“When God calls a man, he bids him come and die,” wrote Dietrich Bonhoeffer during the dark days for the church under Nazi Germany. At age 39 he was hanged on the gallows for his stand against Nazism.
He wrote, “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 sin, and consolations of faith are thrown away at cut prices. In such a church the world finds a cheap covering for its sins; no contrition is required, still less any real desire to be delivered from sin. Cheap grace means the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”
With these words and a life to back them up, Bonhoeffer became a powerful spokesman for a form of vibrant Christianity that would not bow to Hitler. This man who called the church back to its mission for Christ became a martyr for his stand for God and against Hitler. Thousands of average people were inspired by his example and became a credit to the Christ they served. Because of his courage and witness, hundreds of pastors ended up in concentration camps willing to suffer rather than to deny their Biblical faith in Jesus Christ.
Today in America we need an army of heroes willing to stand against the gathering darkness in our land. We need people who will stand for God’s truth courageously, consistently, with humility and true grace. We need millions of American believers who will represent Christ in their different vocations in life. People who know what they believe, why they believe it and how to live out their convictions of faith daily. This is a tall order, but possible and expected by our Lord. Remember the Lord’s words to his disciples, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23).
Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross.