Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German preacher and theologian who helped the Christians endure the opposition and persecution of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany wrote one of the most influential books of the 20th century, The Cost of Discipleship. If that book, he wrote a paragraph about ‘cheap grace,’ that is, a grace that is all about receiving all the benefits of Christianity (heaven, eternal life, forgiveness of sin, etc.) but not wanting the cost. He wrote this:
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.
Bonhoeffer wrote this in the middle of Germany’s persecution from the government in 1937, but what he writes here is timeless. This quote provokes some questions:
- Forgiveness we love, but do we really want to turn from sin that strays from what God wants?
- We like being a part of the church–but do we want the church to provide discipline and boundaries and to keep you accountable?
- We love how taking the Lord’s Supper ministers to us, but do we do so with a humble and confessing heart?
- We love grace, but …read more