God knows we all make mistakes. God knows we all make bad choices. God knows this about us, and He loves us anyway. God loves us enough that He sent His Son to redeem us from our sins and our past that we may have eternal life. God does this not based on something we have done to earn it, but because of love. Rom 5:8 reads, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Unfortunately, some see this gift of God, His grace, and His mercy as approval of living in sin. Yes, God knows we fail. God knows we sin. But is there grace yet for those that continue in a pattern of sinfulness? This question is just as relevant today as it was in Bible times. Jude wrote, “For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.” (Jude 1:4).
Grace brings change, and where is there no change, is there still grace? Grace is not a license to sin. Instead, we should treat sin as seriously as Jesus does in Matthew 5 when He says it is better to remove our body parts that help lead us to sin than it would be to continue in sinfulness. Jesus taught a transformative grace, a grace that costs a person their sin. People want grace, but they want to keep their sin too. This isn’t saving faith, it’s a perversion of grace.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) was a German Lutheran theologian who resisted the Nazis during their rise to power. Bonhoeffer's most notable works include "The Cost of Discipleship" (1937), in which he explored the concept of costly grace and emphasized the importance of active faith and ethical living in the Christian life. He wrote, “Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”
Some people wanted to embrace the worst about themselves: their hate, their sin, their evil desires but also lie to themselves about their relationship with Jesus. This is not what John taught in Matthew 3:8 when he said, “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.”
Some people thought they could have grace without change. This is not what Jesus taught in Matthew 16:24 when he said, "'Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.'"
In Jesus’s sacrifice, we see the example of self-sacrifice. We must die to our sins if we are expecting to live in the light of Christ. Today’s world thrives on self-indulgence. The world tells you to keep being you and have your grace too, but Jesus says the path to salvation and His grace is found in a belief in Jesus that leads to self-denial, serving others, and loving our Savior.