April 14, 2017

What Does It Mean To Be All In?

Do you ever think about what it truly means to be all in? We all have had a time in our life where we believed with our whole heart and every fiber of being that we were all in—fully committed.

But have you ever been committed to the point that it could cost you your life? Now “all in” takes on a whole new meaning. We might certainly not hesitate to lay down our life for the sake of our spouse or one of our children. But that would certainly establish the “all in” boundary for most of us.

Fully Committed—All In!

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German theologian and philosopher. He was teaching pastors in an underground seminary in Nazi Germany. When the seminary was discovered along with his efforts to save the lives of Christians and Jews he was imprisoned.

Bonhoeffer said, "To be a Christian does not mean to be religious in a particular way, to make something of oneself (a sinner, a penitent, or a saint) on the basis of some method or other, but to be a man—not a type of man, but the man that Christ creates in us. It is not the religious act that makes the Christian, but participation in the sufferings of God in the secular life."

On April 9, 1945, Bonhoeffer was put to death in a extermination camp at Flossenburg. He was hanged along with six other resisters one month before Germany surrendered.

A decade later, a camp doctor who witnessed Bonhoeffer's hanging described the scene: "The prisoners … were taken from their cells, and the verdicts of court martial read out to them. Through the half-open door in one room of the huts, I saw Pastor Bonhoeffer, before taking off his prison garb, kneeling on the floor praying fervently to his God. I was most deeply moved by the way this lovable man prayed, so devout and so certain that God heard his prayer. At the place of execution, he again said a prayer and then climbed the steps to the gallows, brave and composed. His death ensued in a few seconds. In the almost 50 years that I have worked as a doctor, I have hardly ever seen a man die so entirely submissive to the will of God."

Why Was Bonhoeffer All In?

Bonhoeffer was all in! Why? He could have saved his life by renouncing his faith and hiding. Where did his incredible peace come from? Where did his hope come from?

From six seemingly simple words, “It’s Friday but Sunday is coming!”

Friday is the road to Sunday.

There is no Easter Sunday without Good Friday. There is no resurrection without the cross.

Jesus' love and obedience lead Him to the cross. His seemingly powerless nature on Friday was revealed to be magnificent on Sunday. The road to Sunday had to go through the cross.

Jesus proves the nature of circumstances—they change. Jesus trusted beyond His circumstances. He foretold the future and then chose to fulfill it in spite of the cost.

Jesus was all in! He gave all of Himself that we might be redeemed.

It is not what we hope in but Who we place our hope in that changes lives.

“The world is overcome not through destruction, but through reconciliation. Not ideals, nor programs, nor conscience, nor duty, nor responsibility, nor virtue, but only God's perfect love can encounter reality and overcome it. Nor is it some universal idea of love, but rather the love of God in Jesus Christ, a love genuinely lived, that does this.”

—Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I have been asked many times what is the big deal about Good Friday. It makes Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday the most impactful event in human history. Because He held nothing back, everyone who chooses to accept His sacrifice can receive the gift of eternal life.

Jesus was all in so you and I won’t be left out!

Here are links to some of my favorite books and resources.

More Than a Carpenter by Josh and Sean McDowell

The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict by Josh McDowell

He Chose the Nails: What God Did to Win Your Heart by Max Lucado

Who Is This Man?: The Unpredictable Impact of the Inescapable Jesus by John Ortberg

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxax

The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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