Blog Post

The Only Solution for our Sin

In The Silver Chair, CS Lewis tells the well-known story of a young girl named Jill who finds her way into the land of Narnia and is wandering through the woods in search of some water. When she finally stumbles upon a stream, she cannot bring herself to rush forward and drink. She remains frozen as though she has been turned to stone, because just on the other side of the water she sees a massive lion staring back at her. The lion speaks to Jill, and their interchange is priceless:

“Are you not thirsty?” said the Lion.

“I’m dying of thirst,” said Jill.

“Then drink,” said the Lion.

“May I—could I—would you mind going away while I do?” said Jill.

The Lion answered this only by a look and a very low growl. And as Jill gazed at its motionless bulk, she realised that she might as well have asked the whole mountain to move aside for her convenience.

The delicious rippling noise of the stream was driving her nearly frantic.

“Will you promise not to—do anything to me, if I do come?” said Jill.

“I make no promise,” said the Lion.

Jill was so thirsty now that, without noticing it, she had come a step nearer.

Do you eat girls?” she said.

“I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms,” said the Lion. It didn’t say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry. It just said it.

“I daren’t come and drink,” said Jill.

“Then you will die of thirst,” said the Lion.

“Oh dear!” said Jill, coming another step nearer. “I suppose I must go and look for another stream then.”

“There is no other stream,” said the Lion.[1]

This story reminds us that God really has placed eternity within each of our hearts (Eccl. 3:11)—what John Calvin has called a “seed of religion” or an “awareness of divinity.” He has written His law on our hearts and has given us consciences that “bear witness” to Him either by accusing or by excusing our every thought, word, and deed (Rom. 2:15). God has made each of us for Himself, and our hearts are restless, or, we might say, thirsty, until they find their rest, or their satisfaction, in Him.

God has made us for communion with Himself, but sin has robbed us of that communion. It has clouded our eyes and darkened our minds. As a result, like Jill, we all come into the world thirsty. And, like Jill, we are all searching for something to quench that thirst. We look for streams of pleasure or material possessions or relationships or accomplishments. We turn to drugs, sex, alcohol, acceptance, and popularity. But, like Jill, we soon discover that these streams don’t exist. There is only one stream. There is only one way to quench our thirst, and that can only be found in the Lord. He has made us for Himself, and our hearts will only and always be restless until and unless they find their rest in Him.

Only one Savior

The Bible consistently teaches that there is only one stream, only one Savior for sinners. Jesus Himself makes this plain in John 14:6 when He says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus says it again in John 17:3 when He highlights the one way to heaven: “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” The apostle Peter acknowledges it as well. Having been summoned to appear before the religious leaders in Jerusalem in order to answer for the massive post-Pentecost revival that he has initiated with only two sermons, Peter, “filled with the Holy Spirit,” declares unashamedly that “there is salvation in no one else [besides Jesus], for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:8, 12).

We see this same reality highlighted every time someone in the New Testament asks what they must do to be saved. On no occasion is the person asking this question ever pointed to anyone or anything other than Jesus Christ (see, e.g., Acts 2:37-41; 16:30-31; 1 Cor. 11:1; 1 Pet. 1:8-9). He is the only way to be saved. He is “the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:24). He is the one who gives the water leading to eternal life (John 4:13-14; Rev. 22:17). He alone has the “keys of Death and Hades” (Rev. 1:18). It is His death that secures our pardon (1 Pet. 1:18-19). It is His blood that opens our way to God (Eph. 2:13; Heb. 9:14; 1 Pet. 1:19). He bore our “griefs and carried our sorrows;” He “was wounded for our transgressions;” He “was crushed for our iniquities;” and it is by His “stripes we are healed” (Isa. 53:4-5).

But there is one

There may only be one stream, but—praise God—there is one stream. God didn’t leave us in our sins. He provided a way out, a way to quench our thirst. God, in His great love for us, sent His Son into the world to live the life we have not lived, a life of perfect communion with God, and to die the death we deserved to die. Jesus died of thirst for us, even though He didn’t have any thirst of His own. And He did it so that we would have access to the water of life to drink our fill forevermore. As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:21, God “made [Christ] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Jesus, as Peter says, “bore our sins in his body on the tree” so that we might never be thirsty again (1 Pet. 2:24). That is the good news of the gospel, and that is what we rejoice in as Christians.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,

the holy habitation of the Most High.

God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;

God will help her when morning dawns.

The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;

he utters his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord of hosts is with us;

the God of Jacob is our fortress. (Ps. 46:4-7)

The Lion of Judah is our refuge; He is our fortress. He provides us access to the river of life, whose waters gladden the heart of all who drink them. Though nations rage and earthly kingdoms totter and though our sins be as numerous as the stars in the sky, we who believe in Jesus have this confidence forevermore: because of Christ, “the Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” Come, therefore, all who are thirsty, come and drink from the water of life without gold or silver (Rev. 22:17). The price has already been paid. The way has already been opened. Come and drink, because, as Lewis reminds us, there is only one stream.

[1] CS Lewis, The Silver Chair (New York: Collier Books, 1970), 16-17.