Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bonhoeffer on God's Sovereign Grace and Man's Responsibility

Yesterday morning I read the following quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer and had many opportunities throughout the day to think back on it in various conversations. However, it is really a great quote to read and think about, so I thought it a good one to post.
Christ comes, indeed, and opens up His own way, no matter whether man is ready beforehand or not. No one can hinder His coming, but we can resist His coming in mercy. There are conditions of the heart, of life and of the world which impede the reception of grace in a special way, namely, by rendering faith infinitely difficult. We say that they impede it and render it difficult, but not that they make it impossible. And we are well aware also that even the leveling of the way and the removal of the obstacles cannot compel the imparting of grace. The merciful coming of Christ must still 'break the gates of brass and cut the bars of iron' (Ps. 107:16); grace must in the end itself prepare and make level its own way and grace alone must ever anew render possible the impossible. But all of this does not release us from our obligation to prepare the way for the coming of grace, and to remove whatever obstructs it and makes it difficult. The state in which grace finds us is not a matter of indifference, even though it is always by grace alone that grace comes to us.”
This is from Ethics, pg. 136, 1986 paperback edition. Which is a great read. I am considering this quote for the sermon on Sunday, but it is in all reality probably too lengthy to use in a sermon, and a bit complicated. However, I like to humor myself by leaving it in until the last possible moment since I like it so much.