Bonhoeffer on the Sermon on the Mount

This is the fundamental presupposition of the whole Sermon on the Mount.  Jesus manifests his perfect union with the will of God as revealed in the Old Testament law and prophets.  He has in fact nothing to add to the commandments of God, except this, that he keeps them.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship (New York: Touchstone, 1995), 122.

God is [the law’s] giver and its Lord, and only in personal communion with God is the law fulfilled.  There is no fulfillment of the law apart from communion with God, and no communion with God apart from fulfillment of the law.  To forget the first condition was the mistake of the Jews, and to forget the second, the temptation of the disciples.

Ibid., 122-123

2 thoughts on “Bonhoeffer on the Sermon on the Mount

  1. I don’t know. It seems to me that Bonhoeffer was a product of his theological times – seeing somewhat beyond his peers but often not seeing far enough. I think he missed the point of the sermon on the mount. It is not about the law at all. It is all about placing oneself fully into the arms of God, forgetting the law, and discovering that the transformative power of the indwelling spirit re-creates within us something far more beautiful than what law could have ever expressed in words. This transformation isn’t into sinlessness, but into sin forgetfulness because Christ becomes all and in all.

  2. Nothing beautiful ever came from lawlessness. The Spirit is the one who writes the Law on our hearts…how could one forget the Law?

    “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Joshua 1:8

    “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” John 14:21

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