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What the Gospel is NOT: Cheap Grace

November 13, 2009

gospel 2

This will be the final installment of “What the Gospel is NOT” series, and then we can move on to what the Gospel is.  Cheap grace is our final “thief” of the Gospel. By cheap grace, I mean the belief that goes something like this, “Well, although it may be a sin to do………..I know Jesus died for my sins and he forgives me.” It is basically a license to sin because Jesus already paid the price. I have to confess that I lived most of my life this way before the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to the Gospel.  Paul addresses the issue of “cheap grace” in Romans 6. Verse 1 states,
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?
To this Paul replies “By no means” or “God forbid” and then proceeds to give 3 illustrations of why we should not. He says that we are now:

1. 6: 1-14 Alive to Christ, and dead to sin. (So, to put it another way, would you prefer to live with sin, that leads to death,  rather than live with Christ, who wants you to have life to the full (John 10:10) God forbid! )

2. 6: 15-23 We are slaves to Christ, no longer slaves to sin. (Would you prefer to be a slave to sin, a master that will kill you, rather  than a slave to Christ, who was killed for you? God forbid! )

3. 7:1-6 We are now married to Christ, no longer married to the law. (Would you prefer to be married to the law that weighs you down rather than married to Christ where the burden is light? God forbid!  )


Cheap grace is a fundamental misunderstanding of what the Gospel has done. To make further  illustrations, lets say I’m an athlete.  My coach, who loves me and wants the best for me as a player, tells me that no matter what I do he will always support me and never take me out of the game. Would my reaction then be to slack off and be lazy and not play hard? God forbid! I would give it my all and seek to honor my coach. Or, lets say my wife tells me that no matter what I do, no matter what sin I commit against her, she will always love and serve me and never leave me. Would my reaction be to then seek out other women and neglect my wife? God forbid! That is a woman I want to lay down my life for.

The Gospel tells us that Jesus Christ died on the cross because he loved us.  He did this based on nothing we have done, and nothing we do in the future can separate us from that love.   That is the Gospel. That is grace. It ain’t cheap.


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