TITLE: WHY IS GRACE COSTLY?
Written by: Dr Conrade Yap
Date: 12 December 2012
Why is grace costly? It is because it cannot be demanded of others, only of ourselves. It cannot be bought, or grabbed for ourselves, it can only be freely received. It cannot be earned. It cannot be learned. It can only come from an obedience to walk where we are asked to walk, run when we are asked to run, and flee when we are asked to flee. None of these we can do until we realize that it is God who is carrying us all the way in our walking, in our running, and in our fleeing. Costly grace is costly because it costs us nothing but costs God everything. In our world of cheap goods and bargaining prowess, cheap grace comes about when we want all the heavenly but refuse to relinquish the worldly. In doing so, we have refused to accept the cost of Christ and have foolishly thought that we can scheme our way to heaven.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer has once said, "Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our Church. We are fighting today for costly grace." (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship, New York, NY: Macmillan, 1959, p35)
What are the kinds of costly grace that is required of us? Here are four things that come to my mind.
- Prayer: Are you praying for God's kingdom to come not just in your words, but also in your works? Are you praying throughout the day that God's will be done on heaven as well as on earth? Through you? Willingly?
- Fellowship: We often like to talk about a give-and-take relationship. The crux of the matter is this. If everyone of us are taking, and few are doing the giving, very soon, we will be bankrupt. Are you contributing more to the community? Or are you just taking and taking?
- Bible: Are you reading the Bible more, or are you watching TV, social media, or all kinds of worldly entertainment more? Be careful for such imbalance only makes you more vulnerable to all kinds of cheap grace.
- Worship: Our true worth lies in who we worship. Take a look at the Ten Commandments again. Are you worshiping God as the One True God both in your thinking and in your actions? Are you committing adultery? Then stop it. Are you stealing? Then stop it. Are you slandering others? Then stop it. If God is your God, you will surely live that way.
Costly grace is not a choice. If you call yourself a disciple, a follower of Jesus, to be happy in Jesus is to trust and obey, otherwise we will rust and increasingly disobey.