Cheap grace was a term made most popular by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who wrote in his best known book, ‘The Cost of Discipleship’-
“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.”
Grace becomes cheap when we fail to recognize the cost it took to provide us our salvation. Nothing short of God himself coming down to earth to don the robe of a human, living a pure life unstained by the dirt of the world, finally culminating in the painful sacrifice on the cross was what it took for this grace to be made available. Surely, salvation was free but came at a great cost.
Grace becomes cheap when true spirituality and religion is sacrificed at the altar of tradition. Born into Christian families and cultures, becoming familiar with Christian terminology but failing to espouse a lifestyle of denial and painful obedience is unfortunately more of a norm rather than an exception these days. It would do well for those who reduce Christianity to mere comfortable tradition to consider the extreme situations that several Christians around the world face just for being Christians. Attacks like the one by a mob in Lahore a few days ago on a Christian community, burning down 200 homes, have become common-place in countries like Pakistan.
Grace becomes cheap when tradition and a form of religiosity replace true regeneration and a life through the Holy Spirit. No body ever becomes a Christian but through conversion and regeneration- including those born into Christian homes. And no regeneration can occur but for man to arrive at a point of recognizing his sinfulness and wretchedness before the Holy God. It is when he recognizes his utter helplessness that the saving work of Jesus becomes real and a life of grace follows.
In Paul’s words, ‘What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?’ (Romans 6:1,2). When Paul’s words become true in our lives, grace is no longer cheap.
Bonhoeffer lived out his words. Sacrificing a life of comfort in the West, he returned to Nazi Germany and became the center of a Christian resistance movement against Hitler during World War II. He could not envision a Christian life of comfort and felt the divine urge to oppose Hitler’s madness. He was finally caught orchestrating a controversial assassination attempt on Hitler and was executed shortly before the end of the War
Do consider introducing this blog to your Christian and non-Christian friends. Do contact me with your feedback about this blog. I have been trying to present short, thought provoking write-ups, presenting a Biblical perspective on relevant topics, twice a week. Are there specific topics you wish to read about? Do you think the write-ups are long? –short? Do they need to be more frequent? I would appreciate your feedback. Thanks in advance!
- THE EPITOME OF GRACE
- THE PAIN OF FAILURE