What is Costly Grace?

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer was an anti-Nazi dissident who thought deeply about God's grace. As he listened and watched the Christian community of his day, it seemed to him that many had a feeble understanding of God's grace which had a detrimental effect on their ethics and behavior.


In the Cost of Discipleship, Bonhoeffer clarifies the difference between CHEAP GRACE and 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 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. "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.”


See Ephesians 2:8-9


Paul W. Swets

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