A Living Faith

“We know, of course, that God and the devil are engaged in battle in the world and that the devil also has a say in death. In the face of death we cannot simply speak in some fatalistic way, ‘God wills it’, but we must juxtapose it with the other reality, ‘God does not will it’. Death reveals that the world is not as it should be but that is stands in need of redemption. Christ alone is the conquering of death. Here the sharp antithesis between ‘God wills it’ and ‘God does not will it’ comes to a head and also finds its resolution. God accedes to that which God does not will, and from now on death itself must therefore serve God. From now on, the ‘God wills it’ encompasses even the ‘God does not will it’. God will the conquering of death through the death of Jesus Christ. Only in the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ has death been drawn into God’s power, and it must now serve God’s own aims. It is not some fatalistic surrender but rather a living faith in Jesus Christ, who died and rose for us, that is able to cope profoundly with death.

“In life with Jesus Christ, death as a general fate approaching us from without is confronted by death from within, one’s own death, the free death of daily dying with Jesus Christ. Those who live with Christ die daily to their own will. Christ in us gives us over to death so that he can live within us. Thus our inner dying grows to meet that death from without. Christians receive their own death in this way, and in this way our physical death very truly becomes not the end but rather the fulfillment of our life with Jesus Christ. Here we enter into community with the One who at his own death was able to say, ‘It is finished.'”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, quoted in Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet Spy by Eric Metaxas, p.384.

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