Every Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!
The Abuse of Grace
The life of a Christian is not easy, and many pitfalls remain in our path as we walk along the narrow way. One difficulty that is particularly acute is the problem of falling into taking grace for granted. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran minister martyred by the Nazis in World War II, has powerful words about this:
Is there a more diabolical abuse of grace than to sin and rely on the grace which God has given? (52, cited below)
As Christians, we need always be aware of the danger of thinking we can sin freely because of God’s grace. Bonhoeffer was of course aware of Luther’s oft-abused and taken out of context phrase, “Sin Boldly.” He commented:
For Luther, “sin boldly” could only be his very last refuge, the consolation for one whose attempts to follow Christ had taught him that he can never become sinless, who in his fear of sin despairs of the grace of God. (ibid)
Knowing that God is graceful, we can be confident that our stumbles will not condemn us; however, we must always be wary lest we begin to blaspheme against God’s grace by taking it for granted. Bonhoeffer’s work, The Cost of Discipleship, is as powerful as ever. I suggest you read it.
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Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995). First edition 1959 published by SCM Press, Ltd.
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