Our Inner Dying Grows To Meet That Death From Without

I wish I had found this Bonhoeffer quote before writing The Slavery of Death as it captures so much of what I try to say in the book:
In life with Jesus Christ, death as a general fate approaching us from without is confronted by death from within, one's own death, the free death of daily dying with Jesus Christ. Those who live with Christ die daily to their own will. Christ in us gives us over to death so that he can live within us. Thus our inner dying grows to meet that death from without. Christians receive their own death in this way, and in this way our physical death very truly becomes not the end but rather the fulfillment of our life with Jesus Christ. Here we enter into community with the One who at his own death was able to say, "It is finished."

--Dietrich Bonhoeffer

This entry was posted by Richard Beck. Bookmark the permalink.

5 thoughts on “Our Inner Dying Grows To Meet That Death From Without”

  1. If one says "It is finished" AND "That's all there is," is the result slow-motion suicide? (Is a view toward transcendence necessary?) The Apostle Paul framed it so. But C. S. Peirce, I believe in addressing the theoretical gap, made agape' love the vehicle of transcendence (vs. belief that...). But Peirce wasn't explicit in setting out the reason for his doctrine. Do you admit the bind? If so, are you operating on the view that Peirce--I think--framed to address it?

  2. Still, we are to live "abundantly" and with "joy." For some, that is incompatible with "dying daily" to our own will. It is hard to imagine how that dichotomy actually looks.

  3. I have never read Peirce, but agape love being the "vehicle of transcendence" does seem to be the key of approaching and facing the mystery of death, whether it be the "inner death" or the "death from without". After all, the promise of Jesus that "those who die to self shall live" is not a promise of later success, whether tomorrow, or even five minute from now. It is still a call to step into the unknown, meaning we have no clue as to where love will take us. For me, and my apologies for using a term that has been used and worked to death, love is the resurrection and the life of the "eternal now".

  4. I believe the vehicle of that love is dying to self and with Christ so beautifully symbolized in baptism. The metaphors for self emptying (dying) are the epitomy of discipleship as in B's great treatise on the cost of following Jesus. Paul died daily to himself as the great disciple. It was in faith, hope and love that this death met death, the solemn, joyful collision
    with eternal life. Is it any wonder that Paul could explode with such glorious doxologies! He lived while he died!

  5. these are Merton's very last words to anyone:

    "today I don't think it is what we are asked to do. I think today it's more important for us to so let God live in us that others may feel God and come to believe in God because they feel how God lives in us." These were Merton's last words that we know anything about and were said right before Francois de Grunne took him to his room where he tragically died, tragically for us, in any case. Certainly he had completed what was his journey. In other words, so let God live in us, so allow God to be the center where we make our decisions, where we live our lives, so let God live in us that others may find God by seeing how God lives in us, by somehow grasping how God lives in us. Better than any long television explanation of who God is. ...


Leave a Reply