life to us, with baptism. Lewis was baptized as an infant. So was I. So have most of the 2 billion Christians in the world been baptized as infants. So if Lewis is right--the Christ-life is spread to many of us not by our own choice. Infant baptism displays the fact that the initiative in our salvation begins with God. We are filled with the Christ-life not, initially, because of our own work, but because of God's grace.
This is not to say that we are to remain passive in the whole affair. As Lewis points out, the Christ-life is also spread to us by faith and by participation in Holy Communion. We must choose to believe in Christ for ourselves. It is not enough that we were born into a Christian family or that our parents had us baptized. That is not enough to keep the Christ-life going in us. We must continue to receive that life by faith.
And here we come up against another fascinating point: the Christ-life is spread to us not just by spiritual actions like faith, but by physical actions like washing, eating and drinking, by physical elements like water, bread and wine. Why is this? Lewis says it is because Christianity is not merely about "the spreading of an idea; it is more like evolution--a biological or super-biological fact." God does not merely communicate the Christ-life to our spirits, but to our bodies as well. We must be washed with Christ, feed on Christ, drink in Christ . . . or else go dirty, hungry and thirsty for eternity.
"I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you." John 6:53
"Unless I wash you, you have no part with me." John 13:8