Christians should pursue specific values, notions, and ideas in order to fulfill God’s purpose on earth. Since the ultimate goal is for believers to become part of His kingdom, it is necessary to understand the meaning and role of discipleship. The inference analysis paper presented below begins by giving a detailed summary of the first chapter of this book by Dietrich Bonhoeffer: The Cost of Discipleship. It goes further to offer a detailed inference that can guide Christians to pursue their spiritual goals.
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Evidence and Information
The chapter, “Grace and Discipleship” presents evidence-based ideas and insights that all Christian believers should take seriously. Bonhoeffer indicates that “cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our Church” (43). The meaning obtained from the presented text is that grace should be characterized by discipleship, Jesus Christ, and the cross. Preachers and theological scholars should encourage their followers to pursue costly grace because it is what will make it possible for them to achieve their objectives. These individuals should go further to encourage believers to repent if they want to have their sins atoned.
They should pursue church discipline for them to be baptized. They should confess before being part of the Holy Communion (Bonhoeffer 44). The spread of Christianity is something that has resulted in increased secularization. The result has been that the costliness of grace has become undermined. People should promote Christ’s teaching in such a way that they protect the Church from falling into schism.
The author asserts that entire process of Martin Luther’s Reformation tried to justify unacceptable behavior. This religious leader indicated that sin was justified in the world, thereby encouraging many Christians to disobey God. Luther suggested that the grace of God was enough since it could forgive all sins and empower more Christians to pursue their religious goals. According to the text, these developments led to the secularization of the Church. This cheap grace is, therefore, something that continues to affect people’s spiritual lives negatively (Bonhoeffer 54). This means that Christians should follow the costly grace described by the author.
The second issue described in the selected chapter is the call to discipleship. Bonhoeffer indicates that Jesus Christ has “the authority to call and to demand obedience to his word (57-58). Discipleship is a practice that promotes adherence to God’s teachings and commandments. Those who want to achieve this goal must put Christ first and remain obedient. Those who engage in discipleship without allowing Christ to take over will result in rejection.
The author indicates that those who after discipleship should leave their past lives behind and become new people in Christ. He gives the examples of different disciples and how they followed Christ without giving excuses. Christians should consider spiritual calling as a command that should be obeyed. Disciples should believe in Christ and always focus on the most appropriate actions and ideas that can support God’s creation on earth. Believers should also ensure that sin does not distract them from their goals or purpose. They should also stand firm against any form of temptation.
Another subject the author of the selected chapter addresses is that of single-minded obedience. Using the stories of Peter and Levi, the reader observes that those who decide to follow God’s teachings should not have regrets or doubts. This is the case since Christ always means business. The outstanding message is that Christians should “take the call of Jesus with absolute seriousness” (Bonhoeffer 80). The issue of inward attachment appears to challenge many individuals and believers. This presentation makes it possible for the author to guide the reader to understand how he or she can pursue his religious objectives.
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Every action on earth should be undertaken as if it was aimed at proclaiming Christ. Those who concentrate on material possessions and their belonging are deemed to be double-minded in their pursuit of Christ’s teachings and God’s kingdom.
In the fourth section, the author tries to describe the relationship between discipleship and the cross. The text presents several passages from the Bible to describe some of God’s teachings and promises. Individuals who want achieve their spiritual goals should engage in mandatory actions and practices while they are still on earth. The author uses the word “must” to describe several verses from the Bible. For example, it is written that “Jesus Christ must suffer and be rejected” (Bonhoeffer 86).
It is agreeable that Christ suffered on the cross and was eventually rejected by his own disciples. The cross is presented to believers as a sign of suffering. This means that those who decide to follow God will have to encounter numerous challenges. Individuals planning to achieve their religious goals will have to surrender themselves to Jesus Christ and embark on their discipleship journey. To endure suffering or the cross is not something that should be viewed as a tragedy.
Suffering is something inseparable from a righteous life. Those who decide to follow the discipleship journey should embrace the most appropriate actions and pursue things that might appear incomprehensible. They should not care about where they are going. These practices will empower them to realize their goals and eventually become part of God’s kingdom.
The final section focuses on the issues of personality and discipleship. The author indicates that those who receive Christ’s calling become individuals by God’s grace (Bonhoeffer 94). This kind of calling should guide believers to live harmoniously with others, do what is righteous, and be ready to stand before God. Those who consider the discipleship journey should get rid of material possessions and earthly pursuits. This decision is in accordance with Christ’s expectations.
It is also agreeable that Christ left everything behind and focused on a journey of righteousness. He did so in an attempt to redeem mankind. Similarly, those how want to complete this journey should emulate God’s actions while at the same time maintaining the most appropriate relationships with the things and people of the world. Christians should also allow Christ to become the only mediator who can guide them to establish a new form of fellowship. Although the discipleship road might be dangerous and scary, it is appropriate for Christians to embrace it and be in a position to achieve their spiritual goals.
According to the above discussion, the secularization of the Church is a development that has encouraged many Christians to engage in sinful acts while at the same time proclaiming to be God’s children. This problem is attributable to the lessons and ideas propagated by the pioneers of the Reformation Movement. The author of the selected book has managed to present evidence-based ideas and guidelines that all believers who are planning to pursue their discipleship goals should take seriously.
The first outstanding lesson is that of grace. What every believer should understand is that grace is something expensive that can only be available to believers who are willing to commit themselves to God’s teachings (Bonhoeffer 49). This is a clear indication that Christians who want to receive God’s grace should follow His teachings and commandments. They should also get rid of sin, repent, and engage in practices that are pleasing in the eyes of God. It is also appropriate for all believers to focus on the costly grace.
The call to discipleship is a journey that all Christians should be ready to complete. Those who receive Christ’s calling should leave everything behind and do so without having secondary thoughts. They should also ignore material possessions. The case of Peter is a good example that Christians should take into consideration. Christians should get rid of sin, obey God’s commandments, and be aware of the challenges that might affect their objectives (Bonhoeffer 55). The text goes further to encourage believers to take Christ’s calling with the seriousness it deserves. This process will bring them closer to God’s kingdom. Such individuals will develop appropriate religious philosophies that will always guide them whenever interacting with other people and preaching the message of Christ to them.
The studied section or chapter encourages Christian believers who have been saved by God’s grace to follow the journey of discipleship. Such individuals should also understand that they cannot achieve their potential without allowing God to take over and guide them. Throughout the sanctification process, believers should become resolute and use Christ’s teachings as evidence-based guidelines to meet their needs. They should also use the example of the cross.
This approach will empower them to accept suffering and engage in actions that are pleasing in God’s eyes (Bonhoeffer 93). The pain Jesus Christ experienced on the cross should encourage Christians to become courageous even if they may not be aware of the predicaments that they might face. It is necessary for such believers to become selfless and focus on actions that will fulfill God’s expectations on earth. Those who surrender themselves to Christ will become empowered and courageous.
The issue of personality is also critical since it guides those who plan to become God’s disciples to relate positively with other people. They should make Christ their mediator in order to develop the most appropriate relationship with their colleagues. Those who emulate God’s teachings will no longer pursue material possessions. Instead, they will establish a new covenant with Christ and work hard to achieve God’s mission on earth (Bonhoeffer 95). These actions mean that every individual who has taken up the discipleship journey will have God’s grace because it is the only thing that can give mankind true life.
The above discussion has revealed that Dietrich Bonhoeffer presents appropriate ideas and insights that can guide Christians to achieve their religious objectives. The author identifies a new form of grace that is costly as a powerful model that can guide believers to have a sense of civic duty. They should also consider Christ’s suffering on the cross in order to become true disciples who understand their relationship with the surrounding world and God’s kingdom. This approach will ensure that more Christians are protected from the dangers of this world.
Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. The Cost of Discipleship. Simon and Schuster, 1995.