This will contain an assortment of notions regarding the cost of discipleship. For background, read the book of the same name by Dietrich Boenhoffer.
“First, faith, then obedience.” Bonhoeffer certainly believed the Bible teaches that we are justified by faith. The problem comes when some try to come up with a sequential distinction between faith and, later, obedience. We must not separate the two. If this happens, then we must ask when obedience started, which is really to separate the two. If we are talking about justification, then they must be separated; but faith and obedience really share an essential unity. Faith is real only when we obey. Bonhoeffer believed that faith becomes faith when we obey.
“Only he who believes is obedient,…only he who is obedient believes” (chapter 2).
added on June 23, 2013:
The good thing about being a disciple of Christ is that it costs nothing to join. (salvation is free by grace through faith). No other power or creation can snatch you out of God’s hand. When you progress from a novice believer to a true follower of Christ, i.e. following the Great Commission, etc.; then you realize it costs you everything. Christ gave everything for you and you give everything for Christ, doing the things He would do if He were still walking the earth.
Of course, we often fall short, but He is right there to say (as He said to Peter), “Do you love me?” (I say “yes”) Christ replies, “Feed my sheep!” And He has given us the Holy Spirit to help us do that, because as John 15 informs us, we can do nothing without Him. (Vine & branches discourse). In other words, He understands our weakness, picks us up and equips us to go on. He totally understands how we are!
The alternative of cheap grace and not being able to begin to express our love for Christ, it seems rather hollow. Why wouldn’t one want to go beyond the basic believer status and commit to being a disciple of Christ. For whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Christ’s sake will find it. It makes no sense to hold back. Earthly pursuits have temporal value, but service to Christ has eternal value!
My prayer for all of you is that you will give your all for Christ, thereby “saving” your life and returning eternal value.