Dietrich Bonhoeffer sees the handwriting on the wall

Costly grace is the hidden treasure in the field for the sake of which people go and sell with joy everything they have. It is the costly pearl, for whose price the merchant sells all that he has; it is Christ’s sovereignty, for the sake of which you tear out an eye if it causes you to stumble. It is the call of Jesus Christ which causes a disciple to leave his nets and follow him.

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Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which one has to knock. It is costly, because it calls to discipleship it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. 

It is costly because it costs people their lives; it is grace because it thereby makes them live. It is costly because it condemns sin; it is grace because it justifies the sinner. 

Above all, grace is costly because it was costly to God, because it costs God the life of God’s Son: “you were bought with a price,” and because nothing can be cheap for us which was costly to God. Above all, it is grace because the life of God’s son was not too costly to give in order to make us live. … 

It comes to us as a gracious call to follow Jesus; it comes as a forgiving word to the fearful spirit and the broken heart. Grace is costly because it forces people under the yoke of following Jesus Christ; it is grace when Jesus says: “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

This article is from Christian History magazine #121 Faith in the Foxholes. Read it in context here!

By Dietrich Bonhoeffer

[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #121 in 2017]

From THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Copyright © 1959 by SCM Press Ltd. Reprinted by permission of Scribner, a Division of Simon and Schuster, Inc. Translated by Barbara Gree and Reinhard Krauss for Fortress Press.
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