“The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” (Galatians 5:6, NIV)
A brother in the Northeast asks, “I know that God forgives us again and again and that His forgiveness is forever. But I am sometimes concerned that we presume on God by taking His forgiveness for granted. That seems to me to be cheap grace which fails to appreciate the sacrifice of Jesus.”
We can never overstate the truth that God loves and forgives sinners and receives them as His sons and daughters - sinners who do not deserve any of these benefits and who will always be totally indebted to God for His undeserved mercy and kindness. We earn none of God’s salvation and we cannot contribute anything to it. Those who have experienced God’s mercy testify that it is everlasting, inexhaustible and infinite in supply. His grace is free, but it cost Jesus His life in a disgraceful and excruciating death.
It is something entirely different, however, to turn God’s grace into license (Jude 3), or to give it a hollow reception (2 Corinthians 6:1), or to insult the Spirit by misusing it (Hebrews 10:29). The German martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer rightly warned against what he called “cheap grace”, which really is not God’s grace at all. The grace of God “teaches us” to deny ungodly living and to live righteously in this wicked world (Titus 2:11-14).
Lord, may we accept Your grace to cover our brokenness and bring us into confident transformed relationship with You. In Jesus name. Amen.
- EDWARD FUDGE, Houston, Texas