Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Free of Charge

When I read a book, I highlight passages that I want to keep in my collection of quotations. I nearly used up my yellow marker on Miroslav Volf's book, Free of Charge: Giving and forgiving in a culture stripped of grace.

I like some books because they make me think about deep theological issues. They challenge my assumptions and force me to look at reality in a fresh way. Other books have more practical value. They deal with the details of life. They make me look at myself in the light of God's truth.

Volf's book succeeds on both levels.

I can't possibly include all the quotes I'd like. (For one thing, the publisher would consider that a violation of the copyright law.) But here are just a few profound thoughts from this work:

No life worth living is possible without generosity.

If we see the God of Jesus Christ as a negotiator, we'll experience the law of Christ as an even heavier burden than the law of Moses.

On the cross, God is not setting up the terms of a contract that humans need to fulfill in order to get what they want. Neither is God saying, "I died for you, now you've got to do what I tell you."

To live well as a human being is to live in sync with who God is and how God acts.

God isn't wrathful in spite of being love. God is wrathful because God is love.

The world is sinful. That's why God doesn't affirm it indiscriminately. God loves the world. That's why God doesn't punish it in justice. What does God do in this double bind? God forgives.

God doesn't make deals. God gives.

Volf reaffirms some of the things I've thought or felt but never articulated clearly. But he also challenges me in several points.

Out of context, some of these quotations seem to repeat familiar Christian "talking points." But this is a book free of cliche. And Volf expresses familiar truths in way that makes them seem like new discoveries.

Buy the book--and some highlighters.

Pastor Rod

"Helping You Become the Person God Created You to Be."

1 comment:

jeff franczak said...

In response to: “To live well as a human being is to live in sync with who God is and how God acts.” (emphasis added)

This reminded me of Jesus’ words, “My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.” (John 10:10 NLT, my emphasis)

In the process of sanctification, as we continue yielding to God, is not our humanity being increasingly restored in the image of God?

And as we walk in the Spirit, and our will is being molded by His, we will be inclined to live “in sync” with Him. (see Gal. 5:25)