|Good Morning Everyone,|
Our theme for this month: “You have been set free”
Our Bible verse for today: “What should we say then? Should we continue in sin so that grace may multiply? Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” Romans 6:1-2 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Don’t live in cheap grace”
“Cheap grace” is a phrase that was coined by the German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his 1937 book “The Cost of Discipleship”. According to Bonhoeffer, cheap grace is the belief that since as a Christian your sins have been forgiven once and for all and forever, you can live in any manner you like and you will still go to heaven. The concept of cheap grace causes a person to believe they can sin at will and it doesn’t really matter. This is what the Apostle Paul was referring to in Romans 6:1-2 (above). If cheap grace is a legitimate way of thinking and living, Paul sarcastically suggests, then more sin is better than less sin because the more sin there is the more grace there will be to cover over those sins, and that would be a good thing because it would be an even bigger showcase for God’s grace. That, of course, is ridiculous.
Bonhoeffer contrasts cheap grace with “costly” grace. When we understand what a price Christ paid in order for our sins to be covered by the grace of God, we realize that grace isn’t cheap at all – it’s priceless! And therefore, we would never abuse it. Instead, we choose to live in such a way that truly does honor Christ.
Yesterday we thought about how it is that Jesus has set us free from the shackles of legalism. We no longer need an extensive and restrictive set of rules and regulations to govern our every move. Instead, under the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit, we are to become increasingly spiritually mature, to the point we are living in a way that honors the Lord without having our every move dictated for us.
My favorite illustration of this freedom we have in Jesus comes to us from the Christian philosopher and theologian Dallas Willard. He tells of how when his children were young, he would send them out to play in the fenced-in backyard. While out there they could choose for themselves any number of activities, from playing in the sandbox, to swinging on the swings, to sitting under a tree and reading a book, and many more. All they had to do was behave themselves and stay within the boundaries of the backyard. Dallas said that he didn’t want to have to make their decisions for them. He wanted them to learn to make good decisions for themselves. So he gave then general boundaries they needed to stay within, and he gave them lots of activities they could choose from – any of which would have been fine with him. Then he let them use their good judgment and exercise their free wills.
That’s how God wants to be able to deal with us. In the Bible He gives us general boundaries to live within. But those boundaries are wide, and there are lots of choices we are free to make, any of which are fine with Him. He wants us to become mature enough to use good judgment and make good choices – within the boundaries He has established for us.
We have great freedom in Christ, but there are boundaries we have to stay within. We should not be legalistic and overly restricted, but neither should we live in cheap grace.
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