From Tin to Skin


“The real son of God is at your side. He is beginning to turn you into the same kind of thing as Himself … to turn the tin soldier into a live man.  The part of you that does not like it … is the part that is still tin. ~C. S. Lewis

A few took exception to my view in the post Can the Unbelieving be Saved? that a person who has not formally accepted Christ in this life might still be redeemed. Just to clarify: I am not a universalist, I do not believe in a heaven made of unrepentant souls. Neither do I believe in “cheap grace” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer). I do, however, believe that God sees when a heart is “done,” i.e. He sees what we observers cannot.

In C.S. Lewis’s book The Last Battle, a character named Emeth has wrongly served the false god Tash. When he meets Aslan, he is thunderstruck, realizing this is who he meant to serve all along–and who he truly loves. Knowing what is in Emeth’s heart, Aslan (who allegorically represents Christ) accepts him. I believe God accepts those whose hearts are His, even when their information or understanding is amiss.

Anyone who would use this idea as an excuse to continue in their former ways (cheap grace) proves by their very actions that their heart is not His.


About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Quips and Quotes, Religion/Faith and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to From Tin to Skin

  1. n3v3rm0r3 says:

    Love this!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You’ve touched on some really complex stuff, things that tend to boggle our brains and also trigger our emotions. It can be very hard to get humble and to trust God. We people can be funny that way, we want a precise list of rules and all the details, like what kind of peanuts they serve on the plane to heaven and where the restrooms are going to be.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. jeffw5382 says:

    I must say that for me, since I became determined to serve, I continue to experience the exposure, by grace the parts of myself that require eradication. It is not comfortable. I do recognize it though and ask to be made better to serve.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nancy Ruegg says:

    Love that C.S. Lewis quote, humbling as it is. Also appreciate this statement of yours: “I do, however, believe that God sees when a heart is “done,” i.e. He sees what we observers cannot.” True indeed. God is the only all-knowing One who can rightfully judge (1 Corinthians 4:5). Thank you for another thought-provoking post, Mitch.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Marisa Ulrich says:

    I admit I read that post and had a concern or two but could never quite frame my reply. Appreciate the clarification and quite agree-only He sees the innermost workings of our hearts and knows what is in them.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. That scene in The Last Battle was a soul-changing vision for me. I use it frequently to help people let God be VERY VERY BIG, and to let God be fully in charge, and to let God just be God. And though I don’t fully understand this, I know there is no such thing as cheap grace because it continues to cost God a great deal no matter how shabbily someone might treat it.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I appreciate you clarifying what you were trying to communicate in your previous post. This is thought provoking and I love it! Thank you. I think I’ll go reread The Last Battle since it has been YEARS.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Pingback: Can the Unbelieving be Saved? | Mitch Teemley

  9. Bill Regehr says:

    Thanks for this clarification, Mitch. God tells us that His ways are higher than our and His thoughts are as well. This is how we grow in the knowledge of God. I think none of us has God completely nailed down and it is good to let God be God. He alone draws all men to Himself and is not willing that any should perish. But, sadly, many will perish. Even better than a man himself, God alone knows the purposes and intentions of a man’s heart. Grace is not a license to sin, but rather a call to humble obedience to His desires that we learn about through His word.

    I held my silence on this one remembering the scene where Christ told the accusers of the woman caught in adultery, “Let him who has no sin cast the first stone.” We’re all growing in the knowledge of God as we continue to fight the good fight. You’re doing well, brother.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I was always the Cowardly Lion.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Yes, salvation isn’t about “praying the prayer. It’s about accepting God’s grace and putting your faith in Jesus in your heart. The Bible does say to confess your sins and to confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord. See Roman 10:9-10. The evidence of this happening is in the change in a person.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I learned as much theology reading the Chronicles of Narnia as from any sermon or treatise. I have often thought of just that interchange and of the lines of people marching past Aslan at the end of time, the tendencies of their lives to that very point in their existence propelling them either to be drawn to Aslan, or repelled away – the culmination of the leaning of their heart attitude.There was no longer any choice to make. Their choices, all along the way, little ones, all added up to the direction they were going. And in that moment, their choices were made for them – by themselves, a thousand times over – the direction they would go in that moment as they met Aslan’s eyes was set forever by the culminating attitude of their hearts.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Roos Ruse says:

    I adore that you quote one of my favorite passages of one of my all-time favorite books. I refuse to grow up enough to not long for Narnia.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. pkadams says:

    It sounds like you are saying someone was actually regenerated ( given faith to believe and a new heart) but died before they ‘asked Jesus into their hearts’, before being converted. God does the ‘saving’, so yes, I think someone could die before they even realized it and confessed their sin, and still be saved. Of course we can’t know for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s