Thursday, November 03, 2005

Velvet Elvis

One of the books I read on my retreat was "Velvet Elvis" by Rob Bell. This is a great book. I challenge you to read it. It will make you think about your faith. Here is an excerpt that moved me.

When we understand salvation from a legal-transaction perspective, then the point of the cross becomes what it has done for us. There is the once-and-for-all work of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins and saying, "lt is finished." Nothing more to be offered and nothing more to be sacrificed. Jesus' death perfectly satisfies God. We claim this truth as Christians. AIl has been forgiven. But let's also use a slightly different phrase: the work of the cross in us. There is Jesus' death on our behalf once and for all, but there is the ongoing work of the cross in our hearts and minds and souls and lives. There is the ongoing need to return to the cross to be reminded of our brokenness and dependence on God. There is the healing we need from the cross every single day.

Which leads to forgiveness. The point of the cross isn't forgiveness. Forgiveness leads to something much bigger: restoration. God isn't just interested in the covering over of our sins; God wants to make us into the people we were originally created to be. It is not just the removal of what's being held against us; it is God pulling us into the people He originally had in mind when He made us. This restoration is why Jesus always orients His message around becoming the kind of people who are generous and loving and compassionate. The goal here isn't simply to not sin. Our purpose is to increase the shalom (peace) in this world, which is why approaches to the Christian faith that deal solely with not sinning always fail. They aim at the wrong thing. It is not about what you don't do. The point is becoming more and more the kind of people God had in mind when we were first created.

It is one thing to be forgiven; it is another thing to become more and more and more and more the person God made you to be.

Velvet Elvis, Copyright 2005 by Rob Bell (pg 108)


Tomi said...

After reading your excerpt and the link, I went out and bought Velvet Elvis. I started reading it last night and love it...I can't wait to see what God has in store for me in the following pages. Thanks for the great suggestion!

Brian said...

Tomi, Let me know what you learn. Velvit Elvis challeneged how I think about may faith which led to heart changes. Glad the blog encouraged you to read it.

Tomi said...

I finally got to finish the book! Now that I have finished it, I plan on going back through and really "studying" it. I think that there is so much to learn.

I took the book to the lake to finish reading. I sat out on the dock, alone with God, and took it all in, or at least all that I could stand at one time. I kept having to stop and talk to Him about what He was revealing to me. My mind was going 90 to nothing; rolling truths, promises, questions, praises, & thanks over and over in my head and my heart. What a precious blessing that I had this experience on Thanksgiving day.

I love how he explained the original text, I am amazed at how much I have just simply missed by not knowing the full meaning and intent of the words. I feel so secure in knowing that God is not offended by my questions...knowing that He welcomes them is so freeing;it doesn't mean I am questioning Him or His love for me, that I am only questioning my understanding of Him. This book also showed me that a lack of questions doesn't mean that "I have got it", it only magnifies the fact that "I don't got it." From now on I will know that if I am question-less, then I need to spend more time with Him.

I cannot tell you what a gift that you unknowingly gave me through your suggestion of reading this book. Is't God so cool to do that? To use us in ways that we don't even know? Thank you Brian- Be blessed!