FRIDAY July 9, 2021
Imitators of God
Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
Christians are called to walk in love. In these last days, it can be difficult to love people, because many of those who do not know Christ have become lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers ... unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure... (2 Timothy 3:2-4).
Despite the times in which we live, Christians are to imitate Christ by following the example of His sacrificial love (John 3:16). In college, I had the pleasure of studying the incredible life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German evangelical preacher and theologian. When World War II broke out in Europe, he fled Germany and came to New York City where he lived comfortably.
The Holy Spirit convicted Bonhoeffer. God called him back to Germany, and he willingly went. He ministered to pastors in underground churches. Many had compromised with the ungodly philosophies of Nazism. Finally, Bonhoeffer was arrested and imprisoned. While in prison, he wrote many letters called “Bonheoffer’s Prison Letters.” Bonheoffer’s letters were secretly snuck out of prison, printed and distributed.
On April 9, 1945, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was martyred. He was taken to Flossenburg concentration camp and executed––hung by the neck. He sacrificially died for the cause of Christ! Before he died, his final last words were: “This is the end––for me the beginning of life.”
Bonhoeffer’s life echoes Paul’s thoughts about Christ’s love: ... walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
No one knows what love is except in the self-revelation of God Himself. It is only the concrete action and suffering of Jesus Christ which will make it possible to understand what love is.