I have the privilege of Guest Posting, Do Rocks Lie! I pray you will come over and read what was very emotional for me to write. Floyd from There Go I, continually challenges me to open up and go beyond my comfort zones. A special thanks to him for pushing me to grow and for allowing me to be his first Guest Post.
The Cost of Discipleship- Chapter 1
“Cheap Grace is the deadly enemy of our Church. We are fighting to-day for costly grace.”
In the first pages Bonhoeffer uses sarcasm to chastise the church of the 1930’s - 40’s. They were tolerating the world inside the Church, instead of shining God’s truth into the darkness. They justified this by stating they were saved by grace and would be cheapening God’s grace by trying to work their way into heaven- when in reality they were the ones cheapening His sacrifice by not living as Christians should!
The church, having previously established a double standard of living for preachers vs. the congregation, felt secure in their beliefs and traditions, history was on their side! They had forgotten that we are in this world but we are not to act as the world. They had forgotten that the call to follow is a call to each individual and not only to a select special few. The call to take up our crosses is a call to each of us, a call that should make us live differently than the world.
The world should see a difference in us. We are a city on a hill, the salt and light that makes this world a better place. By not acting as salt and light we are cheapening the grace by which we are saved- we are not appreciating the full extent of the sacrifice Jesus paid on the cross.
To continue living as we had before we were saved is a slap in the face to our Lord and Savior.
Shame on the Church then and shame on us now!
It saddens me to read Bonhoeffers words and to realize we, as the Body of Christ, are still cheapening His grace.
How true these words ring out to me today: “Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”
I’m not saying there are not God fearing Churches today who exhibit costly grace- but by far I see too many churches who water down the word of God because they don’t want to offend their congregations, they are worried their flock can’t handle it or they don’t want to lose their jobs. Perhaps sadder still, are the ministers who do not even realize they are not following the word of God; their grace is so cheapened they are the blind leading the blind.
“Costly grace…has to be protected from the world, and not thrown to the dogs.”
Many today do not know how Martin Luther (1500’s) changed the traditions of the Church, but Bonhoeffer gives us a quick lesson on the Reformation. Luther took Christian living to the congregation, challenging them to live a life devoted to Christ. He challenged the tenet that only those called to serve in the ministry must live the life of a disciple.
Yet despite his influence in Churches in the Twentieth Century, the Body of Christ still didn’t fully understand the costliness of grace (and I postulate many still don’t grasp this concept).
“That experience taught him [Luther] that this grace cost him his very life, and must continue to cost him the same price day by day.”
Those are some powerful words. What is following Christ costing you today?
“[T]hat my only duty as a Christian is to leave the world for an hour or so on a Sunday morning and go to church to be assured that my sins are still forgiven.”
For the average Christian, Are these words as true today as they were then …I think so.
“The only man who has the right to say that he is justified by grace alone is the man who has left all to follow Christ. Such a man knows that the call to discipleship is a gift of grace, and that the call is inseparable from the grace.”
Bonhoeffer goes on to remind us that we reap what we sow. The church (and nation) of his time was reaping what it had been sowing and the result was death.
I see this happening again today. Many in the church do not even realize how cheap we have made God’s grace.
“The word of cheap grace has been the ruin of more Christians than any commandment of works.”
The average believer’s knowledge of God’s word is weak; it has crippled us into being tolerant of things we should not be tolerant of. We are to hate the sin and not the sinner, but cannot even identify sin anymore. We have no back bone to stand, we have grown weak in thinking we are strong.
We must all go back to the foundation to remember the cost Christ paid for us, then we can truly know what these words mean:
“It was grace because it cost so much, and it cost so much because it was grace.”
Do you see the world in our churches today?
Does the average Christian know the Bible or do they primarily rely on preachers to spoon feed them?
What is the danger of Christians not being salt and light in this world?
Can you see the threat of history repeating itself today in regards to the political and religious realms of Bonhoeffers time?
Do you believe Christians today grasp the costliness of God’s grace?