Monday, October 21, 2013

Grace is Free, But It's Not Cheap

Like a cheap suit, cheap grace does not look good on you! Dietrich Bonhoeffer once defined "cheap grace" as the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner. He saw preachers preaching forgiveness without requiring repentance, priests offering absolution without personal confession, disciples proclaiming to follow Jesus without a willingness to take up their cross. This, he said is cheap grace. Bonhoeffer’s life became a living mirror of costly grace. He was arrested for helping some Jews escape Nazi Germany and later was implicated in a plot to assassinate Hitler. He was hanged just three days before the Allied forces arrived. Bonhoeffer was willing to take up his cross and follow Jesus, not matter the cost.

What then is grace? Grace is unmerited favor. Unmerited favor does not give believers freedom to live life however they choose, freely committing all manner of sin. Grace is God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Grace is the imputed righteousness of Christ in our lives through His death on the cross and the power of His resurrection. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, instituted the new covenant, a change from living by the legalism and the Law to living by the grace and the Spirit. This means Christians are not bound by rules and regulations, observing traditions, dietary restrictions, special days and the like in our relationship with God. The bible says in John chapter 1, “the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” Paul states, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and it is not from yourselves, it is a gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do" (Ephesians 2:8-9). God paid a the ultimate price for our freedom in Christ, the life of His one and only Son. We are to do good works, therefore, not to be saved, but because we are saved. So, Paul rightly asked, "What shall we say then? Shall we go on sinning, that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer (Romans 6:1-2)? Pentecost instituted the covenant of grace and God wants it understood that grace is free, but not cheap!


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