Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Costly grace is the hidden treasure in the field, for the sake of which people go and sell with joy everything they have. (45) It is the costly pearl, for whose price the merchant sells all that he has; it is Christ’s sovereignty, for the sake of which you tear out an eye if it causes you to stumble. It is the call of Jesus Christ which causes a disciple to leave his nets and follow him.

Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which has to be asked for, the door at which one has to knock.

It is costly, because it calls to discipleship; it is grace, because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly, because it costs people their lives; it is grace, because it thereby makes them live. It is costly, because it condemns sin; it is grace, because it justifies the sinner. Above all, grace is costly, because it was costly to God, because it costs God the life of God’s Son—“you were bought with a price” [1 Cor. 6:20, 7:23]—and because nothing can be cheap to us which is costly to God. Above all, it is grace because the life of God’s Son was not too costly for God to give in order to make us live. God did, indeed, give him up for us. Costly grace is the incarnation of God.

Costly grace is grace as God’s holy treasure which must be protected from the world and which must not be thrown to the dogs. Thus, it is grace as living word, word of God, which God speaks as God pleases. It comes to us as a gracious call to follow Jesus; it comes as a forgiving word to the fearful spirit and the broken heart. Grace is costly, because it forces people under the yoke of following Jesus Christ; it is grace when Jesus says, “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light” [Matt. 11:30].

(46) Twice the call went out to Peter: Follow me! It was Jesus’ first and last word to his disciple (Mark 1:17; John 21:22). His whole life lies between these two calls. The first time, in response to Jesus’ call, Peter left his nets, his vocation, at the Sea of Galilee and followed him on his word. The last time, the Resurrected One finds him at his old vocation, again at the Sea of Galilee, and again he calls: Follow me! Between the two lies a whole life of discipleship following Christ. At its center stands Peter’s confession of Jesus as the Christ of God. The same message is proclaimed to Peter three times: at the beginning, at the end, and in Caesarea Philippi, namely, that Christ is his Lord and God. It is the same grace of Christ which summons him—Follow me! This same grace also reveals itself to him in his confessing the Son of God.

Clifford J. Green and Michael P. DeJonge, eds., The Bonhoeffer Reader (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2013), 459–462.

We have just released a new Bible Study based on the theme: Discipleship and Mission

These lessons are available on Amazon, as we as a part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription Service. Like Netflix for Bible Lessons, one low subscription gives you access to all our lessons–thousands of them. For a medium-sized church, lessons are as little as $10 per teacher per year.

Lessons include:

Discipleship and Mission, Lesson #1
Called to Serve
Luke 14.7 – 14

Discipleship and Mission, Lesson #2
Called to Sacrifice
Mark 1:16–20; Luke 14:25–33

Discipleship and Mission, Lesson #3
Called to Return
Luke 15:11–24

Discipleship and Mission, Lesson #4
Called to Repent
Luke 19.1 – 10

Discipleship and Mission, Lesson #5
Called to Follow
Matthew 4.12 – 22

Discipleship and Mission, Lesson #6
Called to Mission
Matthew 10:1–15

Discipleship and Mission, Lesson #7
Called to Remember
Matthew 26:1–13

Discipleship and Mission, Lesson #8
Called to Believe the Resurrection
Matthew 28:1–15

Discipleship and Mission, Lesson #9
Called to Make Disciples
Matthew 28:16–20; Acts 1:6–8 123

Discipleship and Mission, Lesson #10
Called to Righteousness
Romans 3:21–31

Discipleship and Mission, Lesson #11
Called to Life in the Spirit
Romans 8:1–14

Discipleship and Mission, Lesson #12
Called to Mutual Acceptance
Romans 11:11–24; 10.5 – 13

Discipleship and Mission, Lesson #13
Called to Be Transformed
Romans 12:1 – 8

Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking. Answers are provided in the form of quotes from respected authors such as John Piper, Max Lucado and Beth Moore.

These lessons will save you time as well as provide deep insights from some of the great writers and thinkers from today and generations past. I also include quotes from the same commentaries that your pastor uses in sermon preparation.

Ultimately, the goal is to create conversations that change lives.