propitiation: that which serves as an instrument for regaining the goodwill of a deity
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The right way to requite evil, according to Jesus, is not to resist it. This saying of Christ removes the Church from the sphere of politics and law. The Church is not to be a national community like the old Israel, but a community of believers without political or national ties. The old Israel had been both — the chosen people of God and a national community, and it was therefore his will that they should meet force with force. But with the Church it is different: it has abandoned political and national status, and therefore it must patiently endure aggression. Otherwise evil will be heaped upon evil. Only thus can fellowship be established and maintained.
At this point it becomes evident that when a Christian meets with injustice, he no longer clings to his rights and defends them at all costs. He is absolutely free from possessions and bound to Christ alone. Again, his witness to this exclusive adherence to Jesus creates the only workable basis for fellowship, and leaves the aggressor for him to deal with.
The only way to overcome evil is to let it run itself to a stand-still because it does not find the resistance it is looking for. Resistance merely creates further evil and adds fuel to the flames. But when evil meets no opposition and encounters no obstacle but only patient endurance, its sting is drawn, and at last it meets an opponent which is more than its match. Of course this can only happen when the last ounce of resistance is abandoned, and the renunciation of revenge is complete. Then evil cannot find its mark, it can breed no further evil, and is left barren.
— Dietrich Bonhoeffer
I talked in Sunday’s sermon about the theme of submission in the life of the Christian. Dietrich Bonhoeffer knew something of the subject. Here is an excerpt from his writing that I’ve found particularly challenging:
1 Peter offers a gospel perspective and summary of the life of the Christian. Written to Christians who were facing suffering for their faith, this letter serves as both a source of tremendous challenge and of great hope for the Christian struggling to make sense of the world in which we live.
On the opening week of this sermon series, I shared the major themes that we see throughout the letter. Here’s a reminder of those themes:
1) Suffering for the sake of the Gospel
2) Hope of the Gospel
3) Holiness of God’s Children
4) Christian Community & Relationships
5) The Believer’s Relationship with the World - Specifically, the Christian as an exile or foreigner.
If you’ve missed any weeks in this series, please visit www.livingwf.org to catch up!
On Sunday, I pointed out Peter's brilliant use of the Old Testament as seen in 1 Peter 1:24-2:8. Peter uses four Old Testament excerpts (three from Isaiah and one from Psalm 118) to show that Christ Himself is the one of whom the Old Testament speaks.
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the
blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that He opened for us through the curtain,
that is, through His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the
house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith,
with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies
washed with pure water. - Hebrews 10:19-22
Our trouble begins when we ask, “Well, okay, but how can I draw near to God in confidence, with full assurance?” And for many of us, the answer that lurks in the back of our minds is that even if Jesus has brought us into the presence of God, we dare not enjoy being there, or have any assurance of the appropriateness of our being there, or have any sense of the safety and rightness of our being there unless we now earn it ourselves.
Jesus may have gotten us here, we think, but now we need to prove we belong.
But do you see how these verses from Hebrews 10 cut hard against that way of thinking? Jesus doesn’t barely sneak us into the presence of God; it actually gives us every right in the universe to be there—and to be there with confidence and joy. And therefore the work of Christ on our behalf actually creates confidence and assurance; it is a source of assurance. The more we understand it, embrace it, and cherish it, the greater our sense of confidence and assurance will be.
Excerpt from the article When Self-Confidence is Lethal www.thegospelcoalition.org