Thursday, November 04, 2010

Does your church propagate the lie of cheap grace?

Take no satisfaction in the prevailing religiosity of our nation. Much of it is a perversion of the Christian gospel. Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our Church. Cheap grace means grace without price; grace without cost! The essence of grace, we suppose, is that the account has been paid in advance; and, because it has been paid, everything can be had for nothing. Cheap grace means grace as a doctrine, a principle, a system. It means forgiveness of sins proclaimed as general truth, the love of God taught as the Christian “conception” of God. An intellectual assent to that idea is held to be of itself sufficient to secure remission of sins. Cheap grace means the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner. Grace alone does everything, they say, and so everything can remain as it was before. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance. “The price we are having to pay today in the shape of the collapse of the organized Church is only the inevitable consequence of our policy of making grace available to all at too low a cost. Our humanitarian sentiment made us give that which was holy to the scornful and unbelieving. We poured forth unending streams of “grace.” But the call to follow Jesus in the narrow way was hardly ever heard. Cheap grace has turned out to be utterly merciless to our evangelical church. This cheap grace has turned out to be utterly disastrous to our own spiritual lives. Instead of calling us to follow Christ, it has hardened us in our disobedience. Deceived and weakened, men felt that they were strong now that they were in possession of this cheap grace – whereas they had in fact lost the power to live the life of discipleship and obedience. The word of cheap grace has been the ruin of more Christians than any commandment of works. ~ Reinhold Niebuhr

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