Signs of The Times
I’ve been involved in an extensive study of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s life, and his theology. It has proved to be a sobering, solemn event.
His life and endeavor’s were met with opposition, censorship, and persecution on every hand. In the end, he paid with his life.
History has unfortunately evolved, and is in the process of repeating itself in our society today.
There is a statement in the outline of this group that says “I hope that it will lead to us all learning from each other, not WHAT to teach, but rather, how to teach better.” As teachers of the Word of God, we are all looking for ways to improve, and communicate to those who are before us; but can we separate the seriousness, and the level of truth of the content that we are teaching, with the ways we develop, or the approach that we use?
I will stick my neck out, and give my personal opinion, according to what I know of scripture at this point in my life, and say “No”.
Below is a statement Bonhoeffer made and is quoted in his book “The 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.”
Are we not facing the same issues today in this culture, society, and the church as he did?
Society in this day is totally narcissistic; it is about ME. What makes ME feel good, what do I need, what can I achieve out of this, how is this going to benefit ME. It is a slippery slope, and we are in free-fall.
It’s going to cost everything to stay true to the scriptures today, and many times it may mean the death of any hopes of being popular, well-spoken of, or elevated within the accepted circles of ministry; and yes, our own lives. Anyone who is going to be a teacher of God’s word today, is going to have to keep his eyes focused on his/her calling, and purpose, nothing else.
This is a teaching for myself, as much as anyone. I’ve failed, I’ve fallen, but have gone to God, asked His forgiveness and grace and gotten back up, and kept on walking. With Him, we can finish our course, without Him, we can do nothing.
Scriptures to ponder: Jeremiah ch. 16 and ch. 20
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No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me,
saith the LORD.
is born of God overcometh the world: and this is
the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
Who is he that overcometh the world,
but he that believeth
that Jesus is the
Son of God?
But they that wait
upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
The Whole Armor
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all,
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
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