Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The more I read of this guy, the more I love what he writes...

So, a few of the blogs I've been frequenting has been mentioning Jacques Ellul. In a previous post (near the bottom), I included a quote from an excerpt of a larger article.

I found this quote on a blog where the writer has been reviewing the books he's reading and this was a quick review of one of Jacques' books - The presence of the kingdom. As part of his review he had included a few quotes from the book. This is one that I just love:

“we have lost the meaning of true action, which is the testimony of a profound life, action which comes from the heart, which is the product of faith, and not of a myth, or of propaganda, or of mammon! what matters is to live, and not to act. in this world, this is a revolutionary attitude, for the world only desires (utilitarian) action, and has no desire for life at all. we cannot exaggerate the significance of the fact of being spiritually alive. we must cease to believe that life depends only on vitamins, hormones, and physical culture. we must get rid of the idea of ‘the sound mind in the sound body,’ which is only another way of getting rid of ‘life’ for the sake of ‘action’. that men should be alive, instead of being obsessed with action: it is at this point that means can be put in the right place. but to do this evidently means a complete break with all the tendencies of contemporary thought.” (p. 92) Ref: the presence of the kingdom: jacques ellul

On a different note, I've been actively asking Dad, whenever I read the bible, to show me what He wanted to say with it, and to remove my religious mindset. And I've been finding such new life in the scriptures! I've always loved reading (well over the last 5-10 years) and the bible has been a source of much thought and wrestling - especially the NT letters - they are full of explaining this Life. What I have been finding, is every passage that I've read so far that speaks of stuff we should 'do' always clarifies it by saying it's something the Holy Spirit does in us. I know I've written about this already, so I don't want to go on too long with it, but it's been really interesting. One verse that I think sums up where I am at the moment in my understanding of Dad is this: Romans 2v4 (in the NLT). How powerful is that verse!? God's kindness is meant to turn us from sin. Not the law! Paul actually goes on to say this: Romans 3v19-26, especially verse 20: For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.

It's a strange feeling finding the basis for my beliefs in scripture, this plainly described - I've found that as I've started to see things from a different perspective, it's sat so right with my spirit, but I've almost been scared to read the Bible to back it up - not because I think the Bible is wrong, but because of the way I've been reading it in the past - I'm scared I'm going to read it with my religious glasses. I have continued to read and study - more so, actually, than in recent months, and it's been exciting, because I was almost expecting myself to be proved wrong - like I was just deluding myself and that my preconceptions of this life (and the seeming prevalent thought) was correct, and this 'new' revelation was way off. So finding scripture that puts things as plain as day has been uplifting and joyous! It's also a little depressing, because I'm left wondering how we've missed it as badly as we have for so long..

One thing's for sure, I'm loving this new revelation and what Dad is doing - He is SO faithful!

I was at Friends on father's day (this last Sunday) and the guy speaking quoted out of Romans 8. I carried on reading, and came to Romans 8:32, which traditionally has been of much encouragement, but as I read it, it threw me - in a bad way.

My thought process in the recent months regarding what Jesus' death was all about has moved away from (the more traditional understanding of) God sending Jesus as someone to take the brunt of His wrath (because God had to beat on someone) towards this: that out of love and in love, Jesus laid down His life so that we could be rescued from our Sin. An extension of this thought, is that God did not send Jesus, or command that He go, but that it was a mutual decision in love for their creation.

This revelation has been a big building block in my recent understanding of things and so the verse really sucked for me, because by Paul was saying that "it was great that God sent Jesus to die, and what more would He do for us", I was reading - "if He did not spare His only Son, what chance do we have that God would spare us" - which isn't too encouraging at all.

So, being a little distressed, I asked Dad to reveal what He was really saying - if there was another way of understanding the verse. And as I was sitting there, I felt it drop in my spirit: Because God loved us so much, He did not STOP Jesus from laying down His life. His overwhelming love for His Son, Jesus, did not cause Him to stop Jesus from dying, but because of Their love for us, He allowed Jesus to be the sacrifice that was needed to conquer Sin.

I was overwhelmed. I really couldn't see it any other way than "God sending Jesus to die", and here Dad dropped in my spirit an explanation that not only proved my preconceptions wrong, but brought life and encouragement back into that verse. It restored and boosted my faith!

It's amazing - every verse that I've come across that seems to be legalistic or have religious overtones - as I've asked God to reveal to me what He wants to say in it, I've been finding meanings that are contrary to what I had previously understood, and has brought life to my understanding of the bible, and is a joy to know that Dad does speak, and is as eager for this transformation into Him as I had hoped He was (actually He is unequivocally more so!).

Today's a day of good news!


Laurel Kriegler said...

I love that. That puts it so clearly and succinctly. WOW!

Cam said...

thanks. ah, what exactly do you like? it's a kinda long post :) - what did you find 'clear and succinct'? just wondering.. :)

Laurel Kriegler said...

I liked this:

"Because God loved us so much, He did not STOP Jesus from laying down His life. His overwhelming love for His Son, Jesus, did not cause Him to stop Jesus from dying, but because of Their love for us, He allowed Jesus to be the sacrifice that was needed to conquer Sin."

It just says it, doesn't it?

non-metaphysical stephen said...

I love Ellul as well -- I think he understood 20th century Western culture better than any other writer I've encountered. As a companion to Presence of the Kingdom (an early work), check out one of his last works, The Subversion of Christianity.

Marc said...

hey all,

Here's food for thought on the subject:

Mat 26:39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will." (ESV)

love Marc

Cam said...

Hey Marc!

What do are you saying with that verse?

That God specifically sent Jesus to die apart from Jesus' will or consent? or?

Marc said...

Not saying anything specific - that's why i said 'food for thought' ... Its not really about what I say.

This is purely my opinion (not claimimg to be the Gospel) that the sacrifice Jesus made wasn't dying ... I am sure that God (The Father, and Jesus for that matter) weren't 'touch and go' whether Jesus was actually going to conquer death and whether this 'whole cross thing' was really going to work or not! It was giving up His deity (to a degree), leaving heaven and His Father to come to earth that was the sacrfice. The Word says though that Jesus did not consider it something to be grasped onto and out of love for us gave it up.
I do believe it was the will of the Father to send His son - "...for God so loved the world, he gave/sent His only son..."
and Jesus also says - "... I do nothing apart from what the Father tells me ..."
Jesus "sits on the right hand of the Father"

God didn't just send His son to die a gruesome death for us ... He sent Him to fulfil prophesy and display His love for us ... ultimately for His glory to be displayed. For His glory and for my good ... but first and foremost for His glory!
You see, Jesus knows the will of the Father and does it, cos taht brings Him (The Father) glory.
Yes Jesus and The Father and the Spirit are all God ... but God the Father and God the Son - not God the Father and God the Father's brother - I think that is very important to remember.

I firmly believe it was the will of God the Father to send God the Son to earth. By his nature - the Son obeyed the will of the Father (knowing the outcome - total Glory to the Father)
I can't imagine that for one second that The Father or The Son ever doubted the outcome.
The amazing thing about God's love for us is - What earthly Father would ever give up their son as a sacrifice for people who hate Him? What earthly Son would obey that will ... ONLY God the Father and God the Son. Thats Love.

Suppose this is a bit more than food for thought!

Love Marc

Free Spirit said...

Wow Cam! I like this! I, too, am on this incredible journey out of religion and into relationship with Father. What a ride! And I just got started! I love the way, once we take off our religious glasses, Father is able to show us the more accurate meaning behind His Word.

I'll be back!

Cam said...

Hey Marcus...

Sorry if I sounded a little rude.. was trying to understand what your thoughts behind posting the scripture was, as it was a little random without clarification. :)

I think there is a definite sense of Jesus 'doing God's will' by dying on the cross. There is also a lot of scriptural basis showing that Jesus did it of His own will and understanding. Jesus talks of "no one taking my life from me, I lay it down" and "the greatest thing one man can do for the other is give his life for him", etc. There is a definite sense that this was a joint decision.

I think it's a little cruel to judge Jesus' hesitancy to die the atrocious death He did as God 'forcing Him' or as it only being God's idea. I think, at the least, it shows that Jesus was stressing about it, but that His love for His father (and for us) was greater than what He was about to endure.

I like your thoughts on Jesus' sacrifice being actually becoming human. That's an interesting concept. :) I do think that it's more than simply that, because I'm not sure where it says it, but there's a reference to Jesus fearing the shame of the Sin that He would take on himself, and the perceived separation that it would bring between Him and His Father - (I've come to an understanding that it was simply Jesus' perception that God left Him on the cross, as covered in Sin as He was, but that the Father never really left Him)...

Your reference to Jesus, the son or Jesus 'God's brother' is an interesting one. I more see this as being an example of a family unit. Also it'd be hard to see God 3-in-1 if it was God, His Brother and the Spirit. Then it would be God 3 in 2 1/2 (not that the spirit is half-god - but that He'd be equal in both.. but now I'm getting a little lost in arbitrary details.. what I'm trying to say is this: There is no real expression of Family, if Jesus was perceived as God's Brother.

Also, it would be implied then that there was more than 1 God.

I don't know, though, that there is as a distinct hierarchy in the Godhead as you're alluding to.

There seems to be a definite mutual respect and love, and mutual honoring, and submission - in love. It seems that each member of the Godhead has a specific role, but that doesn't imply that there is hierarchy. The way I understand it, is that the godhead is the perfect example of relationship. Although God, as the 3-in-1 is wholly independent. The members of the Godhead are wholly dependant on each other. They are one in the truest sense of the word. That Jesus only ever does the will of His Father, is simply because they are one. They are unified in every way.

What I was initially intending with the part of the post we're discussing, is this: That I've realised that the sacrifice of Jesus was all about the 3-in-1-God's love for us. It wasn't that Jesus was the object of God's blood-lust or because He needed someone to take His anger out on.

There always was a totally different goal that was all about us.

Kent said...

Cam, that's pretty cool stuff. I agree with Stephen about Ellul. He is one of the greatest thinkers I have been exposed.

It's a wonderfully freeing thing when we begin to believe the words: DO NOT BE AFRAID.

This seems like a progressive thing to me..Fear is all we had in our alienation, it leaves us aware that we are in need of something and once we see that, it leads us to Someone..this to me speaks of, FEAR being the BEGINNING of WISDOM. If it is the thing that leads us to see Jesus and in Jesus we for the first time begin to see God as he is...LOVE...and then we learn that perfect love casts out can fear remain a part of the equation? I don't think it can.