There are many lessons to be learned from looking at history. There is this constant battle between what appears to be good and what is actually good. No where is this more clear than on what I read about Nazi Germany.
I may never understand why the Germans thought themselves superior to everyone else or why Jews were their enemy. The six million Jews killed during World War II is an atrocity to all mankind.
But I do understand Dietrich Bonhoeffer who kept a good fight going with the Nazis until the end of the war. This fight is what can be understood as costly grace. Cheap grace would be to stand for pacifism and this would ignore what was going on in the world.
Bonhoeffer had much to say about the Sermon on the Mount. For him, it demanded radical, present discipleship in the midst of a sinful world. And what the world needed was active involvement in righteous causes. This might require using sinful and evil means to achieve righteous ends, but for Bonhoeffer, this was the consequence of living responsibly.
Did you know that Bonhoeffer was involved in a plot to kill Hitler during World War II?
Did you know that he thought the Sermon on the Mount was something new and different in each life situation?
Did you know that he died right before the end of the war?
I read this material in the midst of the Corona Virus Outbreak, general depression with just having too much to do, and life in general. It was a good reminder to fight the good fight.
And don't let anyone tell you that Christianity is not a fight.
It's a fight in the morning to get up and do the right thing all day long.
It's a fight see life as a gift when you are so exhausted you can't see straight.
It's a fight.
I believe that Jesus was a historical being.
I believe that Jesus was killed by those he was trying to reach.
I believe that he rose again three days later to save people from their sins.
I believe Christianity is something beautiful. It takes a broken-hearted sinner, redeems him/her, and puts the seed of something good inside his/her heart, and gets that seed to grow.
I believe Jesus redeems us.
I believe Jesus calls us to take up a cross and follow him.
Bonhoeffer's own words might help us: "On two separate occasions Peter received the call, 'Follow me.' It was the first and last word Jesus spoke to his disciple (Mark 1.17; John 21.22). A whole life lies between these two calls. The first occasion was by the lake of Gennesareth, when Peter left his nets and his craft and followed Jesus at his word. The second occasion is when the Risen Lord finds him back again at his old trade. Once again it is by the lake of Gennesareth, and once again the call is: 'Follow me.' Between the two calls lay a whole life of discipleship in the following of Christ. Half-way between them comes Peter’s confession, when he acknowledged Jesus as the Christ of God…."
"This grace was certainly not self-bestowed. It was the grace of Christ himself, now prevailing upon the disciple to leave all and follow him, now working in him that confession which to the world must sound like the ultimate blasphemy, now inviting Peter to the supreme fellowship of martyrdom for the Lord he had denied, and thereby forgiving him all his sins. In the life of Peter grace and discipleship are inseparable. He had received the grace which costs."
May we always remember that grace costs.