Bonhoeffer on: The Big Question

This might get a little technical but it’s worth thinking about:

“Hasn’t the individualistic question about personal salvation almost completely left us all? Aren’t we really under the impression that there are more important things than that question (perhaps not more important than the matter itself, but more important than the question!)? I know it sounds pretty monstrous to say that. But fundamentally, isn’t this biblical? Does the question about saving one’s soul appear in the Old Testament at all? Aren’t righteousness and the kingdom of God on earth the focus of everything, and isn’t it true that Romans 3:24ff is not an individualistic doctrine of salvation, but the culmination of the view that God alone is righteous? It is not with the beyond that we are concerned, but with this world as created and preserved, subjected to laws, reconciled and restored. What is above this world is, in the gospel, intended to exist for this world; I mean that, not in the anthropocentric sense of the liberal, mystic, pietistic, ethical theology, but in the biblical sense of the creation and of the incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

What I get from this, is a question I’ve been asking myself for a while now, in that when we preach the Gospel we make it about the individual and what God wants to save us from. Therefore essentially the Gospel is about me. This is not the whole story. It’s perhaps more true to say what God wants to save us for! To save us for His glory, to save us for the liberation of creation, to save us for His kingdom to advance amongst the nations and the gospel preached to the poor. None of this can happen while we are still in darkness so he must rescue us and redeem us. It isn’t about us, the Gospel isn’t merely about forgiveness of personal sins (but it certainly isn’t less than that) but about the glory of God and His righteousness. Which is why we seek that first I guess….

1 Comment

I think that if the Gospel was just about salvation from personal sin then everybody would be a believer – what would they have to lose!! Therefore, the Gospel must be more than that. We know that we are saved through God’s Grace and if we truly believe that, then we HAVE to do something to honour the gift He has given us, not because it is duty but because we WANT to. God has a plan for everyone, although being saved is obviously part of that plan, I think that is the starting point – what comes after is God’s real plan. The Gospel lets us know some of what that might be in the real sense but overall it has to be to show the glory of God in our lives and to be inwardly and then outwardly changed by His power so that we become a proclamation of His love.

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