Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. We can learn a lot by reading the studying the example of the disciples in Scripture. The disciples often God it wrong more than they got it right. The disciples doubted Jesus. They abandoned him. One of them even received a bribe to have him arrested! Yet, Jesus calls them to follow him and to spread his message to the ends of the earth anyway. If the disciples aren’t perfect, there’s hope for the rest of us! Church history tells us that the message of the Gospel spread throughout the whole world due to these disciples.
Jesus’ disciples were persons who followed and learned from their Master Jesus. Disciples also accept Jesus’ teachings, not only in belief but in the way they live. In his book The Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer contrasts cheap and costly grace. He states “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.” In other words, cheap grace is trying to receive the benefits of being a disciple without total commitment to following Christ.
He goes on to state: “Above all, it [grace] is costly because it cost God the life of his Son. Costly grace confronts us as a gracious call to follow Jesus, it comes as a word of forgiveness to the broken spirit and the contrite heart. It is costly because it compels a man to submit to the yoke of Christ and follow him; it is grace because Jesus says: ‘My yoke is easy and my burden is light.’” This is the type of grace we, as disciples, need to be seeking from God daily. Costly grace means that we take up our crosses daily to follow Christ knowing that this is the only true way we will have life.
In what ways are you settling for cheap grace? How might you respond to God’s gracious call to follow Him completely today?