One of the greatest downfalls of Western Christianity has been the emergence of a message that does not represent the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Though the concept of Cheap Grace is not new, it was originally coined by the German theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his book “The Cost of Discipleship“:
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.”
I believe similar to Mr. Bonhoeffer, the issue with the cheap grace message is it leaves a massive void: Obedience
There has been an over emphasis of God’s Grace and Mercy, and a great neglect to preach obedience. Obedience is uncomfortable and forces us to deny ourselves(“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. Mat 16:24) a central message of Christ’s teachings.
We see this truth also carried out in the Old Testament, with the story of Noah. Many declare that it was God’s Grace and Mercy that saved Noah and His family, but that is only a half truth, similar to the message of Cheap Grace. Noah had to heed the voice of God and walk out in obedience what he was told.
It was in God’s Grace and Mercy that He spoke to Noah, but it was Noah’s obedience that saved him.
We see this truth yet again echoed by Jesus:
15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever– 17 “the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” [Jhn 14:15-17 NKJV]
We see a reality filled with condition, IF we love Jesus, then we will keep His commandments, IF we keep His Commandments then Jesus will pray to the Father to send the Spirit of Truth.
It was the Grace and Mercy of Jesus that He choose to die on a cross for all of humanities sin, that He would become the bridge to breach the gap of separation from God. That does NOT mean that all of humanity is saved, it does mean however that all of humanity has the choice to enter in to the gift of salvation.
Once that choice is made, obedience is required. Works will not save you, but work is required:
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for [His] good pleasure. 14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.” Phl 2:12-16 NKJV