Lent with Bonhoeffer: Grace and Faith

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

If we ourselves understand our first step as a precondition for grace, for faith, then we are judged by our works and completely cut off from grace…. It is but a new possibility for living within our old existence and thereby a complete misunderstanding. We remain in unbelief. But the external works have to take place; we have to get into the situation of being able to believe. We have to take the step. What does that mean? It means that we take this step in the right way only when we do not look to the necessity of our works, but solely with a view to the word of Jesus Christ, which calls us to take the step. Peter knows that he cannot climb out of the boat by his own power. His first step would already be his downfall, so he calls, “Command me to come to you on the water.” Christ answers, “Come.” Christ has to have called; the step can be taken only at his word. This call to his grace, which calls us out of death into the new life of obedience…. So it is, indeed, the case that the first step of obedience is itself an act of faith in Christ’s word.

-from The Cost of Discipleship, pgs. 65-66

(These reflections from Dietrich Bonhoeffer can be found in a collection entitled A Year with Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Daily Meditations from His Letters, Writings, and Sermons. It can be purchased HERE.)

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