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Week 3: Tuesday

Lent Reflections

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Let us remember the immeasurable cost Jesus paid for us and our response to it. Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes of this in his book The Cost of Discipleship. His opening words are noted below; consider these this week, and if you’d like to read further, the details are listed for you.

“Cheap grace means grace sold on the market like cheapjack’s wares. The sacraments, the forgiveness of sin, and the consolation 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?

[He continues.] 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 gladly 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.”

Bonhoeffer, Dietrich.  (The Cost of Discipleship. New York: Touchstone Publishing, 1959. Pgs. 43, 44-45.)

  • When do you cheapen grace in your life and live as though it doesn’t exist?
  • What do you need to confess as part of valuing what grace truly cost?
  • What difference does it make in your life to live as though grace is costly, the highest cost?
  • It can be challenging to live in light of grace but not be crushed by it. 2nd Peter 2:16 calls us to “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up or evil, but living as servants of God.”  How do you experience that tension this week, and what can you do in light of it?
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