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March 6, 2015


Conscience Is Shame before God

Before the fall there was no conscience. Not until their separation from their Creator are human beings separated from themselves. And indeed this is the function of conscience: to drive one into flight from God in order, on the one hand, to concede against one's will that God is right and, on the other, to let one feel secure in this flight...Conscience drives people away from God and into safe hiding. Here, away from God, they then play the judge themselves and in this way avoid God's judgment. Human beings now really live by their own good and evil, by their deepest separation within themselves. Conscience is shame before God, in which, at the same time, one's own evil is hidden, one justifies oneself, and--against one's own will--reference to the Other is contained. Conscience is not the voice of God in sinful human beings, but defense against this voice, which, however--precisely as defense against one's knowledge and will--still points to this voice.

Christ restores all this as God originally intended it to be, without the distortion resulting from our sins.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer to Eberhard Bethge, 18 December 1943

Come now, let us argue it out,
says the LORD:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be like snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.

Isaiah 1:18


Excerpted from:

God Is on the Cross: Reflections on Lent and EasterGod Is on the Cross: Reflections on Lent and Easter
Dietrich Bonhoeffer
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In God is on the Cross come forty soul-stirring devotions adapted from the pen of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

These writings, taken from letters and other compositions will guide and inspire readers as they move thematically through the weeks of Lent and Easter, encountering themes of prayerful reflection, self-denial, temptation, suffering, and the meaning of the cross.

Passages from Dietrich Bonhoeffer's works provide special encouragement as readers prepare themselves spiritually for Holy Week and Easter Sunday. Supplemented by an informative introduction to Bonhoeffer's life and a Scripture passage for each day of the season, these daily devotions are moving reminders of the true gift of Christ on the cross.

Reprinted from God Is on the Cross: Reflections of Lent and Easter by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Copyright 2012. Used by permission from Westminster John Knox Press.


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