Today is the National Day of Prayer. However, for reasons I will explain shortly, I am beginning today’s Daily Article by discussing the cost of the British royal coronation on Saturday.
The celebration comes at a challenging time for the UK: the country is reeling from a cost-of-living crisis that has fueled multiple strikes by hundreds of thousands of government workers, doctors, teachers, train drivers, and others. Since leaving the European Union, Britain’s currency has lost a fifth of its value. Things have been so dire that the Wall Street Journal recently headlined “Britain’s Financial Disaster Is a Warning to the World.”
Nonetheless, Saturday’s coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla is expected to cost British taxpayers at least $125 million, roughly double the cost of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation. Unsurprisingly, only 32 percent of the British public thinks the coronation should be funded by the government.
Some suggest that, since King Charles’ personal wealth is estimated at around $1.8 billion, he should pay for his own coronation. Since he became king the moment his mother died last September and Saturday’s coronation changes nothing on a practical level, some people wonder why Britain persists as the only country in Europe that still practices coronations.
However, there’s a larger question at work here, one that applies to every evangelical Christian of every nationality.
What “gives a man the only true life”
The year before Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953, President Harry S. Truman proclaimed a National Day of Prayer. Presidents dating back to George Washington had issued such proclamations for particular days or challenges, but President Truman’s declaration made this an annual observance.
Unlike Saturday’s royal coronation, today’s observance costs nothing for those who participate. Jesus’ death on the cross paid the debt we owed when God “made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). As a result, we can “with confidence draw near to the throne of grace” (Hebrews 4:16).
Evangelicals rightly emphasize the fact that we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8–9) and that there is nothing we can do to earn or lose our salvation. However, it can consequently be tempting for us to lapse into what martyred German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer called “cheap grace.” In The Cost of Discipleship, he wrote: “Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession. . . . Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”
By contrast, he explained, “Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will gladly go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble. It is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him.”
Bonhoeffer famously added: “Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life.”
“Think about these things”
While it costs us nothing to pray today to Christ our Savior, it costs us everything to coronate him our King. C. S. Lewis observed, “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”
God’s word emphatically and consistently calls us to the complete commitment of our lives to our King:
- “Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy, for I am the Lᴏʀᴅ your God. . . . You shall be holy to me, for I the Lᴏʀᴅ am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine” (Leviticus 20:7, 26).
- “Let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1).
- God is “training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age” (Titus 2:12).
- “Be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish” (2 Peter 3:14).
Such holiness in service to a holy King begins with our minds. As we noted yesterday, epigeneticists report that our thoughts and attitudes can lead to changes in gene expression that lead to tangible changes in our brains and, thus, our lives. As a result, we should say with Job: “I have made a covenant with my eyes” (Job 31:1). When we refuse to look upon or think about what is sinful, we will be less sinful.
To do this, pray every day: “Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things” (Psalm 119:37). Then join God in answering your prayer: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Romans 12:2) through Bible study, prayer, worship, and communion with Christ.
Seek the “mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16) through the discipline of your mind: “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8, my emphasis). Then turn your mind into an altar upon which you pray today and every day for our nation and her leaders (1 Timothy 2:1–4).
Spinning at 1,040 miles per hour
Our planet is spinning on its axis at 1,040 miles per hour. The earth is spinning around the sun at 66,600 mph. Our solar system is moving around the Milky Way galaxy at a rate of 558,000 mph. And the Milky Way is moving through the universe at 660,000 mph.
The King of the universe holds all of that in the same palm of his hand (cf. Isaiah 40:12) where he is holding onto you (John 10:28).
Are you holding onto him today?