Bonhoeffer’s Cheap Grace: The Battle Still Needs to be Fought

Wednesday is for Prayer

Bonhoeffer Cost of Discipleship“Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our Church. We are fighting today for costly grace.

Cheap grace means grace sold on the market like cheapjacks’ wares. The sacraments, the forgiveness of sins, and the consolations of religion are thrown away at cut prices.  . . . The essence of grace, we suppose, is that the account has been paid, everything can be had for nothing. . . .

Cheap grace means grace as a doctrine, a principle, a system. It means forgiveness of sins proclaimed as a general truth, the love of God taught as the Christian ‘conception’ of God. An intellectual assent to that idea is held to be of itself sufficient to secure remission of sins. . . .

Cheap grace means the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner. . . . 

[Cheap grace means that] Instead of following Christ, let the Christian enjoy the consolations of his grace! That is what we mean by cheap grace, the grace which amounts to the justification of sin without the justification of the repentant sinner who departs from sin and from whom sin departs. Cheap grace is not the kind of forgiveness of sin which frees us from the toils of sin. Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves.

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.”

—Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship, p. 45-46.

Lord Jesus, purify Your Church. Make us lean hard into costly grace and to recognize cheap-grace thinking and living in our lives so that we can repent of it and run from it with every beat of our hearts. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

4 thoughts on “Bonhoeffer’s Cheap Grace: The Battle Still Needs to be Fought

    1. I wore one copy out. My children bought me another. Now I’m wearing it out. And I still feel so dull to its clairion clarity and passion. So thankful for brother Bonhoeffer’s life and legacy.


  1. You know, the closer I get to Jesus, the more aware of my sin I am; the more I realize my complete inability to save myself, to live up to God’s standard, to reach His holy expectation. As a result, my eyes are opened more and more each day to the cost of Jesus’ sacrifice for me and His suffering out of obedience to His Father. It was no small thing that He gave His life so that I could live and it drives me to my knees in the humble realization that the King of all kings lowered Himself to such depths. He didn’t have to, but He did in order to deliver such grace to me and you. May we treasure this grace and the One who gave it all so we can taste it. And may the way we live our lives reflect the dearness of Christ’s sacrifice.


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