What is God’s grace? What is cheap grace?
Grace is God’s unmerited favor: something that you receive without working for it; it is comparable to a gift. It has no economic wisdom, it has no business sense, but at the heart of it is an abundance of mercy.
Cheap grace is relationship without commitment. Cheap grace is religion without transformation. Cheap grace is accepting Jesus Christ as Savior but not as LORD. Cheap grace is acknowledging the cross but denying its power.
Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said, “Cheap grace is 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”.
The Book of Hosea in the Old Testament is a shining testimony of God’s grace. It is a story of God’s unconditional love to the people of Israel and Judah. Most importantly, it teaches us the lesson that God’s grace is about second chances. You probably heard the saying, “everybody deserves a second chance”. This is one of the main anchors of the Book of Hosea.
By reading chapter 1, we know that God has a challenge to the prophet Hosea to marry an adulterous woman – a woman he knew would soon be unfaithful to him. Despite of this, he still married Gomer and they had three (3) children that were given names to symbolise the spiritual condition of Israel and Judah. Because of Israel’s and Judah’s adultery, God declared in Chapter 1 verse 9 that Israel and Judah were no longer God’s chosen people. Although they had the outward sign (circumcision) God no longer considers Himself in covenant relationship with them. They were just like everybody else (Gentiles).
In chapter 3 of the Book of Hosea, we find another incredible challenge given by the LORD:
1The Lord said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.”
2 So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley.
In verse 1, we find the simple truth about God’s love to His people, that no matter what they did in the past, He still loves them nonetheless. You see, our past does not matter to God.
However in verse 2, there is a little twist: Not only Gomer has become adulterous; she became a prostitute: she is for sale. So when God told Hosea to redeem her, that would take a price. There’s always a price to pay for redemption! When Jesus redeemed us on the cross, He paid a price; and it’s not cheap. He paid with His own life the penalty of your sins, my sins, and everybody else’s sins; Jesus suffered greatly, and it ain’t cheap!
Today, I want to remind you about the grace of God that you received. If you really appreciate God’s grace in your life, it should motivate you even harder to share the gospel. It should transform your perspective, it should transform your passion for the LORD, it should transform your purpose. More importantly, it should transform your life because the grace of God changes everything.
Yes, God’s grace is free, but it’s not cheap!