Grace's Costly Provision
In C. S. Lewis’ Prince Caspian, four British schoolchildren find their way into the magical land of Narnia – where animals talk and the land is ruled by the great lion Aslan – and embark on a series of adventures that parallel different aspects of biblical faith. Aslan is the Christ figure in the series, and through him, Lewis makes many insightful points about the nature of God and faith.
One of the most profound moments in Prince Caspian occurs when the youngest child, Lucy, sees Aslan after searching for him for a long time:
“Aslan, Aslan, Dear Aslan,” sobbed Lucy. “At last.”
The great beast rolled over on his side so that Lucy fell, half sitting and half lying between his front paws. He bent forward and just touched her nose with his tongue. His warm breath came all round her. She gazed up into the large wise face.
“Welcome, child,” he said.
“Aslan,” said Lucy, “you’re bigger.”
“That is because you are older, little one,” answered he.
“Not because you are?”
“I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.”
I love that line: “Every year you grow, you will find me bigger.”
The more Lucy grows, the bigger Aslan gets.
That is the way it should be with us. The more we grow, the longer we walk with him, the bigger Jesus should get.
More often than not, however, the opposite seems to be true. Those who follow him, myself included, are more content to shrink-wrap him (or domesticate him) into clichés, bumper-sticker sayings, tweets, and so forth, so he becomes smaller and smaller instead of larger and more mysterious. Instead of being astonished by God, we grow easily bored.
This is one of the reasons why we are going back to the simple gospel at the beginning of this year. Because it is in the wealth of the gospel that we experience the power of grace to transform. This week we are reminded of the largest transfer of wealth in human history.
That transfer (the largest transfer of wealth in human history) occurred in the extraordinary exchange Paul writes about in 2 Corinthians 8:9. Here is how he described it: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”
Philip Ryken describes this simple verse as ‘elegant in its structural perfection.’ He describes its elegance in this manner:
“[This verse] comes in the form that Bible scholars call ‘chiasm.’ There is a crossover or inversion, in which the second half of the verse reverses the order of the first: rich, poor, poor, rich. In the space of a single verse, Paul explains the true meaning of Christ’s saving work, using the language of wealth and poverty to communicate the gospel. He also teaches us how to live, giving us all the motivation we ever need to spend our lives for the Savior, who spent his life for us.”
Even more, Paul describes all of this as a demonstration of God’s grace. Consider his words again: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9). This verse is about the ‘costly provision of the grace of God.’
I urge you to join us this Lord’s Day as we learn that our enrichment comes through Jesus’ impoverishment, and because of this we can spend our lives freely to the glory of God, all for our good. Bring a friend or two to hear the amazing story of what Jesus has done for your salvation. While you are preparing to come, and making your invites, will you pray for our service? Pray that the Spirit of God will visit us with his grace.
Grace upon Grace,