And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” ~Matthew 3: 15-17

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The Triple Crown of Giving

 

The Triple Crown of Giving was a wonderful success this year!  Raising over $7,500 to benefit Woodford County Food Pantry, Relay for Life and ZOE International.

Costly Grace

(Excerpts from The Cost of Discipleship, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

“Cheap Grace”

“Cheap grace is the deadliest enemy of our Church.  We are fighting to-day for costly grace.”

“Cheap grace means grace as a doctrine, a principle, a system.”

“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”

“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.”

 

The words above, written by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, are appropriate for us to consider during this most holy of weeks.  As Bonhoeffer said, “The world was Christianized, and grace became its common property.  It was to be had at a low cost.”

Protestant Christianity is mainstream in America.  In many ways, our “world” has become Christianized.  Whether it is more or less that way than at other times in our history is beside the point.  Where is the risk?  What is the cost?  Simply an hour or two on Sunday mornings?

Especially in Holy Week, as we seek to follow Christ to the cross and eventually to the empty tomb, we need to consider what it is that we are seeking, and whether we really want to follow the path that leads there.  The simple fact is that there is no way to get to the empty tomb, no way to get to the joy and elation of Easter morning, without first going through the cross on Friday night, and the emptiness of Saturday.

Cheap grace is the grace that costs us nothing.  At church, we give it out like candy, as if it is ours to give.  Cheap grace is the compartmentalization of our faith, placing it in a box only to come out on Christmas and Easter, or if we are truly “dedicated”, on most Sunday mornings.

Costly grace is the grace that costs us everything.  It is the grace that resides at the end of a long struggle.  It is the grace that exists in the walking with Christ, not on the beach with Christ carrying us as in the famous poem, but rather on the rocky path, uphill, in the snow, with no shoes…but with Jesus at your side.

The biggest problem that we have as a church in our current cultural context is that it is all too easy.  Church is too easy.  Faith is too easy.  Where is the risk?  What is the cost in following?  What is the cost of discipleship?

My prayer for you this week is that you will consider the burden of the cross, not just the gift of it.  For while Christ’s yoke is easy and his burden is light (Matthew 11:30), it is only that way because we are not called to carry it alone.

But, It is still a yoke.  It is still a burden.  It is still a cross.  And, there is still a great distance to walk.

Grace is free, but it’s never cheap.

Pete

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