Grace is a word I hear tossed around a lot these days. We like talking about God’s grace, however I’m not sure the full concept of grace is truly grasped and understood. We like to talk about grace that covers us and grace that forgives our sins. But when we stop grace at that we turn the beauty of grace into “cheap grace.” We take this powerful life changing thing and turn it into something that is small and selfish. Isn’t grace so much more than that? Maybe God intended grace not to just save us but also to restore us and change us.
We can’t buy or earn grace; it’s given as a gift. Most of us have heard this preached to us for most of our lives. However, rarely have I heard of what our response should be once we receive God’s grace.
You might be thinking why is this even important? When we take grace and use it like it’s our own personal gift, that we don’t have to pay or do anything for, then it’s cheap grace. But that’s simply not the truth, grace is anything but cheap. It cost Jesus’ life so that we can receive the gift of grace. Jesus did for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves. He did it not so we could have a free pass, but so we come back into a right relationship with Him.
True grace, costly grace, is worth more than gold; it isn’t cheap. It’s costly because it calls us to follow Jesus, bearing our own cross. It’s costly because it cost a man his life and could very well cost us our own. It’s costly because it doesn’t just forgive sin, it condemns sin. It’s costly because it took God sending His only Son to die on a cross for us to receive grace. It cost God dearly, and what cost God so much will cost us too. Yes it is a free gift to us, but true grace will bring change in our lives.
I like this definition of grace I heard in college: Grace allows us to come to God’s table, a table we do not deserve being at. It’s a free offer, but we still have to have manors.
Jesus’ parables and the call of his disciples point right to this. The disciples abandoned their previous life; parables describe people selling all they had to attain the “treasure” they found. It’s costly; Jesus never tries to hide that, somehow we just miss it. Maybe we don’t want to admit the work it takes or the sacrifices seem to uncomfortable. But then have we really received grace? Grace requires action on both sides; we can’t just accept the gift then go back to our old lives. True grace that costs transforms us into new people; grace demands change in our lives.
I firmly believe that grace does cover our past sins and will cover our future sins. It’s by grace and grace only, not by any work that we might do. However I am saying that we need to continually be watching ourselves and checking our actions. If we aren’t sacrificing for the sake of following God because of all He has done for us, I fear we haven’t fully received grace. I’m not doubting our salvation, I’m cautioning us to keep a watch on our lives and actions.
I’m going to end with a quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer:
Christianity without the living Christ is inevitably Christianity without discipleship, and Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.
Grace is the best gift we could ever receive. It is given to us by nothing we have done, but everything Jesus did on the cross. It is costly; it cost Jesus his life and it will cost us too. True grace, costly grace demands action from us.