Monday, August 07, 2006

A point from Bonhoeffer

In an earlier post, I had discussed the lure of possessions, and Steve Hayes made an excellent point about the Christian options being "not a middle point between polar opposites, but rather varying degrees of asceticism."

I still think he's right, but something I read in "The Cost of Discipleship" shed some more light on the issue. I was (and am) concerned about the level of influence possessions have over me and many others I know. And like the rich man in Jesus' parable, I find it difficult to rectify that situation. But even seeing that isn't the whole of the story. Bonhoeffer writes

"If a drunkard signs the pledge, or a rich man gives all his money away, they are both of them freeing themselves from their slavery to alcohol or riches, but not from their bondage to themselves...They are still subject to the commandment of works, still as submerged in the death of the old life as they were before. Of course the work has to be done. But of itself it can never deliver them from death, disobedience, and ungodliness."
(emphasis mine)

So the point isn't the possessions, though that's part of it. The point is grace, but as he says in another place, "only he who believes is obedient, and only he who is obedient obeys."

More food for thought, and I'll admit, my reason for putting another post up so quickly is because I can't stand the thought of Enya headlining my blog, even for a day. Maybe there's a lesson in there as well.

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