Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German theologian and pastor who openly opposed Adolph Hitler. He could have stayed in America where it was safe, but chose to return to Germany and serve God’s kingdom agenda. It ultimately cost him his life in a prison camp just days before the Allies arrived. He spoke out often against what he called “cheap grace,” the notion that anyone can follow Jesus without it costing some kind of sacrifice. What follows is from his book The Cost of Discipleship.
“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.”
When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die.