When we arrive in heaven will there be a Hall of Fame? Will we find an interactive display manned by select angels who share the stories of those living legends who served God exceedingly well? Conversely, will there be a Hall of Shame in hell for those who acted in the power of Satan? If Hitler was one of the worst men to walk the planet we might also find that his countryman Dietrich Bonhoefferwas an exceptional saint. This German Lutheran pastor and theologian could have successfully pastored in the United States or in Great Britain. Instead, he chose to go back to his country and preach and teach knowing that his life was in jeopardy.
We may debate the ethical merits of Bonhoeffer’s participation in the unsuccessful plot to assassinate Hitler. He paid for his resistance at the hands of the Gestapo who executed him by hanging just 23 days before the Nazis surrendered. The world lost a brilliant theologian but it also watched a man whose courage inspired countless Christians. His willingness to stand against strong opinions began early in life. Against the advice and desires of his parents, Bonhoeffer decided as a teenager to become a pastor. His older brother told him not waste his life in “such a poor, feeble, boring, petty bourgeois institution as the church.” Fourteen year-old Dietrich replied, “If what you say is true, I shall reform it.”
Dismayed by how liberal theology degraded Scripture and the church, Bonhoeffer defended the veracity of God’s Word. Learning from his experience worshiping in the United States and drawing from his Sunday school teaching in the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, NY,he boldly taught the need to integrate the church. Perhaps his greatest contribution to Christendom came from his well known book, The Cost of Discipleship. In this study of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, Dietrich provided a powerful warning against cheap grace. This book is a must read for every Christian serious about his or her walk with God.
Ephesians 3:20—Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think—according to the power that works in you—to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer exceeded pain, bested adversity, and inspired his countrymen because the power he drew from God bettered that of his fascist nation. What we do or don’t do in life is defined by our source of strength. The Greek word for power in Eph. 3:20 is dunamis. Preachers often associate this word with dynamite. While dunamis certainly can be defined by explosive strength or the physical exertion of force, there is an oft-overlooked primary definition of dunamis. This power is “inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature . . . moral power and excellence of soul. God’s power is not just His capability to zap us into vapor, it is His supreme character. In the presence of His holiness we fall to our knees undone. Did you know that by holding fast to virtue you radiate power? The reason God asks us to be holy as He is holy is He knows that in doing so we will be powerful!
The most powerful people on earth are those who have been with Jesus. (cf. Acts 4:13).—Jack Deere in Surprised By The Power Of The Spirit
©2012 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)