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The Time of Grace

“The time of grace is the final time in the sense that one can never reckon with a further, future word beyond the word of God that confronts me now. There is a time of God’s permission, waiting, and preparation; and there is an ultimate time that judges and breaks off the penultimate. In order to hear the ultimate word, Luther had to go through the monastery; Paul had to go through his piety toward the law; even the thief ‘had’ to go through conviction and the cross. They had to travel a road, to walk the full length of the way through penultimate things; they had to sink to their knees under the burden of these things. And yet the ultimate word was not a crowning but a complete break with the penultimate.”

~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethic (DBW6), 151.


  1. Colin wrote:

    Reminds me of Zizek saying that one must go through the Christian experience to get to dialectical materialism.

    Thursday, April 9, 2009 at 11:25 am | Permalink
  2. Chris Donato wrote:

    Yes, ever the two-kingdomite, Bonhoeffer understood well the transitory nature of the penultimate.

    Thursday, April 9, 2009 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

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