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Knowing Aslan pt.2
Continued from "Knowing Aslan pt.1"
In a similar, only more horrific way, God did the same for us. Even though we have all broken God's sacred law, God loved us enough to create a way for us to escape the damnation of Hell. Just like the Deep Magic demanded that all traitors must be given to the witch, we all must be given to Hell; but there is also another part to God's Deep Magic. Heb.9:22 tells us that “without shedding of blood is no remission [forgiveness].” This does not mean human blood, blood that is tainted by sin; no, this verse speaks about the blood of a perfect person, one who has never broken God's sacred law. Since all humans are related back to Adam and Eve, we have all inherited sin's curse. No human could be the sacrifice talked about in that verse.
Only one person could be that sacrifice. And that person was God's own Son, Jesus. Jesus left His home in Heaven to come to earth and die for a world that rejected Him. Jesus was so badly tortured that the Bible says He was unable to recognized as a man, just a piece of flesh hanging from the cross. And forget that piece of cloth you see Him wearing, He was stripped of His clothing. The Roman soldiers wished to humiliate Jesus. And, let's be honest, what would be the worst humiliation? To me, it would be being naked in front of a crowd. And because He did that, we, like Edmund in Narnia, can be saved from certain doom. Of course, we still will physically die; that part of the sin curse can not be undone. But Jesus' sacrifice rescues us from eternal death. As the Bible says, 1Co 15:22 “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
This is the best news you will ever receive. Because without Jesus' death to pay the price of sin, we would have no escape the damnation of the law that says all sinners deserve eternal death. In fact, this news may seem too good to be true. When a telemarketer interrupts your dinner to tell you that you've just won a free trip to Cancun, you know there's a catch. Strings are attached somewhere, ready to entangle you in hidden fees. You say “no thanks” and hang up. Nothing is for free. So when you hear that Jesus died for your sins and is offering you the free gift of salvation from the curse of sin, you think, Ok, so what's the catch?
There is nothing you need to do as way of payment; you don't need to be a good person, give money to charity, go to church, rescue a dog from a shelter. Nothing. You know, maybe there's no free lunch, but there is free forgiveness. That is, it's free to you and me. It cost a terrible price, but it has already been paid.
Okay, so there is one little catch. One little thing you must do. It's a word called “repent—to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one's life.” This simply means that you must ask God's forgiveness of your sins. Ask. How hard is it to ask someone a question? Especially when you know the answer will be yes? All you have to do is ask for something that has already been offered to you. Then turn away from your sins and live by God's sacred law.
But there's only one thing that may stop you from receiving this free gift: who would want to believe in a dead God?
What Aslan does next in Narnia surprises everyone. After the witch executes him, Susan and Lucy stay by his body, weeping. As dawn breaks, they walk about to keep warm. Suddenly the Stone Table which held the Lion splits in two, and they turn to find him alive, larger and more glorious than ever.
Then comes the second surprise:
A mad chase began. Round and round the hilltop
he led them, now hopelessly out of reach, now
letting them almost catch his tail, now diving
between them, now tossing them in the air with his
huge and beautifully velveted paws and catching
them again, and now stopping unexpectedly so
that all three of them rolled over together in a happy
laughing heap of fur and arms and legs. It was such a
romp as no one has ever had except in Narnia.
After the tragedy of execution and the triumph of resurrection, the last thing we expect from the great Lion is cavorting with a couple of kids in the morning grass. We expect him to display majesty, exultation, power and perhaps joy, but surely a kind of noble, high-minded joy; but not a romp. But Aslan doesn't hold back; he romps with extravagant joy. And there's a good reason for it.
Just as Aslan was resurrected, so was Jesus first. Three days after His crucifixion, He burst from the tomb and appeared alive and healthier than ever before to hundreds of witnesses. His resurrection shows us the power of death and evil has been broken. It shows us that God is more powerful than death. He defeated it. Jesus' resurrection also shows us—and the New Testament promises—that we, too, will be resurrected after we die (1Cor.15:52, 54). All of ours flaws will be corrected. We will be beautiful and perfect, both in body and soul. No more pain or death. We will be like Adam and Eve before they sinned; our companionship with God will be restored. No more gap. Ever since Adam and Eve sinned, God's purpose with us has been restoration. He doesn't intend to let Satan eternally destroy His Creation. He will put all of it—including you and me if you have repented of your sins—back like He intended in the beginning. That is a cause for celebration—a cause for enormous joy—good cause for a romp.
The idea that Christmas should be long-faced and wary of too much joy is outrageous nonsense. Christians have good reason to enjoy life to its fullest. They are free from guilt of sin and free to enjoy all of the blessings God offers.
Narnia, under Aslan, is a merry land of joy, feasting, dancing, jesting and laughing. “Joy is the serious business of Heaven,” C.S Lewis wrote in Letters to Malcolm, Chiefly on Prayer. Joy is what God is all about. Aslan's romp with the children shows God's intention for us all. Jesus died so that we wouldn't have to be damned to Hell; so that we could escape the punishment of our sins. And that is a cause for celebration.
We will experience joy fully once we are resurrected to new life. But the good news is that we can experience it even now in this world tainted by sin. It's sometimes more of a challenge, of course. In fact, your life may be such that you find little reason for joy. This is due to the fact that ever since Adam and Eve rejected God, humans have been searching for a way to make meaning in an otherwise empty life. But only by restoring that lost relationship with God can you ever find true significance, security and love. Only when you experience God's love—a love that's already there, waiting for you—will you ever experience real joy.
We fall in love with Aslan because he shows his love so vividly. He romps with Narnians, let's them ride on him, kisses them, instructs them, leads them, protects them, embraces them, corrects them, and even dies for them. It's easy to love a God like this, but perhaps not so easy to love a God you can't see, hear or hug.
We no longer have God as our visible, audible companion as did Adam and Eve in the beginning or Jesus' disciples when He was on earth. But when Jesus returned to Heaven, He didn't abandon us; He instead sent God, the Holy Spirit to be with us, working behind the scenes and within the lives of Christians, even though He is invisible. He loves you ever bit as dearly as Aslan loves the Narnians, and you can experience His love and know that it's real.
One tangible evidence of that love is the world He created, filled with beauty and delights meant for our joy—the beauty of nature, the care of a friend, and the simple but often overlooked pleasures of everyday existence. In spite of the blight and decay that sin has inflicted on the earth, all nature, all good relationships, all pleasurable experiences shout the message: God loves you!
You can also know God's love when there is nothing in your life to feel joyful about. God is there to give you comfort and strength. Through prayer and personal Bible study, you will find yourself growing closer to the Almighty God. And He will become as real to you as Aslan is to the Narnians.
Jesus returned to Heaven after He resurrected Himself to prepare a place in Heaven for every repentant sinner when it's their time to join Him in their Eternal Home. Contrary to popular images, Heaven is not an elaborate retirement home—an insipid place of fluffy clouds, white gowns, halos, naked babies and harps where you will be bored to tears. John 14:2 "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you." Each of Jesus' followers are given a mansion in Heaven when they die and Jesus has been building them for over two thousand years. If God created this world in only six days, imagine how more wonderful Heaven is if it's taken Jesus two thousand years and He's still working?
In Revelation, we are told there is will be trees, a crystal clear river, a street made out of gold so pure it's as clear as glass, and mansions as far as the eye can see. There will be no need for a sun, because God Himself will be so radiant that it will fill all of Heaven. There will be no need of a moon because there is no night, no pain, no tears, no death. It is a place of never-ending joy living with our Lord and Savior.
As one creature said when he finally reached the Narnian Heaven in The Last Battle—the restored and perfect Narnia: “I have come home at last! This is my real country!” When we arrive in Heaven, we will know it to be our real country where we will live for all of eternity.
If you have not begun your journey as a forever child of God and to your real country of Heaven, let me urge you to begin. But don't travel it alone. Those who go it alone are vulnerable and easily discouraged. Find others who are also journeying God's perfect path and help each other along the way. Like Narnians committed to Aslan, Christians are committed to following Jesus more closely and loving Him more deeply.
Many people who find excuses for not becoming a Christian do so because they claim that churches are full of hypocrites and the self-righteous religious crowd. And I will be completely honest: there are hypocrites and the self-righteous crowd in some churches you may attend, simply because some Christians or false converts think that Christianity is a show and church is the place to show-off and snub those who aren't as “far along as they.”
But Christians who attend church simply to learn more about God do so because they know that Christians need to fellowship with other Christians and share their lives and heartaches and joys together. Someone aptly said that church is not a showplace for saints but a hospital for forgiven sinners. It's not a place for “good people” to strut their stuff, but for the forgiven to help one another draw closer to God.
Christians are far from perfect. (I can be a witness to that.) We are simply the same wretched sinners who turned their backs on God, who have chosen to turn back to Him. But Satan still tempts us and we still fall back into our old sin nature every once in a while.
In church people develop sort of a “double-vision”--we can see not only what God wishes us to be and will help us to become, but at the same time we see the weakness to sin that we all still possess. In each other we see how desperately we need God and how dependent we are on each other. Church is a place where we can lay our weaknesses and failures on the table without risk of ridicule, and where we find good fellowship to help with our journey at overcoming sin.
If you're serious about following Jesus, find a good Bible-believing church and look for fellow journeyers who will welcome you with open arms and help you on your way. Enjoy the fellowship and support of fellow believers as you travel toward your ultimate destination—the joy of fully restored fellowship with the God who loves you more dearly than Heaven itself.
As Aslan told Lucy and Edmund at the end of their final adventure, “[In your world] I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.”
Knowing Aslan-Thomas Williams
Letters to Malcolm, Chiefly on Prayer-
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe-
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader-
The Last Battle- C.S Lewis
The KJV Bible-God Almighty
Naples, New York
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