Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Devotional of Dietrich Bonhoeffer #3

As I mentioned before in other devotionals that Bible Gateway sends me daily devotionals from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, so I thought I would share some along the way. This is particular discusses CHEAP grace which we learned about here too. However this message explains how cheap grace influences and impacts the Church, which sometimes I think we don't realize its seriousness and entirety when we allow it to rule as well as settle for, it is in then that a Church loses its saltiness...

"Cheap grace is the mortal enemy of our church. Our struggle today is for costly grace.
Cheap grace means grace as bargain-basement goods, cut-rate forgive­ness, cut-rate comfort, cut-rate sacraments; grace as the church’s inexhaustible pantry, from which it is doled out by careless hands without hesitation or limit. It is grace without a price, without cost…
Cheap grace means grace as a doctrine, as principle, as system. It means forgiveness of sins as a general truth; it means God’s love as merely a Christian idea of God. Those who affirm it have already had their sins forgiven. The church that teaches this doctrine of grace thereby conveys such grace upon itself. The world finds in this church a cheap cover-up for its sins, for which it shows no remorse and from which it has even less desire to be free. Cheap grace is, thus, denial of God’s living Word, denial of the incarnation of the word of God.
Cheap grace means justification of sin but not of the sinner. Because grace alone does everything, everything can stay in its old ways. “Our action is in vain.” The world remains world and we remain sinners “even in the best of lives.” Thus, the Christian should live the same way the world does. In all things the Christian should go along with the world and not venture…to live a different life under grace from that under sin…
Cheap grace is that which we bestow on ourselves.
Cheap grace is preaching forgiveness without repentance; it is baptism without the discipline of community; it is the Lord’s Supper without confession of sin; it is absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without the living, incarnate Jesus Christ."

"What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted, and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness."
Romans 6:15-18

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
   and put a new and right spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence,
   and do not take your holy spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
   and sustain in me a willing spirit. 
Psalm 51:10-12

I challenge you to take a look at the characteristics that Bonhoeffer describes as cheap grace and analyse your own life and that of your community of faith. And ask the Lord that you might be free of this cheap grace and live in God's costly grace spoken of in more detail here, and live free in the beauty of Jesus Christ. 

Prayers and Blessings to you!

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