Kierkegaard on Obedience and Grace image

Kierkegaard on Obedience and Grace

Theologians have often spoken of righteousness as Gabe and Aufgabe, or ‘gift and responsibility’. The idea is that our obedience to God, our righteous living, is both something for which we are responsible, and something which ultimately comes from God anyway. It’s a difficult idea to communicate clearly, which is one reason why so many people get muddled when they read Romans 3 followed immediately by James 2.

Sometimes, oddly, Danish Christian existentialist philosophers can come in very handy. Here’s Sören Kierkegaard:

It’s like a child giving his parents a present – bought, though, with money the child has received from his parents. So all the pretentiousness that is otherwise bound up with giving a gift evaporates, because the child received from the parents the gift that he gave them.

I wish I’d thought of that.

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