What Grace Has Become

English: Scanned cover of book

English: Scanned cover of book (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recent posts submitted by some of the skilled writers at WordPress (much unlike this dabbler) reminded me of a friend long since visited. His name is Dietrich Bonhoeffer and he resides in my personal library (you may think that’s a funny place for someone to live, but my wife believes I live there also). While I shelve and cherish a number of his works, it is in my opinion that “The Cost of Discipleship” ranks among the greatest of contributions to the Christian faith that has been offered by men.

It is in this work of course where Bonhoeffer contrasts cheap grace and costly grace (among others). His obvious intent is to bring his readers to the conclusion that authentic discipleship is fundamental for every believer in Jesus Christ. Early in his work, he pole vaults his readers through the history of the Church (briefly), describing how we are ever a people swaying from extreme to extreme… one landing us in a field of legalism, the other in a field of self-justified sin. Both leave grace cheapened.

Whether Monasticism or an over-liberal approach to the grace of God, he argues, they are both forms of worldliness, and worldliness by definition will always seek to distort ‘the justification of the sinner in the world’ to extol on one hand ‘a self driven departure’ from the world, and on the other ‘the justification of sin and the world.’

I must admit the battle rages on in my life between these two poles. It appears I must always be on guard of my duty to testify of my Savior in word and deed as I walk through this world, yet remain unstained from its influences. This may sound difficult… at times impossible, but Bonhoeffer concludes anything short of this cheapens the grace of God; befouls the finished work of Jesus Christ.

Before jumping on Bonhoeffer’s bandwagon, consider the implication of his words. What are some of the  superfluous influences we nestle into the pew beside us on any given Sunday morning?

About mtsweat

Seeking the rest that is only promised and found in Christ Jesus, along with my treasured wife of more than twenty-five years, we seek to grow in our relationship with our Heavenly Father, walk with the Holy Spirit as He moves our hearts, loving others always as Jesus loves us, and carry the news of His glory, the wonderful gospel, that gives light and life where there once was only darkness.
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17 Responses to What Grace Has Become

  1. Reblogged this on The Largest Democracy and commented:
    May God Bless his soul. Amen!

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  4. granbee says:

    One of the superfluous influences nestling into the pew beside me in the Deep South on Sunday mornings is the “Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes” nonsense! Another silly influence is the “correct, lady-like posture” and the obligation to the “Ni-iiii-iii-ice!” You KNOW what I mean!

    • mtsweat says:

      Yes, unfortunately I do, granbee. Thank you for your honest assessment of that stuff sitting there with us. In confession, I personally carry things like that to worship each week. Know how I know? The thoughts that run through my mind condemn me. On clothing, I recently heard an address on this topic where nations from around the world were represented. The desire of those gathering was to determine the appropriate attire in assemblies. Much to everyone’s surprise was an older gentleman from Africa who brought to the table, “Clothing? There are children in my villages who have nothing to wear, and you desire to dictate specifics?”

      I am very grateful for the words you’ve written good friend. In America, we’ve sure made a mess of what it means to be a Christian. May God have mercy on us and deliver us from our idols.

  5. Jeff says:

    I’m getting ready to read Life Together, and Prayerbook of the Bible. I think I read Discipleship years ago…but I probably don’t remember any of it. Bonhoeffer is good, though. Very good.

    • mtsweat says:

      Hi Jeff! Great to see you good friend. Thanks for stopping in and sharing as you mention one of Bonhoeffer’s titles I’ve yet to read. Asking a favor… go to Amazon and request Life Together be made available to Kindle. …and anyone else you can get to do so. I’m trying (because my physical library is full) to get my wish list all loaded electronically, but this is one that hasn’t made it there yet. An excellent read I’m told! God bless friend… hope all is well over your way.

  6. Your closing question has me thinking. We carry many ‘superfluous influences’ with us as we venture into the world, but into the pew beside us? I’ll have to think more on that one.

    • mtsweat says:

      Thanks for thinking on this one, good friend. You may be fortunate enough in another land to not have seen the church infiltrated by traditional and societal influences… but we have. Granbee lists some in her comment, but believe me… I’m guilty of many more. God bless.

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  8. Wayne Augden says:

    Michael, thank you for taking the time to write this. I haven’t read Bonhoeffer as of yet. I’ve read one of those mentioned by A.W. Pink. I’ll have to look him up and read him after your recommendation.

  9. lambskinny says:

    Michael, I agree – Bonhoeffer’s THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP had a great impact on my young Christian life. So did CS Lewis’ THE WEIGHT OF GLORY and AW Pink’s THE HOLY SPIRIT and THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD. Blessings, Carley

    • mtsweat says:

      Thanks Carley! Believe it or not, I’m in the process of reading Pink’s work on the Holy Spirit. Great stuff! Hoping things are well, good friend…. God bless.

      • lambskinny says:

        Pink’s THE HOLY SPIRIT changed how I view the third Person of the Triune God. And in a good way, too!
        Hope all is well with you and yours.
        Blessings, Carley

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