We are all keen to get value for our money. So when it is sale time in the shops, the crowds can be daunting. There may be real bargains, but sometimes what is "cheap" turns out to be "cheap and nasty"!
Over twenty years ago a grocery chain opened with the name "Cheap Price Stores." The name wasn't a good marketing feature since "cheap" suggested inferior quality, so the name was soon changed to "low price".
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran pastor who was imprisoned by the Nazis for his open criticism of Hitler and was executed before the end of the Second World War at the Flossenburg concentration camp on April 9th 1945. His writings in prison have had a profound impact on the thinking of many about the Christian faith and life.
Bonhoeffer made a distinction between "cheap" and "costly" grace. Cheap grace is "the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession." On the other hand, costly grace calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It condemns sin and justifies the sinner on the basis of the great cost of the life of Jesus Christ given for us. It is not an encouragement to live a sinful life because all will be forgiven anyway, but gives both the comfort of forgiveness and the impetus to live the new life in Christ.
We do well to reflect on what Bonhoeffer has said. We need to grasp the cost of salvation - forgiveness isn't cheap, Jesus Christ gave his all for us. We need to receive what Christ has done for us - in wholehearted repentance and faith. We need to follow faith with action - lives that are transformed, directed and motivated by the grace of God.
Anything less is just "cheap grace".
© Peter J. Blackburn, Buderim Notes & News, October 1999