As I mentioned in yesterday’s Blog, an awful lot of people of every
denomination try to use Bible passages to excuse their failings instead
of letting the conviction of the Bible lead them to higher ground.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) seems to have struggled with the same
concepts, accusing the Protestant churches and especially the Lutheran
Church of "gathering like eagles 'round the carcase (sic) of cheap
grace' ". In a nutshell, "Cheap grace preaches forgiveness without
I remember a woman who tried unsuccessfully to “convert” me way back
when I was “searching” spiritually. She seemed typical of the “cheap
grace” variety of Christian evangelical. Her pitch went something like,
“Say the sinner’s prayer and all your sins will be forgiven: past,
present, and future.” That’s it! No wonder there are huge churches
filled with “Christian rock” and “fans” jumping up and down! It seems as
though cheap grace has come down even further in price.
There is an interesting passage in the Bible (John 14:12) that points
us toward the perfection (another unpopular word in many circles)
mentioned in Matthew 5:48.
48. “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is
In John 14:12 Jesus is quoted as saying;
12. “Truly, truly I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works
that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do;
because I go to the Father.
Here Jesus uses the word “works,” a word that so many folks who claim
to be “born again” believers find so distasteful. They go around
emphasizing the “free gift of salvation” (true) but leave out the
“repentance” and “go and sin no more” also preached by our Lord.
I’ve often thought about this passage. Surely, if we are to do
“greater works” than Jesus did, would just being more compassionate
toward all of His creation be such an impossible goal?!
True born again believers in Jesus have the Holy Spirit residing in
their hearts. Then, shouldn’t they be living according to Galatians
22. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,
kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23. gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Even simple common sense would inform a person that the recipients
(believers) of this spiritual fruit are to distribute it liberally among
all of God’s creation (humans, animals, and the environment) and not to
limit it to humans (or certain humans!) only.