The Freedom of Bonhoeffer

Mar 15, 2023    Don Willeman


Hello, this is Pastor Don of Christ Redeemer Church. Welcome to The Kingdom Perspective.

We are easily tempted to both judge others and live under the judgment of others. This dynamic is toxic both to our souls and to our relationships.

However, in the gospel, we are called to live under God’s assessment of us, and not set ourselves or others up as the judge.

The theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer tells us that being a Christian means living under the judgment of Jesus alone. Bonhoeffer was referencing the fact that, as human beings, we can’t help but live under the assessment of some judge or law. And since we were made to live under the judgment of God’s gaze, when we reject Him, something else will take its place.

Often, in times of social tension, we will feel the heat of living under the gaze of others more intensely. Am I socially aware enough? Am I responding to this crisis or that crisis properly? Am I sensitive enough to this issue or that issue? What do people think of me?

Now, as a Christian you are free from the judgment of others and, perhaps even more profoundly, from the judgment of your own conscience. Why? Not because there is no standard to which you are called and by which you will be judged. No! Rather, because Jesus, the ultimate judge, was already judged for you. The true Judge has rendered His verdict and He did so on the cross, where He died for you.

This is tremendously liberating, and when properly understood leads us not to dismiss others and their concerns, but to understand them and to serve them—just like Jesus did for us.

Something to think about from The Kingdom Perspective.

1 Corinthians 4 NASB

1 Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy. 3 But to me it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself. 4 For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord. 5 Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.