Discipleship: Free Grace Is Not Free of Cost
Some time back I suggested that anyone within the reach of my voice (my circle of concern and influence) “take a grace hiatus”. This, of course, sounded heretical to many who got the message. However, for me anyway, “the roll of dimes behind the nickel” was the second half of my offering of a feast for the converted heart (the Body of Christ). What I said at that time:
“There’s a very good possibility we have so bastardized and prostituted the words and meaning of ‘free grace’, that we should fall back to the basics of God’s Story of Redemption (Creation. The Fall. Redemption. Consummation.), AND to the origins of God’s offering of Jesus Christ on the cross: GOD’S MERCY.”
Please consider saying those two words again, GOD’S MERCY. How do those wrods have an impact on our heart, emotions, and treatment of others? Do we know, feel, and live out of what these two words really and truly mean?
Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “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: ‘You were bought at a price’, and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God .” (The Cost of Discipleship—emphasis added, Luke 14:28; 2 Timothy 4:5; 1 Peter 2:4-9)
“God has no obligation to sinful men except to condemn. He may or may not, as His wisdom dictates, exercise mercy upon them. But mercy is not something which God must offer anybody. He offered no mercy to the angels when they sinned. And He says with respect to fallen human creatures: “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy” (Rom. 9:18). He strongly insists that mercy is optional with Him and a matter of His sovereign pleasure alone.” (John H. Gerstner, Theology for Everyman)
“There is mercy with the Lord; this should encourage the miserable to approach Him; this informs the fearful that they need bring nothing to induce Him to bless them; this calls upon backsliders to return to Him; and this is calculated to cheer the tried Christian, under all his troubles and distresses. Remember, mercy is like God, it is infinite and eternal. Mercy is always on the throne. Mercy may be obtained by any sinner.” (James Smith, Quoted in: C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, Psalm 130:7)
GOD’S MERCY… AND GRACE.
“God’s interest is to magnify the fullness of His glory by spilling over in mercy to us. Therefore the pursuit of our interest and our happiness is never above God, but always in God. God’s greatest interest is to glorify the wealth of His grace by making sinners happy in Him.” (John Piper)
Please consider, we should take a “grace hiatus” on a regular basis so as to refresh ourselves in the fount of God’s manifold mercies—which, when we’re given more than a few moments to relish, and enjoy… we can, in all sorts of ways, turn into cheap grace all over again.
“A visitor (seeking to console the dying Thomas Hooker): ‘Sir, you are going to receive the reward of your labor’. Thomas Hooker: ‘Brother, I am going to receive mercy!’” (Thomas Hooker)