Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Christian fellowship

I am working on Romans 15 at the moment, and have just come across the following quotes from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Life Together. To me, the three profound words are:

“God does not will that I should fashion the other person according to the image that seems good to me, that is, in my own image; rather in his very freedom from me God made this person in His image.”

“The elimination of the weak is the death of fellowship.”

“The proud throne of the judge no longer lures him; he wants to be down below with the lowly and the needy, because that is where God found him.”

I think we can recognise elements of Romans 8, 12, 14 in the above.

Here are the longer quotes.

God does not will that I should fashion the other person according to the image that seems good to me, that is, in my own image; rather in his very freedom from me God made this person in His image. I can never know beforehand how God’s image should appear in others. That image always manifests a completely new and unique form that comes solely from God’s free and sovereign creation. To me the sight may seem strange, even ungodly. But God creates every man in the likeness of His Son, the Crucified. After all, even that image certainly looked strange and ungodly to me before I grasped it.

Every Christian community must realize that not only do the weak need the strong, but also that the strong cannot exist without the weak. The elimination of the weak is the death of fellowship.

Not self justification, which means the use of domination and force, but justification by grace, and therefore service, should govern the Christian community. Once a man has experienced the mercy of God in his life he will henceforth aspire only to serve. The proud throne of the judge no longer lures him; he wants to be down below with the lowly and the needy, because that is where God found him. “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.” (Rom. 12:16).

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