Now we move from external discipleship to internal discipleship. These are issues that we will struggle with ourselves and as we disciple others and are discipled by others, we will deal with as well. I am using Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book “The Cost of Discipleship” as a basis for this study.
This lesson is a difficult one in that it can taken lightly and covered in five minutes, or it might really seem deep and take an hour to discuss. The dynamics of your group may greatly affect your approach to this topic and whether it seems simple or deep.
What is the difference between cheap grace and costly grace?
Bonhoeffer describes it this way: “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 costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life.”
Sadly, many in the church have swapped costly grace for cheap grace. They want the justification without the need for obedience; they want a spiritual feeling of peace as long as it doesn’t require more than an hour a week. Most such believers are truly saved as they do understand the sacrifice of Jesus and the necessity of forgiveness of sins. However, they do not grasp the fullness of the Christian life. Suffering proceeds glory. While they accept Christ’s suffering and will receive the glory that comes with it, they themselves are not willing to suffer and will miss out on the glory of the full Christian life.
The Christian life is a life of action, not of passive learning.
Of all the instructions in the NT, how often are we told to study?
In comparison, how often are we told to do something, whether to someone else, or to ourselves?
We need to be able to do what we are called to do for the kingdom of God. This will be different for each one of us as we are all gifted differently. For some, it will be a sacrifice of money. Others will be called to give of their time. Still others may sacrifice their tears as they pray for the lost and weep over the unrepentant. And maybe not yet in the US, but some will pay with their very lives.
We do not do any of this to earn grace, it is a free gift. Instead, it should be a reaction of gratitude and love. Because we were lost in our sins and selfishness, once we are saved from that, why would we want to return to it? If a person saved your life, would you treat them differently afterwards? Often Christians are saved but return to the same life and other than an hour a week there is no difference in what occurs in their lifestyle. That is cheap grace.
Costly grace calls us to be different because of the sacrifice that was paid for us that we are joyful because of.