Cheap Grace

Ephesians 2:8-9 [Full Chapter]

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

There are moments in time you will never forget: That moment you realized that your mom wasn’t holding on to the bike seat anymore and you were riding on your own, your first kiss, your first paycheck and there are so many more. For Christians, I would imagine the first time you discovered the love of God for yourself is somewhere on that list. The moment when Ephesians 2:8 came to life and was made true by the Holy Spirit; the realization that God loved YOU for YOU. God’s love was not a result of your grandma’s relationship with the Father, nor your parents, not even the lady down the street, or your goofy college roommate. Whomever God put in your life to lead you to Him, they each had their own relationship with God. You can not have their relationship, God wants a personal relationship with you a personal and meaningful relationship. God tells us in scripture that He thinks about us individually.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord,thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

“A future and a hope.” When I came to the realization that there was nothing I could do to earn the love of God; that He loved me in spit of me. Through Gods grace (that which as a sinful being I do not deserve) I am saved through faith in Him. Wow! The day I realized that He loved me no matter what and there was nothing I could do to earn it – that all I needed do was accept it and believe it was true; that is a moment in time I will never, ever forget. it changed my life.

Grace is the giving of that which we do not deserve. God is gracious. So gracious in fact that He gave His only son to die horrible death so that we might live eternally with the father. Jesus was given as a sinless sacrifice for a sinful humanity. in one moment the Father poured His wrath on the only sinless man to every walk the earth. Jesus hung on a Roman cross 2000 years ago and paid for every sin that has ever and will ever be committed. He was the atonement for our sins.

2 Corinthians 5:21 [Full Chapter]

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Why would God do this? Because He loves us! He loves us with an unfathomable love, an unconditional love that is beyond our understanding. Knowing this, knowing the grace and mercy that have been afforded us, it is hard to imagine that a “believer in Christ,” would ever cheapen the gift. That, however, has been done by christians as well as entire denominations. It is a cheapening of Gods Grace by humanity. What exactly is “Cheap Grace”?

“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.”- Detrick Bonhoeffer

 This is not intended to be a hit piece. It is not intended to call out any specific church, moment, sect, or denomination. It is intended to shine a light on a failing of the church today. There are many churches that water down the Gospel in an effort to remain, “relevant,” There are many churches today that heap on helping after helping of love, forgiveness, and peace but when it comes to judgment and repentance – silence.  Why? The answer is simple really, those topics are uncomfortable and can bring about feeling on conviction and no one wants that. Nevermind that it is often through the conviction of a heart devoid of God that the spirit brings a person to the realization that they need Jesus! To often, it becomes more important to have a sanctuary full at the expense of the truth. Thus, cheap grace. Cheap grace comes with an exorbitant cost – saved souls! A gospel taught without repentance, discipline, and confession is a gospel void of Jesus Christ. Without Jesus there can be no salvation. What is the cost of cheap grace? Tragically, churches full of shiny happy good people who don’t have a personal relationship with God and are therefore not saved.

When the Gospel is taught in its entirety, focused on God not vanity, money, or narcissism the Spirit is present and hearts get changed, lives get changed, and names get added to the lambs book of life (Revelation 13-8)!

Ephesians 4:20‭-‬22‭, ‬24 NKJV

But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

Time is short; to short to worry about offending people. The stakes are too high.  May we preach the Gospel with bold completeness from Genesis to Revelation.

Until the Whole World Hears!



Get Up and Walk

Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”
Acts 3 tells us the story of a man lame from birth who was healed. Peter said to the man, ” silver and gold I do not have but what I do have I give you.”  What did peter mean by, “what I do have.”? He had nothing of value. By earthly standards he and the apostles had nothing of value, nothing worth giving.  They were broke, on the run, and in hiding. So, Peter was correct when He said he had nothing, because he didn’t.  He did however have something to give even if it wasn’t to fill the man’s cup with money. What he had was faith in Jesus Christ; an unshakable faith born of his testimony. Peter interceded on behalf of the lame man in the name of Jesus Christ and asked Jesus to do what he knew he could and the man was healed.
The truth of this verse has been reviled to me over the past several weeks. it represents a moment of extraordinary faith, a moment of exponential growth for the man who had denied Jesus (the very same Jesus he called on here) not once but three times prior to the Crucifixion.It also shows the power of intercession by believers on behalf of others, both believers and non believers, for the glory of God. Lastly, it demonstrates that in Jesus there is eternal hope.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
Faith. Peter knew that when he called on the name of Jesus his prayer would be answered. It was in that knowledge, that he stood up boldly and said, “in the name of Jesus Christ, rise up and walk.” Notice how he didn’t say, “In the name of Peter,” or “I command you, rise up and walk. Those statements would have reflected the old Peter, the arrogant, mouthy, sometimes bold, but more often presumptuous fishermen from Galilee. Here are some scripture references for self-study on the growth of Peter: Matthew 16:23Mark 14:68John 6:68Matthew 14:29, and John 21:17. These are only a few examples and I may do a study on the grace of God shown through the life of Peter in a few weeks if there is interest in a multi part study.
Intercessory Prayer: The power of intercessory prayer is unmistakable. God’s word tells us to pray without ceasing ( 1 Thessalonians 5:17). It further assures us that though we have the faith of a mustard seed our prayers have ultimate power.
Matthew 17:20 [Full Chapter]

So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.
 Peter did not do anything alone here. He called on the name of Jesus and prayed in that power. Without Christ, prayers are just words uttered into the eather. With Jesus, in the power of His name, prayer is imbued with power, not our power but the power of God! Jesus tells us to be persistent.
[ Keep Asking, Seeking, Knocking ] “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
Prayer is our direct link with the Father. God communicates with us through His word and we respond through prayer. It is intended to be a two way conversation. As we practice the discipline of prayer,  not only will we become  better at it but we will also become more attuned to the answers that God provides. ?We are the children of God. He loves us, loves our prayers, and answers them.
The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
There is a caveat. God is sovereign. Our prayers are answered in his way and his time. This is had to understand at times. As always, God’s word puts it best:
Isaiah 55:8-9 [Full Chapter]

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.
Through our faith we can trust that God is true and keeps his promises. My pastor said recently, “I don’t understand but I believe.”
In Jesus There is Eternal Hope: For those of us who believe in Jesus there is hope. There is hope for eternal life. In Jesus we have a friend that is acquainted with suffering. He walked the dusty streets of the earth, cried, laughed, and was angry. He was beaten tortured and died for the sin of the world so that we who believe in Him would have eternal life.
John 3:16 [Full Chapter]

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
The point is, for those who believe in Jesus there is victory no matter the circumstances. Jesus conquered death and the grave. through His death on the cross and subsequent resurrection, we have life eternal and hope in the same.
The header on this post is a messed up hospital bed. I chose it for a reason. It is empty. Why? We don’t know the answer. is it empty because the person was made well and is still here among us? If so praise God! That means that the Lord still has things for that person to do. Is the bed empty because that person has been called home? If so, that is bittersweet. They will be missed but they will be seen again; at the wedding feast.
Give praise to the Lord almighty that His promises are real and can be trusted. Our prayers are answered, and we have hope. In Jesus, the answer in faith is Get up and walk!
Until the Whole World Hears,