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It is true that grace is free. But beware of any message about grace that does not lead you to true discipleship. (Charisma archives)

It is true that grace is free. But beware of any message about grace that does not lead you to true discipleship.

I have learned by hard experience to be thankful for consumer reports about products offered on the Internet. Reading the customer reviews can save a potential buyer a lot of grief and money. Nowadays, because of the usefulness and availability of these reports few people would consider making a purchase of even something as small as a cell phone or an MP3 player without doing some due diligence in the form of research.

In today's "marketplace" of spiritual messages, how much more careful should a Christian be about the words he or she allows to guide the inner person of the heart? Paul told his spiritual son Timothy, "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15, NKJV).

The old message of cheap grace is experiencing a resurgence today among newer Christians who are not acquainted with its sad history or its downside and hidden costs. Cheap grace is a message that lowers the standards of God's laws or casts scorn on the value of divine law as the way God governs His eternal kingdom.

Preachers of this message tell us the Old Testament is concerned with law but the New Testament with grace and that we have to choose between the two. In forcing us toward this false choice, we are told that the law means legalism, judgment and condemnation, but grace is all about love and mercy. This message says that Jesus paid the entire price for all our sins once and for all, therefore we are forever freed from the requirements of God's law by the free gift of grace.

What's wrong with that? Didn't Jesus die to give us His salvation as a free gift? Doesn't the New Testament teach that we are justified (made righteous before God) by faith in Him? 

Yes this is true, but if we stop listening to God here without allowing Him to complete what He has to say, we are in danger of coming to the wrong conclusions about His purpose for saving us by grace.

God's moral requirements in His laws define sin and convict us as sinners. Without God's laws there is no need for grace at all. If God has high standards, then we need great grace to be declared by Him as righteous. 

But if God has low standards, then His grace does not need to be that amazing or precious. Any message that overtly or subtly by suggestion reduces the requirements of God's laws cheapens grace.

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