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!