We are fighting today for costly grace.
Cheap grace means grace sold on the market like cheapjacks’ wares.
The sacraments, the forgiveness of sin, and the consolations of religion are thrown away at cut prices.
Grace is represented as the Church’s inexhaustible treasury, from which she showers blessings with generous hands, without asking questions or fixing limits.
Grace without price; grace without cost!
The essence of grace, we suppose, is that the account has been paid in advance; and because it has been paid, everything can be had for nothing.
Since the cost was infinite, the possibility of using and spending it are infinite.
What would grace be if it were not cheap?
Cheap grace means grace as a doctrine, a principle, a system.
Cheap grace therefore amounts to a denial of the living Word of God, in fact, a denial of the Incarnation of the Word of God.
Cheap grace means the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner.
Grace alone does everything, they say, and so everything can remain as it was before.”
German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer certainly doesn’t mix words.
That was just the first three paragraphs in his Christian classic The Cost of Discipleship.
(Photo herein of Dietrich Bonhoeffer on a weekend getaway with confirmands of Zion’s Church congregation (1932) courtesy of wikipedia)
I’m now going through Bonhoeffer’s works again.
Each time I do I feel convicted and to be honest, embarrassed.
Embarrassed that the religious experience I subscribed to for 40 years was the exact manifestation Bonhoeffer warned about in 1937.
Bonhoeffer fully recognizes that salvation through Jesus Christ isn’t something we can earn through our works.
But God’s Grace isn’t without cost.
Bonhoeffer concludes “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”
Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran pastor who studied in Berlin and New York City. He returned to Nazi Germany to help lead a group of conspirators to assassinate Hitler.
Their attempts failed and he was hanged in April 1945 at the age of 39.
What are your thoughts or experiences on the concept of cheap grace?
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