Tag Archive: dietrich bonhoeffer


amazing grace. how sweet the sound. especially when we have a clear picture of what we are talking about…

a friend of mine posted a picture on the book of faces of a Bonhoeffer quote about grace that i really thought was great. because it was a picture i was unable to just grab the text and so i asked Uncle Google for the quote and came up with a whole treasureload of Bonhoeffer quotes of which a number were related to grace and figured they pretty much speak for themselves. but there is some powerful and true stuff here. the main initial point i was looking for was related to when we make grace cheap: 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.

 

give these quotes some time and mindspace, cos there is some great stuff here:

“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 BonhoefferThe Cost Of Discipleship

 

“Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and 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: ‘Ye were bought at a price’, 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.” 
― Dietrich BonhoefferThe Cost of Discipleship

 

“Luther had said that grace alone can save; his followers took up his doctrine and repeated it word for word. But they left out its invariable corollary, the obligation to discipleship…The justification of the sinner in the world degenerated into the justification of sin and the world. Costly grace was turned into cheap grace without discipleship.” 

― Dietrich BonhoefferThe Cost of Discipleship

 

“Cheap grace means grace sold on the market like cheapjacks’ wares. The sacraments, the forgiveness of sin, and the consolations of religion are thrown away at cut prices. Grace is represented as the Church’s inexhaustible treasury, from which she showers blessings with generous hands, without asking questions or fixing limits. Grace without price; grace without cost! The essence of grace, we suppose, is that the account has been paid in advance; and, because it has been paid, everything can be had for nothing. Since the cost was infinite, the possibilities of using and spending it are infinite. What would grace be if it were not cheap?…

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 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: “ye were bought at a price,” 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.” 
― Dietrich BonhoefferThe Cost of Discipleship

 

“grace at a low cost, is in the last resort simply a new law, which brings neither help nor freedom.” 
― Dietrich BonhoefferThe Cost of Discipleship

 

 

 

 

i posted a Bonhoeffer quote the other day on the book of facings and the tier of twit that got an insanely hectic amount of likes on it, and despite it being a deliberately Christian statement, a fair amount of those likes were from people who would not label themselves as such:

‎’Being a Christian is less about cautiously avoiding sin than about courageously and actively doing God’s will.’ [Dietrich Bonhoeffer]

clearly what Bonhoeffer says is something i have said and written about a lot in recent years but i think he just completely nails it with the words he uses here – he’s not just saying ‘let’s be known less for what we are against than what we are for’ which is a chant i have taken up more vociferously in recent times…

he says “it is less about cautiously avoiding sin”

where ‘avoiding sin’ becomes the focus and so much care, energy and effort is put into making sure we don’t step over the line. what that means is we have to have a line and have it drawn firmly into the ground and be very much aware of who is on this side of it and who is on that side. and speak loudly and often judgementally into all those who are not on the right side of the line as we have deemed ‘the right side’ to be.

us versus them.

the biggest problem with this being, that more often than not, this is done with the absolute minimum of Love and Grace for those who are more the ‘them’ and less the ‘us’.

Bonhoeffer goes on to talk about ‘courageously doing God’s will’.

so not just trying to do more good than bad. but being intentional and courageous in our living out of God’s will. things like Godly confrontation [calling things in people and situations, in Love] and accountability, practices like unity, genuine hospitality and unconditional Love and Forgiveness. owning up to our crap. seeking life transformation [and not just fish-giving!] in those considered ‘the least of these’ and more.

actively following Jesus instead of passively calling myself a christian but looking not too different from all those around me.

‎’Being a Christian is less about cautiously avoiding sin than about courageously and actively doing God’s will.’ [Dietrich Bonhoeffer]

i wonder what the world would look like if the church started taking this more to heart?

we read this as part of morning prayer this morning:

‘Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “Jesus Christ lived in the midst of His enemies. At the end, all of His disciples deserted Him. On the cross He was utterly alone, surrounded by evildoers and mockers. For this cause He had come, to bring peace to the enemies of God. So the Christian, too, belongs not in the seclusion of a cloistered life, but in the thick of foes.”‘ [from Common Prayer: a liturgy for ordinary radicals, April 9th]

Jesus’ call is for us to love God and love people, and to make disciples of all men, teaching them to obey everything He taught us… we can’t do that from a distance. it requires genuine relationship.

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