“The Cost of Grace”, Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Cheap Grace

Let the Christian rest content with his worldliness and with this renunciation of any higher standard than the world. He is living for the sake of the world rather than for the sake of grace. Let him be comforted and rest assured in his possession of this grace – for grace alone does everything. Instead of following Christ, let the Christian enjoy the consolations of his grace!

That is what we mean by cheap grace, the grace which amounts to the justification of sin without the justification of the repentant sinner who departs from sin and from whom sins departs.

Cheap grace is not the kind of forgiveness of sin which frees us from the toils of sin. Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession.

Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.

Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will gladly go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble, it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him.

Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must the asked for, the door at which a man must knock.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, 1906-1945, Pastor-Theologian of the Confessing Church, executed by the direction of Hitler

Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: “ye were bought at a price, and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us.

Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.

 

- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “The Cost of Discipleship

A Statement of Dedicated Ministry

My calling is sure.  My challenge is big.  My vision is clear.  My desire is strong. My influence is eternal.  My impact is critical.  My values are solid.  My faith is tough.  My mission is urgent. My purpose is unmistakable. My direction is forward.  My heart is genuine.  My strength is supernatural.  My reward is promised.  And my God is real. ”

“I refuse to be dismayed, disengaged, disgruntled, discouraged, or distracted.  Neither will I look back, stand back, fall back, go back or sit back.  I do not need applause, flattery, adulation, prestige, stature or veneration.  I have no time for business as usual, mediocre standards, small thinking, normal expectations, average results, ordinary ideas, petty disputes or low vision.  I will not give up, give in, bail out, lie down, turn over, quit or surrender.  I’m dedicated to doing the work of the ministry. God help me.”

 There is such a thing as a “Seal of Good Housekeeping” that is given as a mark of approval.  As I read the above quotation, I thought of all the men and women that could make this declaration.  So many that we could approve of and to put a definitive seal of Kingdom approval on. 

I have friends in ministry in Mexico, India, China, Italy, Peru, Kazakhstan, San Francisco and so many other places.  They stand boldly and minister lovingly.  We must pray for them, all the time.  People like you and me who suffer with a mental illness are poor candidates for this level of intense ministry.  But we make great prayer warriors!

As we pray, standing in the gap for others, often we will experience a release from our own issues.  They just melt away.  I focus on you, and I won’t hurt as much.  I have to reach out, so God can reach in. This is what Jesus intends for me as His disciple; “in training.”

Thinking Out Things

There is a full treatment that the Father intends to work in us. And He will work in us, and we can’t prevent its work.  We don’t really want Him to make us a saint.  But He carries out a different plan.  We shouldn’t be entirely surprised to have Him inside of us, working and building.  We really are brought to a point when the things He does will need to be tolerated, at least.

To be a Christian is a challenging endeavour.  Just ike taffy is pulled to an amazing length, it will always unfold and duplicated.  This work starts to insist that we turn over everything ugly and evil and we turn over the nastiness that wants to invade our darkness.  We are the lost sheep, and we honestly renounce a corruption of our hearts, and the desire to wander away.

There is one of those stories, which can be found in many different cultures.  It is this– a man wears a mask, for several years.  He never takes it off.  The mask is a permanent fixture in His life.  As the moment of revelation when the mask comes off, we all discover that he has been changed, transformed by the wearing of the mask.

Will you wear the mask?

Might it be, that it you will “put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh,” transformation will happen as we start to “wear Him” through our unique and surprising life.  We have been bonded to Him, and He is now working “Christlikedness” inside us.  If we try to evaluate the Lords work, we maybe disappointed.  But we so seldom discern these things properly.  However it is clear that He has not postponed His work, but is actively seeking it to work in our lives.