This excerpt is from “The Cost of Discipleship” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer … Jesus, help me to live my life by costly grace!
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 caused 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 much 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 give a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. 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.
Costly grace is the sanctuary of God; it has to be protected from the world, and not thrown to the dogs. It is therefore the living word, the Word of God, which he speaks as it pleases him. Costly grace confronts us as a gracious call to follow Jesus, it comes as a word of forgiveness to the broken spirit and contrite heart. Grace is costly because it compels a man to submit to the yoke of Christ and follow him it is grace because Jesus say: My yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Most gracious and merciful Father, help us to learn to make the distinction between cheap grace and costly grace, and then to have the courage to partake of the costly only. Give us the guidance and strength to find this grace through following Jesus Christ. In His name we pray, Amen.