The people all responded together, “We will do everything the Lord has said.” (Ex. 19:8)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German pastor and teacher who opposed Hitler and paid for it with his life. He was executed just as the war was ending, but his death did not silence his message, as the Nazis had hoped. Instead, it illustrated it.

In his classic book The Cost of Discipleship, Bonhoeffer condemned “cheap grace,” which he defined as shallow and superficial Christianity. We are called to “costly grace,” he reminded us—a commitment so deep that the true disciple will pay any price for the sake of the One who paid the ultimate price on Calvary.

In a nutshell, it’s all about obedience. “Only those who believe, obey,” Bonhoeffer had written, “and only those who obey, believe.”

In the aftermath of their miraculous deliverance from Egypt, God’s people in the Old Testament proclaimed their allegiance to him. For most, those promises proved to be empty words. By Bonhoeffer’s test, their failure to obey revealed a failure to believe.

We resemble them more than we would like to admit. It’s far too easy for us to sing songs of faith, affirm the Creed, take communion, and then leave church to make a week’s worth of decisions based on our interests and desires rather than God’s. What would it look like if we agreed to “do everything the Lord has said” . . . and meant it?

Let “Yes, Lord” be the default setting of your spirit.

Bob Black is professor emeritus of religion at Southern Wesleyan University, where he served for thirty-two years. Along with Keith Drury, he co-authored the denominational history, The Story of The Wesleyan Church.

© 2020 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.

Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.