January 24, 2010

Exo 16-18: If Only…

Posted in Foundations, Grace tagged , , , , at 7:48 pm by Steve

It was hard for me to get past the opening words “If only we had died by the LORD’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” [16:3]

Uncomfortable Christianity is…well…uncomfortable. I know that sounds redundant, but it’s important to recognize because we prefer to live in the corollary.

Comfortable Christ is…well…comfortable, however useless that may be.

Which are you willing to choose? Dietrich Bonhoeffer lived in a time when people went along to get alone. They had a faith that didn’t demand anything of them and as a consequence they didn’t do much with it when millions depended upon them. Most of our churches are, in the words of Pink Floyd, “comfortably numb.” I suspect you are reading this blog because you want something more. We all have Bible in our homes, but how many read them? How many are joining us in this one year Bible Study? We look to the church to carry us in our faith without discipleship. If we were to trade places with the Hebrews, would we ever have made it to the Promised Land or would we all be speaking Egyptian by now?

Here are a few important quotes from The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our Church. We are fighting today for costly grace. 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….p45

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. 47

Cheap grace means the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner. Grace alone does everything they say, and so everything can remain as it was before. Well, then, let the Christian live like the rest of the world, let him model himself on the world’s standards in every sphere of life, and not presumptuously aspire to live a different life under grace from his old life under sin….