Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Cloak of Invisibility

I happen to be a fan of Harry Potter books. I think they are imaginative, incredibly creative, and insightful in many ways.

One of my favorite objects in the Potter books is Harry's Cloak of Invisibility. This cloak had belonged to his late father James while his father had been at Hogwarts School years ago. James had used it for all sorts of typical schoolboy mischief. Harry had been given it by someone who had known James well (Harry's parents died violently when Harry was an infant). In any case, Harry follows in James' footsteps like the true wizard he is, using it cleverly to achieve his own goals. Even other wizards can't see Harry when he uses the thing. Who can't think of a time when such a gift would come in handy? Have you ever wished you could drift in and out of a place invisibly, or disappear at will, or go somewhere you weren't supposed to with impunity? I certainly have, mostly for nefarious reasons!

When Harry uses the Cloak,though, he needs to make sure that every last part of him is completely covered, or the game is up. Wizards are extremely observant and sensitive. Harry may be invisible, but even then he has to be careful not to give away his presence by knocking something over, or making noises. Not so much as a toe can be peeking out of that cloak!

This is a great picture of what it is to be "in Christ". I always used to wonder about that phrase; it occurs regularly throughout the Epistles. In Christ? How does one get in Christ? If you read the Scripture correctly, this isn't the same thing as being in a club or something. One must be in a Person.

Not too many people think about why Christ had to come to Earth as a baby. I mean to say, why didn't He just appear the way He did to Abraham, as a full-grown man? Why go to all the trouble of getting born, growing up, being in a family, having to learn a trade, eating, getting colds (well, He was a human, after all) and bonking His finger, stubbing His toes in the night on the way to the loo (and by the way, it isn't a sin to say ow. Just try not to say anything stronger) get the idea. Yeah, Jesus did experience all that kind of stuff. Why?

It's because He had to do all those things, yet without sin. He had brothers and sisters, and He probably spent a fair amount of time as the head of the family, as it appears that Joseph was not in the picture in His adulthood. He had to settle arguments, no doubt, and make some decisions that were unpopular. He had to obey silly rules set by the government and the rulers of the synagogue.

OK, so He lived like us. So what?

He did all those things, and lived like us, because He was our substitute. He had to live life sinlessly for you. He had to live a life that was absolutely sinless in every respect, being tempted in every way, so that He would have a spotless life to trade with you.

And this is where Harry's Cloak comes in. Christ wants to dress you up in His life. The reason is that unless you are dressed up and completely covered in His sinless life-- in Him-- then your game is up. If a person would enter the place where the Father is, they must understand that no one will be able to survive the blast furnace of the Father's purity. The Father will not tolerate sin in Heaven, and all that is less than pure will be burned up, and only that which is pure can last. If so much as a square centimeter of your toe or nose is showing, it will be blown away with the rest of you. The Bomb has nothing on the effectiveness of the anger of God against sin.

Are you proud of anything in your life? Don't even think about counting on that as coin to grant you admittance into Heaven. God sees your life as a whole. Would you put on a sewer-soaked suit to wear to your wedding because the cuff was pretty clean? How about if "only" the cuff had been used as toilet paper, and the rest of it was spotless?

No, your life for His. You must cover yourself completely in Christ, like Harry's Cloak. That is what it is to be in Christ. Harry was never able to leave the grounds of Hogwarts without permission unless he was hidden in that cloak so that no one could tell who he really was or see any part of him. So must we be so hidden in Christ that no part of us, not even the parts we think are "good", are visible. The only thing that counts is Christ's life and works.

And that is why sinners like Ted Bundy, Ted Haggard, and me, can enter Heaven. Our lives are miserable failures, but they have made a trade with Christ: His life for theirs. Christ bore the punishment for their life. You get the reward for His.

What do you think? Is that Good News?


Anonymous heidi said...

ooh! I love that picture! tells the truth well, it does.

11:31 AM  

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