This Week: Bonhoeffer, Fear and the Gospel

If you could sum up the gospel of Jesus Christ into a succinct statement what would you say? The gospel of Jesus is that God loves sinners enough to send his son, you might say (with a great deal of accuracy, too!). Somebody else might say, The gospel of Jesus is that Jesus, in living perfectly, dying perfectly, and raising to new life, has done what we could never do for ourselves, namely, reconnect us with God. You would give that last one if you were a wide-eyed seminarian or a first year undergraduate student. What is the gospel of Jesus?

John Piper, whose books and preaching have had a gigantic influence in my own life, wrote a book not long ago called God is the Gospel. Try this one on for size: The gospel is the good news that because God did not spare Christ, he will not spare any omnipotent effort to give us everything that is good for us. On second thought, maybe you should go ahead and navigate over to http://www.desiringgod.org right away. Trust me, I would not be too offended.

“Ah,” you are asking yourself, “but what did Dietrich Bonhoeffer have to say about the gospel?” I thought you would never ask. This is the first commandment, the entire gospel. “Fear God”- instead of the many things which you fear. For Dietrich, what it meant to embrace the gospel of Jesus was to trade all his fears of life in for a fear of God. Do you see why this guy has been branded a heretic? What else can you do with a guy who brings in a statement like that?

Because really, we are afraid of everything but God, right?

So let us take a look this week and assess this malady. Why is it that we fear everything except God? Why is our thinking so upside down as to not only worship but hide in terror from the creation of God rather than humbly submitting to the God of creation? As I see it we should take it in three four parts from here.

  • First, we will talk about our misperceptions of God
  • Next, we will examine our misperceptions of the world around us
  • Third, we will confess our misperceptions of other people
  • And last, we discuss what it will really mean to take our fears to God day after day

Let me know if you think this is a worthy conversation. I would love this blog to be a place where we can discuss life together in the gospel of Jesus but we all need you help and participation to make that happen.

Let’s encourage each other along the way.

Live today in the freedom with which Christ has set you free, not as a slave, but as a brother.

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