Kasemann on being a disciple of Christ

While reading Kasemann’s Perspectives on Paul today, I was reminded of Paul’s exhortation in Philippians 1.29, ‘For you have been grace-gifted on behalf of Christ, not only to trust in him but also to suffer on his behalf.’

Before you read this, be warned; it’s a hard pill to swallow (below is cited from Kasemann, ‘Justification and Salvation History’, in Perspectives on Paul, pp. 67–68.):

[Paul] urged the Corinthians, and with them the whole of Christendom, not to celebrate [Christ’s] victory with the banquet of the blessed, as if they were members of a mystery religion, but to enter with Christ into the shadow of the cross. For Paul, as for the writer of Revelation, the only people who overcome are the dying, the tempted, the mocked, the weak – in short, believers. The person who does not share in the carrying of the cross, leaving the things that lie behind, has no part in the church; nor has the man who does not stand in the no-mans’ land before the gates of this world’s permanent camp, repeating Israel’s Exodus. He is in truth not a Christian at all, but a member of the old world, whose characteristic is enmity to the cross. No one can take on the likeness of Christ in the birth-pangs of the Messiah without having become a disciple of the one who was crucified. Although the enthusiasts raise their cry of victory, according to Rom. 8.36 believers are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered. Measured by human criteria, salvation is fundamentally rooted in disaster.

 

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