Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The True Cost of Cheap Grace

I was reading an article by Pastor Joe Schimmel about a young recording artist who professes to be a Christian but continues to act like he did before coming to Christ. I'm really hoping the young man responds to criticism of his lack of Christian fruit by prayer and actual repentance. However it appears that his response is reciting the mantra of his generation "Don't judge me man!" Mister, you claimed to be a Christian, you just allowed everyone in Christ to judge you.

The reason Pastor Joe gave for the young man's attitude of "I can do what ever I want even though I'm a Christian" is "Cheap Grace". I've never come across the expression "Cheap Grace" before, but looking back I've seen that I have been railing against it on this blog. Cheap Grace is also known as Hyper Grace, In The Cost of Discipleship, published in 1937 Dietrich Bonhoeffer defined Cheap Grace as: 
“Cheap grace means grace sold on the market like cheapjacks' wares. The sacraments, the forgiveness of sin, and the consolations of religion are thrown away at cut prices... 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.
Cheap Grace is also called (or has evolved into) Hyper-Grace and is being pushed by a vast number of false teachers, and their number is rapidly growing. Remember Victoria Osteen
 "I just want to encourage every one of us to realize when we obey God, we're not doing it for God—I mean, that's one way to look at it—we're doing it for ourselves, because God takes pleasure when we're happy. That's the thing that gives Him the greatest joy. So, I want you to know this morning: Just do good for your own self. Do good because God wants you to be happy. When you come to church, when you worship Him, you're not doing it for God really. You're doing it for yourself, because that's what makes God happy. Amen?
Vicky - God is happy when we REPENT
"In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." (Luke 15:10)
Cheap Grace is not God's Grace. Yes, God's Grace is a free gift, but it's not cheap. Cheap Grace is the lovey-dovey imaginary world of the Contemporary Christian Music "Jesus is my boyfriend" genre. There's no cost, there's no effort, just repeat the sinners prayer and maybe shed a tear or two for good measure then go on your way - saved. Ignore the pastors that talk about sin, and hell because God is Love, He doesn't want us to feel bad, does He? Here's just a few of the ways that you can tell if you're being exposed to the Gospel of Cheap Grace:
1. Your preacher never speaks against sin. He'll talk about forgiveness of sin, and may condemn the sins of legalists and Pharisees (pastors they condemn for preaching against sin)
2. Your pastor never takes a stand for cultural righteousness - issues like abortion and homosexual marriage are ignored so people won't be offended. I'm not saying these issues should be the centerpiece of sermons, but by his silence your pastor may be condoning it.
3. The old testament is ignored - the Old Testament and the New Testament are linked, and the Old Testament is a great illustration of sin, but Cheap Grace downplays sin so it ignores the OT.
4. People who live immoral lives are allowed to teach and lead, key members of the church are living sinful lives with impunity, there is no church discipline
5. The pastor only preaches positive motivational messages: health, wealth, name it & claim it. In the hands of a Cheap Grace wolf, worshiping God becomes a self-esteem seminar.
If you think this sounds like our friends on the far left, the Red Letter Christians, you are probably right.  

In an introduction to In Eric Metaxas’ New York Times best-selling book, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, Timothy J. Keller wrote of the condition of faith in Germany during the rise of Nazi Germany:
It’s impossible to understand ... without becoming acquainted with the shocking capitulation of the German church to Hitler in the 1930s. How could the “church of Luther” ... ever come to such a place? The answer is that the true gospel, summed up by Bonhoeffer as “costly grace,” had been lost. On the one hand, the church had become marked by formalism. That meant going to church and hearing that God just loves and forgives everyone, so it doesn’t really matter much how you live. Bonhoeffer called this “cheap grace.” On the other hand, there was legalism, or salvation by law and good works. Legalism meant that God loves you because you have pulled yourself together and are trying to live a good, disciplined life. Both of these impulses made it possible for Hitler to come to power. (emphasis mine)
Look at the world around you - formerly Christian churches are placing lesbian women in positions of authority spreading their sin. Formerly Christian churches are performing wedding ceremonies for same sex couples. Formerly Christian churches have avowed atheists in the pulpit. 

How many babies have been slaughtered at the encouragement of people calling themselves Christians? People calling themselves Christians are more adamant about abortion than atheist leftists and the body count grows. Tens of thousands of people flock to a supposed "Christian" preacher who can't be bothered to mention Jesus yet tells you how God is going to put a smile on your face and cash in your pocket. The pope himself preaches that a pagan religion is the same as Christianity.  Christians are being crucified in the middle east. Christians are being shot in Oregon. Look at Europe being swarmed by "refugees" who come in the form of fighting age men without the women and children that make up the majority of real refugees. The enemy is at the gate and who is going to stop them? The government? They're too interested in promoting sin than in protecting their constituents. 

1,283 years ago Charles Martel stopped the advancing hordes that were slaughtering Christians in the Battle of Tours, do not expect history to be repeated. As we saw in Nazi Germany, without a foundational knowledge of sin and repentance in the general public, who is going to stop the Government from doing what happened in Nazi Germany? You don't get the core of knowing what's right and wrong from atheism because everyting is subjective and you don't get the core of knowing what's right and wrong from  Cheap Grace because everything is cool. With Cheap Grace you're saved - go sin some more!

This is not a new phenomenon, Cheap Grace was a huge issue in Paul's time:
3 If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not come with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, 4 he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, 5 and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that religion is a means of gain. 6 But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. 7 For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. (1 Timothy 6:3-7)
Verse 3 is the most telling: If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not come with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness... What did Jesus teach? Yes he taught "Love thy neighbor" but He taught so much more. He taught the Old Testament (and why not? He wrote it!) Jesus spoke more about sin and damnation, repentance and forgiveness than anyone else in the bible. Yes, He taught about the love of God, he also spoke of the power, and the majesty, and the judgement of God. 

So how do we counteract the ravages and damage done to our society by the of Cheap Grace? We do so with Costly Grace. Again, from  The Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer teaches us about Costly Grace:
Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble; it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him.
Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock.
Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: "ye were bought at a price," and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.” 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the comments. I just ran into this heresy of "hyper-grace" recently, which is but regurgitated "cheap grace," probably put out by the same-sort crowd of people now, that were in Germany eighty years ago. It appears that the Devil in every generation inspires the same ideas to achieve a greater influence, and few discern it.