Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Bonhoeffer, 1937. Chapter 19, "The Great Divide"

Chapter 19, “The Great Divide”

Bonhoeffer dedicates a chapter to Matthew 7:13-23 where Jesus speaks pointedly about dividing the world into those he knows and those he does not know. This great divide is the final judgment. We have already seen that there is a separation between disciples and others. This, Bonhoeffer asserts, is the walking in the narrow way which Jesus introduces. The way is hard, and, we are told (Loc. 2666), it is very hard not to stray. We must keep our eyes focused on Jesus, as he has gone before us.

Some of the challenges we face will be from those opponents rising within our ranks. They look like Christians, they may be prophets or preachers, but they are wolves who attack Jesus’ people. Bonhoeffer suggests we can identify them by watching the fruit they bear (Loc. 2690). Jesus will separate the genuine Christians from the nominal. This will happen even within the body of confessing Christians. Some, says Bonhoeffer, confess falsely without genuine faith. The true Christian is obedient, having his life built on God’s grace.

In the end, Jesus separates his true disciples based on his proclamation of knowing them. Those Jesus knows are his disciples. Others are not.

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