To Lose the Knowledge of Costly Grace– Lent with Bonhoeffer Day 18– Purity 990
Purity 990 03/14/2023 Purity 990 Podcast
Purity 990 on YouTube:
Today’s photo of a mostly green grass field and tree line underneath a blue cumulus clouded springtime sky comes to us from yours as I decided to dial it back last night, (yup due to the threat of snow I am preparing this message AT NIGHT!) and look into my iPhone’s photo archive to see what I could use for the photo of the day and set free from its digital prison. I found this simple spring time scene that I captured somewhere near Schenectady NY presumably while I was working back on May 8th of 2019, and in light of the possibility of a large volume of snow falling today, decided to use it to help us to “think spring” even if we may have difficulty seeing it this morning.
Well, its Tuesday today and regardless of the snow, I look forward to hosting men’s Freedom in Christ course that I facilitate on Zoom later this evening because we are past the half way point of the course and some of the participants have already handed in their paperwork to give their consent to be lead through the Steps to Freedom in Christ, with the first appointments happening next week. So it is officially “freedom season” and I can’t wait to see what the Lord will do in these men’s lives as they seek to resolve their personal and spiritual conflicts through repentance and prayer with The Steps. I have seen the Lord use this process to set people free from issues that have kept them stuck in negative thoughts and behavior patterns for most of their lives so I know that when we humbly ask the Lord for help, He is good and faithful to give it.
So let these repentant men be an inspiration to us and let’s follow their example as we continue into the season of repentance and prayer known as Lent as we continue with our current series as we walk into Day 18 of the 40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
As a reminder, and as we will say each day of this journey, we take this path to mark the season of Lent and to draw closer to God in anticipation for the celebration of Easter, knowing that if we take this journey of repentance seriously, we will not only see the days and seasons change, the Lord will use it to change us too.
You can sign up to get this devotional yourself by going to the Biblegateway link on the blog ((https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/40-Day-Journey-Dietrich-Bonhoeffer/today)) .
“The word of cheap grace has ruined more Christians than any commandment about works…
For integrity’s sake someone has to speak up for those among us who confess that cheap grace has made them give up following Christ, and that ceasing to follow Christ has made them lose the knowledge of costly grace.
Because we cannot deny that we no longer stand in true discipleship to Christ, while being members of a true-believing church with a pure doctrine of grace, but are no longer members of a church which follows Christ, we therefore have to try to understand grace and discipleship again in correct relationship to each other.”
What then are we to say? Should we continue to sin in order that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead to the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. Romans 6:1-4
Questions to Ponder
- What do you think Bonhoeffer meant by saying: “The word of cheap grace has ruined more Christians than any commandment about works”?
M.T. Clark: I think that Bonhoeffer meant that cheap grace caused Christians to either stay bound in habitual sin without repentance or to decided to not pursue personal purity and holiness. Cheap grace ruins Christians by convincing them to be something less than the disciples of Jesus that the Lord calls us to be.
- Why might cheap grace cause someone to give up following Christ?
M.T. Clark: Cheap grace could cause someone to stop following Christ in two ways. 1, Cheap grace as a general forgiveness of sin could convince some that following Christ is not necessary. They need to do nothing because of grace after all so they extended that idea to include being one of Christ’s disciples. 2. Cheap grace could cause some to pursue the flesh into continuous sin leading them to doubt their conversion and the authenticity of their faith causing them to make the decision not to follow Christ rather than to misrepresent Him as a someone who looks nothing like Him.
- What is the correct relationship between grace and discipleship?
M.T. Clark: The correct relationship between grace and discipleship is that grace would cause one to walk out a disciple’s life. That amazing grace is to cause us to love God and to seek to obey Him by living as a disciple out of our love for Him.
Restore us, O Lord God of hosts;
let your face shine, that we may be saved. Psalm 80:19
- Has the church’s proclamation and practice of cheap grace ever led you to consider not following Christ anymore? If so, write about the experience.
M.T. Clark: No, it did cause me to live a licentious life of sin for a time though, but the Holy Spirit convicted me and caused me to repent and now live as much as I can as a disciple of Jesus Christ. I was very ignorant and very much a slave to sin when I got saved and I made the costly grace that Christ paid for cheap by running wild in sin for a time.
- Do you know anyone who has given up following Christ because of cheap grace? If so, did anyone speak up for her or him?
M.T. Clark: Yes, some new believers who prescribe to cheap grace can be easily offended when they hear that they are to be repentant and be like Jesus. The idea that one must do anything more than “just believe” is abhorrent to those “sinners saved by cheap grace.” When they give up “following Christ,” it never ends well.
Pray for the church, and for all Christians, that they may not succumb to the lure of cheap grace.
Lord, we pray for the church and for all Chrstians that they would recognize and reject cheap grace in any form that it takes and to be shown the truth of your costly grace and to make the daily decision to follow and worship You in Spirit and truth.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Prayer for Today
Lord Jesus Christ, I would follow you, no matter what the cost; lead me in the way of true discipleship.
M.T. Clark: In Jesus Name, I pray, Amen.
(40-Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Copyright © 2007 Augsburg Books, imprint of Augsburg Fortress.)
***As we are being provided with Bible verses from the 40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, we will are taking a break from sharing a verse of the day from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”. We plan on resuming that normal installment of the blog following Easter.***
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue sharing from A.W. Pink’s “The Sovereignty of God.”
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase A.W. Pink’s books for your own private study and to support his work. This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.
THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD
By ARTHUR W. PINK
GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY AND PRAYER continues
Turn to 2 Cor. 12. The apostle Paul had been accorded an unheard-of privilege. He had been transported into Paradise. His ears had listened to and his eyes had gazed upon that which no other mortal had heard or seen this side of death. The wondrous revelation was more than the apostle could endure. He was in danger of becoming “puffed up” by his extraordinary experience. Therefore, a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan, was sent to buffet him lest he be exalted above measure. And the apostle spreads his need before the Lord; he thrice beseeches Him that this thorn in the flesh should be removed. Was his prayer answered? Assuredly, though not in the manner he had desired. The “thorn” was not removed but grace was given to bear it. The burden was not lifted but strength was vouchsafed to carry it.
Does someone object that it is our privilege to do more than spread our need before God? Are we reminded that God has, as it were, given us a blank cheque and invited us to fill it in? It is said that the promises of God are all-inclusive, and that we may ask God for what we will? If so, we must call attention to the fact that it is necessary to compare scripture with scripture if we are to learn the full mind of God on any subject, and that as this is done we discover God has qualified the promises given to praying souls by saying “If ye ask anything according to His will He heareth us” (1 John 5:14). Real prayer is communion with God so that there will be common thoughts between His mind and ours. What is needed is for Him to fill our hearts with His thoughts and then His desires will become our desires flowing back to Him. Here then is the meeting-place between God’s sovereignty and Christian prayer: If we ask anything according to His will He heareth us, and if we do not so ask He does not hear us; as saith the apostle James, “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts” or desires (4:3).
But did not the Lord Jesus tell His disciples, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My name, He will give it you” (John 16:23)? He did; but this promise does not give praying souls carte blanche. These words of our Lord are in perfect accord with those of the apostle John: “If we ask anything according to His will He heareth us.” What is it to ask “in the name of Christ”? Surely it is very much more than a prayer formula, the mere concluding of our supplications with the words “in the name of Christ.” To apply to God for anything in the name of Christ, it must needs be in keeping with what Christ is! To ask God in the name of Christ is as though Christ Himself were the suppliant. We can only ask God for what Christ would ask. To ask in the name of Christ is therefore to set aside our own wills, accepting God’s!
Let us now amplify our definition of prayer. What is prayer? Prayer is not so much an act as it is an attitude—an attitude of dependency, dependency upon God. Prayer is a confession of creature weakness, yea, of helplessness. Prayer is the acknowledgment of our need and the spreading of it before God. We do not say that this is all there is in prayer, it is not: but it is the essential, the primary element in prayer. We freely admit that we are quite unable to give a complete definition of prayer within the compass of a brief sentence, or in any number of words. Prayer is both an attitude and an act, a human act, and yet there is the Divine element in it too, and it is this which makes an exhaustive analysis impossible as well as impious to attempt. But admitting this, we do insist again that prayer is fundamentally an attitude of dependency upon God. Therefore, prayer is the very opposite of dictating to God. Because prayer is an attitude of dependency, the one who really prays is submissive, submissive to the Divine will; and submission to the Divine will means that we are content for the Lord to supply our need according to the dictates of His own sovereign pleasure. And hence it is that we say every prayer that is offered to God in this spirit is sure of meeting with an answer or response from Him.
Here then is the reply to our opening question, and the scriptural solution to the seeming difficulty. Prayer is not the requesting of God to alter His purpose or for Him to form a new one. Prayer is the taking of an attitude of dependency upon God, the spreading of our need before Him, the asking for those things which are in accordance with His will, and therefore there is nothing whatever inconsistent between Divine sovereignty and Christian prayer.
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship
 Arthur W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God (Swengel, PA: Bible Truth Depot, 1949), 185–187.