The Francis Asbury Society

FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 11/26

Posted on | November 26, 2015 | Comments Off on FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 11/26

Scripture reading: I Thessalonians 5:14–24

The Sanctification of Eustace Clarence Scrubb

And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. Deuteronomy 30:6

 

The Chronicles of Narnia, the seven-volume work by C. S. Lewis, is one of the best systematic theologies I have ever read. What’s that you say? You thought the Narnia series was a work of fantasy for children? Hmmm. While that may be partially true, don’t judge a book by its cover. Just as Jesus could teach serious theology through his parables, so Lewis could pack a heavy doctrinal truth into a children’s story. In the fifth volume (The Voyage of the Dawn Treader) we have what I believe is Lewis’ deepest theological teaching on the doc- trine of entire sanctification. While Lewis avoids the jargon and abstract sophistication of the systematic theologian, in this story he helps us better understand the blessings made possible to us through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross.

In the story, Eustace Clarence Scrubb is an egotistical, self-centered, pompous little jerk. There really isn’t another way to state the matter. He makes life difficult for everyone! While visiting a deserted island, Eustace discovers a cave full of treasure. Wanting to hoard the wealth for himself, he discovers that his greed has turned him into a dragon! (Don’t even ask how this is possible: this is a systematic theology cleverly disguised as a children’s fantasy, remember?) Later, after the adventure is over, Eustace explains what happened. A lion (Aslan, the Christ figure in Narnia) came and told Eustace to follow him. He led him to a spring of water. Eustace felt that if he could bathe in the water he would feel better.

But the lion told me I must undress first . . . I was just going to say that I couldn’t undress because I hadn’t any clothes on when I suddenly thought that dragons are snaky sort of things and snakes can cast their skins . . . So I started scratching . . . then I scratched a little deeper and instead of just scales coming off here and there, my whole skin started peeling off beautifully, as if I was a banana.  At first, it felt wonderful to step out of his old dragon skin, but then Eustace realized it was to no avail. Under that skin he had another layer of skin. He was still a dragon. So he scratched and peeled off a second layer of skin and then a third. Oh dear, thought Eustace, How many skins have I got to take off?

Then the lion said, “You will have to let me undress you.” I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back and let him do it. The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off . . . Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off just as I thought I’d done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt—and there it was lying on the grass: only ever so much thicker and darker and more knobbly looking than the others had been. And there was I as smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. Then he caught hold of me . . . and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I’d turned into a boy again.

If you have been struggling to know how to get rid of your old dragon nature (called “the flesh” in the New Testament), perhaps it is time for you to do what Eustace Clarence Scrubb did: stop trying to save yourself and let him do it!

 

But the sanctification the scriptures urge, as a present experience upon all believers, does not consist

in maturity of growth, but in purity of heart.  —Hannah Whithall Smith

 

 

 

point to ponder Sanctification is not behavior modification but a new nature.

 

prayer focus Someone who needs to be undragoned.

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