Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Better Wisdom from Bonhoeffer

Yesterday I quoted Woody Allen, for laughs.  Now I'll quote someone with real wisdom, who achieved immortality by dying.  This quote is from Life Together, p. 110-111.

"The final break-through to fellowship does not occur, because, though they have fellowship with one another as believers and as devout people, they do not have fellowship as the undevout, as sinners.  The pious fellowship permits no one to be a sinner.  So everybody must conceal his sin from himself and from the fellowship.  We dare not be sinners.  Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous.  So we remain alone with our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy.  The fact is that we are sinners!

But it is the grace of the Gospel, which is so hard for the pious to understand, that it confronts us with the truth and says:  You are a sinner, a great, desperate sinner; now come, as the sinner that you are, to God who loves you.  He wants you as you are; He does not want anything from you, a sacrifice, a work; He wants you alone. "My son, give me thine heart" (Prov. 23:26).  God has come to you to save the sinner.  Be glad!  This message is liberation through truth.  You can hide nothing from God.  The mask you wear before men will do you no good before Him.  He wants to see you as you are, He wants to be gracious to you.  You do not have to go on lying to yourself and your brothers, as if you were without sin; you can dare to be a sinner.  Thank God for that; He loves the sinner but He hates the sin. 

Christ became our Brother in the flesh in order that we might believe in him.  In him the love of God came to the sinner.  Through him men could be sinners and only so could they be helped.  All shame was ended in the presence of Christ.  The misery of the sinner and the mercy of God--this was the truth of the Gospel in Jesus Christ.  It was in this truth that his Church was to live.  Therefore, he gave his followers the authority to hear the confession of sin and to forgive sin in his name.  John 20:23.

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