Have you ever wondered how the church in Germany could have stood idly by, without so much as a whimper, while Hitler and the Nazis slaughtered million Jews?
Having walked through the remains of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camps, the magnitude of the slaughter of God’s chosen people has forever altered my soul. You can’t be the same after that.
So how could the church – the Jesus-people of Germany – have aided and abetted this unimaginable atrocity through their silent complicity? Why didn’t they cry out as one – nein!? It’s easy for us to judge them from the safety of the here and now. After all, dissidents were executed, plain and simple.
When asked that same question back in the day, the anti-Nazi pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer (who was indeed executed by them) replied that it was because of the “cheap grace” that had taken hold of the church. This is what he said:
Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ.
The church had lost its way by becoming inwardly focussed by asking “what’s in it for me?” And by focussing on their salvation and their safety at the expense of the Jews. History is bound to repeat itself. In fact, it is repeating itself. Look around, church. We all want to be healthy, wealthy and wise.
Listen up. God’s grace toward you and me cost Jesus everything. What’s your response to that?
Romans 2:4 Or do you despise the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience? Do you not realise that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? (NRSV)
Be a dissident. Repent, no matter what the cost.
That’s God’s Word. Fresh … for you … today.