Christ the Word and the Christian Community

Christians no longer live by their own resources, by accusing themselves and justifying themselves, but by God’s accusation and God’s justification.  They live entirely by God’s Word pronounced on them, in faithful submission to God’s judgment, whether it declares them guilty or righteous…. Christians are dependent on the Word of God spoken to them.  They are directed outward to the Word coming to them. Christians live entirely by the truth of God’s Word in Jesus Christ.  If they are asked “where is your salvation, your blessedness, and your righteousness?,” they can never point to themselves. Instead, they point to the Word of God in Jesus Christ that grants them salvation, blessedness, and righteousness.  They watch for this Word wherever they can.  Because they daily hunger and thirst for righteousness, they long for the redeeming Word again and again.  It can only come from the outside.  In themselves they are destitute and dead. Help must come from the outside; and it has come and comes daily and anew in the Word of Jesus Christ, bringing us redemption, righteousness, innocence, and blessedness. But God put this Word into the mouth of human beings so that it may be passed on to others. When people are deeply affected by the Word, they tell it to other people.  God has willed that we should seek and find God’s living Word in the testimony of other Christians, in the mouths of human beings.  Therefore, Christians need other Christians who speak God’s word to them.  They need them again and again when they become uncertain and disheartened because, living by their own resources, they cannot help themselves without cheating themselves out of the truth.  They need other Christians as bearers and proclaimers of the divine word of salvation.  They need them solely for the sake of Jesus Christ…. [The] goal of all Christian community is to encounter one another as bringers of the message of salvation.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-45), Life Together31-32.

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Filed under Applied Theology, Bible, Christian Living, Christian Thinking, Christology, Counseling, God, Gospel, Sanctification, Theology, Worship

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