Resurrected Living
"What are you going to do with your new resurrected life? This is the heroic question." Richard Rohr

Grace is Not Cheap


Dietrich Bonhoeffer coined the term “cheap grace.” In his famous book The Cost of Discipleship he wrote the following, “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.” Bonhoeffer was fighting against a misunderstanding of grace that was prevalent in the religious world. He did not believe the doctrine of grace is something we should take lightly.

I believe Bonhoeffer was correct. If we truly understand what grace is and what it requires of us, then we would not think it to be cheap. We have been offered grace. God has treated us as we do not deserve. He has richly bestowed his grace upon us, but this grace is not cheap. The grace God offers to us comes at the cost of his only begotten Son. Jesus willingly went to the cross, so we could receive grace. To treat grace flippantly is to not take the sacrifice of Jesus seriously.

Grace is something God gives to us, but it is also something we are to do. We are to treat others with grace. In Matthew 9:10-13 Jesus was showing grace to tax collectors and sinners by enjoying a meal with them. This angered the Pharisees and they questioned him about it. Jesus replied, “Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’” The Pharisees were willing to do some things, but they were not willing to show mercy or grace to others. Grace is a difficult thing to practice. It does not come naturally. We would rather judge than show grace. It often causes us to step outside of our comfort zones. We can practice sacrifice safe and sound within the walls of our church building, but grace requires us to go out into the world and meet people who are unlike us. Following the doctrine of grace means that we love our enemy. It means that we bless people who persecute us and curse us. It means we do not repay evil for evil as the world does. We are to repay evil with a blessing. We are to follow the way of grace. We are to imitate the grace of Jesus as he willingly went to the cross while people spit upon him, abused him, and cursed him. When the world pressed in hard against Jesus he responded with grace. May we always strive to do the same.

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