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.
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.
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!