“The experience is that of catastrophic conversion. The man who has passed through it feels like one who has awaken from nightmare into ecstasy.
Like an accepted lover, he feels that he has done nothing, and never could have done anything, to deserve such astonishing happiness.
Never again can he ‘crow from the dunghill of desert.’ All the initiative has been on God’s side; all has been free, unbounded grace.
And all will continue to be free, unbounded grace. His own puny and ridiculous efforts would be as helpless to retain the joy as they would have been to achieve it in the first place.
Fortunately they need not. Bliss is not for sale, cannot be earned. ‘Works’ have no ‘merit’, though of course faith, inevitably, even unconsciously, flows out into works of love at once.
He is not saved because he does works of love: he does works of love because he is saved. It is faith alone that has saved him: faith bestowed by sheer gift.
From this buoyant humility, this farewell to the self with all its good resolutions, anxiety, scruples, and motive-scratchings, all the Protestant doctrines originally sprang.
For it must be clearly understood that they were at first doctrines not of terror but of joy and hope: indeed, more than hope, fruition, for as Tyndale says, the converted man is already tasting eternal life.
The doctrine of predestination, says the XVIIth Article, is ‘full of sweet, pleasant and unspeakable comfort to godly persons.'”
–C.S. Lewis, English Literature in the Sixteenth Century (Excluding Drama) (New York: HarperCollins, 1954/2022), 38.