COMMITTED to train men and women
to have minds for the Lord Jesus,
hearts for the truth, and
hands that are skilled to the task.

04.12.2023 – Screwtape Letter 5

Matthew 16:24-27
Luke 9:23-26
Matthew 25:41
Matthew 8:28-34
Revelation 20:10
1 Thessalonians 2:17-20
Matthew 13:18-23
2 Timothy 2:23-26
Ephesians 6:11-18
2 Corinthians 2:5-11
2 Peter 1:5-8
Isaiah 1:17
Luke 22:35-38
Romans 14:7-8
1 Corinthians 10:31
1 John 2:15-17
James 4:4
Philippians 1:29
1 Thessalonians 3:1-5
James 1:2-12
Hebrews 11:6

• Letter #5 introduces us to the theme of WAR which consists of diverse afflictions in varying degrees.
• C.S. Lewis highlights for us the premise that no matter what good or evil occurs in our life, where we end up is what is of eternal value.
• Screwtape severely criticizes Wormwood for losing sight of that which is ULTIMATELY AT STAKE, THE HUMAN SOUL.
• There is another important topic in this letter. Screwtape mentions that God has plainly told His Saints that suffering is an essential part of His plan of redemption. This is an issue of great importance and one in which every believer will have to interact with while living IN THIS FALLEN WORLD.
• Does God indeed appoint suffering (trials) for His children? To what end and through which means?
Paragraph 1
One of the main points that we are forewarned of in this letter is whether or not we end up being lost or saved.
• Wormwood is advised that he needs to do his best not to get caught up in the exhilaration of any SINGLE BATTLE being won, but instead to remember that his goal is not ULTIMATELY lose his prey in the larger scale of war.
• Screwtape tells Wormwood that if he is successful at securing the patient’s soul, he will forever be able to enjoy the torment of the patient at his leisure.
• Screwtape is warning Wormwood not to let any temporary excitement distract him from the REAL BUSINESS OF DEMONS.
The real business of demons according to Screwtape is the UNDERMINING OF FAITH AND PREVENTING THE FORMATION OF VIRTUES.
• The last point in paragraph 1 deals with two types of people Screwtape is advising Wormwood to be interested in to transform.
Screwtape’s main strategy is DECEPTION AND DISTRACTION
Paragraph 2

He says that one of the best weapons in Satan’s arsenal is that of CONTENTED WORLDLINESS.
What makes this such a powerful weapon is when it is combined with contentedness. That is, the person is totally satisfied and at ease in a state of worldliness with no inclination for change.
Paragraph 3
C.S. Lewis wrote the book “THE PROBLEM OF PAIN”
“The Christian doctrine of suffering explains, I believe, a very curious fact about the world we live in. The settled happiness and security which we all desire, God withholds from us by the very nature of the world; but joy, pleasure, and merriment, He has scattered broader. We are never safe, but we have plenty of fun, and some ecstasy. It is not hard to see why. The security we crave would teach us to rest our hearts in this world and oppose an obstacle to our return to God; a few moments of happy love, a landscape, a symphony, a merry meeting with our friends, a bath or a football match, have no such tendency. Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns but will not encourage us to mistake them for home.”
He writes to Mary Van Deusen
“As to whether God ever sills suffering…..We must distinguish in God, and even in ourselves, absolute will from relative will. No one absolutely wills to have a tooth out, but many will have a tooth out rather than to go on with the toothache. Surely in the same way God never absolutely wills the least suffering for any creature, but may will it rather than some alternative; e.g. He willed the crucifixion rather than that Man should go unredeemed.”
One last thing in Paragraph 3:
Screwtape says that in times of distress our reason is temporarily suspended, but that if we apply to the Enemy’s headquarters, it is almost always defended.
God is always there to hear our prayers and Screwtape warns Wormwood that it is almost always defended.
I think not almost but ALWAYS.