What are you thankful for? Have you ever stopped and written down all that you have to be thankful for? While our lists may be similar in some areas, there would definitely be some differences. But as followers of Christ, we should all have “Grace” on our lists.
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:1-2 (NIV).
Grace can be defined as favor given by God that we don’t deserve. It is humbling and at the same time mind-boggling to try and understand why I have been shown grace. At my best, I am a wretched sinner deserving of punishment let alone favor from a Holy God. Yet, at my worst God sees me as blameless, worthy and holy. Not by anything I could have done but because He sees me through the blood of His Son, Jesus. Does He see you the same way?
While that grace was freely given and freely received, don’t fool yourself, grace came at a cost, a tremendous cost. Jesus accepted that cost. He was the only one who could have paid that price.
This world and the Adversary cheapen that which is priceless. Is the grace you are thankful for “cheap” or “costly”? Consider the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and decide for yourself:
“Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our Church. We are fighting today for costly grace. Cheap grace means grace sold on the market like cheapjack’s wares. The sacraments, the forgiveness of sin, and the consolations of religion are thrown away at cut prices. Grace is represented as the Church’s inexhaustible treasury, from which she showers blessings with generous hands, without asking questions or fixing limits. 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 he had for nothing…..
“Cheap grace means the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner. Grace alone does everything we say, and so everything can remain as it was before. ‘All for sin could not atone.’ Well, then, let the Christian live like the rest of the world, let him model himself on the world’s standards in every sphere of life, and not presumptuously aspire to live a different life under grace from his old life under sin…..
“Cheap grace is the grace we bestow upon ourselves. 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, living and incarnate.
“Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will gladly go and sell all that he has…., it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows Him.
“Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son…..
“Costly grace is the sanctuary of God; it has to be protected from the world, and not thrown to the dogs. It is therefore the living word, the Word of God, which He speaks as it pleases Him. Costly grace confronts us as a gracious call to follow Jesus. It comes as a word of forgiveness to the broken spirit and the contrite heart. Grace is costly because it compels a man to submit to the yoke of Christ and follow Him: it is grace because Jesus says: ‘My yoke is easy and my burden is light.’” (The Cost of Discipleship).
We cheapen grace when we proclaim Gods love but ignore that He is Holy and the reverse is true as well. Grace is cheapened when we rely on our own power and seek our will. True grace, costly grace can only be found in humility, surrender and in the shadow of the cross.
“Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.” Abraham Lincoln
God’s Word tells us that wisdom is more valuable than gold and silver; then how much more valuable is grace?
Be thankful and run to the Cross!