Count the Cost

Count the Cost

Writing in the 1940’s during the height of World War II from inside Germany while defending the defenseless, speaking against the tyranny of Hitler and the Nazi regime, and protecting the integrity of the Gospel under threat from the state that eventually led to his arrest and execution, Dietrich Bonhoeffer has earned a rightful position in history. He has joined the ranks of many that have gone before him, and through his writings, those who would desire to identify with Christ today are confronted with a life-changing question, “Am I sure I want to do this?”

In his book, The Cost of Discipleship, Bonhoeffer writes:

If our Christianity has ceased to be serious about discipleship, if we have watered down the gospel into emotional uplift which makes no costly demands and which fails to distinguish between natural and Christian existence, then we cannot help regarding the cross as an ordinary everyday calamity, as one of the trials and tribulations of life. …We have then forgotten that the cross means rejection and shame as well as suffering. The cross is not the terrible end to an otherwise godfearing and happy life, but it meets us at the beginning of our communion with Christ. When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die. [1]

The cross of Christ is the source and beginning of a new life with Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. But for one to receive such life and resurrection power is to hear and respond to his call on your life: “Come and die with me.” Anything short is a watered down gospel that seeks to numb and pacify your existence through emotional ‘positive’ and ‘uplifting’ platitudes that will bear no weight in deciding your admittance into the eternal Kingdom.

The grace and love in Jesus Christ is overwhelmingly beautiful, but it’s not without consequence. The call of Christ is a call to radical obedience.

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