Do We Know Jesus?

by Glen H. Jones

Schlatter was born in Switzerland but taught many years in German universities. He was nearing the end of his life (1852-1938) as Hitler was coming to power. This volume contains daily devotions (365) on the theme of living a holy life in Christ. Although he was not a politician, his essays seem to reflect an inward conflict with a new emerging German society that glorified cruelty and power above spirituality. Two examples illustrate the author's turmoil: "If our Fuhrer commanded me, You must not acknowledge that you are a sinner.' This command cannot be obeyed. For if I obeyed it, I would be dishonorable. In that case I would be a liar" (p. 46). "If we remain arrogant people who cultivate our natural existencethen the movement into which the word has launched us remains fruitless" (p. 54). Schlatter speaks a great deal about baptism. Baptism acknowledges that the believer has repented of his sins and has received forgiveness. However, water baptism does not bring forgiveness of sins; it is the baptism of the Spirit that accomplishes forgiveness. Works do not make us righteous, but faith does. "Where was faith beside the weight accorded to works? It was no work, no achievement, no merit. It did not accomplish anything that a person can point to before God as his contribution..." (p.115). The writer emphasizes time and again the incomparable worth of the Savior:
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