Grace: Cheap or Costly?

Free stuff. We all like free stuff. We have all been given things that didn’t cost us anything. We may have done something for someone and in return they gave us a gift. Maybe someone just gave us a gift for no obvious reason. Likely we have done the same for others.

How often do we treasure things that we have been given? Sometimes we are given family treasures that hold significant meaning or received an incredibly valuable gift. It is my experience that most things I have been given don’t really hold that much value.  They end up in a drawer or closet, only to see the light of day when we decide to spring clean or we run across it looking for something else.

Free stuff has a cost. We may not be the ones to pay for it but somebody, somewhere paid the cost. We don’t like to think about the cost often because it could lead us to feel guilty about how little we valued it. Or we might then think we need to reciprocate. Have you ever been asked about a gift from the giver and disappointed them because your value didn’t match their value? Have you ever been the disappointed giver? Have you ever faked excitement about a gift? Unfortunately I have.

New Year


 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:23 (NIV).

A free gift from Jesus. But it has a cost. A tremendous cost. A cost we could never afford.  A cost that took the life of Jesus to fulfill.

Grace is more valuable than all of the wealth of this world combined. More valuable than any price we could ever set. There is no figure the human mind could imagine that would come close to its worth. I can find only one place in the Bible where Jesus used the word grace. He didn’t have to use it a great deal, His life, death and resurrection spoke it.

The only time I can find He(Jesus) used it was when He told Paul:

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV).

 So the question becomes “Which Grace do we live? Cheap Grace or Costly Grace?”

Our knee jerk reaction is Costly Grace. But after examining myself, I find I have lived the life of Cheap Grace.

Cheap Grace is grace without discipleship, Grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ. Cheap Grace is living as if it has no cost*. As if Jesus just gave it to us and we have to do nothing once we receive it.  It’s living like we have an unlimited, already paid for credit card and we can do anything because it has already been covered by Christ.

We can never earn grace, never. But that doesn’t mean we should live as if we never have to acknowledge its value.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8 (NIV).

Costly Grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. It is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ*.

Costly Grace requires our obedience and our belief (faith), it requires us to confess, repent AND forsake. It requires us to be different, it requires us to be ruthless in protecting its value. When Jesus called the Disciples, they left what they were doing and followed him. He may not call us to leave our jobs but he calls us to follow him. All of us. His will may call you to do something different. But his will calls all of us to obedience.

For the law was given through Moses;
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
John 1:17 (NIV).

To choose disobedience cheapens grace.  It devalues the Cross. It’s taking Grace and putting it in a drawer or closet and forgetting it’s there.

Shouldn’t we live as if grace is the most valuable object in the world? The incredible thing is we can all have this most valuable gift. Each one of us.

May we run obediently to the Costly Grace at the foot of the cross!

*from the book “The Cost of Discipleship.”


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