“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.

Eighty Thousand +

We just passed a milestone of sorts.  BB has surpassed the 80,000 mark, which is somewhat remarkable.

It has done more for me than anyone else.  I’m doing my best to write posts that have substance and significance.  And I have worked to produce a post a day, that has meaning for struggling and mentally ill Christians.  And guess what? I have learned that there is a lot of us out there, and not a whole lot of support out there.

The little map on the upper right shows where the posts are coming from.  It visualizes where BB is being accessed.  The scope is breathtaking, as BB is reaching out to hearts in central Asia, India, Africa and Malaysia.  We even received someone in the Vatican.  BB is active in every continent except one, Antarctica.   I guess the penguins don’t really need the support of BB.  But if they do, BB will be right there!

I have to admit, your “responses” that come to me are most tremendous!  I love each comment.  I understand that to take the time to respond is a luxury.  It means so much.  I do, very much so, treasure your responses.

Eighty thousand in just two years.  Amazing!  Let Him be praised for His grace on this gentle work of peace and kindness.

Welcoming His Judgement

To be judged by God is an awful thing.  It is always immutable and just.  He brings to us the inevitable awareness of the guilt and rebellion that we have secretly harbored for years.  We try to dodge His correction like a boxer does to the punches of his opponent.

We see judgement with a distinct clarity; as if it was to be avoided like the plague.  We fear Him, but like an eccentric guest at our special dinner party.  He is unpredictable, and sometimes will pull out the table cloth, in spite of the plates and dishes.  He does amazing tricks, but to us He seems a bit capricious and not at all in control of Himself.  We really don’t trust Him. Not really, anyway.

But the judgement of God is never punishment.  It is always corrective however, with a desire for us to find good and health in its presence.  We can contaminate our hearts with a wrong perspective.  But He is love, and our sin and iniquity won’t change that about Him.

He loves us so much, that He is obligated to correct us.  Some here have had great Dads.  The were active in our lives.  They were not perfect, but it didn’t matter; Dad loved us and that was all we needed.  Everything God does, comes out of this matrix of love.  When we truly grasp how much someone loves us, we can open up to anything they might say.

He does correct us, which can be harsh and difficult.  But God carefully weighs out the situation, just like a druggist weighs out to the milligram of the medicine we need.  He does discern, and gives no one more then they need.  He is definitely aware, and has no desire to destroy us.  Quite the opposite.

When we are judged for a particular sin or iniquity, we will know it.  But within that correction we will find no darkness or maliciousness.  Within our Father, there is nothing that would suggest evil or a desire to inflict pain.  He most definitely is not a sadist.  When we are corrected, we need to accept it, and receive it.  At the bottom of this, we will find that there is nothing but love.

Lonely, or Just Alone?

“Loneliness was the first thing that God saw that was not good” John Milton
Are you lonely? It really doesn’t matter if you are married or single. Frankly, those who have a spouse can be powerfully affected by a sense of loneliness. (They obviously are pressured to suppress this.) But they truly feel very much alone.

When we find ourselves affected by this issue, we think a lot of being alone. We become an ‘island,’ isolated and separate, and the intense figure of this is the ‘castaway’ those who, somehow end up completely alone on a deserted beach. 

There is nothing ‘romantic’ or ideal about this experience. After a week, we start to feel the isolation. It creeps in on us, and expands, and begins to ‘feed’ on our perceptions. And that can poison us.

To define it, to be lonely is the absence of human relationships. But to be alone is to be without connections.  They can overlap sometimes, but they are very seperate issues. The unmarried 40 year old could be free from loneliness, and the person who is married (with several kids) feel quite lonely.

We cannot attribute our ‘heart-issues’ to our response to isolation. Some will thrive, and others chafe. Many derive a sense of well-being by becoming married. Essentially they choose the fallacy that this may just solve their feeling of loneliness.  If I cut my hand, a band-aid will not heal the wound, it can only help (on a superficial level,) but the healing comes from within us.

There is definite need to see the unique situation and understand how it does fluctuates. Things will move and our attitudes may change. We can cross back and forth, and that is quite understandable. But embedded sadness over being alone can be disastrous to a full and amazing life with Jesus.

“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever.” John 14:16, NASB.

We certainly need each other. That is ‘how we roll.’ But what is necessary and for certain is, “We are not alone, never.” The deep presence of Jesus can be profoundly close, and all we need is His nearness, and our awareness, and its going to be ok.

There is so much we can do. The first is too get real about the issues that are involved.  Go ahead and acknowledge the struggle you encountering.  Secondly, we need to admit the sin of harboring this, and even letting it to take control of our thinking. Thirdly, to actively turn away from the sin, and then to focus on Jesus as our dear companion and friend.

These three are just focal points. They will often take very different adjustments for each person. But they are definitely a starting point. Even as you work through this, allow the Holy Spirit to be your faithful guide.