The Word That Comes From the Outside

April 2, 2010

The death and the life of a Christian is not determined by his own resources; rather he finds both only in the Word that comes to him from the outside, in God’s Word to him. The Reformers expressed it this way: Our righteousness is an “alien righteousness,” a righteousness that comes from outside of us (extra nos). They were saying that the Christian is dependent on the Word of God spoken to him. He is pointed outward, to the Word that comes to him. The Christian lives wholly by the truth of God’s Word in Jesus Christ. If somebody asks him, Where is your salvation, your righteousness? he can never point to himself. He points to the Word of God in Jesus Christ, which assures him of salvation and righteousness.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together, trans. John W. Doberstein (New York: Harper & Row, 1954), 22.

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