Bonhoeffer writes, “First, Christians are persons who no longer seek their salvation, their deliverance, their justification in themselves, but in Jesus Christ alone.” (Page 5, Life Together, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works – Reader’s Edition; Fortress Press, 2015)
This seems a given, but it was not a given in Bonhoeffer’s time and it is not a given in ours. In fact, church history tells us that it has never been a given. Paul’s letter to the Galatians was written to address this, and many other New Testament letters call its readers back to justification and sanctification in Jesus Christ alone.
When Bonhoeffer writes “in themselves” we could just as well write, “in anything other than in Jesus Christ and in Jesus Christ alone.”
Christians do not talk about Jesus because we are convinced that we need something or someone more than Jesus. We are convinced that we need to add to Jesus and the work of Jesus. We believe that while Jesus has started us on the road that we are on that we now need something else, something more, something in addition to Jesus if we are to continue life’s journey.
How many times have we been in a fellowship, experiencing life together, when a brother or sister arrives to proclaim, “Look what I’ve brought! Look what they are doing over there, look at what those people are experiencing! Look at how we can improve our spiritual lives by joining this movement. Come and listen to this deep insight.”
Might we ourselves have done this in the past? Might we be doing it now? Of course if we did it we’d be well-meaning, and if we did it it would certainly be because God was leading us to do it…but are we looking to anything or anyone for justification and sanctification in addition to Jesus Christ? Are we adding to the person and work of Jesus?
Is Jesus Christ in our life together enough?