Well, another birthday has come and gone for me…42 years old, hard to believe! Loving every minute of it though! One of my favorite things to do on my birthday is to take advantage of all the free stuff that people want to give you…they’re so nice. I’ll never forget the year in college when I went to dinner by myself at Denny’s because it was free for me, but none of my friends could afford it. (By the way, a whole different crowd for dinner at Denny’s then the late night crowd I was used to in college.)
This year my birthday landed on Monday, which is typically a day off for me. Kyla and I made it out to Fairview Car Wash where our own Darren Wilson is the manager to take advantage of the free-on-your-birthday car wash they offer (what a great place!) and then it was down to the Summerland Beach Cafe for their free birthday breakfast (stuffed for the whole day!)
All this free stuff naturally gets me thinking about the greatest “free” offer that I have ever been the recipient of, and that is the gift of God’s free grace. What an amazing concept – we can’t earn or do anything to merit God’s amazing love and salvation – it’s FREE!
And while we celebrate this kind of offer, theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer reminds us in his book, The Cost of Discipleship that though God’s grace is free it is not cheap. Cheap grace, he says, is the “preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession…grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”
Instead, he reasons, God’s “free” grace is indeed very costly. “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…and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his own Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us.”
Praise be to God for his free and costly grace!