Speaker: Jerry Cisar
Dietrich Bonhoeffer begins his discourse about cheap grace vs costly grace: “Cheap grace is the mortal enemy of our church. Our struggle today is for costly grace.” These words are equally true today. The church is filled with cheap grace, which is a cheap substitute for the real thing. In this week’s text, Ruth is a portrait of costly grace. She is a picture of a true disciple.
The conversation between Naomi and Ruth is not dissimilar to conversations Jesus had with would-be disciples. The idea of Ruth (and I would add Boaz) as a picture of the church, a foreshadowing, is not new. Isidore of Seville, in the 4th century, expounded this point at length.
After Bonhoeffer’s assault on cheap grace, he describes costly grace:
“Costly grace is the hidden treasure in the field, for the sake of which people go and sell with joy everything they have.… It is the call of Jesus Christ which causes a disciple to leave his nets and follow him.… 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.…”
Far too often people are not selling all they have with joy because they are waiting for the treasure to be obvious and not hidden.