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August 17, 2011 / Daniel

Bonhoeffer on Matthew 7:24-27

Cover of "The Cost of Discipleship"

Cover of The Cost of Discipleship

In his book The Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes this challenge in response to Jesus’ conclusion to the Sermon on the Mount (i.e. the wise man built his house upon the rock).

Humanly speaking, we could understand and interpret the Sermon on the Mount in a thousand different ways.  Jesus knows only one possibility: simple surrender and obedience, not interpreting it or applying it, but doing and obeying it.  That is the only way to hear his word.  But again he does not mean that it is to be discussed as an ideal, he really means us to get on with it.

So, it all comes down to this.  How will you respond to Jesus’ authority?  What will be your reaction to King Jesus?   You cannot tell Jesus, “I want your help.  I just don’t want your rules.”   Jesus demands unconditional surrender.  You cannot separate salvation from discipleship.

We can talk about the Sermon on the Mount all day.  Study it.  Analyze it.  Interpret it.  But at the end of the day, what really matters is that we hear Jesus’ words and obey them.   This is where the rubber meets the road.  Will you obey the commands of Jesus Christ?

He does not give us the option to pick and choose what we like and what we don’t.   We can’t just select the parts which seem more appealing to us.  We can’t say, “You know, I like the Beatitudes and the Lord’s Prayer, but I’m not so sure that I like what Jesus says about anger or lust.”  This is an all or nothing endeavor.

In related news, here’s a promo for Eric Metaxas’ biography.

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  1. Rainer Braendlein / Aug 17 2011 12:00 pm


    How is Nebraska?

    You said: “What really matters is that we hear Jesus’ words and obey them.”

    I agree with you. That is the point.

    How can we get the power to live the life, which Jesus wants us to live?

    Of course, by believing in Christ.

    At which locus in time and space to we receive the power of Christ’s sacrifice?

    It is the Holy Baptism (please don’t delete my comment, I know, how you feel now).

    Daniel, I think we also agree that the Bible is the genuine Word of God. Our doctrines must be according to the Bible.

    Reading the Epistle to the Romans (written by Paul), we realize that Paul had some struggle with the Romans. They indeed believed that Christ had died for them, but not a few of them continued to sin or even increased to sin, because they said: “The more I sin, the more grace I will get.”

    If someone grasps the gospel solely by reason, he could come to the above conclusion.

    However, the gospel must be grasped by faith.

    After Paul has contraposed God’s grace in Christ and the increasing sin of the Romans in the first five Chapters of the Epistle, he offers the solution for the problem in Chapter 6.

    According to Chapter 6, Paul could not imagine that a Christian was not baptized. Obviously it belongs together: starting to belief and getting baptized.

    Aren’t we saved by grace alone? What about baptism?


    Paul says that baptism is the locus in space and time, where the releasing power of Christ’s sacrifice is dedicaded to us. Of course, merely people, having accepted that Christ has died for their sins, should be baptized. But obviously it belongs together: Starting to believe and getting baptized.

    In a word, at baptism we receive, what we believe: Jesus has borne our sins on the cross, thus our old man of sin has died and we have resurrected with Jesus to a new life in Christ. This mystical power will help us to overcome sin, and to live a Christian life.

    Note: I know, what I have written, may be very strange for you, but it is according to the Bible and Bonhoeffer’s book “The Cost of Discipleship, Section 2”.

    I look forward to hear from you.

    Kind regards,


  2. Daniel / Aug 17 2011 1:23 pm


    Thanks for commenting. I think that I understand baptism a little different than you and Bonhoeffer. I’ll read over this section in Discipleship again. Thanks for taking the time to explain it.

    I’m a Baptist in my theology. So, I believe that baptism is a dramatic reenactment of conversion. Conversion is where the miracle of regeneration takes place. Baptism is a visual representation of that miracle.




  1. Bonhoeffer on Matthew 7:24-27 « Anchor for the Soul « sharin' His love

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