On April 9, 1945, sixty-four years ago today, a German Christian, pastor and author named Dietrich Bonhoeffer was executed by hanging by the Nazis. He took a stand against the evil in his land in those days, and it cost him his life.
Bonhoffer is perhaps best known for his book THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP (which is still widely read today). There he teaches us about the dangers of “cheap grace” and the true cost of being a follower of Jesus. Here is an excerpt…
The cross is laid on every Christian. The first Christ-suffering which every man must experience is the call to abandon the attachments of this world. It is that dying of the old man which is the result of his encounter with Christ. As we embark upon discipleship we surrender ourselves to Christ in union with his death — we give over our lives to death. Thus it begins; the cross is not the terrible end to an otherwise god-fearing 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. It may be a death like that of the first disciples who had to leave home and work to follow him, or it may be a death like Luther’s, who had to leave the monastery and go out into the world. But it is the same death every time — death in Jesus Christ, the death of the old man at his call.
(The Cost of Discipleship, p. 99)
May we, too, count the cost, and follow Christ.