Obedience and the Call to Follow Jesus

There is no escaping obedience in the call of Christ. No amount of tears, or feelings, or bold proclamation can replace the sure and certain call that those who follow Christ are called to a lifetime of obedience to His will. We do life by His rules not ours. Many have pointed this way but perhaps none has been more clear that Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

“Only he who believes is obedient,
and only he who is obedient believes.”

“Bonhoeffer’s emphasis on the obedient deeds of discipleship in response to God’s word in Jesus Christ is in his view a restoration of the meaning of faith in a world that had become increasingly bereft of compassion, peace, forgiveness of enemies, purity of heart, and meekness, yet increasingly willing to exploit the poor and oppress those who struggle for justice. In short, the perspective of the Beatitudes of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount quickly became Bonhoeffer’s way of elucidating the meaning of discipleship for Christians and their churches. If, in a nation that has turned away from Christianity, faith is ever to be restored, the church must preach again what is central in the Christian faith, the call of Jesus Christ to follow him.”1

1 Geffrey B. Kelley and John D. Godsey,
“Editors’ Introduction to the English Edition,” in Bonhoeffer, 
Discipleship, 6.
Cited in Haynes, S. R., & Hale, L. B. (2009).
Bonhoeffer for Armchair Theologians (1st edition, pp. 98–99).
Westminster John Knox Press.

Let us recognize this truth and let us conform our lives to His. Let’s live passionately for and like Christ. Let’s leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that we belong to Him through the evidence of our lives being lived as if always standing in His presence, for that is exactly the case—we are always in Him, with Him—and so, let us be for Him. at every moment. Let us obey Him. It is the way that we will bring Him glory, keep ourselves from shame and leave a legacy for those who come after us.


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