A Wake-Up Call for the Church

With the start of the New Year, I thought it would be prudent to dig into Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship. I love his courage to define “cheap grace” as what it really is: nothingness. He describes many Christians whose only obedience to follow Christ is showing up to service on Sundays. While not wanting to put words in his mouth, he is really describing a real faith compared to a “said” faith. One in which we have a willingness to step out of the world and take up our cross out of simple obedience to the One who saved us.

Although Bonhoeffer was referring to the state of the church in the last century, it is safe to say that not much has changed from then to now. Many people who refer to themselves as Christians are missing the mark, focusing on the busyness of life. Unfortunately, this is exactly what the enemy desires. His goal is to rob our attention from Jesus Christ by filling our heads with things that are secondary at best. Too many of us are missing His call. I know I am, which is why getting back into this literature has been a word to the wise for me.

I am praying that the church sees the warning signs and makes the proper adjustments toward a revival led by the disciples of Christ. As Christian leaders we are missing the boat. (And by Christian leaders I mean anyone who is a leader in society who calls Jesus their Savior). Look what it says in Jeremiah 5:27-29:

“Like a cage full of birds, their houses are full of deceit; therefore they have become great and rich; they have grown fat and sleek. They know no bounds in deeds of evil; they judge not with justice the cause of the fatherless, to make it prosper, and they do not defend the rights of the needy. Shall I not punish them for these things? declares the LORD, and shall I not avenge myself on a nation such as this?”

It sounds like he is describing Christianity in the United States, doesn’t it? We are the richest country in the world yet we still are plagued by issues of social inequality, especially as it applies to those lacking fathers. Additionally, the church has let the government take the lead in addressing issues with the poor. Who is defending the rights of the needy? God asks the question, “Shall I not punish them for these things?” when referring to Israel and other nations. Sure, this was in light of a new forthcoming covenant, but this does not change the responsibilities of the children of God. Who is Jesus talking about in Matthew 7 when He indicates that not everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will enter heaven? Christ warns us that the gate is small and the road is narrow. God’s punishment will come in one form or another.

Friends, this is a wake-up call for the church. As believers, we need to not be distracted by the enemy. Instead, we need to be the disciples that Christ calls us to be. We need to have enough faith to live out a life lead by Him. We need to strive for the “costly grace” that can only be found in obedience to Jesus.

Romney Ruder is World Impact's Senior Vice President and COO, overseeing the National office and World Impact ministry sites all over the country.