If you know me, or read my blog occasionally, you know that I am a huge C.S. Lewis fan. One of the books that C.S. Lewis wrote is called the Screwtape Letters. It is a fictional account of a high ranking demon, Screwtape, communicating with a junior ranking demon, wormwood. The gist of their conversation is all about how they can get Christians to give into temptation and to become ineffective in the service of God. Or, how they can keep people from ever becoming Christians in the first place. I have written a piece before about how Satan tries to get Christians distracted by politics. You can see that post HERE.
The motivation for this blog comes specifically from Romans 2:17-29 (which I will be preaching from this coming Sunday). Romans 2:17-29 is a passage that is primarily about how easy it is for people to have a false sense of security when it comes to being a Christian. So here we go…
Screwtape: I have been working on a new spiritual weapon that is showing signs of keeping the lost sons and daughters of our adversary from converting to the other side. In fact, it is so successful that I am getting more of our personnel, like you, involved in this mission.
Wormwood: Tell me more.
Screwtape: To be honest, which I hate to do, this strategy is really is not new at all. Back in the days when the son of the adversary walked the earth we tried this tactic with tremendous success. The cursed Apostle Paul wrote the book of Romans, in part, to stop our conspiracy against the king. This strategy has many names, but it has to do with giving people a false sense of spiritual security. Imagine this for a moment. People live most of their lives falsely believing that they have left our kingdom and are in the kingdom of light. I’m not sure how well educated you are, but approximately two thousand years ago years we were able to get large segments of the Jewish people to believe that their salvation was secure if they obeyed the law and were circumcised.
Wormwood: I have heard many stories about how this cost millions of people their eternal lives.
Screwtape: You are correct. We have been working hard in America to roll out a new version of this strategy. Of course keeping the law and circumcision mean nothing to religious people in the States. So we need to give them something else, besides the son of the adversary, to put their trust in.
Wormwood: So, what will we give to people that will give them a false sense of security?
Screwtape: I was just getting to that. The first one is to give them the idea that if they are good enough, or better than other people they know, that they are actual Christians. Humans have this wonderful habit of thinking that their good works are sufficient merit for entering the into the enemy’s kingdom.
The second one is religion. Yes, religion. If we can get people to think that church attendance and going through the religious motions is enough our battle is nearly won. A part of the religious strategy is get them to think that because they said a prayer when they were young that they are spiritually secure. Another tactic is to get them to think that because they were baptized that their name has therefore been written in the Book of Life. You and I know the Scriptures quite well and the enemy never indicates that a person is converted by baptism, yet they fall for this time after time. We have kids growing up watching their parents live compromised lives and concluding that Christianity is something they can leave behind once they get to college or out of the house.
Wormwood: I love it. I am more than happy to enlist my services for this mission. What will the result be if we are effective?
Screwtape: Great question. There are three primary devastating results that come from getting people to buy into these lies.
One, apathy. These people live lives with very little passion for the enemy. Sure, they go to church twice a month, but they love the same things that the world loves. They try to do some good things. They stay out of trouble for the most part. But there is very little zeal and excitement about the adversary’s son and the work he is doing on earth.
Two, the church is powerless. We are slowly filling up churches with goats, not sheep. The result is that churches in America are happy just doing the same old thing. They don’t want to hear about sacrifice. They don’t want to hear about living as missionaries. Instead, they have become ripe for the prosperity gospel and living a life of comfort and ease.
Three, the world looks at the church as irrelevant and hypocritical. The world sees that the people who go to church and claim the name of the enemy live just like them. The world is concluding that there is no meaningful difference between a Christian and anyone else in their culture.