Cheap Grace vs. Costly Grace

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In The Cost of Discipleship, Deitrich Bonhoeffer wrote,

That is what we mean by cheap grace, the grace which amounts to the justification of sin without the justification of the repentant sinner who departs from sin and from whom sin departs. Cheap grace is not the kind of forgiveness of sin which frees us from the toils of sin. Cheap grace is the grace we bestow upon ourselves. 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 the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble; it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him. Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for , the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son…and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God…”p.44-45.

These words make me stumble over my own foolishness for how I have often treated grace in the past. Let us walk away from this reminder never to be the same again and never to look at the cross in the same light ever again.

0 Responses

  1. I think he is trying to say that we often present grace as it comes with no strings attached and is very easy. He seems to be saying that grace is offered cheaply when it comes with no demands on our lives to make us better or more holy. Each of the things he mentions in that list are things that demand our faith to be serious and not taken lightly.

  2. Oh Matt,
    I have often “bestowed grace” on myself in the form of justification, theological loopholes, etc. I need to always remember how much grace truly cost and therefore how much grace is truly worth.
    Thanks Matt


  3. I was curious if you ever thought of changing the layout of your blog?
    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could
    a little more in the way of content so people could connect
    with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or
    2 images. Maybe you could space it out better?

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