‘What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? … knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. ‘ Romans 6:1-3,6-7
“Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession…Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.” ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German Lutheran Pastor during World War II. He was a man very much opposed to Hitler and the Third Reich. He fled Germany at first, but chose to return. He felt that he could not, in good conscience, be a part of the rebuilding of his country after the war, if he wasn’t willing to suffer along side his countrymen. He returned to Germany, worked in heavy resistance to the Reich. He provided comfort, peace and provision to the men and women who so desperately needed it. His subversion to Hitler was covert, when necessary, and overt when possible. Because of his work, the threat he presented to the Reich’s power by fear, he was imprisoned, tortured, relocated repeatedly and tortured some more. This man, armed with conscious faith was as powerful a weapon as any the allies had to combat the evil that that plagued Europe. Through this man, God brought hope to a hopeless people. Through this man, God inspired others to courageous action. Many died doing this work, including Mr. Bonhoeffer. He was hanged just days before allied forces liberated the concentration camp in which he was held. Those that knew him, spoke of a calm, confident peace about him. A strength of character and assurance that would not waver. Despite the suffering he endured, he continued on every day, until his last breath, caring for those within his sphere of influence, bringing a peace and a hope, that no matter what happened they were right where God would have them, doing as God would have them.
Mr. Bonhoeffer believed that the saving gift of grace, bestowed upon him by his Father through the Son, was but a beginning, to start a new. He believed that because of the cost of that gift, he was obligated to go where called, and do what was asked no matter what. For him that included delivering the gospel to all he could, the helpless and hopeless. It included a martyr’s death at the end of a noose.
Reading about Mr. Bonhoeffer got me thinking about my role in the world. What am I called to do (big picture) and what am I asked to do (little picture). We’re all given a cross to bear, some big, some small. We’re also given a choice. Do we pick it up and march on, or do we leave it setting on the ground and walk away? Too many of us freely accept the gift of God’s grace, but stop there. So often, so many of us do not or will not accept the price we are asked to pay. Dietrich was not such a man. Ask yourself, as I am, are you? Have a blessed weekend.
‘For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. ‘ Titus 2:11-14
In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy