This We Believe: The Theological Declaration of Barmen affirmation 2

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“Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption.” (1 Corinthians 1:30)

As Jesus Christ is God’s assurance of the forgiveness of all our sins, so in the same way and with the same seriousness is he also God’s mighty claim upon our whole life. Through him befalls us a joyful deliverance from the godless fetters of this world for a free, grateful service to his creatures.

We reject the false doctrine, as though there were areas of our life in which we would not belong to Jesus Christ, but to other lords–areas in which we would not need justification and sanctification through him.

“God’s mighty claim upon our whole life.”

There’s not a much more stunning statement than that, when we sit and contemplate the implications. Our whole life–not just our Sunday morning lives or our Wednesday evening lives, but our business, economy, government, friends, intimate relationships, families, leisure time, hobbies, environment, shopping choices, food….everything. Whole. All of life is claimed by God. And not just all of life, but all of MY life, all of YOUR life, every aspect of every moment of every day.

Wow.

One of the reasons this affirmation is so important, in addition to being thoroughly biblical and thoroughly in line with orthodox Christian theology, is of course the context. The Nazi party was trying to take over every aspect of life, including the church, and to insinuate their doctrine into the church’s theology. The German Christian movement (the movement that created a theology in line with the national socialist party) was going along with this plan, and the Confessing movement was standing against that corruption of biblical theology. When someone or something, government or economy or ideology or relationship or even “church” is trying to claim a higher authority than Christ, there is a problem and it is important to stand against that, and FOR the authority of Jesus Christ as head of the church and lord of the conscience.

Hence the rejection of the false doctrine that some areas of life would belong to other lords–ie, that we can compartmentalize our faith, keeping the Lordship of Christ in the “Sunday” box, and the lordship of the current governing party (or our preferred political party or ideology) in the Monday to Friday box, and the lordship of the almighty money in the all-the-time box, and the lordship of personal fulfillment in a Saturday box, etc. These are rightly named for what they are–idolatry. We don’t like to hear it, but it’s true. Many of us have put our faith into a box we take out now and then, like Christmas decorations we put away for a season and pull out to exclaim over for a few weeks a year. Having any area of our life not subject to the Lordship of Christ (notice we keep saying “the lordship of Christ” not “the lordship of the bible”–our lord is a person, God in the flesh, with us in our life…not words on a page–bibliolatry is just as much idolatry as holding anything else up in place of Christ) means we are idolaters.

This is a hard affirmation to make, and a harder one to live out. But important in their time as in ours.

What lords compete for your allegiance? How do you live out the affirmation that Jesus Christ is Lord of your whole life, in every circumstance and area?

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