German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer—who challenged Hitler—once taught Sunday school in Harlem, New York. When he saw how Christians at Abyssinia Baptist Church protested injustice, it convinced him that the message of salvation without discipleship is cheap grace. It says “Of course you have sinned, but now everything is forgiven, so you can stay as you are and enjoy the consolations of forgiveness—it makes no demand for discipleship.” Another writer said cheap grace will overlook a leader’s immoral behavior as long as he or she says the right thing in public. By contrast, costly grace calls us to follow Jesus; it compels us to submit to the lordship of Christ and follow Him—often when it is difficult to do so. We read in Luke 14 that when Jesus saw the crowds following him He said to them, “If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else… If you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple… You cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own… Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” Discipleship is serious business with Jesus Christ. Genuine followers give God first place.

Dr. Melvin E. Banks, Sr.

Dr. Melvin E. Banks, Sr. is the founder and chairman of UMI (Urban Ministries, Inc.). Under his direction, UMI has grown to be a leading publisher of Christian education resources for churches in the African American community. Read More

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