Grace is free, but not cheap.

I sometimes loathe being on Social Media. I see people who call themselves Christians celebrating things that the Bible clearly tells us God hates. We make some sins acceptable,and others we openly celebrate. Other times, we simply turn a blind eye to it. Now, I'm not at all saying we hate sinners, but there's a serious problem many who call themselves Christians face.

I think what is wrong with many in the church today is we not only turn a blind eye but we celebrate the wrong things: divorce, sexual sin, things which destroy us, and all sorts of sins (yes the Bible lists many sins we seem to celebrate on a daily basis).

These things are things God hates, and so we should hate them too, even if some become a necessity. We should mourn and weep over such things. If you take Jesus Christ on any terms but his, do you even have Him to begin with? Minister, Spy and Martyr, Dietrich Bonhoeffer put it this way (I know we quoted this before, but it's SO GOOD!):

Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our Church. We are fighting today for costly grace. Cheap grace means grace sold on the market like cheapjacks’ wares. The sacraments, the forgiveness of sin, and the consolations of religion are thrown away at cut prices. Grace is represented as the Church’s inexhaustible treasury, from which she showers blessings with generous hands, without asking questions or fixing limits. Grace without price; grace without cost! The essence of grace, we suppose, is that the account has been paid in advance; and, because it has been paid, everything can be had for nothing….

Cheap grace means grace as a doctrine, a principle, a system. It means forgiveness of sins proclaimed as a general truth, the love of God taught as the Christian ‘conception’ of God. An intellectual assent to that idea is held to be of itself sufficient to secure remission of sins…. In such a Church the world finds a cheap covering for its sins; no contrition is required, still less any real desire to be delivered from sin. Cheap grace therefore amounts to a denial of the living Word of God, in fact, a denial of the Incarnation of the Word of God.

Cheap grace means the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner. Grace alone does everything they say, and so everything can remain as it was before. ‘All for sin could not atone.’ Well, then, let the Christian live like the rest of the world, let him model himself on the world’s standards in every sphere of life, and not presumptuously aspire to live a different life under grace from his old life under sin….

Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession…. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.

Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man’ will gladly go and self all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble, it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him.

Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: “ye were bought at a price,” and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.

Costly grace is the sanctuary of God; it has to be protected from the world, and not thrown to the dogs. It is therefore the living word, the Word of God, which he speaks as it pleases him. Costly grace confronts us as a gracious call to follow Jesus. It comes as a word of forgiveness to the broken spirit and the contrite heart. Grace is costly because it compels a man to submit to the yoke of Christ and follow him; it is grace because Jesus says: “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

On two separate occasions Peter received the call, “Follow me.” It was the first and last word Jesus spoke to his disciple (Mark 1.17; John 21.22). A whole life lies between these two calls. The first occasion was by the lake of Gennesareth, when Peter left his nets and his craft and followed Jesus at his word. The second occasion is when the Risen Lord finds him back again at his old trade. Once again it is by the lake of Gennesareth, and once again the call is: “Follow me.” Between the two calls lay a whole life of discipleship in the following of Christ. Half-way between them comes Peter’s confession, when he acknowledged Jesus as the Christ of God….

This grace was certainly not self-bestowed. It was the grace of Christ himself, now prevailing upon the disciple to leave all and follow him, now working in him that confession which to the world must sound like the ultimate blasphemy, now inviting Peter to the supreme fellowship of martyrdom for the Lord he had denied, and thereby forgiving him all his sins. In the life of Peter grace and discipleship are inseparable. He had received the grace which costs, (pg. 45-49).

BUT (and I love that word, because it wipes clean what was said before it), we CAN and SHOULD celebrate that God's mercy is new every day. That Grace, which does not come cheap, but is indeed a free gift, through faith in Christ is refreshed and renewed, and with humility, thanksgiving, and gratitude, celebrate the Cross, that the Price has been paid, and that we may begin a fresh start because of Grace!

From Lamentations 3:

16He has made my teeth grind on gravel, and made me cower in ashes; 17my soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happinessa is; 18so I say, “My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord.”

19Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall! 20My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me. 21But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:

22The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;b his mercies never come to an end; 23they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

25The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. 26It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. 27It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.

28Let him sit alone in silence when it is laid on him; 29let him put his mouth in the dust— there may yet be hope; 30let him give his cheek to the one who strikes, and let him be filled with insults.

31For the Lord will not cast off forever, 32but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; 33for he does not afflict from his heart or grieve the children of men.

34To crush underfoot all the prisoners of the earth, 35to deny a man justice in the presence of the Most High, 36to subvert a man in his lawsuit, the Lord does not approve.

37Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? 38Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come? 39Why should a living man complain, a man, about the punishment of his sins?

40Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord! 41Let us lift up our hearts and hands to God in heaven: 42“We have transgressed and rebelled, and you have not forgiven. 40Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord!


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